Say what you will about Chuck Berry, but he is Chuck Berry: the single most important figure in the development of what we call Rock 'n Roll, and its first guitar playing singer-songwriter. Chuck Berry is a national treasure, and vastly under-appreciated in his and my hometown, St. Louis. You are more than likely to hear someone discuss his run-ins with the law than his genius songwriting. Sure, Chuck is difficult. Anyone who has seen Hail, Hail, Rock 'N Roll will remember his bitchfight with Keith Richards. Chuck does a regular monthly gig in St. Louis at Blueberry Hill, which can be either fabulous or an excruciating trainwreck. It depends what night you catch him. I learned pretty much everything I know about guitar playing from playing along with The Great Twenty-Eight. Below, is his second single on Chess from 1955, the follow-up to "Maybellene." Check out the guitar solo. This not something to be taken lightly. He invented this stuff. The B-side was his first stab at writing a Nat King Cole style ballad. It's a little rough around the edges. Starts off like Bo Diddley, and then he croons.
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Download: "Thirty Days" mp3
Download: "Together" mp3
Buy Chuck Berry music at Amazon
or at your local independently owned record store.