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Cameo Records Tag

Soul Serenade - Patty & the EmblemsCamden, NJ, like many industrial cities in the northeast, has fallen on hard times. Corruption has led three of the cities mayors to prison, and for seven years from 2005-2012 Camden’s police and fire departments were controlled by the state. About 40% of the city’s 77,000 people live below the poverty line.

But it wasn’t always like this in Camden. Camden has been home to the headquarters of the Campbell Soup Company for many years, and the city was also home to the New York Ship Building Company from 1899-1967. At one time it was the largest shipyard in the world. From 1901-1929 the Victor Talking Machine Company, predecessor to the RCA Victor company, was headquartered in Camden. Stars like Enrico Caruso recorded in the company’s Camden studios, where some of the earliest commercial recordings were made.

Soul Serenade - Bobby MarchanI have this friend named Billy. The world at-large knows him as the Reverend Billy Wirtz. If you saw him, with his long hair and copious tattoos you would think he’s some wild rockabilly madman, and that is exactly what he wants you to think … when he’s on stage. Off stage he’s one of the most gentle and kind people I know, and he is a walking encyclopedia of popular culture.

Although I haven’t seen Billy for a long time, I retain fond memories of the times I’ve seen him play. He is road dog, and he tours non-stop, mostly in the south. So if you hear that he’s coming to your town, make it a point to be there. I guarantee you a great evening of music, along with a lot of laughs.

Soul Serenade

Candy & the Kisses - The 81Dance crazes. There were a lot of them in the ’60s. Chubby Checker sparked a national frenzy with his version of “The Twist,” which was originally recorded by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters. Joey Dee & the Starliters had a variation called “The Peppermint Twist” that got a lot of attention. The Miracles sang about “Mickey’s Monkey,” and the Orlons scored with “The Watusi,” which was second only to “The Twist” when it came to ’60s dance crazes. The Olympics, the Marathons, the Jive Five, and Ike and Tina Turner all celebrated the “Hully Gully” in one way or another.

For awhile there, it seemed as if inventing a new dance craze, or even just singing about it, was a direct ticket to the top of the charts. But the nation lost its innocence when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and shortly after that the Beatles and the rest of the British Invasion troops appeared on our shore. Whether it was because of bad timing, or simply bad luck, some dance records just didn’t take off as they might have a year or two early. That was the sad fate experienced by a vocal group called Candy & the Kisses, who hailed from Port Richmond, NY. The group was led by Candy Nelson, and included her sister Suzanne, and friend Jeanette Johnson.