Allan Sherman's Warner Bros. LPs reissued on Collectors' Choice

If Stan Freberg owned the ’50s when it came to song parodies, Alan Sherman owned the ’60s. His string of three #1 albums in a row (My Son, the Folk Singer; My Son, the Celebrity; and My Son, the Nut) remains unmatched by any comedian before or since. Yet in what would qualify as a fershlugginer state of affairs, those very same classic albums have never been released on CD in their original form — appearing only on a now out-of-print Rhino Handmade box set. Collectors’ Choice Music will reissue Sherman’s eight Warner Bros. Records albums from 1962-67 on September 7, 2010 — one day before Rosh Hashanah in the Hebrew calendar year 5771.

The digitally remastered albums include My Son, the Folk Singer; My Son, the Celebrity; My Son, the Nut; Allan in Wonderland; For Swingin’ Livers Only!; My Name Is Allan; Allan Sherman Live! (Hoping You Are the Same); and Togetherness and feature newly written liner notes by Barry “Dr. Demento” Hansen.

Sherman’s musical career started when his career as a television producer (“The Steve Allen Show,” “I’ve Got a Secret”) came to a close. He had recorded a handful of Borscht Belt song parodies in the ’50s for Jubilee Records in his native New York and decided to take up where he’d left off. Having relocated to Los Angeles, Sherman was signed to Warner Bros. Records by A&R man and arranger-conductor Lou Busch. The recording session for what would become My Son, the Folk Singer took place where his next six albums would be recorded — Radio Recorders on Hollywood’s McCadden Place, where he was joined by six musicians, six singers, and a live audience of 100, seated in folding chairs, who noshed and imbibed. “I wanted it to be like a party,” he later wrote in his autobiography. The crowd laughter became an essential part of the Allan Sherman sound. The eight Allan Sherman reissues on Collectors’ Choice Music are as follows:

• My Son, The Folk Singer: Sherman recorded his #1 debut album one night on August 6, 1962 with arranger Lou Busch at Hollywood’s Radio Recorders before a live audience of friends including Johnny Mercer, Theo Bikel and Pat Carroll. As reissue annotator Dr. Demento writes, “He had developed a style that somehow preserved the soul of Jewish humor but made it sound all-American.” The album contains such Sherman gems as “Sarah Jackman” (based on “Frère Jacques”), “My Zelda” (“Matilda”), “The Streets of Miami” (“The Streets of Laredo”), “Seltzer Boy” (“Water Boy”) and “Oh Boy” (“Chiapanecas”). The album sold so fast that when Warner Bros. ran out of album jackets, they continued to sell the vinyl alone.

• My Son, The Celebrity: At 37, Allan Sherman, the portly ex-TV producer, was suddenly famous. In the space of three sessions in late 1962, he and Busch again invited friends to the studio, supplying folding chairs, hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. The resulting album featured “Harvey & Sheila” (set to the tune of “Hava Nagila”), painting a portrait of the emerging suburban Jewish upper middle class (“They bought a house one day/Financed by FHA/It had a swimming pool/Full of H20/Traded their used MG/For a new XKE/Switched to the GOP/That’s the way things go”). The second album, which also reached #1, also included “Mexican Hat Dance,” “The Let’s All Call Up AT&T and Protest to the President March,” “Won’t You Come Home Disraeli” and “Barry Is the Baby’s Name/Horowitz/Get on the Garden Freeway.”

• My Son, The Nut: Sherman’s fan base now including President John F. Kennedy and Harpo Marx. The parodist once told Busch he wanted to record with a full orchestra, which Busch thought was indeed nuts, but agreed to add concert strings and brass to the mix for this 1963 album. Featured here is “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh,” sung from the vantage point of a malcontented kid at overnight camp. The Los Angeles Times called it “pure craft . . . Sherman clearly tapped not only his son’s experience that summer but the  . . . terror of a child separated from his parents.” Other tracks included “You Went the Wrong Way Old King Louie,” “Automation,” “I See Bones,” “Hungarian Goulash No. 5,” “Here’s to the Crabgrass,” “Rat Fink” and “Hail to Thee, Fat Person.” The album held the #1 spot for eight weeks.

• Allan in Wonderland: Sherman’s 1964 album didn’t reach #1 — the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan three weeks after its release, thereby changing the pop charts forever — but Allan Sherman’s fourth album stood up well against its chart-topping forebears. In fact its humor might even have been a little more pointed, most notably “The Dropouts March,” which took a particularly cynical look at educators’ well-meaning efforts to keep kids in school. With psychiatry a popular topic for comedians in the early ’60s, Sherman provided “You Need an Analyst,” based on “I’ve Got a Little List” from The Mikado. The album maxed at #25 on the album chart.

• For Swingin’ Livers Only: The album title was an homage to Frank Sinatra’s famous 1956 album Songs For Swingin’ Lovers. And indeed Sherman made no bones about on which side of the popular music divide he stood with “Pop Hates the Beatles” (to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel”). Also included are “The Twelve Gifts of Christmas,” “Grow, Mrs. Goldfarb,” “Your Mother’s Here to Stay,” “Pills,” “Shine On Harvey Bloom,” ”Beautiful Teamsters” and “Bye Bye Blumberg.”  Although one of his most fertile periods for parody, the November 1964 release reached only #32 on the charts. Sherman kept himself in the public eye, appearing on the “Tonight Show” and authoring articles that year for Playboy, TV Guide, The Saturday Evening Post and New York Magazine.

• My Name is Allan: The fad nutrition book of 1965 was The Drinking Man’s Diet, which advanced the peculiar notion that consuming alcohol would ease the stress of dieting and therefore promote weight loss — a notion that Sherman ran with on this, his final charting album. Featured were “The Drinking Man’s Diet” (not a song parody buy rather an original penned by Sherman and arranger Neil Hefti, who also composed the “Batman” theme), “It’s a Most Unusual Play,” “Peyton Place, USA,” “The Laarge Daark Aardvark Song” and “The Painless Dentist.” The humor also extends to the album title and cover — being Jewish is about the only thing Allan Sherman and Barbara Streisand had in common. The album stalled at #88 on the Billboard chart, and was the last album recorded at a Hollywood studio with invited guests in folding chairs.

• Allan Sherman Live! (Hoping You Are the Same): Sparks, Nevada’s Nugget hotel/casino was not exactly Carnegie Hall. But after years of recording before invited guests at recording studios, this 1966 release was his first recorded in concert. This was not a rehash of greatest hits, however. Sherman premiered new material — much of it a minute or less in length — alongside a few of his best-loved songs. Included are “How Van Nuys Got Its Name,” “Smog Gets in Your Eyes,” “The Learner’s Brassiere,” “Mononucleosis,” “Scotch and/or Water,” “Sorry ’Bout That” and “In Which I Finally Admit That I Won World War II Single-Handed” and “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh — Nevada Style,” complete with a shout-out to the casino’s owner. Overall it was not a good year for Sherman; his 21-year marriage came to an end, and he’d added fame — which had begun to dissipate — to a list of addictions that included alcohol and carbohydrates. He relocated from Los Angeles to back New York, setting his sights on creating a Broadway musical.

• Togetherness: Allan Sherman’s last album, from 1967, was the only one he made without an audience of any kind, and he and musical director Peter Matz (who he’d met an overnight camp) took full advantage of the studio environment with such effects as singing in the shower. The album’s single was “Westchester Hadassah,” a parody of the New Vaudeville Band’s “Winchester Cathedral,” itself something of a novelty record. He sang it in what Dr. Demento describes as “somewhere between the quaintly nasal sound of the New Vaudeville Band and the nagging woman of a thousand Jewish comedy routines.” Many of the songs were written by Sherman and composer Albert Hague for their Broadway show Birth Is the Coward’s Way Out (retitled The Fig Leaves Are Falling). Sadly, the production lasted a total of two days on Broadway.

Sherman moved back to L.A. and began work on a book. By the time it was published in 1973, Sherman was in poor health, suffering from emphysema (after a lifetime of smoking) and increased weight. He died on November 20, 1973 at the age of 47.

Forty-plus years after his heyday, with the re-release of his catalog, Sherman proves that good comedic music can have timeless appeal.

The Undertones reissued digitally in the U.S.

The Undertones emerged from Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1977, as part of the U.K. punk and new wave scene. Inspired by radio, records and the Ramones, five Derry teens (Feargal Sharkey, brothers John and Damian O’Neill, Billy Doherty and Mickey Bradley) had never been in bands before. Straight out of a local pub, The Casbah, the band recorded Teenage Kicks, their debut EP, which caught fire on John Peel’s BBC Radio One show and got them signed to Sire Records in the U.S.  “Less interested in fashion, anarchy, or politics than in the heady joys of a great pop song, they fused irresistible, hooky tunes with the fierce passion of teenage rock & roll believers, and came up with a handful of instant classics,” observed All Movie Guide’s Mark Deming.

On June 28, 2010, Union Square Music will make the Undertones’ four albums available digitally. Included will be The Undertones (1979), Hypnotised (1980), Positive Touch (1981) and The Sin of Pride (1983), the Teenage Kicks EP, as well as a never-before-released Best of the Undertones compilation.

The digital-only reissues will be available at iTunes.

The Undertones: Appearing in both the Q magazine list of the “100 Greatest British Albums Ever” and the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, The Undertones' debut LP is a bone fide pop-punk classic. The lead track “Teenage Kicks” has long been regarded as one of the purest expressions of teenage punk pop and has been covered by everyone from KT Tunstall to Green Day. It was also famously U.K. DJ John Peel's favorite record ever. Signed to Seymour Stein’s Sire records in 1978, the band had not originally planned to make an album but after seeing many of their contemporaries —The Sex Pistols, The Clash etc. — make successful albums, they decamped to Eden Studios in West London to record the songs they had been playing in their legendary Friday night gigs at the Casbah. As the bassist Michael Bradley says, there was “No plot, no theme, no parodies of any genre.” The Undertones’ 1979 debut is an off-the-cuff collection from five Londonderry kids with nothing to lose.

Hypnotised: As critically acclaimed and as commercially successful as the Undertones debut LP, Hypnotised featured both the classic three-minute pop punk of its predecessor (check “My Perfect Cousin,” “There Goes Norman” and “Whizz Kids”) while highlighting a newfound maturity and sensitivity with tracks like the plaintive “Wednesday Week” and stately “The Way Girls Talk.” Recording in the tranquil surroundings of the Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum in the Netherlands (three band members would cycle to the studios every day) so relaxed the band that they weren’t overly concerned that they didn’t have enough songs for the album until the producer Roger Bechirian suggested that “I can ask that chap from the Rumour to write some for you.” Back in Londonderry, the O'Neill brothers came up with three more songs — “Wednesday Week,” “Tearproof” and “More Songs About Chocolate and Girls,” an homage to the Talking Heads’ More Songs About Buildings and Food. “More Songs . . .” would open the album and define the appeal of the band with its much-quoted line: “Sit down relax and cancel all other engagements, it's never too late to enjoy dumb entertainment.”

Positive Touch: Bassist Michael Bradley admits that despite the commercial success of Hypnotised, the Undertones were bored musically by the time they reconvened in the Wisseloord studios in Netherlands to record Positive Touch. Freed from their contract with Sire, they started recording without a record deal, enabling them to experiment without any executives breathing down their necks. If the band’s debut album was influenced by what they’d been listening to in O’Neill’s front room, then Positive Touch came out of what they’d been listening to since, with influences as diverse as the Stones, Motown, Orange Juice and Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Melody Maker declared the resulting 14 songs to be “one of the truly classic pop albums of all time.”   

The Sin of Pride: For the Undertones’ fourth and final album the band demoed the songs in a home-built studio in Londonderry. As bassist Michael Bradley recalls, “When I say ‘build,’ I mean we went out and bought the wood, and the nails, and cobbled together a small hut. Then we sent away to HHB for a Fostex 8-track and a bunch of microphones. Feargal, being the most technically minded, looked after the recording.” The band weren’t happy with the results and neither were their label EMI with the final album produced by Mike Hedges (of Cure and Wah fame). Lacking the pop punk of the band’s debut album, The Sin of Pride has its merits: NME described it as “an immaculate conception of pop” but the album was not a commercial success and tensions with Feargal soon lead him to leaving the band.   

Best of the Undertones: This never-before-released compilation contains the songs for which the Undertones are best noted: “Teenage Kicks,” “Get Over You,” “Here Comes the Summer,” “”You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It),” “My Perfect Cousin,” “Wednesday Week,” “It’s Going to Happen,” “Julie Ocean,” “Beautiful Friend” and “The Love Parade.”

Teenage Kicks EP: In a move to bring back the EP, quintessential to the development of punk and new wave, Union Square will offer the original Teenage Kicks EP from 1978 featuring the hit “Teenage Kicks” along with “Smarter Than U,” “True Confessions” and “Emergency Cases.”

Judy Collins' Elektra albums to be reissued on Collectors' Choice

Collectors’ Choice Music will reissue nine albums by Judy Collins, one of the great interpretive folksingers of our time, representing a good portion of her Elektra Records years from 1966-97. Collins’ clear soprano, unerring taste and uncommon sensitivity to her material has enriched songs by everybody from Bob Dylan to Jacques Brel to Stephen Sondheim, and while she began her career by interpreting the work of others, she would become an acclaimed songwriter as well. Her fearless approach to trying new arrangements, instrumentation and repertoire has made her albums among the most absorbing and fulfilling of any singer-songwriter releases.

On July 27, 2010, Collectors’ Choice will issue digitally remastered CDs of nine of Collins’ Elektra titles: Fifth Album (1965), In My Life (1966), Whales & Nightingales (1970), True Stories & Other Dreams (1973), Bread & Roses (1976), Running for My Life (1980), Times of Our Lives (1982), Home Again (1984) and Christmas at the Biltmore (1997). The albums contain newly commissioned liner notes by Ritchie Unterberger that include interviews with Collins.

According to Collectors’ Choice Senior Vice President Gordon Anderson, “Judy Collins is one of those artists we always dreamed of reissuing, but never dreamed we would get the chance. We are thrilled to release these legendary albums on Collectors’ Choice with the love and respect they deserve.”

Fifth Album: This 1965 release, which charted #69 on the Billboard album chart, cemented Collins’ status as the foremost interpreter of the best 1960s songwriters to emerge from the folk revival. In addition to songs by Gordon Lightfoot, Phil Ochs, Eric Anderson, Tom Paxton, John Phillips and Richard Fariña, the album contains three Bob Dylan compositions, two of which (“Tomorrow Is a Long Time,” “Daddy You’ve Been on My Mind”) he didn’t release on his own records in the ’60s. The Mark Abramson-produced recording featured John Sebastian on harmonica, Danny Kalb and Eric Weissberg on guitars, and Fariña on dulcimer.

• In My Life: Collins’ 1966 album In My Life saw her make a bold leap from the folk-grounded arrangements and material of her previous work into a hybrid of folk, classical and pop that was dubbed “baroque folk.” Joshua Rifkin, fresh from the Baroque Beatles Book, arranged and conducted. In addition to the first appearances of Leonard Cohen songs on any release, this album, which reached #65 on the charts, includes compositions by Bob Dylan, Donovan, the Beatles, Richard Fariña, Jacues Brel (to whom she was turned on to by Elektra founder Jac Holzman) and a then-unknown Randy Newman.

• Whales & Nightingales: For Collins’ 1970 album Whales & Nightingales, producer Abramson left the confines of the studio to record at such locations as Carnegie Hall, the Manhattan Center and St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University. Holzman recalls in his book Follow the Music: “We decided to pick locations that matched the emotional ambience of the songs we were recording.” The album includes unusual treatments of traditional folk songs (the haunting “Farewell to Tarwathie” includes recordings of whales), as well as songs by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Jacques Brel. Collins’ hit version of “Amazing Grace,” featuring her then-boyfriend Stacy Keach, is on this release.

True Stories & Other Dreams:
Having exquisitely interpreted virtually every songwriter of note from the ’60s, Collins began including a few of her own songs on her albums (beginning with 1967’s Wildflowers). She brought her own songwriting to the fore on this 1973 release, contributing over half the material. In addition to five Collins originals, the album contains the Top 40 hit “Cook With Honey,” penned by Valerie Carter. Also featured is Tom Paxton’s “The Hostage,” written in the wake of the Attica prison riots and a 7 1/12-minute song titled “Che” about revolutionary Che Guevara. The album rose to #17 on the album chart.

• Bread & Roses: For the title track of this Top 30 1976 LP, Collins’ friend Mimi Fariña set to music the poem after which she’d named her humanitarian organization Bread & Roses. The album also features an eclectic group of composers including Leonard Cohen, Elton John, Duke Ellington and Chilean singer-songwriter-activist Victor Jara, with production by Arif Mardin and engineering by Phil Ramone. Players included Hugh McCracken, guitar; David Sanborn, sax; and Tony Levin, bass.

Running for My Life: This 1980 album marked the first occasion on which Judy Collins claimed sole production credit for one of her LPs. It was also notable for her spot-on performances of two songs from Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (she was no stranger to Sondheim’s work, having had a hit with “Send in the Clowns” in the mid-’70s). Songs also include a Jacques Brel composition (“Marieke,” which Collins had recorded previously but wanted to revisit), and one by Larry Gatlin (“I’ve Done Enough Dyin’ Today”).

• Times of Our Lives: This album, released in ’82, once again demonstrates that Collins is a singer capable of covering just about any kind of material as she deftly interprets three songs by country hit songwriter Hugh Prestwood (author of Randy Travis’ 1990 #1 hit “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Hearty”), a tune by Anna McGarrigle (“Sun Son”) and five of her own. Featuring musicians Hugh McCracken, Tony Levin and banjoist Bill Keith, Rolling Stone called this album her best since 1973’s True Stories & Other Dreams.

• Home Again: Collins’ final studio album for Elektra, released in 1984, features her own composition “Shoot First,” which benefited the National Alliance Against Violence. It also features a duet with country star T.G. Sheppard on the title track (with lyrics by Gerry Goffin) and a co-write with Elton John, “Sweetheart on Parade,” which John never recorded on his own albums. The album contains the Henry Gross composition “Everyone Works in China.” Producers were the jazz-steeped team of Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen.

Christmas at the Biltmore: Following albums on such labels as Geffen and Gold Castle, Collins returned to Elektra for the 1997 soundtrack to a holiday special on the A&E cable network. Recorded live in an intimate setting at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, this record proves once again that Collins’ powers of interpretation really know no time or season as she makes these familiar songs her own. Includes “Joy to the World,” “Silver Bells,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Jingle Bells” and even a version of “The Night Before Christmas” with new words penned by Collins.

COLLECTORS’ CHOICE TO REISSUE ABKCO’S CAMEO-PARKWAY CLASSICS

On June 22, 2010, Collectors’ Choice Music in conjunction with ABKCO Music & Records will begin a rollout of six reissues and compilations from the legendary Cameo and Parkway Records masters. The initial six CDs, including four twofers, are Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites, Bobby Rydell Salutes The Great Ones/Rydell at the Copa, Chubby Checker’s It’s Pony Time/Let’s Twist Again, The Orlons’ The Wah-Watusi/South Street, Terry Knight And The Pack/Reflections plus the compilation Remember Me Baby: Cameo Parkway Vocal Groups Vol. 1 which features The Lydells, The Dovells, The Tymes, Lee Andrews, Billy And The Essentials and more.

For some time ABKCO had been looking for the right team with whom to delve into its vaults to create an ongoing Cameo Parkway reissue program.  ABKCO found the right mix in Collectors’ Choice Music and have entered into an exclusive arrangement, ensuring that a flow of reissues and compilations will be available over the next few years. All releases will be curated by Teri Landi, ABKCO’s resident engineer and catalog archivist, and annotated by respected music journalists.

Jody Klein, CEO of ABKCO Music & Records commented, “We are delighted to have Collectors’ Choice Music onboard for these releases of great historical relevance. Their expertise in this area will ensure that the music that made Cameo-Parkway such a cultural touchstone will be enjoyed by music fans who have long awaited these collections.”

Much of the material has not been available since its original release on vinyl some 45-50 years ago. Both companies have approached these reissues with careful A&R, annotation, package design and sound engineering. Said Gordon Anderson, Sr. VP of Collectors’ Choice, “The opportunity for our company to release this material represents the culmination of a career-long dream for me, and a fervently-held dream for thousands of our Collectors’ Choice Music customers.”

Founded by Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann in December 1956, Philadelphia-based Cameo-Parkway was one of the great American indie labels during the late ’50s and ’60s.  It was home to big pop-rock and R&B stars like Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checker and The Orlons, as well as to all manner of styles and artists both famous and obscure. It also represents the last great, largely untapped repository of vintage pop music from the rock ’n’ roll era.

It has been argued that popular culture was forever changed by the impact of Cameo-Parkway hits. Cameo-Parkway was one of America’s leading independent labels during the era that preceded the British invasion, offering a breathtaking range of pop, soul, rock, novelty and dance records that have continued to resonate with fans over the past five decades.  The label’s biggest claim to fame is the string of dance craze hits that followed in the wake of “The Twist.”  These included “Mashed Potato Time,” “The Wah-Watusi,” “Bristol Stomp,” “Do the Bird,” “Hully Gully Baby,” “Pony Time,” “The 81,” “Limbo Rock” and, of course, “Let’s Twist Again.”

Beyond the dance songs — most of which originated in Philadelphia — Cameo-Parkway issued garage rock classics from the Midwest including ? And The Mysterians’ “96 Tears” as well as early tracks by Detroit’s Bob Seger, The Rationals and Terry Knight And The Pack. The label even embraced the British invasion, releasing sides by The Kinks and Screaming Lord Sutch. Soul played a significant role with singles by The Tymes, Patti LaBelle And Her Bluebells, Frankie Beverly And The Butlers, The Five Stairsteps, and Bunny Sigler. Beyond those, Cameo was the label home of Bobby Rydell, who transformed from “swingin’ pop idol” to a mature vocalist and was accepted by both teen and adult audiences with such hits as “Wild One,” “Kissin’ Time” and more adult fare such as “Volare” and “Sway.”  

Collectors’ Choice’s initial rollout of six CDs includes the following:

• Bobby Rydell — Bobby Rydell Salutes The Great Ones/Rydell at the Copa. These two 1961 albums — presented here in their original stereo mixes — represented an effort by Rydell to move beyond the limitations of his teen idol persona. The title of Rydell’s Cameo LP, Bobby Rydell Salutes The Great Ones, works on two levels.  It is an early tribute to the performers the young singer admired all his life, as indicated by the little caricatures of Al Jolson, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra in the upper corner of the LP’s cover, and the “great ones” in the title refers to songs from the Great American Songbook such as “Mammy,” “That Old Black Magic” and “All of You.”  By recording a live album at the Copa, Rydell was following a well-trodden trail left by other pop male vocalists like Bobby Darin and Paul Anka.  Jim Ritz contributed liner notes.

• Chubby Checker — It’s Pony Time/Let’s Twist Again: This twofer includes two albums from the height of the Chubby Checker twist phenomenon that he and Cameo-Parkway had spawned, virtually ruling the music charts in 1960 and 1961. The first album’s title track, “Pony Time,” went to #1, his only chart-topper besides “The Twist,” while Let’s Twist Again, his fourth album, hit #11, shortly followed by three Top 10 albums in a row. Also featured here are “We Like Birdland,” “The Watusi,” The Hully Gully,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Let’s Twist Again” and more.  Jim Ritz penned the liner notes.

The Orlons — The Wah-Watusi/South Street. Discovered by high school classmate and future Cameo labelmate Len Barry, The Orlons (Shirley Brickley, Marlena Davis, Rosetta Hightower and Stephen Caldwell) were one of Cameo-Parkway’s most popular vocal groups and certainly the label’s top girl group. This twofer presents their only two charting albums from 1962 and ’63 respectively, and both featuring Top 5 title tracks. Heard here in their original pristine mono with notes by Gene Sculatti that contain quotes from Caldwell (he of the ultra-low “frog” voice), this reissue contains the title hits plus “Dedicated To The One I Love,” “Tonight,” “Cement Mixer” and more.

• Terry Knight And The Pack — Terry Knight And The Pack/Reflections. Although Cameo-Parkway was best known for rock ’n’ roll, pop and R&B, these albums (originally released on Cameo’s Lucky Eleven imprint) illustrate the label’s embrace of Midwestern rock. Flint, Michigan’s Knight And The Pack were a garage band with many regional hits that never broke nationally; they might have become stars but for the fact that band members Mark Farner and Don Brewer left to form Grand Funk Railroad, with Knight producing. In his liner notes, Jeff Tamarkin tells the story of their 1966-67 fuzz-laced sounds featured in “Numbers,” “You’re a Better Man Than I,” “The Lovin’ Kind,” “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show,” “Dimestore Debutante” and others.

Clint Eastwood — Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites: Oscar-winning actor Clint Eastwood has demonstrated a musical streak throughout his acting and directing career, and this 1963 album catches him at the beginning. Fresh from his success on the TV series Rawhide, he croons (and quite convincingly so) a collection of cowboy favorites. The set includes the 1962 single “Rowdy” b/w “Cowboy Wedding Song,” as well as “San Antonio Rose,” Bouquet of Roses,” “Along the Santa Fe Trail,” “The Last Roundup,” “Sierra, Nevada” and more.  Jim Ritz contributed liner notes.

Remember Me Baby: Cameo Parkway Vocal Groups Vol. 1: There are collectors and there are doo-wop collectors, which is why Collectors’ Choice devoted its very first compilation in the series to the vocal groups whose recordings defined Cameo-Parkway during its earliest years. Heard here are The Gainors’ “You Must Be An Angel,” Billy And The Essentials’ “Remember Me Baby,” and never before released tracks by The Dovells and The Tymes, “Short On Bread” and “Did You Ever Get My Letter?,” respectively.  Also featured are rare tracks from The Anglos, The Defenders, The Exceptions, The Expressions, The Gleems, Pookie Hudson And The Spaniels, The Impacs, The Rays, Rick And The Masters, The Sequins, The Skyliners and The Turbans — 24 tracks in all. Annotated by Ed Osborne.