John Cameron is truly one of the greatest and most recognisable British arrangers of the 60s and 70s. He came out of the British jazz scene, playing live as a teenager with the likes of Dick Heckstall-Smith. Moving to London, his first arrangement job was Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’ – Cameron came up with a unique jazz-folk single with proto-psychedelic leanings that went to #1 in America and made him an in-demand arranger overnight. The Donovan connection (Cameron arranged virtually all of his 60s recordings) led to work based around woodwinds for Françoise Hardy and Julie Felix, but he was happier working with a full, funky brass section – in the 70s this led to classic hits with CCS, Hot Chocolate and Heatwave, as well as some of the most influential and heavily sampled KPM library recordings.
In cinemas, you might have heard Cameron’s bucolic, dreamy score for Kes; on TV there was the brassy blast of ‘Avenues And Alleyways’, the theme from The Protectors. Turning on the radio, you couldn’t have missed the Flirtations and CCS’s soulful hits, Errol Brown’s Hot Chocolate (we’ve gone for the atmospheric title track from their “Cicero Park” album) or Heatwave’s classic ‘Always And Forever’. More recently, Hopscotch’s ‘Look At The Lights Go Up’ has become a £300, in-demand mod dancer, while 50 Cent, Common and Cee-Lo Green have sampled the hazy groove of ‘Half Forgotten Daydreams’.
This is the first ever compilation of John Cameron’s arrangements. It has been compiled by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley, following his hugely successful CDs of arrangements by Thom Bell (Ready Or Not) and Norman Whitfield (Psychedelic Soul). It has thorough sleeve notes, unseen photos, and an interview with Cameron himself.
It’s a folky, funky, beautiful collection.