So, even though I know that Gordon Anderson and Gabby Castellana are just a day or two away from e-mailing everyone who signed up for the newsletter at Real Gone Music (and, if you haven't, you should), I can't help but announce here and now that my Christmas prayers have been answered.
"Cameo * Parkway Holiday Hits" is finally coming to CD on November 15th!
For those of you just joining our story, Cameo-Parkway was one of the biggest and most influential independent labels of the 50s and 60s. The Philadelphia label boasted a roster of hit makers like Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Dee Dee Sharp, and The Tymes. They released some of Bob Seger's earliest records. And they'll forever be known for the parody of "Wild Thing" featuring impressions of gravly voiced Senator Everett Dirkson and the Massachusetts twang of "Senator Bobby".
But the British invasion decimated sales and, by the end of 1967, the label was finished--its catalog acquired by Abkco. Life went on, as it always does. But by the mid 90s, people began to notice that most of the great great songs from the Cameo and Parkway labels--including some very big hits--were completely unavailable on CD. Even the original version of "The Twist", Chubby Checker's immortal smash that hit #1 in both 1960 and in 1962, had not been issued on compact disc. If you bought a compilation boasting "The Twist" at the time, you soon realized it was a re-recording.
So we ordered last year and we waited. And a hard copy CD of "Cameo-Parkway Holiday Hits" never came. I can't even express how disappointed I was. Disappointed? Heck, I was pissed. Yeah, I'm that kid. And then the sale of Collectors Choice was announced. And that, it seemed, was that.
So today, I'm doing my usual google thing and I was specifically looking for the deets on "Ukulele Christmas", which is a Razor & Tie release, to see if this was just a re-release of last year's "An Ukulele Christmas" or something (never did learn anything about it). But, on Razor & Tie's front page is the news that Real Gone Music has signed a distribution deal with Razor & Tie. And the first round of Real Gone releases are listed prominently.
Jingle Bell Rock......Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town......Rudolph Statler Orchestra
Winter Wonderland......Rudolph Statler Orchestra
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow......Rudolph Statler Orchestra
Joy to the World......International Pop Orchestra
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing......International Pop Orchestra
The First Noel......International Pop Orchestra
Deck the Halls......International Pop Orchestra
New Years Eve......Cameos
Auld Lang Syne......Beethoven Ben
White Christmas (3 OClock Weather Report)......Bobby the Poet
Ill Stay Home New Years Eve......Jaynells
Twelve Days of Christmas......Mexicani Marimba Band
Donde Este Santa Claus (Where Is Santa Claus)?......Toni Stante
Auld Lang Syne......Lonesome Travelers
Sock It to Me Santa......Bob Seger & the Last Heard
Jingle Bells Imitations......Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker
NOW, it feels like Christmas!
You may note that the 2010 release was to contain 19 tracks while only 18 are listed here. Near as I can tell from reading discarded register receipts and what not, the forthcoming release will not include the third holiday track from the 1960 Bobby Rydell and Chubby Checker Cameo album pictured above, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve". Could be any number of reasons. Maybe they're saving it for something or maybe there was a problem obtaining the rights. And maybe I'm wrong altogether. But just in case, here from the original vinyl LP (for which I paid $3 many, many years ago) is "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" from Bobby Rydell and Chubby Checker. Just a bit of kitsch from a bygone time, but when was the last time you heard this (if ever)?