On My Record Player Part 2

C A M E O – WORD UP! (1986)

My parents bought the cassette tape to Cameo’s Word Up! probably right after it came out and I was so lucky to keep it in the family without it ever getting lost or likely stolen considering how freakin unbelievably awesome this music is. So I was driving a 95 Saturn the early to mid part of this decade that had a sweet cassette deck and I rocked out to this many times. Most memorably, on May 4th, 2005 after midnight driving from Philadelphia back to Northern Virginia afer my first Mars Volta concert, when Francis the Mute had just come out and Mars Volta were playing these songs live for the first time. An epic 3 hour concert with no opening acts. Anyways, me and Mikey Everson were coming home and he discovered I had this treasure and we listened to the entire tape probably several times and really experienced the pure joy and genius of Cameo music. Needless to say this stuck with Mikey, and while he was in Colorado during the summer of 2009, he came into a record store and stumbled upon the LP Vinyl record of Cameo’s Word Up! and stood there in joy with his eyes lit up and found the perfect present for Andrew Blakney. He presented this treasure to me the same day that I was going to board a flight to Italy for my incredible life-changing wine trip. I believe that right now as I am typing this is the first time my ears have heard the beautiful music of Cameo through the magic of Vinyl recording. I hope that the people reading this blog will have an opportunity to check out the music of Cameo, particularly their most recognized album, Word Up !

4 and 1/2 stars out of 5 – allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:hifoxqw5ldhe

Review by Alex Henderson
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 boughtWord 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.

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