Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
Never let it be said that the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies don’t have balls, and that isn’t a raunchy reference to their name. After riding the flash pop culture coattails of their first all-swing album, Zoot Suit Riot, the Daddies promised their follow-up album wouldn’t be another sterile homage to Count Basie and, by god, they kept their promise. This isn’t to say that Soul Caddy doesn’t have a few swing numbers buried within, but that’s not at all that makes this a bonafide good album.
The first few seconds of Soul Caddy include the introductory drumbeat from Zoot Suit Riot’s title track; then the album takes off in a whole new direction, spewing rock n’ roll on one track and traditional-influenced ska on the next, keeping things pure and focused with an eclectic overview. Around the fourth track, a ’50s bebop tune infused with soul and a Jamaican bounce entitled “Stay, Don’t Just Stay,” the album already has delivered more diversity than all their previous material combined. Even the old raw funk that kept the band in relative obscurity makes its shined and perfected appearance on Soul Caddy, as does a slow jazz vocal number. The swing they produce is just as solid as it was previously but, with the exception of the hackneyed title “Swingin’ With Tiger Woods,” is nothing new. Yet it’s their keyboard driven ska, rocking junk boogie, tip to ’80s rock, and fuzzy indie rock that are produced in such surprising deftness that makes Soul Caddy undeniably the most impressive, tight, entertaining, enjoyable and musically talented album the Daddies have ever cranked out. And facing an audience that very well might be hoping for another round of cliché swing, that takes balls.
Mojo Records, 1453 14th St., Box 284, Santa Monica, CA 90404; http://www.mojorecords.com