Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New London Sessions!

Chuck Berry has always had a strong connection to England. He toured there in the early 1960s. The musicians of the British Invasion championed his music. He recorded two of his albums for Chess in England—Chuck Berry in London (about half of which was recorded there) and The London Sessions. Some of my favorite live performances were captured in London by BBC in 1972 and fill these pages via youtube. There are pictures of him in the new Geffen set from the 1960s surrounded by adoring English boys. At least three recent books about Chuck Berry were written by English fans—Bruce Pegg (who evidently lives in the U.S.), John Collis and Fred Rothwell.

And he can still do a good tour there, with a bunch of theaters, and excited fans.

I’m jealous of those fans. I figure if I were in England, I could see two, maybe even three of the shows. A train ride here, a short drive there. And what seems especially cool, is that Chuck Berry is going to get some practice in during those weeks in England.

Here in the states the shows are becoming more and more rare, and when I saw Chuck Berry perform last January at Blueberry Hill it was a great, fun show—but the guitar work? A little rusty.

But then I see tapes of him playing there last September, coincidentally after playing B. B. Kings in New York just a few days earlier, and what a difference. The licks were flying pretty high. It didn’t sound exactly like the guy in those BBC tapes, but it sure sounded good.

So I’m betting that some of the crowds in England are going to be treated to something pretty special—a Chuck Berry show with his own band and with that little extra something you get by playing every day.

Buy those tickets, boys and girls. Reward him with your love and applause you lucky &$^%(5es.

You really are lucky as hell.

P.S. to Charles, Sr. Since you’ll be in a groove, this might be a good time to stop in at a London studio and record something new with the band and your two band mate children. A nice family style album, with Charles Jr. on guitar, Ingrid on harp and vocals, piano by Bob Lohr, and bass by Mr. Marsala and rhythm supplied by Keith Robinson.

And YOU. One last time. At least!

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