Mercury / Universal
Cameo was, perhaps, the only funk band to survive disco and not produce crap in the ’80s. Instead of disbanding like Earth Wind & Fire or cheesing it up like Kool & the Gang, Cameo created a groove-heavy neo-funk, which was very ’80s and yet unique. Perhaps, it was really the only original thing they did — because in the ’70s, they were a bit derivative. “Funk Funk” sounds a lot like Parliament; Billy Preston must’ve been involved with “It’s Serious”; and “We All Know We Are” has EWF written all over it (with Blackmon even sounding exactly like Maurice White). But that’s just the first disc, and that tiny platter is full of great funk — a lot of which (like “Rigor Mortis,” “Post Mortem,” and “Keep It Hot”) I’d forgotten was Cameo. And “I Just Want to Be,” “Sparkle,” and “Feel Me” is also on that disc. The second disc chronicles their ’80s stuff, when lead singer, Larry Blackmon, donned the high-top fade, red codpiece, and Sugarfoot Bonner’s adenoid-whiny vocals. You get “Flirt,” “Alligator Woman,” “She’s Strange,” “Attack Me with Your Love,” “Single Life,” “Candy,” “Back And Forth,” and, of course, “Word Up.” So, while Cameo wasn’t exactly the most innovative act to come out of the funk era, they were a lot of funk and had the greatest longevity. They are one of the few in this Universal Chronicles series to actually fill two discs with good music.
Universal Chronicles: http://www.universalchronicles.com