The Cherry Slush were from Saginaw, Michigan and had previously been known as The Bells of Rhymny. In their earlier incarnation they had played on the same bill as The Bossmen at the local YMCA, and later approached their guitarist Dick Wagner, who was also a producer and songwriter, with a demo copy of a song called ‘She’ll Be Back’. This was re-recorded with Wagner’s assistance and released as a single on his Dicto label in May 1966, backed with ‘The Wicked Old Witch’ (the a-side is a good fuzztone garage number, the flip veering towards novelty territory).
‘I Cannot Stop You’ and ‘Don’t Walk Away’ were recorded while still The Bells of Rhymny, the a-side being a Wagner composition. The band were looking for a new name after a personnel change and the Cherry Slush moniker was taken from a sign in an ice cream parlour.
The a-side is a very well constructed, catchy tune with Beatle-esque harmonies, an understated but effective guitar solo, and an effect that sounds like a plane taking off (presumably a fingernail being dragged along a guitar string). It also has brass, which can be the death knell for a garage psych song, but in this instance the horn parts, provided by a friend from high school, are tastefully done and fit the song well.
The flip is a poppy ballad with another neat little guitar break.
The single was initially released on the Coconut Groove label out of Flint, Michigan in November 1967, and picked up a couple of months later by USA Records. The contract with USA saw the band playing in Detroit, Louisville, Chicago and every major city in Michigan, as well as appearing on TV, and the big time seemed to be beckoning. Their follow-up 45 included a potential chart hit in the ultra-commercial ‘Day Don’t Come’, complete with backing from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. But USA Records folded and it wasn’t long before the band followed suit, after one last single on the small Chivalry label.
Reissues: The band themselves released a compilation called Looking Back in 2001 with all their single sides plus The Bells of Rhymny 45. ‘I Cannot Stop You’ is also on 2131 South Michigan Avenue and the flip on Love Is A Sad Song.
- I Cannot Stop You / Don’t Walk Away (Coconut Groove, 1967 / USA, 1968)
- Gotta Take It Easy / Day Don’t Come (USA, 1968)
- Feel a Whole Lot Better / Birthday (as The Slush – Chivalry, 1968)