Band members Related acts
- David Alves -- drums, percussion (1965-67)
- Rick Benick -- lead guitar (replaced Wayne Tomlinson)
- Barry Brandt -- drums (replaced Rick Benick) (1973-75)
- Larry Gray -- drums, percussion, bass (1964-67)
- Chris Grimes -- rhythm guitar (1964-75)
- Doug Grimes -- vocals (1964-72)
- Rocky Issac -- drums, percussion (replaced David Alves)
- Pick Kelly -- bass (replaced Larry Gray) (1967)
- Edwin Lionel "Punky" Meadows -- lead guitar (1964-72)
- David Namerdy -- guitar (replaced Chris Grimes) (1975)
- Chris Noe -- lead guitar (replaced Punky Meadows)
- Steve Riley -- drums (replaced Barry Brandt) (1975)
- Andrew Sokol -- bass (1973-)75
- T.C. Tolliver -- drums (replaced Mike Zack) (1972-73)
- Wayne Tomlinson -- lead guitar (replaced Chris Now)
- Mike Zack -- drums (replaced Rocky Isaac) (1972)
- Jan Zukowski -- bass (replaced Pick Kelly) (1967-73)
- Angel (Barry Brandt and Punky Meadows)
- The English Setters (David Alves, Larry Gray,
Chris Grimes, Doug Grimes, Punky Meadows)
- The Fabulous Hubcaps (Jan Zukowski)
- The Fallen Angels (Rocky Isaac)
- The Nighthawks (Jan Zukowski)
- The Plasmatics (T.C. Tolliver)
- Quaver (Chris Grimes and Doug Grimes)
- Sweet Mama from Heaven (Punky Meadows)
Rating: 2 stars **
Title: Cherry People
Country/State: Washington, D.C.
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: gatefold sleeve; embossed sleeve; small cut out hole lower left corner
GEMM catalog ID: 5541
Ah ... Washington D.C.'s The Cherry People ... Yes, lots of references claim they were a product of Arlington, Virginia. In fact the Arlington county public library even has a website that talks about the band. The fact of the matter is the band's roots trace back to the Barnaby Terrace in Southeast, Washington, D.C. True, three quarters of the original group grew up in Arlington, but they started off in D.C..
Like countless others, The Beatles were the inspiration for Larry Gray, brothers Chris and Doug Grimes, and lead guitarist Punky Meadows to start their own rock band. As The Intruders they began playing school talent shows, dances, private parties and local clubs. 1965 saw the Grimes and Meadows families separately relocate to Arlington, Virginia. The move saw the badna dopt a new, cooler name as The English Setters. They also expanded the line up to a five piece with the addition of drummer in David Alves; Gray shifting to bass. Their big break came when a performance at the Shoreham hotel resulted in an introduction to Lionel Hampton manager Bill Titone. Titone signed on as their manager and promptly had them touring throughout the East Cost.
Signed to Hampton's Glad Hamp label, they released a pair of instantly obscure 45s:
- 1966's 'Tragedy'
b/w ' If She's All Right' (Glad-Hamp catalog number GH-2029)
While neither of the Grimes brother penned singles did much commercially, the fact they had a recording contract turned them into an in-demand act throughout the Washington, D.C. area and in particular Georgetown clubs such as The Bayou, The Frog, and The Peppermint Lounge. They also started opening for name national acts such as The Beau Brummels, Neil Diamond, and The Young Rascals who were playing in D.C.. With support from Washington area DJ Warren Duffy the group returned to New York where the recorded and released a one-shot 45 for Jubilee Records:
- 1967's 'Wake Up' b/w 'She's In Love' (Jubilee catalog number 5560)
1967 another change in personnel with bassist Pick Kelly replacing Larry Gray and the decision to adopt a new name - at Kelly's suggestion The Cherry People. A series of concert dates in New York saw them sharing the stage with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and brought them to the attention of A&R man Ron Haffkine and a contract with Jerry Ross's Heritage label. Unfortunately before they could start to record the band underwent yet another change in the lineup - Alves and Pick replaced by former Fallen Angels drummer Rocky Isaac and ex-Nobody's Children bassist Jan Zukowski.
Heritage Records publicity photo left to right:
Punky Meadows - Chris Grimes - Rocky Isaac - Jan Zukowski - Doug Grimes
Co-produced by Haffkine and Barry Oslander, in spite of a reported $30,000 recording budget (a tremendous investment at the time), 1968's "The Cherry People" was pretty much a full scale disaster. With Heritage apparently interested in turning the group into a Monkees knockoff, musically the set bore little resemblance to the the group's earlier work. In fact, only two of the ten tracks were band-penned originals. The band members have repeatedly pointed out that they had little to do with the finished product - producers Haffkine and Oslander selected the outside material and brought in sessions players to handle most of the workload. So what did the results sound like? Um, pretty lame. Originally written and recorded by a late-inning version of The Left Banke, the cutesy leadoff track 'And Suddenly' provided the band with a top-50 hit, but had the same kind of appeal as a commercial for bread, or sour cream. Swamped with string and horn arrangements, the rest of the album offered up anonymous radio-friendly pop. It wasn't necessarily bad, rather simply didn't have a great deal of character. Image second rate Archies ('Do Something To Me'), The Association ('On To Something New'), The Cowsills ('Ask the Children'), The Turtles ('Girl On the Subway'), or something in that vein and you'd be in the right aural neighborhood. It certainly wasn't as bas as the critics would have you believe, but by the same token had a distinctive 'music as product' feel to it. For anyone who cared, the best track was actually one of the two originals - the rocker 'I'm the One Who Loves You'. Shame they weren't allowed to record more of their own material ...
Elsewhere Heritage tapped the LP for a series of four singles:
- 1968's 'And
Suddenly' b/w 'Imagination' (Heritage catalog number HE 801) # 45 pop
- 1969's 'Light Of Love' b/w 'On To Something New' (Heritage catalog number HE 815)
People" track listing:
1.) And Suddenly (Michael Brown - Bert Sommer) - 2:06
2.) Girl On the Subway (J. Curtis - K. Daniels) - 2:52
3.) On To Something New (S English - K Ogerman) - 2:22
4.) Imagination (Doug Grimes - Chris Grimes)
5.) Mr. Hyde (B. Keefer - D. Jimenez) - 2:39
2.) Ask the Children (Wonderling - Allen - Gold fluss) - 2:08
3,) I'm the One Who Loves You (Doug Grimes - A. Manning) - 2:06
4.) Don't Hang Up On Me, Girl (N. Sheppard-Levine) - 2:53
5.) Light of Love (G. Fischoff - Carole Bayer) - 2:40
In support of the album Heritage sent the band on the road, but the experience left the members broke and burned out. They returned to Northern Virginia and returned to the club scene where they remained a popular act over the next couple of years. Technically still under their five year deal with Jerry Ross and Heritage, in 1972 they went out on a limb and recorded and released a single on their own Hot Cotton label - 'Sea and Me' b/w 'Come On Over' (Hot Cotton catalog number ??). At that point the band began to unravel. Isaac handed in his papers and was replaced by a string of stand-ins, including Puzzle's Mike Zack, followed by T.C. Tolliver. In mid-1972 the band formally called it quits with the members scattering across the country. Within a matters of months the Grimes were back in Washington, D.C. Needing to pay their bills they reformed the band with Tolliver and guitarist Chris Noe. They toured throughout the Northeast, returning to D.C. where they went through a steady stream of players before finally calling it quits in 1975.
The Grimes formed a limo business (Business Class Sedans), briefly returning to music in the mid-1990s with the band Quaver.
Chris Noe. He's still an active musician and has a website at:
Zukowski dropped out of the band in 1973 and a couple of years later started playing with The Highthawks. He's played on virtually every LP the group's recorded since the mid-1970s. He's also a member of The Fabulous Hubcaps.
In 2003 the Grimes brothers reactivated The Cherry People nameplate. The original intent was to market a DVD covering the band's history, but backed by guitarist Michael Fair, drummer Corey Holland, and bassist Tim McCarthy, the project evolved into a full scale reunion with the band playing dates on a fairly regular basis throughout the area. Officially known as The Cherry People Acoustic they've even got a website at:
I also found a recent informal performance clip on YouTube (June 2008). The original 'Softly Slowly' was surprisingly hard-edged rock, but also surprisingly good for a bunch of guys their age ... Guitarist Faith was simply amazing and didn't even break a sweat !
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