Behind the Riddim: The Doo-Wop Ska of Esprit de Corps’ “Cherry”

December 21, 2012

Words by Jesse Serwerโ€”

LA’s Esprit de Corps first caught our attention earlier this year with their sublime, lovers-rock-y โ€œIs It Too Late.โ€ After a few quiet months, the pair returned recently returned with a new EP, Be Easy. A few days after giving us the EP’s โ€œLove, Love, Loveโ€ to premiere, EDC are already back with a wicked doo-wop-flavored ska tune (not featured on the EP) called โ€œCherry.โ€

While the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons-inspiredย โ€œCherryโ€ is new to us and everybody else, it’s actually an oldie, having originated during singer Shock Mama Cherry’s previous life as the R&B artist, Cherokee (Maybe you caughtย โ€œNectarine,โ€ her single/video with OutKast).

Here’s how Cherry’s bandmate, producer/musician Fred Card explains it:

โ€œI really liked the track and wanted a way to use it for our project so I did what any reasonable reggae producer would do. I tried to reggae-fi it. The tempo felt a little odd for a one drop or rockers groove so I ended up speeding it up a bunch. From that point it felt natural to take a 1950’s doo-wop-inspired song and give it a ska beat. Ska and doo wop were popular around the same time anyways…It’s got samples of cats, my mouth trying to beatbox a hi-hat sound, 808’s, some chopped studio one samples. Oh and that’s [Grammy-winning engineer] Neal Pogue, who had a hand in mixing the track [and co-produced the original version with, singing โ€˜Cherry!โ€™ on the hook. He probably wouldn’t want anybody to find out but I think its pretty funny.โ€
Stream/download โ€œCherryโ€ here: