Cameo Parkway 1957-1967 (4-CD)
by Various Artists
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- Number of Discs: 4
- Released: May 17, 2005
- Originally Released: 2005
- Label: Abkco
Description by OLDIES.com:
Cameo-Parkway was the name collectively bestowed upon a pair of record labels that dominated the independent music market for several years during that golden era of pop music. For more than a decade, a constant stream of exciting hit singles and albums emanated from the Philadelphia-based company. Cameo and Parkway recordings were ubiquitous, and treasured, wherever the latest sounds were heard. The reign of Cameo-Parkway - which ultimately became the leading independent record company in America of its time - began in 1956 when Bernie Lowe, a talented musician and songwriter, launched Cameo Records. Bernie and his writing partner, Kal Mann, had already enjoyed some measure of success, having placed their tunes with Nat "King" Cole and others. Their composition "Teddy Bear" would later become a smash for Elvis Presley.
But Bernie wasn't content to work for others so he set out to make his mark as an entrepreneur. It didn't take long - one of the first releases on Cameo, "Butterfly," by the whiz-kid guitarist/singer Charlie Gracie, vaulted all the way to the top of the charts. After that, there was no stopping the Cameo-Parkway team. Lowe and Mann, along with the arranger, songwriter and bandleader/musician Dave Appell, unleashed a barrage of inventive recordings that clicked with teens over the next several years. With the invaluable promotional assistance of Dick Clark, whose Philadelphia-based American Bandstand TV dance program often booked local acts, Cameo and, before long, Parkway artists became national sensations. But it took Bobby Rydell and Chubby Checker to truly put Cameo-Parkway on the music industry map. Both were ambitious South Philly kids looking for a break; they found their dreams realized when they hooked up with Lowe, Mann and Appell. Rydell was a multitalented musician who had started out as a drummer before putting his rich vocal skills to work for him. The squeaky-clean Rydell's string of hit singles - "Kissin' Time," "We Got Love," "Wild One," "Wildwood Days," "Swingin' School" and "Volare" among them - established him as one of the most beloved teen idols in the country.
Chubby Checker, meanwhile, had been a poultry shop employee with a knack for impersonations when he was called upon by Lowe and Mann to cut a musical Christmas card for Dick Clark. It was Clark's wife who gave young Ernie Evans his new name, and Clark himself who suggested that Bernie Lowe have the singer re-record an obscure dance tune called "The Twist." History was made when Chubby's recording of the song rose to number one in the nation on two different occasions, first in 1960 and then again in '62, sparking a cultural phenomenon that permanently rewrote the rules of dancing. Chubby continued to assault the charts with such Parkway hits as "Pony Time," "Let's Twist Again," "The Fly," "Limbo Rock" and "Slow Twistin'," the latter a duet with the lovely Dee Dee Sharp.
Dee Dee was Cameo-Parkway's most successful female solo artist. Only 16 at the time of her first recording, she quickly rose to national prominence when she placed two records in the top 5 simultaneously in 1962. First was the collaboration with Chubby; the second was the song that would forever be associated with her name, the good-time dance smash "Mashed Potato Time." Dee Dee visited the upper reaches of the charts three subsequent times in 1962-63 alone, with "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes),""Ride!" and "Do The Bird."
Cameo-Parkway was home to many fabulous singing groups, but three Philly based groups in particular have remained among the all-time favorites of oldies fans. The Orlons were the quartet that contributed such raucously rockin' hits as "The Wah Watusi," "South Street" and "Don't Hang Up" to the popular music lexicon. Their three wailing, soulful female voices, led by the dynamic Rosetta Hightower, were met by the deep throat of "frog-voiced" Steve Caldwell to create of the most distinctive vocal mixes around.
The Dovells were a dance floor monster. The quintet was responsible for such timeless, foot-flapping jukebox favorites as "Bristol Stomp," "Hully Gully Baby" and "You Can't Sit Down." Lead singer Len Barry took his inspiration from the great R&B shouters and together with the others in the group gave Cameo-Parkway a run of riotous showpiece releases.
Then there was the Tymes. The smooth ballad style of this quintet resulted in oneof the most fondly remembered classics of the era, the stunning "So Much In Love. "With its minimal instrumentation, authentic seashore sound effects and the silky lead vocal of George Williams, this 1963 chart-topper has remained one of the most oft-played songs on oldies radio stations for decades.
In addition to its stable of regular hitmakers, Cameo-Parkway was also the label behind a tremendous number of one-hit wonders and novelty tunes. The TV horror-show host John Zacherle, for example, frightened the heck out of the populace with his "Dinner With Drac," and the Rays' memorable doo-wop ballad "Silhouettes" was a Cameo side in the late '50s. Several years later, Candy and the Kisses' single "The 81" provided an "in" for the young producers/songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who would go on to revolutionize black music in the '70s. Cameo-Parkway was the first home to future giants like Patti Labelle, the Kinks and Bob Seger as well.
By 1964, Bernie Lowe had begun to tire of running a record company and sold the outfit. Cameo-Parkway shifted its operations away from Philadelphia at that point but continued to make its presence felt, most notably with the 1966 number one garage-band landmark "96 Tears," by the eye-poppingly hip Michigan-based group called ? and the Mysterians.
Remarkably, none of these recordings have been available in their original form for many years. But that is all about to end. ABKCO Records has mined the C-P vaults and painstakingly compiled a stunning, historical 4-CD collection that places back into circulation all of the original legendary - and never forgotten - Cameo-Parkway hits and dozens more. It would not be a stretch to say that this is one of the most eagerly awaited record label anthologies in a very long time. The Cameo-Parkway Story fills one of the most sizable gaps in many a collection and restores this innovative label to its rightful place.
Tracks on Disc 1:
- 1.Charlie GracieButterfly
- 2.Charlie GracieFabulous
- 3.Jerry Arnold & The Rhythm CaptainsRace For Time
- 4.Bernie Lowe OrchestraSing Sing Sing
- 5.Billy ScottYou're The Greatest
- 6.The PlayboysOver The Weekend
- 7.Pete AntellNight Time
- 8.The Hippies (Formerly The Tams)Memory Lane
- 9.The RaysSilhouettes
- 10.The RaysDaddy Cool
- 11.Timmie RogersBack To School Again
- 12.Chubby CheckerThe Class
- 13.The Storey SistersBad Motorcycle
- 14.Mike Pedicin QuintetShake A Hand
- 15.John ZacherleDinner With Drac Part 1
- 16.The ApplejacksMexican Hat Rock
- 17.Georgie Young and The Rockin' BocsNine More Miles
- 18.The TemptationsBirds And Bees
- 19.Georgie Young and The Rockin' BocsTwo Weeks With Pay
- 20.The ApplejacksRocka-Conga
- 21.Bobby RydellKissin' Time
- 22.Bobby RydellWe Got Love
- 23.Chubby CheckerThe Twist
- 24.Bobby RydellWild One
- 25.Bobby RydellSwingin' School
- 26.Chubby CheckerPony Time
- 27.Chubby Checker & Bobby RydellTeach Me To Twist
- 28.Chubby CheckerLet's Twist Again
- 29.The DovellsBristol Stomp
- 30.The OrlonsThe Wah Watusi
- 31.The CameosMerry Christmas
Tracks on Disc 2:
- 1.Chubby Checker (with Dee Dee Sharp)Slow Twistin'
- 2.Dee Dee SharpMashed Potato Time
- 3.Dee Dee SharpGravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)
- 4.The OrlonsDon't Hang Up
- 5.Dee Dee SharpRide
- 6.The DovellsDo The New Continental
- 7.Don CovayThe Popeye Waddle
- 8.Chubby CheckerLimbo Rock
- 9.Bobby RydellThe Cha Cha Cha
- 10.Bobby RydellVolare
- 11.The Carroll BrothersSweet Georgia Brown
- 12.Jerry Blavat & The Yon TeenagersBack To School One More Time
- 13.Jo Ann Campbell(I'm The Girl From) Wolverton Mountain
- 14.Clint EastwoodRowdy
- 15.Bobby RydellForget Him
- 16.Jo Ann CampbellMother Please!
- 17.Billy Abbott and The JewelsCome On And Dance With Me
- 18.Billy Abbott and The JewelsGroovy Baby
- 19.Bobby Gregg and His FriendsThe Jam Part 1
- 20.The DovellsYou Can't Sit Down
- 21.The OrlonsSouth Street
- 22.The TaffysEverybody South Street
- 23.Dee Dee SharpDo The Bird
- 24.The OrlonsNot Me
- 25.The OrlonsCross Fire!
- 26.The Marlins(Everybody Do) The Swim
- 27.Candy & The KissesThe 81
- 28.The DreamersDaydreamin' Of You
- 29.The SwansThe Boy With The Beatle Hair
- 30.Chubby Checker & Bobby RydellJingle Bell Rock
Tracks on Disc 3:
- 1.The TymesSo Much In Love
- 2.The TymesWonderful! Wonderful!
- 3.Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn BridgeI'll Be True
- 4.The DreamloversWhen We Get Married
- 5.The TymesSomewhere
- 6.Billy Abbott And The JewelsHey Good Lookin'
- 7.The SparkletonesJust One Chance
- 8.Patti LaBelle & The BlueBellesYou'll Never Walk Alone
- 9.Patti LaBelle & The BlueBellesDanny Boy
- 10.Sounds OrchestralCast Your Fate To The Wind
- 11.Joe Brown And The BruvversIt Only Took A Minute
- 12.The KinksLong Tall Sally
- 13.Pete BestBoys
- 14.The KinksYou Still Want Me
- 15.The Ivy LeagueFunny How Love Can Be
- 16.The Ivy LeagueTossing & Turning
- 17.Screamin' Lord Sutch & The SavagesShe's Fallen In Love With The Monster Man
- 18.Senator BobbyWild Thing
- 19.Len BarryLittle White House
- 20.Joey And The FlipsFool, Fool, Fool
- 21.The GTOsGirl From New York City
- 22.The Rag DollsSociety Girl
- 23.Candy & The KissesSoldier Baby Of Mine
- 24.Christine CooperS.O.S. (Heart In Distress)
- 25.Frankie Beverly And The ButlersBecause Of My Heart
- 26.Christine CooperHeartaches Away My Boy
- 27.Vickie BainesGot To Run
- 28.The StylettesMy Boy
- 29.Bobby The PoetWhite Christmas (3 O'Clock Weather Report)
Tracks on Disc 4:
- 1.Evie SandsAngel Of The Morning
- 2.Evie SandsThe Love Of A Boy
- 3.Eddie HolmanThis Can't Be True
- 4.The Five StairstepsWorld Of Fantasy
- 5.The Five StairstepsCome Back
- 6.Eddie HolmanAm I A Loser
- 7.The Five StairstepsDanger! She's A Stranger
- 8.Bobby MarchanMeet Me In Church
- 9.The DelfonicsYou've Been Untrue
- 10.PersiansGet A Hold Of Yourself
- 11.The DelfonicsHe Don't Really Love You
- 12.Chris BartleyThe Sweetest Thing This Side Of Heaven
- 13.Lonnie YoungbloodThe Grass Will Sing For You
- 14.Terry Knight and The PackI (Who Have Nothing)
- 15.The Ohio ExpressBeg, Borrow And Steal
- 16.? and The Mysterians96 Tears
- 17.? and The MysteriansI Need Somebody
- 18.Bob SegerEast Side Story
- 19.? and The MysteriansCan't Get Enough Of You, Baby
- 20.The RationalsRespect
- 21.Bobby MarchanShake Your Tambourine
- 22.Bunny SiglerLet The Good Times Roll & Feel So Good
- 23.Bob Seger and The Last HeardHeavy Music Part 1
- 24.Bunny SiglerLovey Dovey / You're So Fine
- 25.Bob Seger and The Last HeardSock It To Me Santa
Music Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:
Based on 65 ratings.
This box set is a must for any collector and lover of rock and pop CDs. The brochure included with the CDs is interesting and enjoyable. I had not heard some of these songs in what seemed like a hundred years. And, before this box set, I couldn't find them. Sure, like all efforts of this size and scope, you can argue about things not included or songs that should have been left out. When I unwrapped the CD, I immediately put it in the player, and it brought an instant smile to my wife's face and mine. We just couldn't help but dance. Great fun!
I read the review below, and promptly put on my 45 RPM version of Slow Twistin'. I will say this, the version that is on the CD may be the original, but it is not the version that is on my Cameo/Parkway 45 RPM. However, I can barely listen to my 45...so, there you have it! This collection is incredible, and the sound is awe-inspiring. The Bobby Rydell material and The Dovells material alone are worth twice what I paid for this collection.
This, as they say, is a no-brainer...an absolute must-have...you will thank me.
I just A/B'd disc 2 of the set with the original 45s and found Slow Twistin' was not the original. The vinyl had a sax bridge in the middle and from then on it's completely different. For such a large and long anticipated project it is a little disappointing.
The Cameo-Parkway 4-cd box set is a true testimony to musical greatness! Every record collector (like myself) should have it! I have it!!! The sound quality is great. The reading pamphlet is great! The many different artists are simply incredible!
Ladies and gentlemen----this is history at its best!
----Dee Jay J.J., East Orange, NJ, USA.
C'mon you know you want this box set! It is totally awesome!
Just for the Chubby Checker original stuff (not the stereo re-records) it is worth it! Also the Bobby Rydell stuff in it's original form is fantastic...there are some real gems in this set like "Bad Motorcycle" by the Storey Sisters...Wanna hear Clint Eastwood sing?
"Rowdy" is also included in this box set...in short It's about time!
Some of this stuff has been missing for almost 35 years! A great
addition to any music collection! A+!
Excellant mastering, however some songs missing.
I really love You (Dee Dee Sharp)
I'm Sorry Pillow (Lee Andrews)
Heart Darling Angel (Orlons)
Wildwood Days (Bobby Rydell)
Just A Few To name, there are others.
Overall very pleased.
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