Various Artists

Remember Me Baby: Cameo Parkway Vocal Groups, Vol. 1

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This is the kind of collection that's destined to cause apoplexy among the breed of hardcore doo wop collectors who sleep in recliners because their beds, like every other surface in their homes, are just another "annex" to their record-shelving systems. If that sounds like you, you probably had Remember Me Baby on pre-order as soon as your doo wop newsgroup hipped you to its impending release. But even if you're a less obsessive lover of ‘50s and ‘60s R&B vocal groups, this compilation will still seem like manna from above. It represents a carefully chosen cross section of hits and obscurities from Philadelphia's Cameo Parkway label, recorded between 1958 and 1965. While New York City is frequently hailed as the quintessential doo wop hot spot, Remember Me Baby stands to prove that there was just as much happening in and around the City of Brotherly Love. There are a couple of N.Y.C.-based groups featured here (the Roommates and the Rays), but for the most part, the artists heard here started out in and around Philly. While tracks like the Turbans' "When You Dance" were major R&B hits and ubiquitous jukebox fodder at the time, some of the more sumptuous moments on this collection come from rarities and unreleased cuts. It's hard to believe, for instance, that the Dovells' "Short on Bread," a play on folk song "Shortnin' Bread" that stands out with its hard-edged R&B feel and honking sax, sat in the archives for 47 years. Fans of soul heroes Garnet Mimms and Howard Tate will be thrilled to hear those powerful performers in their early days, as part of the Gainors on "You Must Be An Angel." Even some of the groups about whom almost nothing is known are among the standouts, like the shockingly soulful Anglos, whose lineup for "Raining Teardrops" is alleged to have included General Johnson of Chairmen of the Board fame. In the end, though, the most tantalizing thing about this package may be its Vol. 1 suffix, which leads to endless speculation about the treats that might be in store on the follow-up.

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