Music and more
From someone who connects with all genres of music

Brand Nubian theme continues for at least one more day

You all know Cameo. Me and friends Matt and Tim in High School performed a wicked heavily theatrical pantomime to "Word Up" whenever we sensed a party lagged energy. Though I now suspect that as fun as it seemed to us, that our act was quite self-alienating. We don't talk it about it much these days. It was our Mystic River.

"Rigoris Mortis" is one of 3 songs from Cardiac Arrest to hit the Billboard R&B; charts, reaching number 33. Julliard musician Larry Blckmon was the biggest talent behind the group, which began as a 13-piece funk outfit called the New York City Players.

When the group changed its name and eventually slimmed down to a trio, vocalist/producer Blackmon emerged as the clear he alpha-male. You can tell, because he was allowed to wear the biggest, reddest codpiece.

(Within synth-funk prides, the codpiece functions in a similar way to the "conch" in "The Lord of the Flies". )

70s Cameo was much more in-line with a PFunk sensibility; horn heavy and brash. The band was one of only a few 70s acts to survive, and indeed prosper, into the 80s, when horny horns were suddenly out of fashion and urban contemporary synth-funk made its disturbing move.

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.