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Sarabeth Tucek Streams New Album On AOL

Sarabeth Tucek is set to release her sophomore LP, Get Well Soon, on May 24th on Ungawa Records. It’s a stunning record that, although not a concept album as such, forms a narrative based around the death of Sarabeth’s father, or as she beautifully describes it “an impressionistic rendering of a time ruled by grief”. The 12 tracks were “sequenced and resequenced for weeks” in order for the story to emerge and the end result sees not one wasted word or unnecessary note; all we’re left with is “just pure feeling”.
Sarabeth was born to a psychiatrist and a psychologist in Miami, but grew up in New York. She was a latecomer to music, her first calling being acting. However, after a few years in Hollywood, her singing and songwriting was encouraged by people on the music scene she fell in with. She first made an impression singing backing vocals on Smog’s 2003 album Supper and then in the film ‘Dig!’, where she sings a song she had just written called "Something For You". The Brian Jonestown Massacre went on to cover the song (retitled "Seer"), but Sarabeth’s own version became her debut single, on Sonic Cathedral, back in February 2007.
This stark and simple song won her legions of fans and her self-titled debut album followed a few months later (on the Echo label) to rapturous reviews. Produced by Ethan Johns and Luther Russell, its understated style was an inspiration to a number of singer-songwriters who followed in Sarabeth’s wake, including Laura Marling, who approached Johns to produce I Speak Because I Can after hearing it.
However, despite everything seemingly going so right, at home everything was going wrong. “Some very bad things happened during the first record and after,” recalls Sarabeth. “It was as if all that had ever troubled me, hurt me, came back just as I was embarking on what should’ve been the happiest time of my life. It all came back and said, ‘Not so fast...’
“I don’t think my mind could handle all the good coming its way. It was unfamiliar terrain and I didn’t know how to traverse It. Predictably, my drinking got out of control and that led to a couple car accidents, jail and legal troubles.I wanted to leave LA anyway, but now I felt I sort of had to. I hoped that by coming back home to New York I would be able to forge some kind of redemptive break from the past. To forgive myself.”
The move has informed much of the music on Get Well Soon. The warmth of the West Coast has gone, replaced by a much rawer sound, all recorded over an intensive 15-day period in a basement in Southampton, Pennsylvania. “We recorded this record in a house where we also lived,” Sarabeth explains. “My friends Robert and Peter from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club recorded ‘Howl’ there. It’s owned by the Nicgorski family who are all very musical: Billy, who offered me the basement, and his brother have played in lots of bands, their sister Maria sings on ‘State I Am In’ and their father Wally spent his mornings on the front porch singing in his rocking chair. Making a record where I am singing to and about my father and seeing and hearing their dad out there every morning served up a pretty strong and bittersweet feeling for me.”
“I think we managed to capture a unique mood down in that basement,” adds producer Luther Russell. “As guests in someone’s home we got a feeling that might not have happened in a regular studio. Sarabeth wanted to be somewhere totally unfamiliar; the material was incredibly personal to her, so she had to feel right about where she did it. My job was to capture that feeling, and fast. The plan was to mix it in LA, but it turned out that all the magic was there in the rough mixes I did as we went along – so that is what you hear. I think that’s why it’s such an immediate record, because it really was completed in those two weeks... but with a lifetime of preparation, of course.”
The rawness of the recording reflects the subject matter and provides the perfect accompaniment to Sarabeth’s voice, which seems stronger, more confident and more crystalline than ever, like Karen Dalton or a less histrionic Cat Power, as she deftly conveys her grief with an eloquent, understated majesty. The musical reference points of the first album – Neil Young, Dylan, The Velvet Underground, Big Star – are still there, but somehow amplified, and Sarabeth is definitely not looking towards the current music scene for inspiration. “It’s odd how placid a lot of music seems now; so washed out in sound and feeling,” she says. “It’s like antidepressant music to take antidepressants to. I don’t really give a shit. I am more likely to buy a new book now than a new record.”
This would explain the number of literary references on Get Well Soon. The opening track "The Wound And The Bow" is named after a book of essays by Edmund Wilson, in which Sarabeth discovered and subsequently became obsessed with the myth of Philoctetes, a play by Sophocles in which the protagonist suffers a wound so grotesque that he is left alone on an island to live in a cave and tend to his injuries. The title of "Exit Ghost" was taken from the Philip Roth novel, but he appropriated it from ‘Hamlet’, where it is written as a stage direction. “The scene when Hamlet sees his father’s ghost became lodged in my head,” explains Sarabeth. “And his subsequent madness I understood in a more personal way.”
The narrative ends with the title track and a resolution of sorts. “I feel like I’m either the patient or the doctor, somebody always has an ache,” she says. “When I wrote the title track I had a friend of mine on my mind. She was so sad... just inconsolable and it was painful to see her like that. The title is a reminder to keep myself well. It’s hard to explain the ferocity of the grief I experienced when my father died. I really felt like it was going to kill me, so to be here... well, I just wanted to remind myself of what I survived.”

G. Love Premieres "Fixin' To Die" Video

G. Love premieres the video for title track "Fixin' To Die" featuring Scott and Seth Avett today over at Vevo. Be sure to catch G. Love on tour in support of his new country blues and roots album, Fixin’ To Die, set for release on Brushfire Records on February 22, 2011. Recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC, and produced by Scott and Seth Avett, the album is arguably G. Love’s most sincere and candid work to date.
Inspired by the shared musical heritage between G. Love and The Avett Brothers, the result is Fixin’ To Die, a collection of rearranged traditionals, a classic cover, and a slew of G. Love originals, many simmering for over a decade, all sharing a common goal: to strip away all pretense and capture the original spirit and sound G. Love has cultivated over his entire career but never fully embraced until now.
G. Love will make his first ever appearance at SXSW in 2011. Performance locations will be announced at a later date. The title track from the album is now available for free download.
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Tour Dates:

March 1 - Nashville, TN -  Exit/In
March 2 - Greenville, SC - The Handlebar
March 3 - Charleston, SC - Music Farm
March 4 - Raleigh, NC - Lincoln Theatre
March 5 - Norfolk, VA - The Norva
March 9 - Charlotte, NC - Visulite Theatre
March 10 - Jacksonville, FL - The Freebird
March 11 - Orlando, FL - Beacham Theatre
March 12 - St. Petersburg, FL - Jannus Landing
March 13 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Culture Room
March 16 - New Orleans, LA - House Of Blues
March 17-18 -  SXSW
March 19 - Dallas, TX - House Of Blues
March 20 - Corpus Christi, TX - House Of Rock
March 23 - Little Rock, AK - Revolution Music Hall
March 24 - Tulsa, OK - Cain’s Ballroom
March 25 - Austin, TX - Antone’s
March 26 - Houston, TX - House Of Blues

Jarrod Gorbel: "Ten Years Older" Video Premiere on AOL Music Blog

Jarrod Gorbel's new video for "Ten Years Older," the single off his debut solo album Devil's Made A New Friend, premiered yesterday on the AOL Music Blog. Directed by Blake Behnam and Nic Hill, the heartening clip can now also be seen here, while the soaring, soulful track can be downloaded as a free MP3 as well. Gorbel, formerly of The Honorary Title, released Devil's Made A New Friend on August 31st via Burning-house Records/Gorbel music.Having just wrapped a month-long tour with Fun and Steel Train, Gorbel began a three-week run supporting Hanson last night at the House of Blues in Dallas, TX. The tour will travel throughout the southeast, northeast, and into Canada, concluding November 23rd at Guvernment in Toronto, ON. Gorbel will also headline the Back Booth in Orlando, FL, on November 7th and Go Bar in Athens, GA, on Nov. 11th, in addition to a show at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on December 8th.

Gorbel, after releasing albums under The Honorary Title moniker since 2003, has embarked on a new career as a solo artist with Devil's Made A New Friend. The lush album is piloted by Gorbel's passionate vocals and steeped in warm arrangements, with influences that range from classic soul to traditional folk and Americana. Recorded in Los Angeles with producer Blake Sennett (of Rilo Kiley and The Elected), Devil's Made A New Friend also features guest appearances by Jason Boesel (Rilo Kiley, Mystic Valley Band), Adam McDougall (Black Crowes), Orenda Fink (Azure Ray), and Nate Wolcott (Mystic Valley Band).

Jarrod Gorbel on tour:

NOV. 2 AUSTIN, TX ANTONES*

NOV. 3 HOUSTON, TX HOUSE OF BLUES*

NOV. 5 ST. PETERSBURG, FL STATE THEATRE*

NOV. 6 FT. LAUDERDALE, FL REVOLUTION*

NOV. 7 ORLANDO, FL BACK BOOTH

NOV. 10 ATLANTA, GA VARIETY PLAYHOUSE*

NOV. 11 ATHENS, GA GO BAR

NOV. 12 CHARLOTTE, NC AMOS' SOUTHEND*

NOV. 13 BALTIMORE, MD SONAR*

NOV. 14 FALLS CHURCH, VA STATE THEATRE*

NOV. 15 NORTHAMPTON, MA CALVIN THEATRE*

NOV. 18 MONTREAL, QC CLUB SODA*

NOV. 19 STROUDSBURG, PA SHERMAN THEATER*

NOV. 20 WALLINGFORD, CT THE DOME AT OAKDALE*

NOV. 21 BURLINGTON, VT HIGHER GROUND*

NOV. 23 TORONTO, ON GUVERNMENT*

DEC. 8 MADISON, WI U. OF WISCONSIN

* supporting Hanson

Over the Rhine gets help from Joe Henry on new CD

The Long Surrender, the new studio album from the southern Ohio-based husband-and-wife team of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Linford Detweiler and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Karin Bergquist, otherwise known as Over the Rhine, is something rare and wondrous — an intimate epic. The fan-funded record, to be released January 11, 2011 on OtR’s own Great Speckled Dog label (named for the couple’s Great Dane, Elroy), marks 20 years since their 1991 debut. It’s the bountiful result of a collaboration between the couple and Joe Henry, whose songs they’ve long admired.

“Joe has been quietly making records (well not that quietly, he has won at least two Grammys) that don’t sound like other records bring made in 2010,” says Detweiler. “They are a little bit dark and cinematic and funky and unpredictable. It seems like he loves to help performers who have already covered a lot of miles — Mavis Staples, Elvis Costello, Solomon Burke, Loudon Wainwright III, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Mose Allison, Allen Toussaint — rediscover the soul of what they do in a new light.” The Long Surrender was recorded at Henry’s Garfield House studio in South Pasadena, Calif.

“With The Long Surrender, our vision was to make a record we couldn’t imagine in advance,” says Detweiler. “We wanted to be surprised. We wanted to remain open, let the record unfold in real time. Fortunately, Joe loves to be surprised as well.”

The album’s title “speaks to our ongoing desire to let go of certain expectations — and much of what we are convinced we know for sure — in favor of remaining open and curious,” Bergquist explains. “It seems like so many of our friends are currently wrestling with various forms of ‘letting go,’ so hopefully the ideas conjured by the title feel somewhat universal. And I think the title speaks to the arc of a lifetime commitment to writing and performing regardless of recognition. Learning when to work and when to let go. Learning to leave room for grace to billow our sails occasionally. Learning not to white-knuckle everything.”

In his liner notes, as much free verse as prose, Henry writes, “Before their arrival on my turf, my communication with them had been a fast flurry of emails, occasional phone conferences and songs that I’d find sporadically in my morning inbox. I had pictured Karin and Linford in the attic of their Civil War-era house in the rural outskirts of Cincinnati, huddled beneath a swinging bare bulb, shooing away pigeons and confiding songs-in-progress into an old German-made reel-to-reel recorder . . . I am not suggesting that these songs as I first heard them sounded in any way anachronistic, but rather that they shimmered in some amber band of light that stood outside of time . . . hung like blue smoke in rafters. And Karin and Linford brought with them, in fact, the greatest gift one can bring to a collaborative outing — that being an abiding faith in and a continuing wonder at the mystery involved in the process.”

The May 2010 sessions at The Garfield House enlisted drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist David Piltch, pedal steel and all-things-stringed player Greg Leisz, keyboard sound-scapists Keefus Cianca and Patrick Warren and Joe’s son Levon on tenor sax, along with soul singers James Gilstrap, Niki Haris and Jean McClain. Lucinda Williams, of whom Detweiler and Bergquist are longtime fans, traded lines with Bergquist on the song “Undamned,” which evokes a campfire gathering under a canopy of stars in a John Ford Western.

Even more than their earlier records, The Long Surrender seamlessly interweaves the disparate strains that form the many-colored crazy quilt of American music. “We’re really only reflecting what we’ve already heard,” Detweiler explains, “a mix of all the music we grew up with and were drawn to . . . But when this music is reflected back to the listener through the filter of our own particular lives, it hopefully becomes a different experience for those with ears to hear.”

As Henry puts it, “We settled for luminance over order, a terse beauty and a smeared-lipstick brand of soul. . . I am not in the business of dispelling mysteries, only abiding them when invited. Mystery is life’s strange and glorious weather, so to speak. And this time, Over the Rhine brought it with them.”

Over the Rhine will preview The Long Surrender over a series of fall tour dates, the centerpiece of which is “Over the Rhine Across the West” <http://www.flyingunderradar.com/rails/FT10LS.htm>, a five-day music festival held November 5-10 aboard railroad cars from Los Angeles to Santa Fe, across the Mohave Desert, tracing the lines of Route 66, “the Mother Road,” and then by chartered motor-coach to the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Winslow, AZ and the Grand Canyon, before re-boarding for the return trip. Also featured are Lucy Wainwright Roche, Mickey Grimm and Swan Dive, as well as photographer Michael Wilson and naturalist Lynn Neal.

Other fall and winter shows:

Fri., Nov. 12  LOS ANGELES, CA Troubadour *
Sat., Nov. 13   SAN FRANCISCO, CA Great American Music Hall *
Mon, Nov. 15  EUGENE, OR W.O.W. Hall *
Wed., Nov. 17  PORTLAND, OR Aladdin Theater *
Fri.-Sun., Nov. 19, 20 & 21  SEATTLE, WA Triple Door *
Fri., Dec. 3  MARION, OH Palace Theatre   
Sat., Dec. 4  KENT, OH Kent Stage       
Sun., Dec. 5   ANN ARBOR, MI The Ark    
Tues., Dec. 7   COLUMBUS, OH Lincoln Theatre    
Fri., Dec. 10  LOUISVILLE, KY Bomhard Theater  
Sat., Dec. 11  CHICAGO, IL Old Town School of Folk Music (7 & 10 p.m.)
Fri., Dec. 17  CINCINNATI, OH The Long Surrender Premiere at the
Jarson-Kaplan Theatre  (in the Aronoff Center)  
Sat., Dec. 18    CINCINNATI, OH Taft Theatre (with special guest Joe Henry)
Sun., Dec. 19    NORWOOD, OH St. Elizabeth's  
(*shows with special guest Lucy Wainwright Roche)

Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan 'In Session'

On December 6, 1983, legendary blues guitarist Albert King joined his disciple Stevie Ray Vaughan on a Canadian sound stage for the live music television series In Session. Magic happened. The highly sought after video footage from that one-time legendary summit becomes available for the first time ever on November 9 with the release of Stax Records’ deluxe two-disc CD/DVD In Session.

The DVD contains three classic performances unavailable on the previously issued audio disc: “Born Under a Bad Sign,” the landmark title track from Albert King’s biggest Stax release written by William Bell and Booker T. Jones; Stevie Ray’s “Texas Flood,” the Larry Davis-penned title track of Vaughan’s immortal debut album; and “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town,” made famous by Louis Jordan and later, Ray Charles.

“It was evident from the first choruses,” writes liner notes author/musicologist Samuel Charters, “that they were playing for each other. And that was the best audience either of them could ever have. The music never lost its intensity, its quality of something very important being handed back and forth and there was time for Stevie and Albert to see where their ideas took them.”

Accolades have showered upon this momentous encounter. “As a document of what was probably one of the greatest nights in the musical life of SRV, this belongs in the collection of every true fan,” said the Austin American-Statesman. Sonic Boomers added, “Both men are gone now, but rare recordings like In Session remind us of a time when blues giants still walked the earth side by side.” Elmore magazine called it “an indispensible part of any blues fan’s collection.” And BluesWax noted, “thank goodness, this disc lives on and on.”

Now this one-of-a-kind visual document featuring two giants of American blues can be enjoyed by audiences all over the world. Sadly, King and Vaughan would not share a stage together ever again. Vaughan, 31 years King’s junior, died in a helicopter crash in the fog on the way back from a concert in 1990. King outlived him by two years, dying of a heart attack in 1992. They didn’t meet often, and their careers took different paths. But we can all be grateful for that one long day in a television studio when sparks flew and this timeless performance was forever captured.

THE BLACK BUTTERFLIES Tuesday, September 7th 9 PM at NUBLU

While this is just the debut release from The Black Butterflies, a group led by 27-year-old saxophonist Mercedes Figueras, veterans would do well to prick up their ears and take note. The Butterflies deftly blend the Latin rhythms of Figueras' native Argentina with free and post-bop noodling and tantalizing natural-world percussive elements, into full, invigorating music that sprouts, twines and flourishes over the 63-minute span of this entirely satisfying album.

The title track kicks off the record. It is a relaxed, comfortably humid piece that sways from a melodic opening into more forceful strains on the wind of Figueras' sax and swingingly persistent conga thumps. The piece never reaches--nor even strives for--the anthemic quality the title might suggest. Instead, the labor sweats happily, singingly under the sun. Appropriately, the tune--and, thus, the album--takes flight on the crystalline wings of Dan Tepfer's echoing, solo keyboard statement. It's appropriate not only for fashioning a sly musical equivalence to the band's moniker, but by spotlighting in Tepfer one of the group's, well, keys. Tepfer's polished electric tones lace the Latin rhythms and strings them up on a brightly modern line that still never smoothes the crisp, pulsing edges of the traditional beats. As mentioned, it's this facile navigation of divergent musical fields and the ability to rake loose from the passage a lively new hybrid that makes listening to The Black Butterflies so palpably intriguing. Ears laugh at their good fortune.

"Afro Blue," with its inevitable rekindling of saxophonist John Coltrane's spirit, also sparks the ghost of Albert Ayler, the twining sax statements of Figueras and her (even more?) experimental mate, Tony Larokko, rendering the Coltrane vehicle as a mighty, squealing, squawking, melodically impassioned conversation between the lost giants of the avant-garde. The saxophonists pause for a breather midway through, revealing front and center the rolling-thunder percussion the listener's body already knew was there. Tepfer contributes another light yet zinging solo over the drums before backing off to give conga man Bopa "King" Carre, percussionist Fred Berryhill and drummer Kenny Wollesen even more space to break loose and rumble.

The first of Figueras' two original pieces on the album, "Pipi's Blues," follows "Afro Blue" with the type of jumping cadence saxophonist Joe Henderson might have favored with the mid 1960s support of pianists McCoy Tyner or Andrew Hill. Only here Tepfer remains electric, adding the swirling bluesy punch of organist Jimmy Smith, while also not refusing to jut off on Larry Young-like angular departures.

Larokko contributes the next two numbers, "Spiritual Travels" and "Yah-Yah," the first a jolting, percussion-heavy piece full of strong repeated sax figures that again recall the journeys of Ayler. The latter, the album's most experimental piece, evolves from whistles and an array of percussion instruments that erupt into a cacophony of insect and animal noises--nature's nighttime rhythm section--that in turn give way to the African chants that supply the song's title and the singing of Figueras. Her voice is strong yet slightly coarse and splintered like the timbre of her sax, relating in insistent, desperate Spanish the tragic tale of "Los Ojos Azules," a Bolivian song popularized by the late Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa, while accompanied by an increasingly complex and urgent layering of rhythmic human voices and drums. The whole ultimately explodes into a screeching battle of horns--the saxophones' cries themselves sounding almost human at times--that burns out through extended, passionate playing, leaving only the snaps and twangs of nature and the soft, compelling "Yah-yah, Yah-yah" chants of dancers or workers.

Yet, lest it be thought the band has gone irrevocably, unrestrainably tribal, it closes on the infectious Figueras piece, "Music Heals All Wounds," a soulful "Auld Lang Syne" with Caribbean accents. (To belabor the Ayler connection--or to kill it, finally--this most certainly is not "Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe.") Figueras' tune delivers as advertised--a warming salve that demands multiple healing doses on the spot, then lingers, replaying itself for hours in the listener's brain to pleasant, calming effect.

Yes, this is the debut release from a new band whose young leader has issued only one other record under her name, Elefante (2007), a free-improv set from Figueras and drummer Martín Visconti. But make no mistake, 1 de Mayo also happens to be one of the best overall records of 2010.

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THE BLACK BUTTERFLIES

when: Tuesday September 7th
Time: 9 PM
Where: NUBLU (62 Av C New York, NY 10009)
http://www.nublu.net/

ERNESTO CERVINI QT Tonight At Cornelia Street Café

The Ernesto Cervini Quartet celebrates the release of their new album, “Little Black Bird.” The music from the album was written by Ernesto Cervini in response to day to day life split between Toronto and New York City, and the pieces were composed to compliment the incredible skill and sensitivity of the musicians in the band. Joining Ernesto on stage will be the incomparable Joel Frahm on saxophones, as well as long-time collaborators Dan Tepfer on piano and Dan Loomis on bass. Many of the pieces from "Little Black Bird" are written for people, or situations that have inspired Ernesto, including “Nonna Rosa”, written for his grandmother and the title track “Little Black Bird” which was inspired by the verbose birds of Mexico. The album is being released on Orange Grove Records and distributed by ANZIC Records. Drummer Ernesto Cervini plays with such conviction and fire that it's easy to give him your ears and time.

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Tue  May 25th 8:30PM | Ernesto Cervini Quartet

CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ
29 Cornelia Street, NYC, New York    212-989-9319
between West 4th and Bleecker Sts, Greenwich Village

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.