The Orlons “Envy (In My Eyes)” Cameo 346-B (later issued as Cameo 384-B), 1965.

The Orlons “Envy (In My Eyes)” Cameo 346-B (later issued as Cameo 384-B), 1965.

The Orlons career, like a number of Cameo-Parkway stars, had a huge impact in a rather short period of time. Also, like all Cameo-Parkway stars, they found themselves in the trap of dance-hall hits being the key to their initial success.

MI0001401105Although “Don’t Hang Up” tried its best to break the trend, their party themed other Top 10 Pop hits obscured an amazingly talented group. One look at any of their LPs and the scope of songs they covered found all 4 Orlons stepping up to the lead microphone to display their talents. Omnipresent was powerhouse Rosetta Hightower, however. Her surly, take no-prisoners style lands her in the pantheon of proto-feminist Black Lead singers of the girl group era, right along more celebrated women like Darlene Love, La La Brooks and Gladys Horton.

In a number of ways, like Chubby Checker and Dee Dee Sharp, her vocal potency was squandered by the Pop market cash ins that brought her and The Orlons financial success. Thankfully, Cameo-Parkway tried to right the wrongs by 1964, giving the Orlons, now trudging along as a full fledged girl group minus Steve Caldwell, more contemporary and adult themed material.

This brings us to their brilliant double-sider from Christmastime, 1964. Appropriate for the Ides of March and green with envy is the B-side. Both sides deserved their own single status. Although there’s more than a twinge of Martha & The Vandellas-esqe influence dripping from both, there’s enough of that traditional Philly Moxie to make the songs stand on their own. Repentant of ones sins, “Envy” is an appropriate song to sing along to to exorcise your sins during these waning days of Lent.


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