The Sherrys

The Sherrys were a short-lived girl group with a rich, soulful sound, built around dance numbers that they performed with extraordinary exuberance, organized by Philadelphia singing star Little Joe Cook. A veteran of gospel and R&B, Cook had led a group called the Thrillers from the mid-'50s until 1961, when he began putting a group together around his two daughters, Delphine and Dinell Cook, their cousin Charlotte Butler, and Delores "Honey" Wiley. At one point early in the days of the group's formation, future Motown star Tammi Montgomery (later Terrell) was a member. The group spent a lot of its early days backing other Philadelphia-based acts, including Bobby Rydell, on their recordings. Their big moment as a recording act in their own right came when a dance craze arose in New Orleans called the Popeye -- initially, the dance was done to Chris Kenner's "Something You Got," but Eddie Bo soon came along with "Check Mr. Popeye," which became a major seller in New Orleans. By early 1962, the dance was being touted as a rival to the Twist, with acts as different as Huey "Piano" Smith & the Clowns and Chubby Checker starting to push it. Cook, who'd seen his own recording of "Let's Do the Slop" become a serious regional hit in 1956, knew a good prospect when he saw it and had the Sherrys record "Pop Pop Pop-Pie," written by producers Johnny Madera and Dave White and aimed at the dance crowd. American Bandstand then featured the group and the record heavily, and the single (issued on Guyden) charted in October of 1962, for an eight week run that carried it up to number 35 nationally on the pop charts and to number 25 on the R&B lists. The group's success was short-lived, however, as they never came up with a suitable follow-up -- their "Slop Time" didn't chart nearly as well. A superb album, At the Hop with the Sherrys, made up almost entirely of Madera-White songs, appeared on Guyden in early 1963, but it undeservedly disappeared without leaving much of a trace. Ironically, while the Sherrys' moment in the sun in the U.S.A. proved to be both brief and over, their records were extremely popular and enduring in Europe, where audiences devoured their authentic soul-dance sound. The quartet ended up touring overseas twice, with great success. They might've regained their career momentum in America, but for a series of personnel and business difficulties that ensued over the next several months. Delphine, the younger Cook daughter, married, and then Butler left the act soon after. Cook held a version of the Sherrys together to fulfill bookings, but during a successful engagement in Boston, the group -- now a trio -- decided to get a new manager. Their history came to an end with this decision, because Cook owned the name the Sherrys. The trio, deprived of the name under which they were known, was never heard from again, and the Sherrys became part of pop music and dance history. ~ Bruce Eder

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