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Friday, August 21, 2009
Chuck Berry - The Chess Years Red Box - Berry Pickin' Fun
Chuck Berry was born on October 18,1926 in St. Louis,MO is still alive and kicking and playing live shows! Did you know that? Guitarist and songwriter extraordinaire with a box set of 9 discs here,my hope is,you are going to get a complete education on Chuck.He isn't just about one song called "Maybellene", so, I expect readers to listen,and hope you get a better picture of him. The famous joke here,is, Chuck's only number one song is "My Ding-A-Ling". My Ding-A-Ling or not, He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in it's first year, in 1986. Richard Berry (no relation to Chuck) another brilliant 50's songwriter recording artist drew on Chuck Berry's Havana Moon,as an inspiration for his own song, the now classic Louie Louie, the song that launched many a garage band. From listening to this music for weeks now, there's a lot more to Chuck than just one or two songs which really don't define him as an artist. He was one of those musicians who wrote and sang and played his own music,which for the mid-50's was no small feat. He wrote a blend of country,hillbilly, rhythm and blues,but blues with a big giant beat (but trying to go beyond the old blues style). Leonard Chess recalled: "I told Chuck to give it a bigger beat. History, the rest, you know? The kids wanted the beat, the cars and young love. It was a trend and we jumped on it. While Elvis was a country boy who sang 'black' to some degree, Chuck Berry provided the mirror image where country music was filtered through an R&B sensibility. If he didn't get a big hit with Maybellene right away,he might have not been able to keep recording and making records for Chess. He was ahead of the pack, with one hit song under his belt, that was enough for Chess Records to jump into rock and roll, and stray from the deep south blues sounds,they were typically making. As long as you produce those hits. And he did. Like me, you will probably really start digging his lesser known hits. He wrote durable, clever catchy melodies,and the way he played a guitar launched a million bands. Ask Keith. Actually ask any British Invasion band that question. There's no color barrier when you write your own songs and play them, like he does. Where would we be without him? This is just a couple from this long out of print set,and I will post all 9 in the series,so stay tuned. Chuck 1