Friday, February 6, 2015

Hey Baby!


From Allmusic: Nino Tempo & April Stevens (who were actually brother and sister, born Nino LoTempio and Carol LoTempio) bobbed up and down through the pop charts through much of the 1960s, enjoying only a couple of major successes ("Deep Purple" and "Whispering") but maintaining enough momentum to stay in the good graces of several major labels throughout the decade. Hey Baby! was recorded during the duo's tenure with Atco Records, and it's fairly typical of their work of the period, a polished set of well-known pop tunes ("Hey Baby," "Land of 1000 Dances," "These Arms of Mine") and some well-crafted originals ("Swing Me," "Tomorrow Is Soon a Memory," "Ooh La La") alongside a few genuine eccentricities ("Mohair Sam" is given a fairly improbable parody as "No Hair Sam" and an otherwise strong folk-rock arrangement of "I Love How You Love Me" is punctuated with a hyperactive bagpipe). While Nino & April's efforts to sound hip usually end in failure, they harmonize well and they were capable solo vocalists too, with April sounding sweetly seductive on a new recording of "Teach Me Tiger" and Nino handling his Otis Redding cover quite well indeed. Nino was a talented producer and sax player as well as a vocalist and songwriter, and if this isn't top-shelf mid-'60s pop, the craft is strong throughout and if he and April often sound as if they'd be more comfortable in a supper club than at a rock show, they avoid the suggestion that they're looking down on the material; Hey Baby! doesn't include any of their major hits, but it's certain to please completists.

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