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Cameo Parkway: The Best of the Orlons, 1961-1966

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The dance anthems “Wah Watusi” and “Crossfire!” capture the Orlons at their 1962-63 best: fitting their tough, three-gals-and-a-guy vocals over peppy pop-R&B grooves. “South Street,” “Don’t Hang Up,” and “Knock! Knock! (Who’s There?)” exhibit a tinge of novelty (thanks to Steve Caldwell’s sub-bass vocal accents) but rock nonetheless. The adaptation of Slim Gaillard’s deliberately goofy 1945 classic “Cement Mixer” is light-hearted fun, but a demo of the doo-wop ballad “Mr. Twenty One” – just voices and piano – is near sublime. Later tracks “Don’t You Want My Lovin’” (1965), an early Gamble & Huff production, and “Spinning Top” (1966) are grittier faux-Motown creations.


Formed: 1960 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A predominantly female group from Philadelphia, the Orlons had some dance and novelty gems in the early '60s for Cameo-Parkway. Lead vocalist Rossetta Hightower, Marlena Davis, Steve Caldwell, and Shirley Brickley scored with "The Wah Watusi" in 1962; it was a number five R&B and number two pop hit, while the follow-ups, "Don't Hang Up" and "South Street," were also Top Ten R&B and pop successes. "Not Me" was their fourth consecutive R&B Top Ten winner in 1963, and it peaked at number 12 pop. It...
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