Celebrating the Legendary Cameo Parkway Label with New Compilations

Celebrating the Legendary Cameo Parkway Label with New Compilations

ABKCO celebrates the legendary Cameo Parkway label with new curated sets to be released June 19th on all digital platforms:

Dancin’ Party: The Chubby Checker Collection 1960 – 1966

You Can’t Sit Down: Cameo Parkway Dance Crazes 1958 – 1964

You Got The Power: Cameo Parkway Northern Soul 1964 – 1967

ABKCO Records has announced a new three-part series curated from the Cameo Parkway archives with the June 19th release of three dance-oriented compilations that underscore the legacy of Philadelphia’s legendary label.  The announcement comes on the anniversary of Chubby Checker’s “Let’s Twist Again” having been awarded the 1961 GRAMMY® for Best Rock & Roll Recording. Dancin’ Party: The Chubby Checker Collection 1960 – 1966 is a definitive set of tunes from his career defining period. The second set, titled You Can’t Sit Down: Cameo Parkway Dance Crazes 1958 – 1964 is a collection of the label’s most notable dance releases of the period. The third set, You Got The Power: Cameo Parkway Northern Soul 1964 – 1967, consists of tracks famously embraced by the UK’s iconic Northern Soul movement.

Philadelphia-based Cameo Records was founded in late 1956 by Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann, budding songwriters who would later find success with Elvis Presley’s recording of their composition “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear.” Another Lowe & Mann composition would soon become Cameo’s first hit when “Butterfly,” a rockabilly-tinged smash for South Philadelphia native Charlie Gracie hit #1 on the pop charts. In 1958 the Parkway label was added and by 1959 both labels began to emerge as industry powerhouses with hits from Bobby Rydell and Chubby Checker, whose version of “The Twist” catalyzed a social upheaval, not to mention massive record sales.

Concurrent with the success of “The Twist,” Cameo Parkway became one of the industry’s most successful independent companies, on par with Motown’s rise later that decade. By late 1961, Cameo Parkway Records performance was so consistently strong that ownership took the company public; it became the first independent record label to offer shares on the American Stock Exchange. In all, during its roughly 11-year existence, the company placed more than one hundred singles and several dozen albums onto the Billboard charts.

Though somewhat removed from the pop industry centers of New York and Hollywood, Cameo Parkway’s locale proved to a be a boon to exposure insofar as Philadelphia was the home of American Bandstand. The hugely popular weekday afternoon teen dance program, initially hosted by local DJ Bob Horn and ultimately by Dick Clark, proved to be a powerful launching pad for many artists affiliated with Cameo and Parkway. With Clark at the helm from 1956 onward, the show went national and Bandstand, Dick Clark and numerous Cameo Parkway artists became household names throughout the country. Charlie Gracie recalls, “Going on Bandstand was like hitting a home run with the bases loaded.” Notes legendary Philadelphia DJ Jerry “The Geator” Blavat, “The importance of Cameo Parkway was the importance of Bandstand. It was the label that created all the dances. You look at Cameo Parkway’s success and look at Bandstand and there it is.”

Chubby Checker, proved to be the single most successful component of the Cameo Parkway artist roster. Beyond “The Twist” and “Let’s Twist Again,” he scored numerous successes, most of which were keyed to dance moves and good times. He recorded numerous dance floor fillers and secured impressive chart successes. Twenty-one of Checker’s recordings are featured in the forthcoming Dancin’ Party: The Chubby Checker Collection: 1960 – 1966.  This definitive collection highlights seventeen Top 40 hits of which twelve entered the Top 20; seven charted in the Top 10 with two ultimately reaching the #1 spot.

Listen to “Hey You! Little Boo-Ga-Loo” by Chubby Checker

You Can’t Sit Down: Cameo Parkway Dance Crazes 1958 -1964, features recordings with a corresponding dance to go along with each catchy tune. Artists  like Bobby Rydell, The Orlons, The Dovells, Dee Dee Sharp, The Applejacks along with Chubby Checker are featured in this collection. Seven Top 10 hits including The Orlons’, “The Wah-Watusi,” Dee Dee Sharp’s “Mashed Potato Time,” two iconic numbers by The Dovells: “Bristol Stomp” and “You Can’t Sit Down,” plus “Slow Twistin’” by Chubby Checker and Dee Dee Sharp, Bobby Rydell’s “The Cha-Cha-Cha” and sixteen more hits dedicated to get even the wallflowers moving.

Listen to “You Can’t Sit Down” by The Dovells

You Got The Power: Cameo Parkway Northern Soul 1964 -1967, showcases the numerous Cameo Parkway singles that would go on to become part of the soundtrack of Britain’s Northern Soul lifestyle phenomenon. Northern Soul’s emphasis was on obscure yet danceable records, a number of which became the focus of a cult-like worship years after they were first issued, partially due to the rarity of the 45s on vinyl. Recordings by Frankie Beverly & The Butlers, Bunny Sigler, The Orlons, Evie Sands, Candy and the Kisses, Christine Cooper and Eddie Holman are highlights of the 20-track collection.

Listen to “Who Do You Think You Are” by The Soul City

ABKCO’s June 19 Cameo Parkway Releases:

You Can’t Sit Down: Cameo Parkway Dance Crazes 1958-1964

  1. The Twist – Chubby Checker
  2. The Wah-Watusi – The Orlons
  3. Bristol Stomp – The Dovells
  4. Mashed Potato Time – Dee Dee Sharp
  5. You Can’t Sit Down – The Dovells
  6. The Third House (In From The Right) – Bobby Rydell
  7. Do The Bird – Dee Dee Sharp
  8. Slow Twistin’ – Chubby Checker w/Dee Dee Sharp
  9. Shimmy Shimmy – The Orlons
  10. The 81 – Candy And The Kisses
  11. (Everybody Do) The Swim, Pt 1- The Marlins
  12. The Popeye Waddle – Don Covay
  13. Do The New Continental – The Dovells
  14. Baby, Do The Froog – Dardenelles
  15. Rocka-Conga – The Applejacks
  16. The Hucklebuck- Chubby Checker
  17. The Mash – Tom Young & The Hippies
  18. Mexican Hat Rock – The Applejacks
  19. The Cha-Cha-Cha – Bobby Rydell
  20. When You Dance – The Turbans
  21. Everybody South Street – The Taffys
  22. Twistin’ U.S.A. – Chubby Checker

Listen to You Can’t Sit Down: Cameo Parkway Dance Crazes 1958- 1964: www.abkco.lnk.to/dancecrazes

You Got The Power: Cameo Parkway Northern Soul 1964-1967 

  1. You Got The Power – The Four Exceptions
  2. Because Of My Heart – Frankie Beverly & The Butlers
  3. (Whoa, Whoa) I Love Him So – Nikki Blu
  4. Girl Don’t Make Me Wait – Bunny Sigler
  5. It’s Rough Out There – Jerry Jackson
  6. Envy (In My Eyes) – The Orlons
  7. Picture Me Gone – Evie Sands
  8. Country Girl – Vickie Baines
  9. Night Owl – Bobby Paris
  10. Village Of Tears – Ben Zine
  11. You Just Don’t Know (What You Do To Me) – Chubby Checker
  12. The 81 – Candy And The Kisses
  13. Shake And Shingaling (Pt. 1) – Gene Waiters
  14. S.O.S. (Heart In Distress)  – Christine Cooper
  15. Eddie’s My Name – Eddie Holman
  16. Pass Me By – Hattie Winston
  17. The Grass (Will Sing For You) – Lonnie Youngblood
  18. (Your Love Was Just A) False Alarm – Tari Stevens
  19. Who Do You Think You Are – The Soul City
  20. You Didn’t Say A Word – Yvonne Baker

Listen to “Who Do You Think You Are” by The Soul City:  abkco.lnk.to/yougotthepower

Dancin’ Party – The Chubby Checker Collection: 1960 1966

  1. The Twist
  2. The Hucklebuck
  3. Pony Time
  4. Dance The Mess Around
  5. Let’s Twist Again
  6. The Fly
  7. Dancin’ Party
  8. Slow Twistin’
  9. Popeye The Hitchhiker
  10. Limbo Rock
  11. Let’s Limbo Some More
  12. Twist It Up (single version)
  13. Birdland (single version)
  14. What Do Ya Say!
  15. Loddy Lo
  16. Hooka Tooka
  17. Hey, Bobba Needle
  18. Lazy Elsie Molly
  19. (At The) Discotheque
  20. You Just Don’t Know (What You Do To Me)
  21. Hey You! Little Boo-Ga-Loo

Listen to “Hey You! Little Boo-Ga-Loo” by Chubby Checker: abkco.lnk.to/dancinparty