I'm not, because the discs and downloads that are currently selling the most come via
the mistitled The Very Best of the Everly Brothers. It's also misrecorded, if that's a word, because half of the tracks on the album are perfunctory rerecordings from the 1960s, rather than the original versions that appeared on Cadence Records, mostly in the '50s. Once again, big business (Warner Brothers) triumphs because of their corporate status, while companies like Varese Sarabande and Rhino--who are connected to big labels but don't have that name recognition--were unprepared to get the word out that they've reissued the old records and those are the versions worth buying.
Phil sang the high harmony (and older brother Don the lower end) on those records, which still sound fresh and amazing. When my wife Gina and I found a used copy of the tremendous Everly Brothers anthology Heartaches & Harmonies (Rhino, 1994) about ten years back, we sat on the couch and listened to the entire thing (four CDs) in one setting. I don't think I've listened to a box set all the way through--we played it in the shuffle function--before or since.
A few favorites:
"I Wonder If I Care As Much": Self-doubt makes for vulnerable and touching singing, whether on the one recorded in 1957 or their update from 1968's Roots. Strange how they pronounce "care" as "keer" on the first version, and it's wonderful. Also moving is the Teddy Thompson remake with Emmylou Harris on 2000's Teddy Thompson (stuck on the end of track ten, and not noted on the album artwork).
"Gone, Gone, Gone" (recorded 1964): Flashy, upbeat track with tight harmonies that Robert Plant covered on his 2007 album with Alison Krauss. This should be all over '60s-based oldies radio but as the Everlys have noted, they were typecast and not considered hip by mid-decade.
"Sleepless Nights" (recorded 1960): Moves from minor to major chords and the singing is impeccable. As we listened again to it a few nights ago, Gina called it "ridiculously beautiful."
"Take a Message to Mary" (recorded 1959): Taking the old-time jail songs and murder ballads they did on 1958's Songs Our Daddy Taught Us and applying the feel to one of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant's classic tunes written just for them, this is quite believable in spite of their young ages. A triumph.
"Poor Jenny" (recorded 1959): I'm cool with clever and inspired even though this might be viewed as a silly song about juvenile delinquency. It would be a blast to do with somebody. I used to sing "Wake Up Little Susie" with Tony Anthony in our '80s (and beyond) band The Distractions, so I understand the skill it takes to do an uptempo song
where the harmonies have to be in sync. This tune is similar to "Susie" and now unfortunately obscure. There are two versions, one where the conflict in the story starts at 10pm and the other at 1am (gasp!).
"Bowling Green" (recorded 1967): Very 1960s, with all kinds of instruments added to the Everlys' typical guitar-bass-drums mix, and full of soul. Neko Case covered the song in the 1990s in a delightfully aggressive recasting.
"Stories We Could Tell" (recorded 1971): Although coming to the end of a long run of recording and performing that started with their family radio show in the late 1940s, the weariness of the Everly Brothers' take on John Sebastian's song fits perfectly.
"On the Wings of the Nightingale" (recorded 1984): Paul McCartney's tailor made tune for their reunion album EB84 simply soars. Other highlights on this Dave Edmunds-produced LP include Jeff Lynne's "The Story of Me" (despite the bank of synthesizers) and original songs such as Don's haunting "Asleep" and "Following the Sun."
Those are just some of my faves. I could listen to the Everly Brothers all day. They're in my top twenty artists (they ranked #33 in a 2011 Rolling Stone special issue of the 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time). So glad I got to see them onstage in 1986. Phil, you are going to be missed...big time.