Thursday, November 05, 2015

Male/female duos

I've picked up a couple of LPs recently by Nino Tempo and April Stevens, a brother and sister act who had great success in the sixties with pop revivals of oldies, including Sweet And Lovely, Deep Purple, Whispering and Stardust. I remember them as being catchy versions of standards but probably not records that had any lasting appeal. I was surprised therefore how good the LPs sound even today. There's a wonderful version of a song called Who, written by Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern, which sounds more like Papa Ooh Mow Mow.
The male/female sound got me thinking about other fifties and sixties boy/girl acts, many of which created some very memorable and, in some cases, soulful records. Apart from Nino and April, here's a top ten from the period.
1. Billy (Ford) and Lille (Bryant), 2. Gene and Eunice, 3. Paul and Paula, 4. Inez and Charlie Foxx, 5. Sonny and Cher, 6. Mickey and Sylvia, 7. Shirley and Lee, 8. Dick and Deedee, 9. Dale and Grace, and, of course, 10. Ike and Tina Turner.
There were many examples of male singers teaming up with the girls for one or more record (and vice versa), including Marvin Gaye (with Tammi Terrell, Mary Wells and Kim Weston), Carla Thomas (with dad Rufus and Otis Redding), Brook Benton and Dinah Washington, Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford, Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson, Billy Vera and Judy Clay, Betty Everett and Jerry Butler, Delaney and Bonnie, Louis Prima and Keely Smith, Chubby Checker and Dee Dee Sharp, Chuck Jackson and Maxine Brown, Jackie Wilson and Linda Hopkins, Judy Clay and William Bell, Peaches and Herb, Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence, Les Paul and Mary Ford and Nancy Sinatra with her dad Frank and Lee Hazlewood.
Not to be forgotten are the many combinations of ska and reggae singers from the sixties, including Keith and Enid, Stranger and Patsy, Owen Gray, Millie Small, Jackie Edwards, Derrick Morgan, Roy Panton and others. Some great stuff to be had there.
There were few half decent examples of male/female records from British and European artists, unless you include Mike Sarne with his various female partners. More typical were middle of the road artists like Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson, Miki and Griff and the Dutch/Danish duo Nina and Frederik, none of whom set the pulses racing. Strangely, though, Armet Ertegun at Atlantic was sufficiently impressed by the latter to release several LPs by them in the US. What was he thinking of?
I am excluding later boy-girl successes such as Elton John and Kiki Dee, Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway and Aretha Franklin and George Michael from my list, but I would welcome other suggestions from the pre 1970 era.


At 10:20 pm , Anonymous John S said...

Nina set my pulses racing.

....could have been Frederik; which one had the beard?


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