Here We Are Again

This seems like a good post now that I have retired some of my older blogs and websites and begun to consolidate the information stored there into this new site.

Don and Phil Everly began writing songs as teenagers. Their father, Ike, contacted Chet Atkins, who was able to place two of Don’s songs: “Though Shall Not Steal” was recorded by Kitty Wells in 1955 and Anita Carter recorded “Here We Are Again” that same year. Carter was the youngest daughter of Maybelle and Ezra Carter. I imagine Don felt very honored to have a member of the First Family of Country record his song.

In Carter’s recording, two voices can be heard on the chorus. I can’t find confirmation, but I believe it may be her older sister Helen. The melody is in the lower voice and the upper voice harmonizes in the same way that Don and Phil do. Carter is backed by Chet Atkins on guitar (probably electric), Jack Shook on guitar (probably acoustic), Donald Davis on steel guitar, Ernie Newton on bass, Tommy Waden on fiddle, and Owen Bradley on piano.

The bass and acoustic guitar back the singers with the basic boom-chuck-chuck waltz figure common in country music. The piano supports the harmony with quarter note chords and adds chord tremolos in some spaces between the lyrics and tremolos on the melody at the end of the chours.

The verse is sung solo by Anita. The boom-chuck-chuck rhythm continues, but now the fiddle plays a countermelody softly behind the voice. The piano seems to be present, mainly as a rhythm instrument. At the end of the verse, the electric and pedal steel guitars offer a figure that leads us into the chorus, similar to the end of the introduction. Between the 2nd and 3rd chorus, the fiddle’s melodic filler is foregrounded briefly.

In 1958 Wanda Jackson also recorded “Here We Are Again.” Her rendition has many similarities to Carter’s, but a number of differences set it apart. First of all, in the introduction, the electric and steel guitar are replaced with male voices on a sustained “ah.”

In the verse, the male voices become more rhythmic, with a figure something like “ba-ba-ba-bop” that starts on beat 2 and ends on beat 3 of every measure. The voices have also divided so that they are singing their rhythmic figure on a chord rather than in unison. The piano player supplies tremolos and other figures reminiscent of Floyd Cramer throughout the recording. The boom-chuck-chuck heard in the Anita Carter recording is smoothed out somewhat by the additional activity of the background voices, piano, and electric guitar figures. An instrumental chorus follows the second chorus, with the electric guitar playing an unadorned version of the melody.

I prefer the Anita Carter version simply because I find the use of the vocables to feel somehow like putting on too much makeup–it becomes clownish at some point and detracts from natural beauty. But that’s just my opinion. If you like the Wanda Jackson version better, chime in here and tell me why!

 

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