By now, readers who follow high school or college football have a feeling for how their teams are progressing. Thus, it’s time for a “sonic smorgasbord” to either help you celebrate or cure your blues a bit.
‘Harmonies From Heaven,’ Everly Brothers (Eagle Rock Entertainment, ☆☆☆☆☆)
This Sept. 9 two-DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray or digital release comes from the brothers who set the standard: Don and Phil Everly. Disc one features the titular documentary, which covers their late-1950s to early-1960s career peak and includes information (like the facts below) that a dedicated fan such as me didn’t know, plus tons of bonus material.
The Everlys fired music publisher Wesley Rose as their manager in 1962, cutting them off from songs written by husband/wife team Felice & Boudleaux Bryant (most early hits) and their own original songs. Carole King’s “Cryin’ In The Rain” was their final Top Ten Hit before British Invasion bands replaced them on the charts, though those bands were tremendously influenced by their sound. Phil died of COPD in January 2014.
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Disc two features a 1968 Australian club performance, with many big hits (“Wake Up Little Susie,” “Let It Be Me” and seven more) along with their trademark vocals applied to fast-paced cover songs. They finish the show with “Kentucky,” without the backing trio and on one microphone … fantastic! Everly Brothers fans and curiosity-seekers need to obtain this one.
‘Secrets, Hope & Waiting,’ Riley Etheridge Jr. (Rock Ridge Music, ☆☆☆1/2)
This Sept. 9 CD, likely available in other formats, is a sonic travelogue by singer/songwriter/acoustic guitarist Riley Ethridge Jr. and his musical supporters: Kenji Shinagawa, electric guitar, mandolin and vocals; Melissa Tong, violin and vocals; Gary Frazier, bass and vocals; Simon Lott, drums; Peter Harris, acoustic bass and Larry Sieberth-piano.
This album is much more muted than classic Everly tunes; however, songs like “Like A Fool,” “Save Me From Myself” (nifty violin), “The Moments Gone” (gorgeous harmony vocals),” Hope & Waiting” (nifty mandolin) and “Life Unrehearsed” (wonderful piano) join together in concept album fashion.
This recording will please folks in an introspective mood.
‘Blues Immigrant,’ Matthew Skoller (Tongue ‘N Groove Records, ☆☆☆☆)
This Sept. 23 release comes from singer/songwriter/harmonicat Matthew Skoller, and is his fifth solo release backed by a crew of blues superstars, including keyboardist Johnny Iguana, bassist Felton Crews, drummer Marc Wilson and guitarists Giles Corey and Eddie Taylor Jr.
The crew above makes sure this is well-played Chicago blues; but my favorites are the novelty-like “Big Box Store Blues,” the family-centric title song, the harmonica-powered “747” shuffle, the jumping “My Get It Done Woman” and the nifty instrumental “Organ Mouth.”
Blues backers will really enjoy this recording.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.