Friday, September 18, 2009

You Can't Always Get What You Want (But You Can Ask!)

Photo by Alan White,

Darlin', your father's growing older, I fear;
Strains of gray are showing bolder each year.
Lay your head upon my shoulder, my dear:
Time is fading fast away.

“Darlin’” (copyright) Chuck Berry

These lyrics, quoted several years ago in The New Yorker, are what we hope to hear sung one day—on record, sure, but preferably on stage, with Darlin’ Ingrid Berry somewhere nearby.

If it’s true, as reported back in 2002, that the song “goes on to sing of death and tells how tired he's grown of playing his ancient hits and doing his trademark duckwalk for the pleasure of baby boomers” then by all means, he should stop singing them, and trust us to love the new stuff—the stuff that’s gone more or less unheard for 30 years now, since 1979’s “Rockit.”

That’s what Blueberry Hill should be—a place where real fans can go and hear Chuck Berry be himself, singing ballads and blues and rarities along with a “hit” or two.

I have heard “Nadine” played as well as it can be played. I have heard “Johnny” be very, very good lots and lots of times. I’ve heard “School Day,” and “Reeling and Rocking” and His “Ding-a-Ling.”

But I’ve never heard “Darlin’,” or “Lady Be Good,” or “Big Boys.”  Nor have I heard “Oh Louisiana” sung live, or even classics like “Havana Moon.”

Chuck Berry—you’ve got a band that loves you, and fans that love you, and some years left.

Maybe at Blueberry Hill you play the new stuff, the unheard stuff, the stuff you’d really like to play before it’s all over.

I promise you this. If you do it, we will come.

I sure will, anyway.

For more GREAT photos of Chuck, Ingrid, and Charles, Jr., see this website:

For The New Yorker article, check here:

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