Shortly before the Collectors' Choice label was sold to Super D, they embarked upon an ambitious program of reissues from the Cameo-Parkway catalog. The Cameo-Parkway tapes had mostly sat idle in ABKCO's vault ever since Allen Klein acquired them in the late `60s, and the first program of legitimate reissues began in 2005 with a series of Best Of's, including a volume on this Philadelphia vocal group. Five years later, a series of two-fers returned full, original albums to print, including this pairing of the group's second and third albums, originally released in 1962 and 1963, respectively. This skips over the group's first and biggest success, "The Bristol Stomp," but joins them in a run of dance-themed hits that included "Do the New Conteinental," "Hully Gully Baby" and "The Jitter Bug." Missing from this period is the non-LP "Bristol Twistin' Annie."
The two-fer includes the group's second biggest hit, 1964's infectious, hand-clapping cover of the Phil Upchurch Combo's instrumental "You Can't Sit Down." The Dovells' version shot to #3, and with the subsequent departure of tenor vocalist Len Barry (who'd later score a solo hit with "1-2-3"), the group's chart fortunes came to an end. The album tracks combine covers and staff-written tunes that, in full accord with Cameo's recoding ethic, chased the dance trend to its last fumes. Remember tearing it up to the "Hully Gully Square Dance" or "Country Club Hully Gully?" Neither does anyone else. Still, even when the material was repetitive, the group sang with doo-wop verve, and the house band - led by Dave Appell and featuring the honking tenor sax of Buddy Savitt - was rock solid. Mastered in crisp mono with nice bass detail, this is reminder of a much simpler time on the Top 40 charts. 3-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]