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Nino & April


All Strung Out




Nino and April  CD coverNino & April - one of the best kept singing duo secrets of the 1960s. A brother/sister duo who worked together between 1959 and 1967, when the release of this album, All Strung Out, culminated their wondrous sounds together. Originally hitting in 1959 with April Steven's sultry Teach Me Tiger (a Nino Tempo original), then later hitting with the pre-Beatles styled free wheeling take on the chestnut Deep Purple, Nino & April were left to rethink, retool, and re-invent their inimitable vocal style on their 1967 platter All Strung Out. Taking a kick from the drug addled youth of '67 and equating the addiction of drugs to the addiction of love was a masterful move, and with further use of the wrecking crew's (of which Nino Tempo was a member) Spectorian wall of sound production, and Gold Star studio's organic sound, Nino & April came up with a classic record, that just wasn't made for those times. The entire album was reissued previously in the mid-90s on Varese Sarabande, who also released the excellent Sweet & Lovely: The Best of Nino Tempo & April Stevens, but now it's Rev-Ola's turn to polish this classic off and re-issue it with some tracks in stereo for the first time and also with the previously unreleased mix of the Nino Tempo's solo single Boys Town.

All Strung Out - the song should've been a hit - written in a style for The Righteous Brothers, but turned down by them, in the hands of Nino & April it still has hit written all over it. Alas, it was not to be, and it wasn't until John Travolta re-recorded it, that All Strung Out hit the upper reaches of the charts. All Strung Out by Nino & April is a perfect blend of late 1960s references and classic pop arrangements and orchestration.

Other songs done in the Nino & April style updated for the mid to late 1960s are I Can't Go on Livin' (Without You Baby) and The Habit of Lovin' You Baby. Both great Nino & April songs. These are joined by Nino & April's attempt at some more Beatle-esque/Mamas and Papas styled pop songs including Lyme & Cybelle's (aka Warren Zevon & Violet Santanagelo) Follow Me (which sounds like the 80s band The Primitives meets The Monkees!), David Gates' (later of Bread) You'll Be Needing Me Baby, Jack Dalton and Gary Montgomery's (from the band Colours - a group wholly inspired by the Beatles, whose output would be worthy of a reissue) Beatle-esque styled Help You to See, Out of Nowhere and Alone Alone, and Bobby Hebb's Sunny - for good measure and well put by April's voice.

One of my favorite Nino & April songs is Wings of Love which adds a "Wimoweh" intro to a blissfully echoed stereophonic piece of sandy surf tune. These songs are joined by old standards and standardly covered songs like Bye Bye Blues, My Old Flame, Let It Be Me, and Ooh Poo Pa Doo - all given the Nino & April treatment to fine effect.

The capping moment for this Rev-Ola disc is the Nino Tempo solo track tribute to Brian Wilson: 1967's Boys Town (Where My Broken Hearted Buddies) - a new mix of an ultra-rare single which has been embraced by the gay community in more recent years - but should be embraced by everyone once they hear this incredible lost masterpiece.

---Patrick, December 23, 2003