Rock, Metal The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810.html Fri, 28 Feb 2020 01:03:59 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Chuck Berry - After School Session (1957) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/21328-chuck-berry-after-school-session-1957.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/21328-chuck-berry-after-school-session-1957.html Chuck Berry - After School Session (1957)

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A1 	School Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell) 	
A2 	Deep Feeling 	
A3 	Too Much Monkey Business 	
A4 	Wee Wee Hours 	
A5 	Roly Poly 	
A6 	No Money Down 	
B1 	Brown Eyed Handsome Man 	
B2 	Berry Pickin' 	
B3 	Together (We Will Always Be) 	
B4 	Havana Moon 	
B5 	Down Bound Train 	
B6 	Drifting Heart

Chuck Berry - Composer, Guitar, Guitar (Steel), Vocals 
Willie Dixon - Bass
Jerome Green - Maracas
Ebby Hardy - Drums
Johnnie Johnson - Piano 
Jimmy Rogers - Guitar
Otis Spann - Piano
Jasper Thomas - Drums 

 

Chuck Berry's debut LP is fairly strong musically, as well as having a really cool cover (a still shot of Berry, guitar slung in front of him, from the movie Rock, Rock, Rock!). After School Session was just the second long-player ever issued by Chess -- only the soundtrack to the movie Rock, Rock, Rock! preceded it. This May 1957 release made Berry something of a late-bloomer among rock & roll's foundation performers -- he'd had his first recording session two years earlier, in May of 1955, and by the spring of 1957, Bill Haley already had a handful of LPs to his credit, Elvis Presley was gaining on him, and Clyde McPhatter's version of the Drifters was represented on album, with numerous others soon to join their ranks. Berry had actually enjoyed only two major pop (i.e. rock as opposed to R&B) chart hits at the time: "Maybellene" in the summer of 1955, and "Roll Over Beethoven," which had just made the Top 30 in the summer of 1956. It was "School Day," the lead-off track here, that heralded his successful 18-month assault on the Top 40, opening a string of hits that included "Rock and Roll Music," "Sweet Little Sixteen," "Johnny B. Goode," and "Carol," and resulted in the release of After School Session -- the title offers curious multiple meanings, incidentally, intended to attract Berry's teen audience in the most innocent of terms (in connection with the rock & roll cuts), but also subtly invoking more daring "extra-curricular" activity in its blues and ballads, and older, post-teen concerns. In those days, as a policy, Chess' rock & roll and blues LPs were comprised of previously existing single sides, and, thus, beyond the current single, the songs leap wildly across different sounds and styles -- impromptu blues ("Deep Feeling"), and dance ("Roly Poly," "Berry Pickin'"), instrumentals are interspersed with a trio of rock & roll jewels, "Too Much Monkey Business" and "No Money Down," with their accents on the joys and textures of teenage life, which somehow didn't catch on among mainstream listeners as singles, and the piercing, provocative "Brown Eyed Handsome Man," which showed how easily Berry could broach sensitive or provocative material if it were masked by a hot enough beat and loud enough guitar, bass, and drums; and we take detours into blues ("Wee Wee Hours," "Downbound Train"), ballads ("Together (We'll Always Be)," "Drifting Heart"), and even calypso music ("Havana Moon"). All of it was recorded in four separate sessions spread across almost two years; the rock & roll numbers and the guitar-driven instrumentals out-class most of the blues and ballads, but there's nothing here that could be classed as "filler," either -- a lot of British Invasion bands wore out copies of these same sides learning their basic repertory, and domestic roots rockers could have done worse than to listen to "Downbound Train" or "No Money Down." --- Bruce Eder, AllMusic Review

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Chuck Berry Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:45:34 +0000
Chuck Berry - Berry Is on Top (1959) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/20293-chuck-berry-berry-is-on-top-1959.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/20293-chuck-berry-berry-is-on-top-1959.html Chuck Berry - Berry Is on Top (1959)

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A1 	Almost Grown 	2:21
A2 	Carol 	2:21
A3 	Maybellene 	2:27
A4 	Sweet Little Rock & Roller 	2:39
A5 	Anthony Boy 	2:26
A6 	Johnny B. Goode 	2:30
B1 	Little Queenie 	2:36
B2 	Jo Jo Gunne 	2:49
B3 	Roll Over Beethoven 	2:30
B4 	Around And Around 	2:20
B5 	Hey Pedro 	2:18
B6 	Blues For Hawaiians 	2:25

Bass Guitar – George "Harmonica" Smith, Willie Dixon
Drums – Eddie Hardy, Fred Below, Jasper Thomas
Guitar – Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry
Lead Vocals – Chuck Berry
Maracas – Jerome Green
Piano – Johnnie Johnson, Lafayette Leake

 

If you had to sweat all of Chuck Berry's early albums on Chess (and some, but not all, of his subsequent greatest-hits packages), this would be the one to own. The song lineup is exemplary, cobbling together classics like "Maybellene," "Carol," "Sweet Little Rock & Roller," "Little Queenie," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Around and Around," "Johnny B. Goode," and "Almost Grown." With the addition of the Latin-flavored "Hey Pedro," the steel guitar workout "Blues for Hawaiians," "Anthony Boy," and "Jo Jo Gunne," this serves as almost a mini-greatest-hits package in and of itself. While this may be merely a collection of singles and album ballast (as were most rock & roll LPs of the 1950s and early '60s), it ends up being the most perfectly realized of Chuck Berry's career. ---Cub Koda, Rovi

 

Chuck Berry is an American original. Celebrating six decades in the music business, this East St. Louis native initially captivated millions of kids in the '50s with his first recordings like "Maybellene" and "Roll Over Beethoven." He drove the rockers mad with his famous guitar licks, poetic lyrics and dynamic presence on stage. Introduced to Chess Records by fellow blues rocker Muddy Waters, Berry hit a goldmine immediately with his arsenal of tunes that he presented to Phil and Leonard Chess.

A lot of these great songs became top charting singles which culminated in the release of his masterful third album Berry Is On Top in 1959. The classic 12-track album is highlighted by the monumental cuts "Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Maybellene," plus more powerhouse recordings like "Carol," "Sweet Little Rock & Roller," "Little Queenie," "Around and Around" and "Jo Jo Gunne.

Chuck Berry was more than a rock ‘n roll genius. He was a natural poet. He could rhyme. He could compose lyrically two and three minute musical stories about the everyday man and woman, about the struggles of being a teenager, about romance, about cars, about faraway places, about dancing, and most notably about rock ‘n rollin.’ His unconventional approach to music was unlike that of anyone before him. --- musicdirect.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Chuck Berry Sat, 03 Sep 2016 13:19:59 +0000
Chuck Berry - Capital Jazz Festival, Knebworth Park, UK 1981 http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/3056-capital-jazz-festival-1981.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/3056-capital-jazz-festival-1981.html Chuck Berry - Capital Jazz Festival, Knebworth Park, UK 1981

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1. Everyday I have the Blues
2. Sweet Little Sixteen
3. Hail Hail Rock'n'Roll
4. Around & Around
5. Roll Over Beethoven
6. Honest I Do (?)
7. Reelin & Rockin

 

Part of an FM broadcast by Capital Radio, London, UK of Chuck Berry performing at the Capital Jazz Festival, Knebworth Park, UK on either 24 or 25 July 1981. Ingrid joins him for a couple of tracks.

Recorded to cassette from the original broadcast.

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Chuck Berry Fri, 08 Jan 2010 23:07:05 +0000
Chuck Berry - Chuck (2017) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/21751-chuck-berry-chuck-2017.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/21751-chuck-berry-chuck-2017.html Chuck Berry - Chuck (2017)

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01. Wonderful Woman (5:19)
02. Big Boys (3:05)
03. You Go to My Head (3:21)
04. 3/4 Time (Enchiladas) (3:47)
05. Darlin' (3:20)
06. Lady B. Goode (2:55)
07. She Still Loves You (3:00)
08. Jamaica Moon (3:50)
09. Dutchman (3:47)
10. Eyes of Man (2:27)

 

When Chuck Berry died in March, he had already announced the release of his first album in 38 years.

It’s not like he hasn’t kept busy the past four decades. He performed live quite a bit, especially in his hometown of St. Louis, until declining health finally pushed the rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, who was 90 when he died, off the stage for good. He also had recorded and stockpiled material from 1991 through 2014, the year he gave his last performance. Ten of those songs make up Chuck, a fitting conclusion to the influential career of one of rock’s great architects.

Like other late-life albums by artists who got their starts around the same time as Berry, Chuck isn’t so much a valuable addition to his catalog as it is tribute to and reminder of his achievements. None of the songs comes close to “Maybellene” or “Johnny B. Goode”; there’s not even anything as good as the title track to 1973’s Bio album here. But as the final project from someone who was there at the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll, it’s a fond and nostalgic look back sprinkled with references to his storied past.

The best cuts are the ones with the clearest connections to his long line of groundbreaking ’50s and ’60s songs. Opener “Wonderful Woman” borrows its melody from “Back in the U.S.A.” and a handful of other classics, and features the sort of slinging guitar line that came naturally to Berry. “Big Boys” is an autobiographical glance at his youth, complete with a roaring riff that echoes the ones that shaped generations of guitar players. And the slight but swinging “Lady B. Goode” gender swaps “Johnny B. Goode” to charming effect.

Aided by his longtime backing group — as well as special guests Gary Clark, Jr., Tom Morello and Nathaniel Rateliff — Berry rarely yields the spotlight for his last bow. Make no mistake — Chuck is his show, and he charges through its 35 minutes with the same command and authority that drove his string of hits back in the day. His voice is worn and weathered at times, but the cracks slip easily into the songs’ foundations.

The album’s final third reveals some of the thin threads and decades of sessions that hold it all together. “Jamaica Moon” basically rewrites 1956’s infinitely better “Havana Moon,” and the nearly four-minute “Dutchman” is a spoken-word piece recited over a laborious blues shuffle.

Chuck is like that — part backward glance, part shameless recast and part victory lap. When it comes to life, it’s thanks to Berry’s eternal enthusiasm for the music. It doesn’t face down mortality like two other final albums by recently departed artists, David Bowie‘s Blackstar and Leonard Cohen‘s You Want It Darker. But it’s not supposed to. It’s a celebration of rock ‘n’ roll music — something Berry did better than almost anyone else. --- ultimateclassicrock.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Chuck Berry Sun, 11 Jun 2017 14:09:43 +0000
Chuck Berry - Fresh Berry's (1965) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/21340-chuck-berry-fresh-berrys-1965.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/21340-chuck-berry-fresh-berrys-1965.html Chuck Berry - Fresh Berry's (1965)

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A1 	It Wasn't Me 	2:26
A2 	Run, Joe 	2:15
A3 	Every Day We Rock & Roll 	2:10
A4 	One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) 	2:40
A5 	Welcome Back, Pretty Baby 	2:30
A6 	It's My Own Business 	2:07
B1 	Right Off Rampart Street 	2:19
B2 	Vaya Con Dios 	2:35
B3 	Merrily We Rock & Roll 	2:09
B4 	My Mustang Ford 	2:12
B5 	Ain't That Just Like A Woman 	2:13
B6 	Wee Hour Blues 	2:50

Chuck Berry - primary artist

 

Chuck Berry's last album for Chess, for the next four years, has him back in the U.S., and running smack into the mid-'60s blues revival, playing with the likes of Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield (who were beginning a brief but productive association with Muddy Waters around this time). The material varies from first-rate songs ("It Wasn't Me," "My Mustang Ford," "Ain't That Just Like a Woman") that sound utterly contemporary, to fascinating experiments ("One for My Baby") and filler like "Everyday We Rock and Roll" and "Merrily We Rock and Roll." He still rocks out, and sounds like he's having a great time playing blues with Bloomfield and Butterfield ("Sad Day-Long Night" etc.), sounding like an old Chicago bluesman, which, ironically, was the direction he chose to go in during his subsequent four-year stint with Mercury Records. He still does some straight rock & roll -- "It's My Own Business" is a great teen rebellion number -- and occasionally indulges his taste for music from the islands ("Run Joe"), in what was essentially an era-closing album, and his last attempt at making a contemporary album with his established sound. Berry's next step was four years of neglect, followed by his rediscovery as an "oldies" act. ---Bruce Eder, AllMusic Review

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Chuck Berry Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:43:09 +0000
Chuck Berry - Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll (1993) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/21356-chuck-berry-hail-hail-rock-n-roll-1993.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/21356-chuck-berry-hail-hail-rock-n-roll-1993.html Chuck Berry - Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll (1993)

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1 	Maybellene 	2:18
2 	Thirty Days 	2:21
3 	No Money Down 	2:56
4 	Roll Over Beethoven 	2:22
5 	Brown Eyed Handsome Man 	2:15
6 	Too Much Monkey Business 	2:53
7 	You Can't Catch Me 	2:42
8 	School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes The Bell) 	2:40
9 	Rock & Roll Music 	2:30
10 	Sweet Little Sixteen 	3:10
11 	Reelin' And Rockin' 	3:15
12 	Johnny B. Goode 	2:37
13 	Around And Around 	2:38
14 	Beautiful Delilah 	2:13
15 	Carol 	2:46
16 	Sweet Little Rock And Roller 	2:20
17 	Almost Grown 	2:18
18 	Little Queenie 	2:40
19 	Back In The Usa 	2:27
20 	Memphis, Tennessee 	2:10
21 	Let It Rock 	1:45
22 	Bye Bye Johnny 	2:03
23 	I'm Talking About You 	1:48
24 	Come On 	1:48
25 	Nadine (Is It You) 	2:35
26 	No Particular Place To Go 	2:41
27 	You Never Can Tell 	2:40
28 	Promised Land 	2:20

 

Taylor Hackford, director of the 1987 concert documentary “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll,” on Saturday paid tribute to the rock icon Chuck Berry, who died earlier that day at age 90.

“Chuck Berry was the greatest creative force in the birth of Rock & Roll – that’s a fact,” the Oscar-winning director wrote. “That’s why we all came together in 1986 to celebrate him in my film, ‘Hail, Hail, Rock & Roll': Keith Richards (Music Director), Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Linda Ronstadt, Julian Lennon, Etta James, Robbie Robertson and Bruce Springsteen.”

Hackford also acknowledged the music icon’s reputation for causing a stir.

‘Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll’ Director Recalls Chuck Berry: ‘Most Difficult Movie Star I’ve Even Worked With’ Taylor Hackford also credits the rock icon as “the greatest creative force in the birth of rock & roll”

“But Chuck was complicated — in fact, he was the most difficult ‘movie star’ I’ve even [sic] worked with,” Hackford wrote. “It was like trying to ride a Brahma Bull — you can try to ride him, but he’s going to buck you off.

“Keith Richards and I soon learned that we would have to ‘wing-it,’ if we wanted to get anything on screen. But still, I loved Chuck, because he was the ‘real deal,’ an original genius who created a true American Art Form — why shouldn’t he be difficult.”

Hackford also acknowledged his contributions to music. “Not only did he invent the most famous guitar licks in Rock & Roll history, he could also sing in a totally unique style everything from Blues, to Country to Jazz. (A friend told me that the first time he heard Memphis on the radio, he thought Chuck Berry was a white country singer.)

“But what made Chuck the greatest of all other 50s Rock & Roll Artists was his talent as a Songwriter — his compositions were miles above anything else written in that decade. Of course, I’m not the first to say that — John Lennon, Jagger & Richards, Bob Dylan all said that they wouldn’t have here without CB. A few years ago Prince told me the same thing.”

Hackford concluded his tribute: “What I’m most happy about is that we were able to capture Chuck when he still had all pistons firing — an auto allusion that’s perfect, because no one could write a song about America’s love [of] the automobile better than Chuck — or a song about the sexiness of a 16-year-old girl, or a love song about a Havana Moon.” --- sfgate.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Chuck Berry Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:17:13 +0000
Chuck Berry - Icon (2011) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/12101-chuck-berry-icon-2011.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/12101-chuck-berry-icon-2011.html Chuck Berry - Icon (2011)

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1. Maybellene 2:22
2. Brown Eyed Handsome Man 2:18
3. Roll Over Beethoven 2:24
4. School Day 2:42
5. Rock And Roll Music 2:33
6. Sweet Little Sixteen 3:02
7. Johnny B. Goode 2:41
8. Craol 2:49
9. Nadine (Is It You) 2:36
10. You Can Nver Tell 2:44
11. My Ding-A-Ling (Live-Single Edit) 4:18
12. No Particular Place To Go 2:42

 

Universal’s Icon rounds up 12 of Chuck Berry’s biggest hits, which means it does find space for “My Ding-A-Ling,” but apart from that, this captures him at full flight on Chess. “Maybellene,” “Brown Eyed Handsome Man, “Johnny B. Goode,” “Nadine,” “Carol,” and “No Particular Place to Go” are all here, and while there are some great tunes missing, this does provide the best basics in an entertaining package. ---Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic Review

 

Chuck Berry’s vast contribution to the music world is reflected in the plaudits he has won from many of the most well known artists who followed him. As a songwriter, guitarist and performer, he shaped rock and roll and has more than earned his place in the Top 5 of the Rolling Stone list of The Immortals. In 2004 six of his songs found their way onto the magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, including “Johnny B. Goode”, “Maybellene”, “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Sweet Little Sixteen”, though these are only small number of the total which have entered public consciousness over the last 50 years. Unbelievably, he only ever scored one No.1 with “My Ding-A-Ling” in 1972. Though his last studio album, Rock It was released in 1979, he continues to perform with a limited schedule, once a month, at the Blueberry Hill restaurant in St. Louis. ---amazon.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Chuck Berry Wed, 25 Apr 2012 16:10:56 +0000
Chuck Berry - One Dozen Berrys (1958) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/21345-chuck-berry-one-dozen-berrys-1958.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/21345-chuck-berry-one-dozen-berrys-1958.html Chuck Berry - One Dozen Berrys (1958)

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A1 	Sweet Little Sixteen 	
A2 	Blue Feeling 	
A3 	La Jaunda (Espanola) 	
A4 	Rockin' At The Philharmonic 	
A5 	Oh Baby Doll 	
A6 	Guitar Boogie 	
B1 	Reelin' And Rockin' 	
B2 	Ingo 	
B3 	Rock And Roll Music 	
B4 	How You've Changed 	
B5 	Low Feeling 	
B6 	It Don't Take But A Few Minutes

Chuck Berry - Composer, Primary Artist 

 

Chuck Berry's second album is ever so slightly more sophisticated than its predecessor. Although One Dozen Berrys is hooked around a pair of hit singles, "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Rock & Roll Music," most of what's here doesn't really sound too much like either of those songs -- rather, the other ten tracks each constitute a close-up look at some individual component of the types of music that goes into brewing up the Chuck Berry sound. Thus, the slow instrumental "Blue Feeling" is a look at the blues sound that Berry initially proposed to bring to Chess Records; "How You've Changed" presents him in a slow ballad, singing in a manner closer to Nat "King" Cole than to any rock & roller of the era; and "Lajaunda" shows off his love of Latin music. "Rocking at the Philharmonic" is a rippling guitar/piano workout, a compendium of the sounds that lay beneath those hit singles, and a killer showcase not only for Berry, but also for Lafayette Leake at the ivories, and also a decent showcase for Willie Dixon's bass playing. "Oh Baby Doll" is a return to the beat of "Maybellene," this time carrying a lyric that's more sensual (in a bluesy sense) than rollicking fun, though it comes out that way amid the pounding beat and Berry's crunchy, angular guitar solo. "Guitar Boogie" is yet another guitar instrumental, one of four on this album, leading one to wonder if he was running short of first-rate lyrics in mid-1957, amid his frantic pace of recording and touring -- no matter, for the piece is a killer track, a pumping, soaring working out for Berry's guitar that had some of the most impressive pyrotechnics that one was likely to hear in 1957; what's more, the track was good enough to form the template for Jeff Beck's more ornate adaptation, "Jeff's Boogie," from the 1966 album Roger the Engineer (aka The Yardbirds aka Over Under Sideways Down). The best of the album's tracks is easily "Reelin' & Rockin'," which is also just about the dirtiest song that Berry released in all of the 1950s (and for many years after that), essentially a blues-boogie recasting, on a more overt level, of the extended feats of sexual intercourse alluded to in Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock." The one totally weird track here is "Low Feeling," which is nothing but "Blue Feeling" doctored in the studio by Leonard and Phil Chess, slowed down to half speed and edited to create a 12th track -- doing that to the original was bad enough, but sticking it on the same LP with the original was downright bizarre. And the album's closer, "It Don't Take But a Few Minutes," is a reminder of just how much Berry owed to country music for his sound, and explains, to anyone coming in late, how he could have been mistaken for a white hillbilly in those early days, based on the sound of this song and "Maybelline." --- Bruce Eder, AllMusic Review

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Chuck Berry Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:05:01 +0000
Chuck Berry - Rock It (1979) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/4840-chuck-berry-rock-it-1979.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/4840-chuck-berry-rock-it-1979.html Chuck Berry - Rock It (1979)

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1 	Move It 	2:27
2 	Oh What A Thrill 	3:06
3 	I Need You Baby 	3:09
4 	If I Were 	3:02
5 	House Lights 	4:28
6 	I Never Thought 	3:50
7 	Havana Moon 	5:05
8 	Wuden't Me 	2:41
9 	California 	2:16
10 	Pass Away 	5:33

Bass – Bob Wray, Jim Marsala
Drums – Kenneth Buttrey
Piano – Johnny Johnson
Vocals, Guitar, Producer – Chuck Berry

 

After a long, long run at the label, Chuck Berry left Chess Records after 1975's Chuck Berry '75 and wound up on Atco, where he released what stands as his last studio album (at least as of this writing), Rock It in 1979. There are two concessions to the modern age: the production is a bit bright and tight, particularly in the rhythm section, and the artwork bizarrely (and somewhat appealingly) rides the post-Star Wars wave as it features Chuck's signature Gibson orbiting the Earth (which also nicely plays into the pun of the title, a pun so slight that it's possible to not realize it's a pun without the artwork). Minus these, Rock It is a classic Chuck Berry album, resting heavily on his chugging, clever rock & rollers balanced by a few slow blues. A familiar formula it might be, but it still packed a punch, even if it wasn't as powerful as it used to be. That diminished power is almost entirely due to the slightly canned rhythms and production, which make the overall sound of Rock It just a little bit too stiff, but that's somewhat redeemed by Johnny Johnston's piano, sounding every bit as enthusiastic as it did in Chuck's Chess heyday, and Berry himself, who tosses off these songs with a nonchalant charm. And, of course, there's the fact that Berry could still write a hell of a rock & roll song. Of these ten songs, he revives only two older songs: the Caribbean ballad "Havana Moon," here given a campy arrangement that renders it the worst cut by far here, and "It Wasn't Me" is turned into "Wuden't Me" with a brand new set of lyrics, all about being on the run from racism in the South. As impressive as this new "Wuden't Me" is -- and it is; it's barbed, cynical, clever, and funny -- it's overshadowed by several new songs that may not be major but they are satisfying, including the West Coast valentine "California," the lively love tune "If I Were," the car song "Move It," and, best of all, "Oh What a Thrill," an infectious, exuberant rocker that could have been released as a sequel to "You Never Can Tell." It's a great song crying out for a truly great treatment -- which it got a year later when Rockpile covered it on their Seconds of Pleasure album, making it sound like a lost classic instead of a new Chuck Berry tune thanks to their loose-limbed playing. While Chuck could have used some of that looseness here on Rock It, the preciseness of the production doesn't ruin the record; it merely dampens the impact of the performances -- and by doing so, it makes it harder to hear the songs that are still very good. So, Rock It is neither a grand final statement or a neglected gem: it is merely another good Chuck Berry record, graced with three or four terrific songs and a bunch of enjoyable straight-ahead rockers that aren't quite as memorable but sure sound good as they play -- and in that sense, even if this is not a great record, it is a fitting final record since it stays true to the strengths and weaknesses of Chuck's albums since the very beginning. ---Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic Review

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Chuck Berry Tue, 01 Jun 2010 10:51:03 +0000
Chuck Berry - Rockin' at the Hops (1960) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/11555-chuck-berry-rockin-at-the-hops-1960.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/rock/810-chuckberry/11555-chuck-berry-rockin-at-the-hops-1960.html Chuck Berry - Rockin' at the Hops (1960)

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01. Bye Bye Johnny (Chuck Berry) - 2:02				play
02. Worried Life Blues (Maceo Merriweather) - 2:07
03. Down The Road A Piece (Don Raye) - 2:10
04. Confessin' The Blues (Walter Brown/Jay McShann) - 2:06
05. Too Pooped To Pop (B.Davis) - 2:31
06. Mad Lad (B.Davis) - 2:06
07. I Got To Find My Baby (Chuck Berry) - 2:12
08. Betty Jean (Chuck Berry) - 2:25
09. Childhood Sweetheart (Chuck Berry) - 2:40
10. Broken Arrow (Chuck Berry) - 2:19
11. Driftin' Blues (Charles Brown/Johnny Moore's Three Blazers/Eddie Williams) - 2:16
12. Let It Rock (Chuck Berry) - 1:42					play

Personnel:
- Chuck Berry - guitar, Vocals
- Matt "Guitar" Murphy - guitar
- Leroy C.Davis - tenor saxophone
- Willie Dixon - bass
- Johnnie Johnson - piano
- Fred Below, Eddie Hardy, Jaspar Thomas - drums
- The Moonglows - backing vocals

 

The two classic cuts that bookend this album should be enough to attract the uninitiated -- Berry at his best wrote danceable little "vest-pocket" screenplays dealing with teen life, of which "Bye Bye Johnny" and "Let It Rock" were two of his best; but because they've been so heavily anthologized, those two cuts don't have the pulling power here that they would have had 40-some years back. So get this record for everything else that's on it -- Rockin' at the Hops not only has no filler, but it's chock full of records that show off a bluesy side of Berry's output that was never fully appreciated at the time. His version of Big Maceo's "Worried Life Blues" shows how good a bluesman Berry might've been had he been more the Muddy Waters-type player and singer that Chess had been looking for; "Down the Road a Piece," a song written by Don Raye (of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" fame), is a lost Berry single that could've rated right up there with "Roll Over Beethoven," except that its roadhouse ambience and story line were more mature than a lot of kids might've embraced in 1959; and Walter Brown's "Confessin' the Blues" and "Driftin' Blues" fit into the same category, Berry the adult bluesman rather than the teen-oriented teaser. "Childhood Sweetheart" is a sequel to "Wee Wee Hours," Berry's very first blues side, lifting a fragment or two from Elmore James' "Dust My Broom" for its guitar break. "Too Pooped to Pop" and "Betty Jean," by contrast, are a pair of enjoyably upbeat rock & roll numbers, each featuring uncharacteristic elements, a sax solo on the former, and a male chorus on the latter; in between them is "Mad Lad," an instrumental that presents Berry drifting into what would later be defined as a surf guitar mode -- a quicker tempo would have done it (and does anyone want to bet that a young Carl Wilson didn't wear out a copy or two listening to this track?). --- Bruce Eder, allmusic.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Chuck Berry Wed, 01 Feb 2012 20:01:12 +0000