Classics: Cameo – Single Life (Atlanta Artists)
I suppose you’ve all noticed / experienced as to how we may consider things the opposite way from a period to another. Feeling like there’s nothing like enjoying a single life at moments. Then being almost ready to die to find the one at others. Just the way life goes at the end, with its plus and minus and ups and downs…
The title cut from their 1985 album of the likes, ‘Single Life’ is a brilliant ode to the freedom which such a marital status offers per definition. Allowing us to do whatever we want without the need of requiring a permission. Blending hypnotic keyboard lines over an intoxicating funk bass driven slammin’ rhythm pattern. Meanwhile perfectly illustrating the infectiousness of Cameo‘s sound. And eventually borrowing inspiration from the theme of Sergio Leone‘s 1966 ‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’ film. Just the way they also happened to do on ‘Word Up!’ as a matter of fact.
Single guys, clap yo’ hands!
A native of NYC, Lawrence Ernest Blackmon developed an interest in music during his childhood. Every Sunday after church, he attended shows at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Eventually gaining inspiration from artists such as James Brown, Otis Redding and/or The Temptations.
He started his formal music training at junior High School. Then he came to put together a succession of groups including The Mighty Gees, East Coast then The New York City Players. A name he soon after had to change, turnin’ it into Cameo, to avoid confusion with the Ohio Players.
The first recordings of Blackmon bring us back to 1973 and the release of the East Coast‘s eponymous album. There one could see him jammin’ along with the late Gwen Guthrie on vocals. But also pianist/keyboardist Gregory Johnson who would be a member of Cameo between 1976 and 1982. And trombonist/bassist Patrick Grant who happened to write ‘Supernatural Thing’ for the late Ben E. King back in 1975.
Cameo dropped their debut-album – ‘Cardiac Arrest’ – back in 1977 on Casablanca Records via Chocolate City. Makin’ some noise in the charts with cuts such as ‘Rigor Mortis’ and ‘We All Know Who We Are’. Meanwhile their 1979 ‘Secret Omen’ effort opened an impressive series of 5 gold albums in a row. Spanning extra gems such as ‘Shake Your Pants’, ‘Keep It Hot’ and ‘Freaky Dancin” among others.
By that time Cameo got runnin’ around a nucleus of 4 members. In other words, Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins, Nathan Leftenant and Charlie Singleton. They also relocated in Atlanta, GA where Blackmon launched his Atlanta Artists record label. And their sound had also slightly changed. Blending 70’s Funk with 80’s technology and opening their most successful period commercially speakin’. Givin’ birth to a continuous series of firing tracks until the beginning of the 90’s. From ‘She’s Strange’ to ‘Single Life’ and ‘Attack Me With Your Love’. Then ‘Word Up!’, ‘Candy’, She’s Mine’ and ‘Back And Forth’. Not to mention ‘Skin I’m In’ or the bumpin’ ‘I Want It Now’ which saw them flirting with Swingbeat back in 1990.
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