Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Best Of Chuck Berry

The Best Of Chuck Berry today, Disc one on the way to work, Disc two on the way home. The Best of is not a misnomer, Chuck Berry really had some greats.
Chuck Berry is one of three artists that I want to see before they, or indeed I, but hopefully they, die. Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard being the other two, the true pioneers of Rock and Roll.
This greatest hits album is of course brilliant, maybe not through out but the bits that are good are exceptional, and the exceptional of the exceptional are amongst some of the greatest songs ever recorded, Johnny B Goode, Maybelline, Roll Over Beethoven, Sweet Little 16, Sweet Little Rock and Roller and Rock and Roll Music, and that’s just a few, once you start thinking about Berrys great songs the list goes on an and on.
There are some criticisms though, No Particular Place To Go is a great song, the imitations of that formula Berry did following that release are good, but just that, imitations, and at 40 tracks you hear the imitations of Maybelline and Johnny B Goode. This is forgivable though, to hear Berry hollering Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll, to hear his guitar, to hear Johnnie Johnsons piano, to listen to these songs and appreciate how important they were then and the importance they have on what I listen to now. These aren’t museum pieces though, they rock with the best of them. Berrys Brown Eyed Handsome Man is far more believable than Buddy Hollys, you believe the stories, the indescretions, the scrapes with the law. So with all that its difficult to score, if this 40 track album was 10 tracks long it would easily be a ten out of ten, if it was 20 tracks long it would be a ten out of ten, 30 tracks and it might be nine out of ten, but at 40 tracks long its 8 out of 10.

Maybelline by Chuck Berry


  1. Good CB stuff. No mention of my favourites, Promised Land, Nadine, Run, Run Rudolph but that's Chuck Berry. About the repeated tunes, the words are usually the main thing. They struck chords with me in my youth.

    Jack Towl, Dad of Kev

  2. I also agree about Little Richard and JLL. Can you imagine listening to Rosemary Clooney and Frankie Laine then hearing JLL. Ask Kev about JLL on Blue Peter

  3. Promised Land was at one point my favourite Chuck Berry track, I had never heard it until John Peel played it in around 1988, I think that and Tulane were the songs that made me appreciate Rock n Roll.

  4. I had never heard 'Promised Land' 'til it appeared in a Kev Compilation (by Johnny Allan). Tracked it down and now have it by Chuck Berry. Class track.