Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ed Brown Meets Chuck Berry

(Photo courtesy Ronny Elliott)

By accident yesterday I discovered for the first time a singer-songwriter named Ronny Elliott. From the bits of MP3s I found on his site, he's wonderful. (I was interested because he posted a photo of his band backing Chuck Berry long ago.) He writes great songs, with witty lyrics that remind me in some ways of our local hero. But one cool thing I heard that I wanted to tell you about is a "number" called "Ed Brown Meets Chuck Berry." It's not a song. It's an interview-- a story well told by Mr. Brown about the time he and his buddies spotted Chuck Berry's Cadillac driving through Knoxville, Tennessee. They chase him down, ask for an autograph, get invited to lunch with Berry and his group, go to the show, get singled out by Berry at the show, and then head off to dinner with him. I think he said the Cadillac was a '58, so you know this is in the heart of Chuck Berry's first flame of glory; and since it's also in the heart of the south, in the late 1950s, it's a mix of wonder and horror (refused entrance to a restaurant, they gobble dinner on the sidewalk). A great story, worth the price of a great record, which you can order on line-- and a good time to do it, since I'm told Mr. Brown just passed a few weeks ago.

And it confirms my own thoughts about Chuck Berry and a lot of others-- that by doing these shows, and bringing down those rope fences, and signing autographs, and enduring the racial indignities, he was right there with Rosa Parks and so many other great Americans who helped change not just the sound of the world, but the world itself.

Learn more about Ronny Elliott, hear some of his music, and buy it at

Thank you Mr. Berry! And Mr. Elliott! And Mr. Brown! RIP

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