Sunday, December 21, 2008


Susquehanna was released earlier this year and it marks the fifth album to be released by The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies in their 20 year career. The band was formed by college students at the University of Oregon in the late 80's. The founding front man, Steve Perry, wanted to experiment with musical styles through integrating his punk rock roots with a jazz horn section and a keyboardist. The result was something unique and vastly different than what was considered popular at the time.

The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies are probably best known for their 1997 hit “Zoot Suit Riot” which is a big band swing song, one of the many musical styles for the band. If you have never heard of The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies or if you have only heard “Zoot Suit Riot” don’t be fooled into thinking that this is only a swing band. The Cherry Poppin' Daddies are one of those bands that are hard to classify into one genre of music because they are so diverse. They incorporate element of punk, ska, rock, swing, Latin rock and other styles into their albums and Susquehanna is no exception.

To be honest, I didn’t even know that The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies were still producing albums until I was contacted by a representative of the band early last week. I decided to give their new album a spin and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s definitely an ambitious album that offers listeners a wide variety of the bands musical styles that they have experimented throughout their career. Listening to the album straight through is definitely an interesting experience (in a good way) because each song sounds immensely different from the next. In talking about the albums diversity, Steve Perry said "I guess I hoped for each song as a chapter in a modernist novel." I really admire the band for having the guts to release an album as ambitious as this one and I think the end result is something to be admired and enjoyed.

Since I’m a fan of ska music then naturally some of my favorite songs off of the album (Hi and Lo, Blood Orange Sun, and Hammerblow) are those that are more ska influenced. One of the more intriguing songs on the album is Rosanne, a song that has deep Latin roots and seems like it could easily be heard out on the salsa dance floor. The percussion for the song is actually played by real dancing feet and it sounds pretty cool.

Overall, I think that the album is pretty good considering I didn't really know what to expect after not listening to the band in so many years. I would recommend this album to new and old fans alike or to anyone who wants to step outside their music box and listen to something different than what they are probably used to. Check out some of the songs below and pick yourself up a copy of the album if you like what you hear.

The Cherry Poppin' Daddies- Hi and Lo
From the album "Susquehanna" (iTunes)

The Cherry Poppin' Daddies- Blood Orange Sun
From the album "Susquehanna" (iTunes)

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