Thanks for running Michael Little’s cover story on one of D.C.’s truly great guitarists, Punky Meadows (“Angel on His Shoulder,” 5/31). Over the years, I have heard literally hundreds of bands live, from the most famous on down what passes for being the musical food chain. Among the very best was the band that Meadows played lead for back in the late ’60s at the Silver Dollar on Georgetown’s M Street: Cherry People.
Cherry People live had it all. Not just had it all, but had it all in spades. They played great, sang great, looked great—they were great. (I have never heard a band cover “Get Ready” better than these guys did—never! Including the monster “hit” radio version by Rare Earth.) The Cherry People album released by Heritage, if anything, is a cautionary tale as to just how badly things can go awry after a band is signed. The Cherry People who nightly tore up the Silver Dollar are nowhere to be heard on the LP bearing their name. Imagine a bunch of studio hacks and some “arranger” making doilies out of Harpers Bizarre B-sides, then labeling their handiwork as the debut of the Young Rascals, and you get some idea of what transpired.
Along with slightly earlier bands such as the Chartbusters, the British Walkers, and the Hangmen, Cherry People were among the first inductees into D.C.’s real Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. And Punky Meadows was a key ingredient in just how righteously they ripped it up.