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

Chuck 2





12 comments:

Jon said...

Wow, thanks for sharing this one. There's some kind of Chuck Berry Chess Box Set that is currently in print. I was just thinking that I need to buy it. I haven't done a prolonged Chuck Berry listening session in quite a while. Great stuff.

garage 66 & mojo repair shop said...

Jon,you should still pick up the current box set. Because they may have remastered the music,and added bonus tracks,you know...and you might fall in love with this sound. I did. After listening to this box set,I can see why the Beach Boys were so influenced by this too.
It's infectious.

Jon said...

Yes, I suppose I should buy the Chuck Berry box set, but I am trying to see my way clear to buying the Complete Hank Williams box set for $150. Also, I am old enough that my initial exposure to Chuck's classics was on 7" singles. The sound quality was lousy, but I associate that sound with Chuck Berry. For years, I loved my slightly warped LP of the The Dictators "Bloodbrothers". Then it came out on CD and I heard the songs clearly and without the slight rumbling from the warp. They just didn't sound right.

garage 66 & mojo repair shop said...

Hank vs Chuck is a hard decision to make.
It's funny how to relate to hearing music on vinyl with a warp,and stuff.When I was younger(I'm old now!I'm dating myself!) I used to listen to those 8 track tapes in cars,and at home players.And I distinctly remember where the tape flips were,and they were loud and obnoxious,and that I expect to still hear them on the songs,still to this day. It's strange. Some of the songs were cut off right in the middle of the song,and that was irritating. I'm glad some technology has changed for the better.
I remember a lot of people were so upset about cassettes ruining all music. Well,mostly the record companies were crying a lot about it.Because it would have made it so easy to tape off of the radio,and an LP,that everyone was so scared that no one would still buy records. Did that actually happen,no. Then when CD's came into being in the mid 80's,people went out and bought them like crazy,or as soon as the price was a bit cheaper,and affordable.
I ended up buying a ton of CD's right away,and I didn't get a CD player right away.I waited to find one that sounded best.
I ended up taking the CD player apart anyways,and soldering in an op amp,to make it sound better...But to this day, I still hear the 8 track flip points. Weird! It is especially obvious with long songs, like a Pink Floyd 8 Track or a Led Zeppelin 8 Track.

I should start another blog,and call it, "What I Did For Music".
And have people submit their weird music stories. Warped records,modifying stereo gear,spending a lot of time,and money to go and see bands,etc.
There's got to be a lot of people who have interesting stories.
The groupies,the weird bands and their strange behavior,and you name it,how far will fans go to see their favorite bands,etc.
I think it could be a fun read.
Slightly crazy.

garage 66 & mojo repair shop said...

Jon:
I'll take that short story and put it on another blog. What I Did For Music. I think it's a good idea if you want to add more thoughts go ahead. I'm going to set up an alternate email account so you can send in any writing. People will be able to access me that way,and I will post whatever people send in. But I want to be able to edit it,and keep the real names out of it.
So no one gets busted for doing odd things,and honestly I don't care what the hell people do.
The blog is half ready to go.
I thought it might be fun,funny to read.There's a lot of nutty things people have done.And the things people do are strange. But I'm not going to be judgmental.
I hope people will send in photos of their record collections,stereos,and even odd things they've collected.
Again,What I Did For Music.
I can also imagine photos of bending shelves of albums ready to collapse.

Jon said...

You're welcome to the story. I could expand it if i had the original, but you didn't post it here. It was just a reminiscence written off the top of my head. I've been looking for that BB King song ever since. He had a hit with the same name, but I'm not talking about that song. This was a song about a hard drinking woman: "She drinks the worst moonshine in town/ Half a pint for just a few cents"

What about the great quandary of my youth: Food? Cigarettes? Music? Liquor? I could only afford one.

garage 66 & mojo repair shop said...

Jon:
You can add to it,by writing me at the new place. I really didn't know you would add more stuff to that small story.

http://whatididformusic.blogspot.com/

There's no hurry to add things or it can also be repaired,or edited. I think once you read it,on another page it might be easy to fix what you wrote.

KingToasty said...

Much Thanks!!! Got my Mojo workin'...
Missed my Chuck Berry grooves, a lot of my vinyl of his is gone... chess stuff, lp's and singles...the rest is in storage... mp3's will suffice -
reelin' and a rockin'!!!

KingToasty said...

BTW - The solo on "Too Much Monkey Business" is just insane...I mean out of control - and that's what's all about...

Michael said...

Great post! Thanks.
I just compared "Nadine" from this box set to the 2 CD Anthology (now Gold). Big sonic difference on the Anthology set. Remastered, for sure.
Bigger stereo sound & stereo spectrum, louder. Louder is not always better (compression), but you can hear the instrumentation much better on the 2 CD Set. The only weird thing is the added reverb/echo on vocals on "Nadine" on the 2 CD set.
It's not on this LP set.
Thanks again for the great LP set
and I'm truly not knocking it, but
just a wee bit comparison.

garage 66 & mojo repair shop said...

Well,it's an older set of discs!
If you didn't have it to compare then what? That is essentially what these sites are for,to audition the music,like radio,is the way to communicate the music,you are able to check it out,and hopefully buy a copy of the music.
We are trying to get people to buy good music,call me an anti-Britney Spears music site...(well, her type of music,okay)where we know that people like Chuck Berry made better music,that's classic,better,and more essential.
These sets also provide music that is out of print or gone,and that's why I preserve it for people who come to this site.

KingToasty said...

Yes, thanks for posting this and the other stuff...I have bought plenty of C. Berry vinyl in the past -- and i'm wondering if this out in vinyl? All the tracks are evidence of Berry's original musical genius and his range between styles--