This record and its follow-up, 'Rockin' Good Way (To Mess Around And Fall In Love)', didn't achieve the same level of UK success as in the USA, although both artists were to enjoy a period of British chart presence as solo performers.
On the evidence of this recording you might believe that the partnership was one made in heaven and destined for further success. Sadly, reality was different because the two artists were too unsuited temperamentally to stay together for long. Dinah Washington's tireless quest for perfection and Brook Benton's relaxed, sometimes casual, approach to his craft were incompatible.
It had been intended that they should stay together to record an album.
However the couple parted before the project could be completed. An LP was eventually released ('The Two Of Us'), but this had to be finished by adding tracks of their individual recordings.
Brook Benton's warm soft vocals found greatest popularity in the early 1960s when he had a string of chart successes including 'So Many Ways' and the 'Boll Weevil Song'. He also had further international success during the early 1970s with 'Rainy Night In Georgia', regarded by many as a classic of the era. His successful work also included songwriting which he did in the company of Clyde Otis and Belford Henricks; the latter of whom conducted the orchestra on the featured record.
Dinah Washington was a versatile artist who began singing in church as a choralist in Chicago where she grew up. Her professional output included R&B, blues, and even soul. After a period singing with the Lionel Hampton band she left to record several R&B hits including 'Wheel Of Fortune' which was also a hit for Kay Starr. Her later material concentrated on 'standards' and popular 'MOR' material aimed towards white audiences which she usually recorded in association with jazz orchestras. However, the record featured here is her only million-seller.
Clearly, the Everly Brothers were destined to become musical performers from a very early age because their parents were famous country singers who would include the boys on their radio shows and take them on tour. They were to become the most successful rock and roll duet of all time, adding just the right amount of 'country' to their output to appeal to white record buyers.
This record was their first recording to go all the way to #1 in the UK chart. They would reach the same point with three more singles and also reached #2 several times including 'The Price Of Love' as late as 1965- well into the era of the 'British Beat' boom.
Like so many long term musical partnerships, their seemingly benign attitudes to each other were really under a lot of strain- exacerbated by their workload and pressures from record companies. The pressure eventually proved too much and in 1973 the couple split up and Phil swore never to work with his brother again. Although they both had some success with solo careers (Phil worked briefly with Cliff Richard) neither managed to regain the idolisation bestowed on them by fans when they were together.
However, ten years later they reconstituted the duet and even managed to gain a further UK chart hit with Paul McCartney's 'Wings Of A Nightingale' during 1984.
Although they came together as a singing duo during the 1950s their first recording attempts were unsuccessful. Their fortunes changed with the popularisation of soul music and their move to Atlantic records during 1965.
This record was typical of their output of the late 1960s and bears the logo of Stax to whom they were leased. Although they achieved lower British chart placings than they did in the USA they are still regarded in the UK as being one of the most important influences of the 'soul' genre to have emerged during its early days.
|By the time their first hits were achieved their personal relationship had deteriorated to the extent that their association was only held together for professional reasons. They split further in 1970 and began separate careers though rejoined briefly to undertake recording work for United Artists.
Their records are no longer valued by British collectors and their lightweight blend of sentimental pop and folk is now not held in much regard. However, Nina and Frederik were an unusually popular duet during the late 1950s and early 1960s and remain one of the most interesting members of the genre.
This EP was a late example of their work because by 1964 their popularity was in decline. However, UK record buyers had grown used to the offerings the couple produced each Christmas and so a Christmas EP would have been expected. Previous Christmas successes had included 'Mary's Boy Child' and 'Little Donkey'
The beautiful blonde Nina married the aristocratic Danish baron during September 1960, and their formation of a duet during their earlier years together did much to amplify their image as a couple in a fairy tale marriage. This indeed may well have been the case until their popularity began to fade. The baron was already a wealthy man and was keen to end their musical career, however Nina wanted to carry on. This issue became a rift in their association that culminated in divorce during 1975.
Frederik undertook a nearly reclusive existence in the Balearic Island of Ibiza, but the couple remained good friends and Nina too made a base on the same island. In contrast to Frederik's new found obscurity, Nina broadened her show business career by going into acting; she co-starred with Elliot Gould in 'The Long Goodbye' and appeared with Richard Gere in 'American Gigolo'.
During the late 1980s, the baron began to spend increasing amounts of time on his yacht in the Philipines where he is alleged to have become involved in some doubtful business dealings. It was there, during May 1994, that he was shot dead by an unknown assassin- a tragic end to an amazing life.
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