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The Cherry Poppin' Daddies

The Cherry Poppin' Daddies: Skaboy JFK: The Skankin¹ Hits of the Cherry Poppin' Daddies (2009)
Rock Ridge Music

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: Skibz777Skibz777
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Veteran American ska fans like myself have a hard time accepting that it isn't 1994 anymore. The days of that freewheeling, musically diverse indie subculture spearheaded by such titans as the Toasters and Skankin' Pickle have more or less faded away, overtaken by Reel Big Fish clones and a commerc.
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Veteran American ska fans like myself have a hard time accepting that it isn't 1994 anymore. The days of that freewheeling, musically diverse indie subculture spearheaded by such titans as the Toasters and Skankin' Pickle have more or less faded away, overtaken by Reel Big Fish clones and a commercially-viable pop sensibility. It's not so much a matter of sell-out soulless-ness, but rather just the lack of the ska *spirit* that prevailed back when being a Rudie was a way of life: the beat, the attitude, the atmosphere...even the style is gone from the scene nowadays; I can't even recall the last time I saw a porkpie hat. The Cherry Poppin' Daddies' new album, Skaboy JFK, a compilation of the band's ska material stretching back to the mid-'90s, is not a solution to ska's modern-day woes, but it is most certainly heavy with said spirit, a much-needed breath of fresh air and an excellent reminder of why we fell in love with ska before it hit the Top 40.

Let's make this clear: Skaboy JFK is good, solid third wave. No obnoxious pop-punk-with-horns, frat boy reggae-rock or some ungodly swing hybrid -- we're talkin' the pure, truly skankable Toasters/Pietasters-style stuff, like what your daddy used to jive to before Less Than Jake hit the charts. Ah, memories! The steady rhythms help the entire album flow smoothly from start to finish, riding on an insane level of horn-heavy energy, though this unfortunately comes at the expense of strong individual tracks; only a few cuts really stand out on their own, leaving the rest to eventually blend into repetitive third wave genericism after a number of listens. However, the varying styles of ska utilized on the album -- trad, 2 Tone, reggae, ska-punk, funk-fusion -- is fresh enough that one might get through quite a number of listens before that happens.

Of those tracks that really shine are: "Don Quixote," a veteran of mid-'90s indie ska comps whose funky, swingy ska-core wouldn't sound out of place on a Blue Meanies record; "Pool Shark," a breakneck fast lounge-y number with a killer hornline; "Slapstick," a detour into funk which is impossible not to groove to; and "Soul Cadillac," a mellow, smoothly sung soul number. The Daddies hit total gold, however, on "Hi and Lo," an anthemic Bosstones-esque ska-punk tour de force that should've been just as big a hit as "The Impression That I Get" or "Sell Out" -- ska-punk at its finest.

With a name like Skaboy JFK: The Skankin' Hits of..., it's obvious the Daddies are trying to escape the stigma of their "swing band" image, and, with the right marketing and proper attention from the target audience, they may finally do just that. Skaboy JFK may not be ska's saving grace, nor will it gain the Daddies any more platinum records, but it is most certainly the band's most solid release, and for anyone feeling nostalgic for the days of Moon Records-era third wave and/or something to shake your skinny tied, wing-tipped ass to, this is your checkered ticket. As a Daddies fan, my only complaint is that they didn't find a way to sneak "Teenage Brainsurgeon" or "Blood Orange Sun" onto the album. Your only complaint, I assume, will be "why wasn't I listening to these guys sooner?"

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Suburban Legends - Dreams Aren't Real, But These Songs Are, Vol. 1 [EP]Reel Big Fish - A Best of Us...for the Rest of UsDevo - Something for EverybodyThe Cherry Poppin' Daddies - Zoot Suit RiotThe Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Pin Points and Gin JointsGreen Room Rockers / The Pinstripes - Midwest Soundclash [10 inch]Rancid - Let the Dominoes FallThe Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Medium RareThe Sounds - Dying to Say This to YouSick of It All - Death to Tyrants

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Skibz777 (October 7, 2009)

That hasn't really been happening, though...(at least from the perspective of someone living in the heart of OC) I don't see enough kids being influenced to go out and start their own bands, and the ones who do take their influence directly/only from Reel Big Fish or start a novelty joke band. What made ska such a strong scene in the mid-90s was its wide range of musical influences and cross-genre diversity...you could get all sorts of audiences into ska music, and all the audiences overlapped: back in the day, you could get The Skatalites, The Toasters, Skankin' Pickle and the Daddies all on the same bill. Unfortunately, the media has the most influence over what the kids listen to, and only the Top 40 acts such as RBF and No Doubt serve as these kids' only exposure to ska music, which has greatly influenced the So Cal scene for the worst. I'm surrounded by a sea of pop-punk-with-horns bands with joke lyrics, without a single trace of anything remotely resembling the ska I, and most of America, grew up with.

It's great that some of the more "out-there"/trad bands are getting attention, but there's still drawbacks. The Aggrolites and the Debonaires, for instance, rose from the ashes of previous established ska bands....they didn't just *happen*. It's not like they were a group of determined youthful ska fans who one day decided to start playing "dirty reggae". Ska can't be entirely the domain of guys in their 30s and 40s...there need to be groups who can carry on the sound, and not just trad and ska-punk, there needs to be more genre diversity to ensure a wider, stronger audience, or else it's going to end up as sequestered and non-existent as what's left of the neo-swing fanbase.

Reel Big Fish seems to be leading the youth market in terms of ska...they seem to have the most influence and they seem to be selling out *huge* venues in the So Cal area. I see their influence as mainly negative, but without them, the ska kids will have no one to follow and, without them, most people will never come to discover "ska" in the first place, albeit a poppy bastardized version of it. They seem to be supporting the meager strings the scene is clinging onto.

Fresnoska (October 7, 2009)

"As long as the greats from the 3rd wave continue on (I'm looking at you Bosstones), I'll forget about the shambles it became."

I'd have to disagree. It's great that said greats are still around, but once they're gone, then the entire scene is in jeopardy; a scene needs a strong youthful following in order to continue, and there's been really no notable new ska bands in the last decade to carry on the legacy.

From the look of things, when Reel Big Fish crumbles, the entire American ska scene will die out within a year.

-------------------------------------------------------- ----------------
I see what you're saying here. As long as the "greats" continue to tour and draw, that'll hopefully lead to a generation to rise.

Whether that is RBF, MMB, Slackers or whoever still playing....Dicky said he was inspired to start the MMB after attending an English Beat show in the 80's.

My gateway band were the MMB in 96, and within a year, I branched out to 2-tone, Jamaican ska, and Moon ska. That lead to me to starting a ska band and creating a nice little local scene for about 5 years.

So I hope that the 3rd wavers continue on, until leading to a "4th wave". There a good crop of younger ska/reggae bands comin on:

1) Westbound Train
2) Aggrolites (I know they are not ska, but they tour with related bands)
3) Knockout
4) Debonaires
5) Sonic Boom Six
6) Various Long Island/East coast bands
7) Megalith records roster

Skibz777 (October 7, 2009)

"As long as the greats from the 3rd wave continue on (I'm looking at you Bosstones), I'll forget about the shambles it became."

I'd have to disagree. It's great that said greats are still around, but once they're gone, then the entire scene is in jeopardy; a scene needs a strong youthful following in order to continue, and there's been really no notable new ska bands in the last decade to carry on the legacy.

From the look of things, when Reel Big Fish crumbles, the entire American ska scene will die out within a year.

Fresnoska (October 6, 2009)

Love the hell out of the Pietasters..and I'm waiting for this record in the mail. CPD always knew how to write a kick ass ska jam.

As long as the greats from the 3rd wave continue on (I'm looking at you Bosstones), I'll forget about the shambles it became.

Skibz777 (October 6, 2009)

I think we need to focus on repairing the *third* wave before we can start focusing on a fourth...

655321 (October 6, 2009)

c'mon 4th wave ska revival!

facetofacereunion08 (October 3, 2009)

love the pietasters

eatdogs (October 3, 2009)

This was an excellent review. One of the better ones I've read in awhile. I disagree with some of the points, but it's only small gripes. Regardless, I was going to pick up this record anyway, but now I'm even more stoked for it.

Also for anyone looking for Moon Ska-era stuff. Check out Megalith Records. That's Bucket (of The Toasters) new all ska label. It's even based out of my hometown in Norman, OK.

wow, i didn't know that. i was at the last toasters show when they played with flatfoot. i'm gonna have to check this place out.

hooverstreet (October 3, 2009)

I don't care what image make over they may undertake or what good things are said about them by this site or any other.... I will NEVER give this band the time of day.

Fuzzy (October 3, 2009)

"Don Quixote" is a crucial mid-90s ska track.

red_eye_inc (October 2, 2009)

I agree with thegimper. Nice job.

mightybombjack (October 2, 2009)

mephiskapheles was the last great ska band.

tonyregret (October 2, 2009)

Icagree that Don Quixote is a good song, it was back in the day when it appeared on the Ska The 3rd Wave compilation. Hi Lo is also a treat, definitely the best song on the album. The rest of the album is pretty bland and really has no substance behind it.This is not the spirit of ska, this is the spirit of bad music.

Thegimper (October 2, 2009)

This was an excellent review. One of the better ones I've read in awhile. I disagree with some of the points, but it's only small gripes. Regardless, I was going to pick up this record anyway, but now I'm even more stoked for it.

Also for anyone looking for Moon Ska-era stuff. Check out Megalith Records. That's Bucket (of The Toasters) new all ska label. It's even based out of my hometown in Norman, OK.

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