Abkco's 2005 compilation The Best of ? & the Mysterians: Cameo Parkway 1966-1967 is the first official CD release of the Michigan garage rocker's classic Cameo Parkway recordings, but for hardcore garage rock collectors, it might look a little bit similar to a 1995 unofficial release called Original Recordings. The discs not only share 25 tracks but they're presented in the same sequencing. Then again, that shouldn't be a surprise since both discs contain the entirety of the quintet's two full-length LPs – the 1966 96 Tears and its 1967 follow-up Action – plus the "Do Something to Me"/"Love Me Baby (Cherry July)" single. The '95 release contains five tracks that didn't make it to this release, but this has two previously unreleased versions of "Midnight Hour" and "96 Tears," neither of which were as a good as the released versions (the alternate "96 Tears" is surprisingly limp, actually).
The engraving of hardstones is a time-honored practice that goes back several millennia. The Greeks refined the art, and they introduced in about the fifth century b.c. what we now call cameos: precious and semiprecious stones carved in projected relief. …
There are collectors…and then there are doo wop collectors, which is why we have dedicated our first Cameo Parkway compilation to the fantastic vocal groups who recorded for the label. All of these (except the Rays track and the two Roommates tracks, which we HAD to include) are from the original tapes, and only one track (the Lydells There Goes the Boy , which again we felt was a must) has ever been out on CD at retail before….
The Cameo Parkway boxed set that we all have been dreaming of, 115 tracks including 74 chart hits! Painstakingly assembled from the best sources possible (98% from the original tapes), and all in original mono, the tracks include performances by all of the label's stars and its one-hit wonders. A booklet tells the fascinating story of this label.
When much of the Cameo Parkway label catalog finally got reissued on CD, this 25-track compilation gathered most of the biggest hits the company had issued between the mid-'50s and mid-'60s. The label's biggest stars – Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Dee Dee Sharp, and the Orlons – are all represented here by several tracks apiece, with one or two by less prolific chart artists like the Dovells, the Tymes, the Rays (one-shot doo wop classic "Silhouettes"), Charlie Gracie (rockabilly-pop hit "Butterfly"), and ? & the Mysterians (1966 garage rock chart-topper "96 Tears").