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Cameo-Parkway U.K.
    Of all the labels ever issued in the UK, Cameo-Parkway must be amongst the most appealing to UK soul label collectors. Although a lot of the earlier releases were very ordinary, if not a waste of vinyl, towards the end of it's life, the releases were excellent and are now sought after. However Cameo-Parkway, the UK label for the originally-based Philadelphia labels Cameo and Parkway, wasn't the first label to have these American labels produce. That started some years previously. To give you a proper insight into this label, you have to know a little of it's early roots, both in the States and over here.
  Cameo was the first of the two labels to appear in the States in 1957. It became essentially a teen-beat label, catering for the teen and pre-teen markets, although the first releases weren't in this bag. They were by artists like Charlie Gracie, Timmie 'Oh yeah' Rogers and Dave Appell and the Applejacks (not the UK group on Decca, CBS etc). Due to their success in the States, Cameo naturally looked for a company over here to release their records.
  Due to the first releases on Cameo being successful, they probably accepted the first company to approach them, which turned out to be EMI. The first two Charlie Gracie singles appeared on Parlaphone but they were the only ones that did. With his third release they changed company to Decca, and then for the next 12 UK singles, they all appeared on London. This was probably due to most American companies putting their faith in the London label, as at this stage, there were only really two majors regarding American products. All were Cameo recordings, because at this time Parkway was not yet into being.
  Parkway was formed in May, 1959. It was around this time that the Cameo / Parkway labels left the London label and moved back to EMI and on to Top Rank briefly. First release was Chubby Checker with 'The Class', a pre 'Twist' recording. This was even issued on a 78 as I saw to my amazement the other month. Also issued on Top Rank was Bobby Rydell's first big seller 'Kissing time', with his follow up coming soon after, along with a release by the Applejacks. These were the only four before moving labels, this time Columbia, although still EMI.

 
          CHARLIE GRACIE
  Here they had a handful of releases of interest to early soul fans and also more by Bobby Rydell. Also to appear were releases by artists that were unknown to UK record buyers, namely Dee Dee Sharp and the Orlons. Dee Dee Sharp had two releases, 'Mashed potato time' and her follow-up 'Gravy (for my mashed potatoes)'. The Orlons had just the one, 'Wah-watusi', a great record, even played in the film Quadrophenia, during the ball-room scene. However it was Chubby Checker that we can really thank for having ourselves the Cameo-Parkway label in this country.
  Chubby Checker was to change a lot of peoples' way of life regarding music. With his version of Hank Ballad's 'The Twist', he stormed the charts both in the States and, to a lesser degree, over here. Due to appearing on Dick Clark's Bandstand, his version was screened to millions of viewers and dancing became a way of life to people throughout the world. It was considered the 'in' thing to do the Twist and from pre-teens to middle-aged mums and dads, everybody was dancing. And to catch on of course, Cameo-Parkway kept releasing the dance-craze records. Next up was 'Let's twist again' which was again wildly popular. In fact all through his recording career with Parkway he recorded many dance-connected records, several of which became popular on our Rare Soul scene.
  The last Cameo-Parkway release on Columbia was by Chubby Checker and was 'Dancin' party', issued in July 1962, and we were about to witness the start of the Cameo-Parkway label in it's own right.
  The reason why the American company departed from EMI, I'm not certain, but it was a very quick transfer over to Pye International, Pye's main label for American products. Having been with Decca and EMI there really weren't many other labels to go to. Besides, Pye probably agreed to distribute their products on their own logo. Labels like the Argo / Chess / Checker group moved from London to Pye Int., before eventually getting their own label, Chess in '64. Hickory moved on to it's own label, distributed by Pye, having been on other labels previously. Colpix and Kimension had products on a Pye distributed label, and so did Red Bird. Along with Cameo-Parkway, these three labels were very teen-beat orientated, no doubt something Pye had in mind.



 
    MR TWIST - CHUBBY CHECKER
       
          BOBBY RYDELL
         
               LEN BARRY
      
           DEE DEE SHARP
 
          THE CLASSIC SLEEVE
  Probably due to a sudden transfer of companies, Chubby Checker's 'Dancin' party' also appeared on Pye Int. 25160. It was the only Cameo-Parkway record to appear on the Pye Int. label, just a stop-gap before they had their own label, Cameo-Parkway (UK).
  The UK was graced with the Cameo-Parkway label late on in 1962 / early '63. As they did with a lot of their US labels, Pye gave their UK release the same numbers as the US catalogue. This might have been a simple means for the company then, but nowadays when it comes to sorting out what came out, it can prove to be difficult. However, there were two basic numbering systems used here, the US Cameo releases had a C prefix, while the US Parkway releases had a P prefix. It got a little more complicated later on, more of that later. Basically, the series started with Bobby Rydell C 228, and the Dovells with P 845. There were 5 other releases with earlier numbers than these, but were likely to be re-issues or just back-catalogue records. Chubby Checker had a re-issue with 'Let's twist again' / 'The twist' on P 824, although of course, there's no US equivalent.
     
                 KENNY GAMBLE

         
                                THE TYMES
   A CLASSIC PHILLY GROUP ON A CLASSIC UK LABEL.
 
        A WELL PUT TOGETHER
   (BOOTLEG)  C.D. CONTAINING   
 TOO MANY GOOD TRACKS . . . . .
ORLONS - THE WAH WATUSI
TYMES - HERE SHE COMES
JOE GRAVES - DEBBIE
BOBBY PARIS - NIGHT OWL
EVIE SANDS - PICTURE ME GONE
BUNNY SIGLER - FOLLOW YOUR HEART
CHRISTINE COOPER - HEARTACHES AWAY MY BOY
CHUBBY CHECKER - YOU DON'T KNOW
VICKIE BAINS - COUNTRY GIRL
THE ORLONS - ENVY
EDDIE HOLMAN - EDDIE'S MY NAME
THE OLYMPICS - GOOD THINGS
JOHNNY MAESTRO - HEARTBURN
BUNNY SIGLER - LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL
CHUBBY CHECKER - AT THE DISCOTHEQUE
CANDY & THE KISSES - THE 81
JANIE GRANT - MY HEART YOUR HEART
D. D. SHARP - STANDING IN THE NEED OF LOVE
BUNNY SIGLER - GIRL DON'T MAKE ME WAIT
YVONNE BAKER - YOU DIDN'T SAY A WORD
CHUBBY CHECKER - CU MA LA BE-STAY
MIKE FINNIGAN - BREAD AND WATER
NIKKI BLU - I LOVE HIM SO
THE ORLONS - I AIN'T COMIN' BACK
CHRISTINE COOPER - S.O.S. HEART IN DISTRESS
CHUBBY CHECKER - EVERYTHING'S WRONG
D. D. SHARP - THERE AIN'T NOTHING I WOULDN'T DO
BEN ZINE - VILLAGE OF TEARS
CHUBBY CHECKER - LOOKING AT TOMORROW

 A GREAT CD CONTAINING SOME
         GREAT CLASSICS !!!
  Regarding the rarer soul releases, it wasn't until the end of '64 that we saw Candy and the Kisses with the great 'The 81'. Written by Gamble / Ross, it's very much borrowed from 'In my lonely room' by Martha and the Vandellas, but what's wrong with that? Very much in the Vandellas style, a rousing uptempo record that will long be collectable. Like many of the Cameo-Parkway records, it's either ordinary and fairly easy to pick up, or else, great and hard to find. However, nothing gives more pleasure when piling through piles of old records than finding that beautifully designed red and black label with the Cameo-Parkway heading on it's side in the black part, along with the cameo head. Not that much different from the US Cameo design from 1960 / 61 to the middle of '67. The main difference of course being the addition of the word Parkway.
  Around the same time as Candy and the Kisses, comes another great release. This time it's the Tymes with 'Here she comes'. Different from most of their early releases, this one is a dancer, whereas the others tended to be sweet sounding and in some cases, rather dull. Really, 'Here she comes' is simular to their early records only they have started to move with the times, as Motown by now was becoming big business and the dancers were becoming the norm. The Tymes also had an LP released here, pretty obscure as Cameo-Parkway released very few LPs here. Only one other of note was the Orlons with 'All their hits', basically some of their own hits along with those of the Crystals, Little Eva, Four Seasons etc.
  Just after this, Chubby Checker released one of the first of his more collectable singles, a B side called 'The weekend's here'. From here on, all his records were worth having. The next one, 'At the discotheque' followed on his dance- craze style, although little did he realise the effect it would have in the UK years later. It could be considered one of the first big sounds on the rare soul scene, as it was then. It was the sound that people really wanted, on UK or US, and was very difficult to find. This was in the days when people were pretty niave about records, before imports were common and so prices on records like this were quite high.
  His next release was equally good although not as collectable. It was 'Everything's wrong' / 'Cu ma la be-stay', the latter being a revamp of an old classic. However, the next single was destined to become a real gem. Always wanted, but not as much as 'Discotheque' in the early days, it was the B side of 'Two hearts make one love', and is 'You just don't know'. This was believed to have only ever been out in the UK. I've been told that it was actually recorded in London on one of his trips to this country, although, I don't know for sure. However, that might have been the reason why it's so rare on US Parkway, only one or two demos known to exist. His final record over here was 'Hey you little boogaloo', okay as far as it goes, but nothing worth shouting about.
          
                 BUNNY SIGLER
  There were only three other US Parkway releases over here, Eddie Holman's 'This can't be true' / 'A free country'. The A side is a beautiful slow song, while the flip is a rather dated dancer. Next was Len Barry with 'Hearts are trump'. Len was formally with the Dovells until splitting to go solo, recording just one other record before this one, which was a pleasant enough dancer. Of course, Len later went on to Decca (UK Brunswick) with several big hits.
  Lastly was an exteremly popular record with a medley of 'Let the good times roll' / 'Feels so good', by Bunny Sigler. This was amongst the last of the Cameo-Parkway releases over here, and as such I've never seen any demo copies of this one. Whether it was because they weren't getting many sales or because it was a rush release, I'm not sure but I've had several copies with the date of issue stamped on an ordinary issue copy.
  The above were all US Parkway releases and therefore carried the P prefix. The following were all Cameo recordings and so have the C prefix.
  After Candy and the Kisses, the next good release here was Dee Dee Sharp. Despite having had so many ordinary releases previous to this, here she showed the class she has. Normally sought after for the B side, a brilliant dancer 'Standing in the need of love', it's the A side that I now play most, 'I really love you'. This is an emotional ballad, full of strings and emotion. Excellent record and the best double sider for me on the label.
  Although often asked for by collectors, her follow-up in the States, 'It's a funny situation' / 'There ain't nothing I wouldn't do for you' this very unfortunately, didn't appear over here, because the flip is a great dancer. While on the subject of great dancers that didn't come out over here, The Orlons 'Envy' is one should mention. Played for a short while at Yate by Tony Ellis, it's a typical Cameo release, slightly faster than mid-tempo girly sound. Again it's brilliant.
  The last truly great Cameo side released here was by the great Evie Sands. Although white, she's a true soul artist in so far as she puts everything into her songs. Previously she recorded the now standard 'Take me for a little while', and even had it issued here on Red Bird, a rare record on a great label. Well, on Cameo-Parkway she had the great 'Picture me gone'. There are several other versions of the song, but this is by far the best, and one of the more rarer singles to find over here.
  Well that sums up the output of the USA labels of Cameo and Parkway. However, because these labels were so succesful in Philadelphia and nationally, they distributed a lot of local labels. This of course meant that in some cases they had the right to distribute them outside of America. Because of this UK collectors had some more really interesting items to choose from under the Cameo-Parkway logo. For some odd reason though when they came to release them here they gave some releases the same number, just making the prefix different. Anyway a number of releases came out with a C prefix.


   
  Ironically, Cameo were being shown the art of selling soul by some of the labels on which they'd picked up distribution rights. The New York-based Calla hit big with J.J. Jackson . One Cameo distributed label that didn't make it was Winchester Records. Billy Jackson recalls, "John Madara, Dave White and Leon Huff got together with the Tymes and formed a record company. The group did one thing 'These foolish things' - Leon played piano on that - but Winchester never got off the ground".
  The first two to appear over here had originally appeared in the States on the Calla label, perhaps this prompted the C prefix. The first release was Little Jerry Williams, a well known name to soul fans, also now known as Swamp Dogg. The record was a self penned song called 'Baby you're my everything', a deeply moving ballad full of emotion and class. Next up was the great 'I'll do anything' by Doris Troy. Really this needs little mention as I doubt if many people rading this article won't already know it. It was even re-issued a further three times since first appearing, such as it's popularity. Truly one of the great oldies of out scene, if not a little overplayed at times.
  The remaining one of interest is by The Soul City called 'Everybody dance now', a frantic dancer, although there was also a version by Little Caesar & the Romans on US Parkway, which leads you to wonder why they would release another labels output against their own.
  Two other interesting singles came out with the P prefix, with the numbers out of sequence with the rest. The first one is the brilliant Jerry Jackson with 'It's rough out there'. I'm not sure why this should have the number it has, as it came out on Parkway in the States, so perhaps there was a local label before it. Anyway it's one I consider to be the rarest of all the Cameo-Parkway and amongst the best. The best way to describe it would be as a beat-ballad, a term often used for these kind of records in music papers in the mid-sixties. With the popularity of records like Ray Pollard, Gene McDaniels and Jimmy Beaumont, this one should be even more sought after. Words just ain't enough to describe this gem. Real class.
  The other one of note is the great 'The sweetest thing this side of heaven' by Chris Bartley. Released in the States on Vando, this record is simular in style to early Delphonics slowies (or later day Stylistics at their best) with sweet soul as it should be. Written and produced by Van McCoy, this is a slow but moving sound, and one you don't come across too often nowadays. Also like the Bunny Sigler record I've only ever had date stamped issues, and no-one I know has ever had a demo copy.
  Well that just about sums up the great Cameo-Parkway label over here. There were other interesting releases, although not strictly soul, that came out and these are always worth picking up. One oddity that I've not got a number for is Don & Deway with 'Soul motion'. It's a real weirdo record which was very odd for a Cameo-Parkway release and it's commercial chances would have been nil. Also why it was released over here I don't know because it's a Rush recording, even being re-issued on Sue some three years later. I used to have a knackered copy a few years ago, but I got rid of it, so if anyone knows the number please could you pass it on.
  Besides the more obvious sides by Dee Dee Sharp, Orlons, Don Covay, etc other oddities are The ? and the Mysterians, which is 60s punk, Terry Knight & Pack, which I think is good, Hermione Gingold with 'Does your chewing gum lose it's flavour (on the bedpost overnight)?' for those with a sense of humour, The Swans with a Beatles tribute, The Tip Tops, a nice girly offering, Billy Abbott and loads more besides.
  Don't forget when looking through those piles of singles in your local junk shop, that red and black label could be an Evie Sands instead of the more likely Bobby Rydell.
  AN ARTICLE BY PETER CHESTER.
MORE INTERESTING CAMEO-PARKWAY SINGLES.
C 100
LITTLE JERRY WILLIAMS
BABY YOU'RE MY EVERYTHING
JUST WHAT YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT
C 101
DORIS TROY
I'LL DO ANYTHING
BUT I LOVE HIM
C 103
SOUL CITY
EVERYBODY DANCE NOW
KNOW KNOWS
C 336
CANDY & THE KISSES
THE 81
TWO HAPPY PEOPLE
C 375
DEE DEE SHARP
I REALLY LOVE YOU
STANDING IN THE NEED OF LOVE
C 413
EVIE SANDS
PICTURE ME GONE
IT MAKES ME LAUGH
P 100
JERRY JACKSON
IT'S ROUGH OUT THERE
I'M GONNA PAINT A PICTURE
P 101
CHRIS BARTLEY
THE SWEETEST THING THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN
LOVE ME BABY
P 153
BUNNY SIGLER
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL . . . . FEELS SO GOOD
THERE'S NO LOVE LEFT
P 924
TYMES
HERE SHE COMES
MALIBU
P 936
CHUBBY CHECKER
LOVELY LOVELY
THE WEEKENDS HERE
P 949
CHUBBY CHECKER
(AT THE) DISCOTHEQUE
LET'S DO THE FREDDY
P 959
CHUBBY CHECKER
EVERYTHINGS WRONG
CUM LA BE STAY
P 960
EDDIE HOLMAN
THIS CAN'T BE TRUE
A FREE COUNTRY
P 965
CHUBBY CHECKER
TWO HEARTS MAKE ONE
YOU JUST DON'T KNOW
P 969
LEN BARRY
HEARTS ARE TRUMPS
LITTLE WHITE HOUSE
P 989
CHUBBY CHECKER
HEY YOU LITTLE BOOGALOO
PUSSY CAT
DON & DEWAY
SOUL MOTION
STRETCHIN' OUT