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CDA: April Stevens

First off, don't even think about me doing a CDA on Jerry Springer! I'm not going to waste my time with that business.


April Stevens died a few days ago at the age of 93. I was familiar with her hilarious recording "Teach Me Tiger" but hadn't heard her best-known song, "Deep Purple." She recorded it with her brother Nino Tempo at the end of an Ahmet Ertegun recording session - - they knocked it out in 14 minutes. Ertegun told them his partners described it as "the worst record you’ve ever made." Ertegun released it and it became the #1 song! So there.


Here's a mishmash of some TV appearances by April and Nino.




There's so much to love here, please allow me to give you a guided tour:


DEEP PURPLE / WHISPERING

Their choreographed walk onstage is priceless. It cracks me up how Nino's shoulders go up when he sings a high note. This happens at 0:22. And numerous other times.


Their singing is breathy and breezy, not always directly on target in terms of pitch, but who cares? This might be a deliberate choice, what Nancy Sinatra says Lee Hazelwood described as "that stupid sound" you hear in "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'." Unpolished, unfussy, messy, groovy, a little dirty. Eydie Gormé does something similar in "Blame It On the Bossa Nova" - - listen to the other songs on the album and they're all smooth and perfectly in tune. In "Blame It On the Bossa Nova" she lurches at notes and the pitch is smeared.


April's spoken chorus is so delightful. As Kelly Osbourne used to say on *Fashion Police,* "I am OBSESSED with it."


"Deep Purple" ends and goes directly into "Whispering," which is done in a carbon copy arrangement. Why fix it if it ain't broke. Nino really cuts loose at the end.


SOMETHING'S GOT A HOLD ON ME

They try on a James Brown vibe in this song, which is less convincing. Maybe it's the styling - - their night club attire doesn't really read Funk. Some denim, some fringe, we might have something. Bring me some options, people.


STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT

Another odd choice. Entirely suitable to fill out a set in the Catskills but is it really worthy of national television? But a few things make it worthwhile:


The "Bolero" rhythm is a hoot. I am often up for needless drama. #needlessdrama


At 8:00 she sings, "Something in my heart told me I must have you." On the word "you" she extends the Y a bit and does a leap from the Y to the OO. Adorable.


The key change at 8:30 is a treat, and then the solo trombone! Oh yes. Another key change at the "doo be doo be doos," and Nino singing with her from the side.


BABY WEEMUS

Speaking of stupid, what a stupid song. And what the hell is up with that big hat Miss Stevens puts on at 10:00? And that baby girl voice, it gives me the heebie jeebies. Not in a good way. Her handclaps during the guitar solo are hilariously square.


Oh dear, do we really need an encore.


ALL STRUNG OUT

The last song in the sequence. They're aping The Righteous Brothers here, right? Or is it just the Phil Spector Wall of Sound I'm hearing? Thankfully their styling is more youthful and hip, but their vocals are still just as bland and bubble gum.

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