Cameo

Alligator Woman

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Dropping the Parliament-esque, Mothership-era theatrics, and the multitude of bandmembers that comprised 1981's Knights of the Sound Table tour, Cameo's Larry Blackmon scaled the band back to a less financially prohibitive number and returned to the studio to record what would be the band's last effort for longtime label Chocolate City. The mighty Alligator Woman, released in spring 1982, marked the quintet's final foray into the annals of the deep funk that had signposted much of their material so far. A continuation, but extension of the otherworldly synthesis which blended old-school sounds with new technology, the LP emerged a peerless hybrid, giving Cameo another Top Ten hit for their collection. Both "Be Yourself" and "Soul Army" are deep slabs of funk, heavily steeped in the band's own past, with the former driven by harmonized vocals and groovy guitar, and the latter dominated by Blackmon's distinctive vocals. Elsewhere, the lively "Flirt," a Top Ten hit, is a sassy exercise in tricky pop, while the title track proves a heady mix of all of the above. Included, too, are the less interesting ballads "Secrets of Time" and "For You" but, despite such occasional stumbles, Alligator Woman was a remarkably cohesive and energetic outing for the new-look band. It also proved a perfect bridge for the gap between the antics of Knights and Cameo's forthcoming exploits, later in the decade.

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