Oct 29, 2016

RhoDeo 1643 Grooves


Today's artists are an American soul-influenced funk group that formed in the early 1970s. They were initially a 14-member group known as the New York City Players; this name was later changed as it was too confusing to the average American fan as Ohio is so close to New York City (apparently-no it isn't, but then idiots are us-infact it was their label that told them to change their name) anyway a lawsuit from Ohio Players forced them to play under a different name, god knows who came up with the silly one they came up with (Larry Blackmon). I guess this name change cost them serious money in global appeal, as for those Ohio players most didn't make it into this century.. ..... N'joy

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An outlandish, in-your-face stage presence, a strange sense of humor, and a hard-driving funk sound that criss-crossed a few musical boundaries earned Cameo countless comparisons to Parliament/Funkadelic in their early days. However, Cameo eventually wore off accusations of being derivative by transcending their influences and outlasting almost every single one of them. Throughout the '70s and '80s, the group remained up with the times and occasionally crept ahead of them, such that they became influences themselves upon younger generations of R&B and hip-hop acts. By the time the group's popularity started to fizzle in the late '80s, a series of R&B chart hits -- ranging from greasy funk workouts to synthesized funk swingers to dripping ballads -- was left in their wake. Further separating Cameo from their forebears, they didn't have a diaper-clad guitarist. Instead, they had a codpiece-wearing lead vocalist.

Cardiac Arrest That vocalist was Larry Blackmon. In 1974, the ex-Juilliard student and New York City club-goer instigated a funk band with a membership of 13 called the New York City Players. Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins, and Nathan Leftenant formed the group's nucleus. The Casablanca label signed the group to their Chocolate City offshoot, and shortly after that, the group changed its name to Cameo. Their excellent debut album, 1977's Cardiac Arrest, was highlighted by four singles. Three of those hit the Billboard R&B chart: "Rigor Mortis" (number 33), "Funk Funk" (number 20), and "Post Mortem" (number 70). Although the group was clearly inspired by elder funk groups like Parliament, Funkadelic, and the Ohio Players, Cardiac Arrest made Cameo's case for belonging in the same division an open-and-shut one.

In an attempt to keep the ball rolling, 1978 saw the release of Cameo's second and third albums. Neither We All Know Who We Are nor Ugly Ego were as solid as the debut, but the group's singular characteristics were becoming increasingly evident. The winding, horn-punctuated "It's Serious" (from We All Know Who We Are) narrowly missed the Top 20 of the R&B chart, while "Insane" (from Ugly Ego) dipped just inside it, peaking at number 17. The best halves of these two albums would've made a fine sophomore LP.

1979's Secret Omen, featuring a disco-fied re-visiting of Cardiac Arrest's "Find My Way" and the magnificently funky and slightly loony "I Just Want to Be" (a number-three R&B chart hit), was stacked with fine album cuts and brought Cameo back as a group that excelled in the LP format. "Sparkle" was one of their best ballads, a sinewy number that hit the Top Ten. Five albums released between 1980 and 1983 (Cameosis, Feel Me, Knights of the Sound Table, Alligator Woman, Style) brought about a slight dip in quality on the album front. Despite an abundance of filler on each record, none of those albums were strict disappointments, delivering hot Top 20 R&B singles like "Shake Your Pants," "We're Goin' Out Tonight," "Keep It Hot," "Freaky Dancin'" "Just Be Yourself," "Flirt," and "Style."

She's Strange One of the most significant ripples in Cameo's time line came during that period, in 1982, when they packed up and set up shop in Atlanta. Pared down to a quintet and located in a less hectic city, the group became bigger fish in a smaller pond. Blackmon even started his own label, Atlanta Artist. The label's first LP, Style, also marked a significant shift in sound, with synthesizers taking on a pronounced role. Paydirt was struck with 1984's She's Strange; the title cut, a late-night slithery smolder, topped the R&B chart and eclipsed the Top 50 of the pop chart, kicking off a remarkable three-album run that made Cameo one of the most popular groups of the '80s. Single Life and Word Up!, released respectively in 1985 and 1986, continued the hot streak. The singles from those two albums -- "Attack Me With Your Love," "Single Life," "Word Up," "Candy," and "Back and Forth" -- held down the Top Five plateau of the R&B chart. "Word Up" even went to number six on the pop chart, giving them their biggest bite of the mainstream. The song was everywhere.

What goes up must come down, and that's exactly what happened to Cameo. Despite the fact that two more singles -- "Skin I'm In" and "I Want It Now" -- scaled up to number five on the R&B chart, neither Machismo nor Real Men Wear Black performed well as albums. After 1991's Emotional Violence, the group's profile was lowered significantly, but they did tour sporadically to the delight of hardcore fans as well as plenty of misguided people who thought Cameo was all about "Word Up" and nothing more. Notably, Blackmon spent a few years of the '90s at Warner Bros., as the vice president of A&R.

Cameo's presence continued to be felt throughout the early 2000s, not only through extensive sample use and less tangible influences upon younger artists and producers. Several retrospectives have kept the group's music alive: Casablanca's 1993 compilation The Best of Cameo is an excellent point of entry. Mercury's 12" Collection & More, released in 1999, covers the group's best dancefloor moments. 2002's spectacular Anthology, a double-disc set also released by Mercury, covers a lot of ground and does the group justice as a total package.

Tomi Jenkins, who released his self-produced album The Way in 2005, is writing and recording his follow-up EP. He is also the music supervisor/producer on the film Icemosis, the story of a 1970s fictional funk band. The film is in music production and they hope to have the film released in 2013. He is also the author of a murder mystery entitled "Crime, Love and Honor" which he is autographing and selling at concerts.
Aaron Mills continues to tour with Cameo as well as other artists. He has worked with Andre 3000 and Big Boi to record a bassline for "Ms. Jackson".

Ex-Cameo vocalist John Kellogg became an entertainment lawyer representing such hit artists as the O'Jays, the late Gerald Levert and LSG. He also pursued a career in music industry higher education, becoming Assistant Chair of the Music Business/Management department at one of the world's leading institutions of contemporary music, Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Larry Blackmon & Tomi Jenkins recorded the next Cameo album with a tentative release scheduled for late fall 2012 or early 2013. Still no news about that one.

Gregory B. Johnson has released 2 album's on his own label, Allspice Record Co. "A New Hip" (smooth Jazz) in 2007. "Funk Funk (Just For A Little Time)" in 2012 (urban funk). In 2015, Cameo announced a new residency show at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, opening March 2016.

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R&B was experiencing a year of transition in 1983. Soul music was evolving into urban contemporary, R&B producers were becoming increasingly high tech, and horn funk was losing ground to synth-funk and electro-funk. Also, the hip-hop factor could not be overlooked -- some old-timers insisted that hip-hop was a passing fad, but younger R&B producers realized that rap was becoming the music of choice for many young African Americans and paid close attention to hip-hop production techniques. Inevitably, all of these things affected Cameo. Released in 1983, Style is more high-tech than 1979's Secret Omen or 1980's Cameosis but not as high-tech as 1985's Single Life or 1986's Word Up! It is also an LP that finds singer/producer Larry Blackmon leading a downsized Cameo -- while the band had ten members at the start of the 1980s, it only has four on Style: Tomi Jenkins, Charles Singleton, Nathan Leftenant, and Blackmon himself. (And by Single Life in 1985, Cameo would only be a trio.) Having cut way back on the horns on Style, Blackmon makes sure that keyboards and synthesizers play a major role on snappy funk items like "Cameo's Dance," "Aphrodisiac," "Slow Movin'," and the hit title song. On Cameo's late-'70s albums, keyboards took a back seat to horns -- on Style, it's just the opposite. Even on a remake of the standard "Can't Help Falling in Love" (a ballad that had been recorded by everyone from Elvis Presley to Doris Day), Cameo is more technology-minded. Style isn't among Cameo's essential albums, but it's an enjoyable effort that will appeal to the fans.

Cameo - Style    (flac  209mb)

01 Aphrodisiac 4:47
02 This Life Is Not For Me 3:33
03 You're A Winner 3:32
04 Can't Help Falling In Love 3:03
05 Interlude (Serenity) 1:31
06 Style 5:13
07 Cameo's Dance 3:23
08 Let's Not Talk Slot 3:34
09 Slow Movin' 3:26
10 Heaven Only Knows 3:42

Cameo - Style  (ogg   73mb)

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By 1984, African-American popular music had become extremely high tech. The horn-powered funk bands that were huge in the 1970s were out of style, and young audiences were demanding hip-hop, electro-funk, and urban contemporary -- not horn bands that sounded like the Ohio Players or Tower of Power circa 1975. Horn bands were still in vogue only in the home of the go-go explosion: Washington, DC. But these changes in the marketplace didn't hurt Cameo; both commercially and creatively, 1984's She's Strange was a winner. Thankfully, Cameo leader Larry Blackmon isn't afraid to try different things on this excellent album. The mysterious title song (a major hit) and the sociopolitical "Talking Out the Side of Your Neck" find Cameo responding to hip-hop's popularity by including a lot of rapping, while "Lé Ve Toi!" is very rock-minded -- it's still funk, but funk laced with lots of rock. "Tribute to Bob Marley" is a reggae gem that salutes the Jamaican legend, and "Hangin' Downtown" is a smooth, jazzy number with a definite quiet storm appeal. When She's Strange soared up Billboard's R&B albums chart, one had to admire Cameo's durability. Other bands that had emerged in the 1970s were hurting, but with She's Strange, Cameo had no problem maintaining both its freshness and its popularity.

Cameo - She's Strange   (flac  199mb)

01 She's Strange 7:12
02 Love You Anyway 4:48
03 Talking Out The Side Of Your Neck 4:05
04 Tribute To Bob Marley 5:01
05 Groove With You 4:24
06 Hangin' Downtown 5:07
07 Lève Toi ! 4:04

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Many of the funk bands that were big in the 1970s had a hard time surviving in the 1980s, especially if they were horn bands. Having a killer horn section was something that a lot of 1970s funk outfits prided themselves on, and it was no fun when, in the 1980s, they were told that their horns sound dated and that urban contemporary audiences only wanted to hear synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines. But Cameo, unlike many funk bands that emerged in the late '70s, really thrived in the 1980s. Lead singer/producer Larry Blackmon insisted on changing with the times, and he did so by making Cameo more high-tech and seeing to it that albums like 1985's Single Life and 1986's Word Up! were relevant to the urban contemporary and hip-hop scenes. Nonetheless, Cameo still sounded like Cameo; Word Up!, in fact, is one of its best albums. The wildly infectious title song was a major hit, and Cameo is equally captivating on other funk treasures that include "Fast, Fierce and Funny," "Back and Forth," and "Candy." To the young urban contemporary and hip-hop fans who bought Word Up! in 1986, Cameo's funk was fresh and cutting edge; and at the same time, slightly older fans that Cameo had won over in the late '70s were still buying its records. Both commercially and creatively, Word Up! was a major triumph for Cameo.

Cameo - Word Up !   (flac 208mb)

01 Word Up 4:21
02 Candy 5:40
03 Back And Forth 6:34
04 Don't Be Lonely 5:20
05 She's Mine 4:38
06 Fast, Fierce & Funny 4:09
07 You Can Have The World 4:39

Cameo - Word Up ! (ogg  83mb)

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Nasty, Cameo's first live recording, showcases Larry Blackmon's musical creativity and futuristic-sounding love songs. Everything is on time -- the horns, the sometimes hokey vocals -- and that cool New York-flavored lead bass struts on every cut. Guitarist Charlie Singleton's slicker-than-butter falsetto shines on the crowd favorite "Why Have I Lost You." Tomi Jenkins' tenor is steady on the moving and romantic "Sparkle." "Skin I'm In," with its staccato vocals and socially significant lyrics, makes you think. Delight at Larry Blackmon's Sugar Foot Bonner-sounding vocal on the heavily sampled "Candy." Two studio cuts augment the live songs: "Come Fly With Me" and "Nasty." Nasty's caboose is a 6:27 mega-mix of the live sides.

Cameo - Nasty   (flac 443mb)

01 Intro 1:03
02 Flirt 1:37
03 She's Strange 2:38
04 Back & Forth 5:54
05 Skin I'm In 5:10
06 Why Have I Lost You 6:11
07 Sparkle 4:23
08 Candy 4:45
09 Shake Your Pants (Intro) 0:42
10 Shake Your Pants 4:00
11 I Just Want To Be 1:39
12 Keep It Hot 5:13
13 Word Up 6:44
14 Come Fly With Me 3:57
15 Nasty 3:45
16 Mega-Mix 6:27

Cameo - Nasty (ogg 163mb)

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