by Robert Wilkinson
Today is the birthday of the legendary Don Everly and Cajun guitar master Sonny Landreth.
Don Everly (February 1, 1937) is the older half of the Everly Brothers, THE prototypical tight high harmony vocal duo. (Don did the lead vocals.) As I noted on brother Phil Everly’s recent birthday tribute, the Everly Brothers took infinitely catchy country and rock tunes, put their style on it, and produced some truly awesome and beautiful music. Their music was some of the first to feature “parallel third” harmonies, where each is a lead, and together the weave a sound unlike normal harmonies. They influenced the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Simon and Garfunkel (and yours truly back when I was performing.)
From the late 50s and early 60s, the Everly Brothers!
Here’s one that is one of their earliest performances on tape when Don was 20 and Phil was 18! Tight from the beginning!!
From 1961 on television, the Everlys performing two of their biggest, one amazingly beautiful and one with an attitude!
From 1964, singing the exquisite “Let It Be Me”
From 1964, they rock out! “Gone Gone Gone”
From the Tennessee Ernie Ford show, “Walk Right Back”
From a newer era, one of their originals done to perfection!“Crying in The Rain”
From a 1983 tv special, several of their best done to perfection!
For a finale to this short set, here they are doing Paul McCartney’s very beautiful song “Wings of A Nightingale”
We now turn to Sonny Landreth, he of the liquid guitar style of playing, where the notes seems to slip like water from one end of the scale to the next. Sonny Landreth (February 1, 1951) is an amazing blues player from Louisiana, known particularly for his unique style of playing slide guitar. He’s played with some of the best, including Clifton Chenier, John Hiatt and the Goners, and Jimmy Buffett. I had the rare privilege of seeing him when he was much younger and playing lead for Clifton Chenier in mid-70s Austin, and he was beyond great!!
Here’s more on his style from Wikipedia that all you guitar pickers out there may want to study:
Landreth is best known for his slide playing, having developed a technique where he also frets notes and plays chords and chord fragments behind the slide while he plays. Landreth plays with the slide on his little finger, so that his other fingers have more room to fret behind the slide. He's also known for his right-hand technique, which involves tapping, slapping, and picking strings, using all of the fingers on his right hand. He wears a special thumb pick/ flat pick hybrid on his thumb so he can bear down on a pick while simultaneously using his finger style technique for slide.
And now, the amazing guitar work of Aquarian Sonny Landreth!
From 1987 in Germany, here’s John Hiatt, Sonny, and the Goners playing “Radio Girl”
From the same gig, “Memphis in the Meantime”
From Montreal 1994, Sonny doing great slide work on “Zydeco Shuffle”
An amazing live performance by John and Sonny doing John’s tune “Riding With the King”
Here’s Sonny with the great Mark Knopfler in a great live performance of “Je Suis Desole”
From the 1996 DVD ”Night In London” Sonny and Mark live doing “Cannibals”
Here’s the entire 95 minute show! “Night in London with Mark Knopfler and Sonny Landreth”
Here’s Sonny with Jools Holland and Friends in a live performance of “Back to Bayou Teche”
Here’s Sonny with Eric Clapton in a live performance doing “Promise Land”
From the 2008 “Blues on the Green,” Sonny live with Cindy Cashdollar doing “Key to the Highway”
From the 2011 Old Settlers Music Festival in Dripping Springs, TX, here’s Sonny with my old friend Eric Johnson live doing “Milky Way Home”
From the same gig, “Gone Pecan”
Here are audio-only tunes set to stills.
From Santa Fe in 1987, John Hiatt and the Goners in a live performance of “Tip of My Tongue”
From the 1995 album, “South of I 10,” Sonny and Mark Knopfler doing the original studio version of “Shooting For The Moon”
From the album “The Tiki Bar is Open,” the studio version of “Everybody Went Low” (check out Sonny’s lead that starts about 1 minute 40 in!)
Here’s the original studio title track. Simply awesome! “The Tiki Bar is Open”
For the closer to this birthday celebration, I found a couple of smokin’ numbers of Sonny and Eric Clapton!
From the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival, Sonny and Eric performing “Hell At Home”
From the same gig, “Uberesso”
Here's Sonny Landreth's Website
So here’s a huge thanks to our birthday boys, one a master of the voice, the other a master of the slide! May you both keep rocking on for many more years!!
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson