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It is a tall ask to recreate an album as seminal as the Everly Brothers "Songs our Daddy Taught us" and pull it off. The Everly's album itself was a selection of songs that the brothers learned as boys from their father, Ike Everly. In 1958 it was a risk for them to roll out this set, coming on the back of their first album including the huge hits "Bye Bye Love" and "Wake up Little Susie". Nevertheless while their song selection was rootsy the versions of Appalachian standards were characterised by the trademark superb harmonies and they made the songs their own. In "Foreverly" Billie Joe Armstrong and chantreuse Norah Jones follow their template begging the question is this intended as a straightforward homage and does it add additional value? The honest answer is both. The Green Day singers pairing with Jones is unlikely but it generally works. Billie Joe Armstrong "stumbled upon" the original record a couple of years ago and became obsessed with it. His heart set on doing an Everly's tribute he brought Norah Jones on board as someone who he previously sung with at a Tsunami Benefit Concert.

Not heading for the Everly's more famous singles gives the album a more contemporary feel although with two lead vocalists vying for the mike it is rare that this new pairing actually trump any of the Don and Phil versions. It is however an enjoyable album containing a sterling version of the traditional "Roving Gambler" which Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan also covered. Likewise "Long time gone" shows that Armstrong in particular has a voice which his work in Green Day could only hint at. Sticking strictly to the Everlys format largely works because of the presence of a woman's voice giving the songs a different feel. That said when it comes to an old murder ballad like "Down in the Willow Garden" you hark back to Nick Cave's version and the greater brutality that he injected. In this sense it is the sparsity of Jones's trademark smoky vocal on "I'm here to get my baby out of jail" which actually impresses most because possibly it's the least comparable to an Everly original.

When all is said and done the versions here are respectful and well executed. For anyone approaching these tracks for the first time the wonders of the shuffling "Kentucky", the joyous raw fiddle of "Barbara Allen" and the sweet delight of "Lightning Express" await. There is little doubt that this collaboration will be compared to, what was also deemed at the time, an equally "left field" matching of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on "Raising Sand". In the last analysis the latter produced a more varied atmospheric product, but Armstrong and Jones have not let the side down and "Foreverly" marks a successful collaboration from two unlikely collaborators.

PS - This review was written before news of the sad death of Phil Everly arrived on Jan 3rd 2014. Godspeed Phil.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 December 2013
What is it that drives musicians to revisit older music in older styles? One could have asked that question of the Everly Brothers themselves when they recorded this music in the 1950's, for it was far from "Cathy's Clown" and "Wake up, Little Susie" and such songs as made them famous. But Dylan, Van Morrison, and more recently Bruce Springsteen have recently (in the past 25 years) gone back to "roots." What did Stravinsky think he was doing when he started "imitating" neo-classical forms? The sense of belonging to and respecting a tradition obviously matters to some people, and it's hard to see that an effort like this one will be a huge money-spinner (despite the comment from a one-star reviewer on who sees it merely as a dollar magnet). But the music isn't that glamorous , and it certainly isn't glammed up -- the arrangements are chaste and pretty minimal. This is a blend of folk, country, and gospel, and it's got a distinctive texture. Jones and Armstrong have a good feel for the style, their harmonizing is nice -- it doesn't try to ape the original sound of the two male voices (it couldn't) -- and it's good to hear. The "Barbara Allen" is a distinctive take on an old ballad, presumably a Kentucky version. There are maudlin heart-breakers like "Put my Little shoes away" that tell us something about the ways in which people thought it appropriate to appeal to feeling in certain times and places, and there is the wonderful "Here to get my baby out of jail." These are dark songs -- the prospect of death and loss, for the singer or the subject of the song, is always present. These are the great unavoidables of life, and this music acknowledges that. The record is an homage to the Everlys, but more important it is, as the original Everly album was, an homage to the music and the ways of life it sprang from.
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on 26 December 2013
I grew up with the wonderful Everlys and they will always have a place deep in my heart so a modern performance of SODTU was always going to be a steep hill to ascend for anyone else, particularly as I am not a fan of cover versions (a very few exceptions - Hendrix, All Along The Watchtower; Stones, Carol and Route 66).
This is a remarkable performance. I bought it after reading an article in the Sunday Times which made me so curious that I ordered it on the spot. It arrived with commendable speed and I played it non-stop in the car for several days. I absolutely loved it and was amazed at how they had matched the emotional feel of the Everlys. I award a mere four stars for no other reason than that the original cannot be surpassed.
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on 31 December 2013
The harmony from this duo is fantastic - sometimes more Everly then Phil and Don themselves! The tracks are not well-known ones and that adds more to their appeal. I hope they produce more recordings like this.
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on 7 January 2014
I bought the Everly Brothers album, 'Songs our Daddy Taught Us' over 50 years ago.
It was never an immediate favourite as I'd been expecting something a bit more like their previous rock & roll album.
But the album has grown with me & it's now one of my favourite albums of theirs.

Billie Joe & Norah have done a superb job in updating these timeless songs.
The original album was always a bit one paced & they have upped the tempo on a few of the songs to overcome this.
The use of greater instrumentation has helped too.

The songs themselves will resonate more as the listeners get older & experience at first hand the emotions in the songs.
In particular, 'Rocking Alone in an Old Rocking Chair' & 'Silver Haired Daddy of Mine' will bring the tears to your eyes as loved ones get old & die.
You'll never know if you could have done more to alleviate loneliness in your older family & friends.
We all know unrequited love & 'Oh So Many Years' expresses these feelings as we look back on what might have been.
'Long Time Gone' is a classic cheating song.
'Kentucky' is about longing for home.
Unfortunately some of us will experience the death of a child & 'Put My Little Shoes Away' sums up this from the point of view of the child.

There are ballads here that tell stories, some that I still find to be over-sentimental.

But these are songs that you can return to & find support in the lyrics.

Phil Everly, in one of his last interviews before his untimely death, praised Billie Joe & Norah for what they'd done to introduce not only these songs, but also The Everly Brothers themselves, to a new audience.

Billie Joe himself has said that they are passing on the torch to the next generation, as did the Everlys more than 50 years ago.

This is a wonderful album.
Take the time to listen to these songs & go back to them as you get older. At some point in your life they will break your heart.
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on 2 January 2014
Norah Jones + Billie Joe Armstrong + the Everly Brothers isn't the first combination which one would put together. In recipe terms, it isn't one I would ordinarily cook. How I would have missed out!

This is a fantastic, easy listening album. Flowing smoothly between upbeat, more country-esque tracks and the slower, tranquil ballads, the album allows both Jones and Armstrong to show sides which they have not shown before. Armstrong is particularly good in "Long Time Gone", which has a rawness not evident in his Green Day guise. Another favourite is "Roving Gambler" which never fails to make me smile.

Comparisons have and will be made to Robert Plants duet album with Alison Krauss. For my mind, this is equally as good albeit different in mood. Where Raising Sand was more melancholic, on balance, this album is happier and less introverted.
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on 23 January 2014
Apart from the obvious singles I'm not overly familiar with either The Everly Brothers or Norah Jones but do like Green Day, although it has to be said never sufficiently enough to buy any of their albums! However, this still seemed like a venture worth taking a risk upon.
It's a lovely album of old country/folk songs but what surprised me most was how good Billie Joe's voice actually sounded on such delicate songs.
Most of the songs are duets but even so Billie Joe's voice did seem to overpower Norah's on the first 4 tracks and it wasn't until the lyrically dark and sombre 'down in the willow garden' that she started to shine too.
A couple of the songs are quite overly sentimental e.g the cheesy 'lightning express' although to be fair unless you have a heart of stone I'd be surprised if it didn't bring an "aaaww" to your lips too?.
Overall it probably was worth the money but maybe a little too laid back for my liking.
7 out of 10.
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on 19 July 2014
I just don't know what to say. This is simply beautiful. Many of the press reviews said that this is a combination that you don't expect to work at all, but does. It is a magical working of some Everly Brothers songs that you would close your eyes and believe that Phil and Don Everly were actually singing, not Norah and Billie Joe at all. The musicianship is superb, the singing is superb, the harmonies are superb. The choice of songs? Superb.

I suppose if I had to sum up this album in one word it would have to be superb. It really is...
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on 21 May 2014
I ordered this as a 70th birthday present for my dad! My 25yr old son and I love Green Day so obviously we wanted to hear this cd. As we both really enjoyed it and my dad likes country music and the Everly Brothers I thought he might enjoy it too. He does! The cd came from Hong Kong and did take a while to arrive but it was a brilliant price and was well packaged.
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on 21 April 2014
Happened to chance upon this marvellous collection of songs played and sung beautifully. Ignore the 1 and 2 star reviews (they probably own one album and that's Queens greatest hits and therefore know screw all about music). Also ignore the fact that Billie Joe fronts a band that appeals to 15 year old boys and admire his choice of songs and singing partner.
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