Saturday, October 30, 2010

Did Johnnie write it?

The amazing Mavis Staples just closed down the Rally to Restore Sanity with the old Staples Singers hit "I'll Take You There."  My guitar was nearby and I couldn't help myself.  She sang it in B flat.  What would Keith think?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keith's Continuing Confusion...

I stopped in Target just long enough to browse through the Chuck Berry pages in Keith Richards' new autobiography-- or at any rate, those pages around page 456 or so.  I skimmed, so don't hold me to it.  Maybe this part of the book was ghostwritten from interviews for "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll," but if not, no signs of growth in understanding on Richards' part.  He's still talking about "piano keys."  He's still acting like Chuck Berry never played with a good band before October 1986.  And he thinks that he somehow reintroduced Chuck Berry to Johnnie Johnson.  It's one thing to say it in a drunken interview.  It's another to say it in a book.  As best I can tell, Chuck Berry and Johnnie Johnson worked together as long as Johnnie Johnson was alive.  Johnson added piano tracks to the "San Francisco Dues" album in 1971.  He played piano on the album "Rockit" in 1979.  And according to Morton Reff they played together in Europe at least once in 1984.  It's cool that Richards wanted Johnnie Johnson on "Hail! Hail!" but it wasn't the first reunion of two long lost friends-- it was just another in a long string of get togethers. 

What's sort of funny to me, though, is Keith's astonishment that the original rock and roller might not not follow Keith's rules.  He complains about the arrangements being "chucked" out the window as soon as the show started.  You'd think that a guy who abuses every sort of drug and alcohol, steals guitars from fans seeking autographs, falls from trees and smokes his own dad (just kidding) would understand that in rock and roll and life, rules are made to be broken.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Glimpse!

The Funky Butt Brass Band surprised us all at the end of the opening set and then made this fabulous video of Chuck coming from his dressing room at The Pageant.

A Review

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1317290/review_chuck_berry_concert_at_the_pageant.html

A Review

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1317290/review_chuck_berry_concert_at_the_pageant.html

More Chuck Berry from The Strathmore

I think he's just on a roll.  84 year long roll.



It occurs to me that no one ever films the shows I go to!  Maybe it's just as well.  The Pageant on October 16 lives on as perfect in my memory.  Maybe a youtube video would reduce it to a youtube video.  So I guess I'm happy if one never shows up. 

Anyway, thank Doug, our video curator, for yet another one. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Can't Stop The Train

Thanks Doug, for this one.  Piano, too!  I have always thought this might be Chuck Berry's favorite Chuck Berry song.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chuck Berry Sounding Sharp at Bethesda!

Here's a nice clip of Chuck with Daryl Davis and Jimmy Marsala tonight in Bethesda.  Nice guitar work, nice piano!

Too Cool! Karen and Judy Present a Brian Tones Painting to Chuck Berry for his 84th Birthday


The other night at Blueberry Hill we had the honor and pleasure of eating dinner with Judy Feldworth and Karen Ross, two people I consider "The Mayors of Blueberry Hill."  Judy pretty much runs the place, giving good natured orders to everyone from the wait staff to the owner; and Karen is obviously pulling strings behind the scenes in her quieter way.  They are both wonderful dinner companions, and have insight gained from more than 100 visits to Blueberry Hill so see their Uncle Chuck.  They have become friends of our hero, and as friends sometimes do, they brought him a special gift before the show: an original by artist Brian Tones.  (You can find Tones' website in my "review" of the October 10, 2010 show, below.)  Mr. Tones contributed the painting, and sent a note to Mr. Berry.  Judy and Karen got it framed (at considerable expense.)  Hail!  Hail!  to all three, (and the guy in the red shirt, too!)



Thank you Judy and Karen!  (And if you want to see Judy tell Tchaicovsky the news, CHECK IT OUT HERE!)

Tonight, in Maryland, Chuck Berry and Daryl Davis!

I coulda been a contender!  I coulda made it three in a row!  I coulda flown to Maryland! 

(I coulda been tossed out on my ear and served with divorce papers!)

No, I'm happy to be home in Seattle with the ones I love, but tonight, a SOLD OUT show beckons east coast fans, who will see the amazing Daryl Davis and his band back Chuck Berry at the Strathmore music center. 

"Chuck Berry is a genius," says Davis in the attached newspaper article. "He invented rock ‘n' roll. Everybody can say, ‘I play rock ‘n' roll.' He invented that. My favorite song of all time is ‘Johnny B. Goode.' To be onstage playing your favorite song with the guy who actually wrote it — that song has transcended time."  Read more HERE.

It's an amazing week for an 84 year old artist-- first two dynamite shows in St. Louis, then off to Maryland, and then back for an encore at a casino in Illinois, just across the river from old St. Lou. 

Daryl Davis has backed Chuck Berry for decades.  He plays the same sort of strong boogie woogie piano as Bob Lohr and Bob Baldori.  And his love for the man is evident on stage and in his writing.  (There's a lot of that writing on this website-- just use the "search" feature on the blog.)  When I got a chance to meet Chuck Berry, I gave him printouts of interviews with Daryl, Baldori and Lohr because I thought the man himself ought to know how the people who know him best feel about him.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chuck Berry at Blueberry Hill, October 20, 2010

Last Saturday I gave Chuck Berry a copy of a picture that I drew of him when I was 17.  It’s a drawing of the photo off the Bio cover.  He accepted it graciously.  

Last night I brought it to him again as he sat in a little doorway signing autographs after his show at Blueberry Hill.  I wanted him to sign my copy.  He obviously didn’t recall ever seeing the drawing.  “Looks like me,” he said.  

“It is you, dad!” said CBII, who was just behind him.  

He signed it with a sloppy silver pen, and I left a happy man.

These little interactions are part of what make Chuck Berry and the Blueberry Hill shows so remarkable.  The man who  taught The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, who changed the sound of America and the world, is right there, joking with the crowd, shaking hands with a guy in a Cubs outfit, signing autographs for a long line of fans after the show.

And playing rock and roll.

He started out last night with “Carol,” “Schoolday,” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

Then somebody requested “My Ding-a-Ling.”

Ah well!

Although he played many of the same songs, it wasn’t at all the same show as at The Pageant a few days earlier.  At The Pageant I kept being thrilled by the flawless and nearly flawless guitar licks-- sounds that were the obsession of my youth.  I remember seeing Chuck Berry play a show at Monterrey where I stood just a few feet away reveling at the fact that these sounds were being produced right there on that guitar right before my eyes.  

Same thing, for most of the show, at The Pageant.  And if I can read minds, which I can’t, I’d say he knew it, too.  He became daring with the guitar, pushing his fingers up and down the frets with abandon.

Last night at Blueberry Hill it wasn’t quite that way.  There were moments when everything clicked, moments when the circle did not hold, and moments when pure anarchy was loosed upon the world.

But you know what?  It was fun anyway-- and the crowd at Blueberry Hill never uttered a whisper of complaint.  They danced, sang “Go Johnny, Go!," and shouted “Happy Birthday!” and “We love you Chuck!”  

But let’s dispense with the chaos, first, because, if nothing else, it was interesting.  

After what seemed to be a reluctant “Ding-a-Ling,” Chuck began to tune his guitar.  He’s not reading this, so I’ll report (and this requires some of that mind reading again) that I saw momentary cringes from both Jimmy Marsala and CBII (whose look seemed to say “You’re digging your own grave, pop!”)  (Marsala’s look, though lightning fast, had the character of that oft-repeated scene where a person runs towards the camera in slow motion yelling “Nooooooo!”)  But too late.  


And then a remarkable thing happened.  Chuck Berry paraphrased that line from “Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll!”   “It is as we wish it!” he said, stamping his foot.  

The first song out was a rocker, and the remarkable thing was that it worked fine.  Even though the guitar was partly out of tune, he was able to bend the strings to the exact spot they belonged.

But eventually all was lost-- for a few moments.  From off stage we heard Ingrid singing the opening lines of “Rock Me Baby.”  There were a few moments of confusion about the key.  And as the song began, Chuck began cranking every tuning knob on his guitar-- not just tweaking or nudging them, cranking them, up, down, in, out, any way he wanted.

The result was three minutes of musical chaos, with the band playing one number and Chuck Berry making disjointed (but very loud) noise in the background.  I’d call it passive aggression except that there was nothing passive about it.  He settled in morosely at the back of the stage, leaning his forearm on the bass amp and making loud, incoherent sounds on his guitar, with a look that said (unconvincingly) “this is how we wish it.”

How Ingrid and the band managed to keep going, I will never know.  Ingrid and Charles huddled at one point, with looks of incredible determination.   



But all’s well that ends well.  When the song was done Chuck surrendered his guitar to Jimmy Marsala, accepted a Stratocaster from his son, almost “tuned” that, accepted a very meaningful head tilt from same son, and then launched into another good rocker.  

For me this was a treat.  I’ve seen pictures and video of Chuck Berry holding a Fender, but I’ve never seen it in the flesh.  Funny thing-- when it’s not a deep throated Gibson up there, it doesn’t quite sound like Chuck Berry anymore.  But he was in key and hitting the licks again-- and there was a novelty to it that I thoroughly enjoyed.

And as you can see, it caused some quick adaptations in the band.  CBII was suddenly playing bass.  And then Chuck does a double take.  Someone’s playing that chugga chugga rhtyhm again.  Chuck looks and laughs and sees Jimmy Marsala coming round from behind Bob Lohr with the big, red Gibson.

Afterwards they switch back, and Chuck says apologetically that he’ll make it up later.

The truth is, (and I’ve always found this true at Chuck Berry shows), even the chaos was interesting and fully absorbing.  Usually I’d 
find it painful to see him so far off the mark-- but hey, this show was gravy, and when he was back there leaning on the bass and playing random sounds on a completely out of tune guitar, I could actually laugh.  It was like a little family drama, and not mine!

I think it was when he got his guitar back that someone requested Johnny B. Goode, a song I hadn’t heard at my last two CB shows, and he did a good one.  There was even a little scoot through a dark stage with strobe lights flashing.  Then reeling and rocking, and dozens of women, and a crazy fun “House Lights,” and he was gone.

A highlight: he asked his son, Charles II, to solo several times, and what I loved was to see him play attentive rhythm guitar behind his son.  When he wants to, he has the ability, born of decades and decades of experience, to accent what another player is doing.  And he clearly wanted to.  It reminded me of what happened at The Pageant when he mouthed the words “I love you” to Ingrid.

On the other hand, Bob Lohr, who played so many brilliant solos at The Pageant, rarely got the nod at Blueberry Hill.  You gotta be a quick study to back Chuck Berry.  Keith Richards was taken by surprise, but even though it’s always the same songs, it’s “wing it, boys and girls!” every night out.

But one thing for sure: we all left happy.  The proof is in the rush to the stage by practically every female in the house the moment he says “three girls over here, and three over there.”  This is still great rock and roll-- and for that I thank the St. Louis Band, who keep things together and keep it moving through thick and thin spots.




This whole trip, has, of course, been incredibly special.  I give special thanks to Bob Lohr and Jimmy Marsala, who did me one favor I’ll never forget; to CBII and Keith Robinson, who are incredibly gracious to all of their fans; to Paul and Liz, who met me in St. Louis and followed me through sorghum fields and run down neighborhoods in search of Chuck Berry history; to Doug, who sent me prints of his incredible pictures, most of which are now signed by Lohr, Marsala, Robinson, Berry and Berry.  (One Berry, Ingrid, got away!)  To Peter K, who gave me an easy source of addresses.  To Rebecca, who let me go.


And last night, special thanks to Karen and Judy, who invited us into their world for a night, shared dinner with us, shared their stories and insights, took us on an elevator ride down to the Duck Room, and helped us get into seats we’ll never forget.  Hope they get that December 15 show!

Karen and Judy did something else: just before the show they presented Chuck with a painting by European painter Bryan Tones.  You can see it by clicking HERE.  This was a newsworthy event, and Judy did an interview for the local news.  If I can find it, I'll certainly post it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

All Over St. Louis!

I'm too tired to write about tonight's show tonight (or rather, this morning), but here are some pictures.  It was a show that started with a bang, got sketchy for one number, and ended with smiles and dancing all around-- including my sister-in-law Liz on stage dancing and taking on some stage crew work.


You can tell things started well...


A proud and happy father...


Mr. Dependable on bass...


I always love it when he goes back to have fun with Keith Robinson...


Charles II and Ingrid...


An unusual sight...



This is that game: What's Wrong with this Picture?


Liz joined the women on stage.  "Three on this side, three on that...".  (There were 50!)



A wee bit of live action for you...

video

A final bow-- though he kept playing as the stage door shut behind him.  



The set: Carol, School Day, Sweet Little Sixteen, Ding-a-Ling (by request of same), Rock Me Baby (Chaos version), Johnny B. Goode, Let it Rock, Reelin' and Rockin'/House Lights.  I'll tell you all about it tomorrow (or later today) I promise!

From The Hill to The Ville

So today we did the exact opposite of what we did last time.  First, we went to the Italian section of St. Louis to Ameghetti's-- a place for great sandwiches and salads.  It's one of those names that keeps coming up, so you go-- and it's worth the trip.  After the sandwich and salad, we went next door to Ameghetti's gelato place.  Basically you have no choice-- in once direction it's a bakery, in the other, great ice cream.  You're  gonna gain weight no matter what, which is why the Ameghetti's slogan comes in handy.  (How we save room for Blueberry Hill, we don't know.)






Suitably full, we crossed back to the north side of town.  First stop: Windermere Place.  This is the little street where Chuck Berry and his family lived after he'd become a star.  When we got to the house there were three people out front working.  They asked what we wanted.  "I'm a big Chuck Berry fan," I said sheepishly.  Hearing that, they actually got off the steps so that we could take pictures of the place.  I made a fool of myself with their broom-- a stiff and feeble attempt to assume the scoot position.  This is what age does to anyone who's not Chuck Berry!  (I look like and old man coming out with his broom to chase away children!)


Back on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard we saw a monument to The Ville and many of the illustrious people born there, including Mr. Berry, Josephine Baker, Arthur Ashe and Tina Turner.


Chuck Berry's name is right up front, (if there's a front to a circular column!


Then we did one original thing-- I think!  We found The Crank Club, where "Chuck Berryn" once played.  I don't think Peter Kaleta got to that one, so I'm proud!  (I'm probably wrong, too!)


It's no longer The Crank Club, of course.  Now it's Laws Resale Shop.  And guess what?  The proprietor, Dwight Toler, used to play with one of the Berry kids.  "They lived on a private street named Windemere," he told us.  "We were just there," we said.  


What makes me laugh about The Crank Club is the story that Chuck called himself Berryn to disguise himself from his dad.  As far as I can tell, The Crank Club is about half a mile from every house the Berry family ever lived in, and the poster had his picture on it.  I don't think you were fooling him, Chuck!

After that we went to the house that is now on the historic register.  It's pretty tiny, with peeling paint. When we got out to take a picture a girl in the front seat of a car of young people asked "Is that Chuck Berry's house?"  I think so, I tell her.  She lives in the house across the street and seemed to enjoy the little bit of history.  (I saw a lady down the street about Chuck's age.  I almost couldn't help myself-- but hey, sometimes yu just have to move on.)



From Peter Kaleta

Peter is the photoshop genius of the Chuck Berry fan club.  As he said in his e-mail: "I wish all four could be taken at the same time."  Clockwise from the very beginning: The Founder himself, Liz, Peter, Peter and Doug.

An Interview with Chuck Berry

Fred Rothwell sent me the link to this 1983 interview with our man.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our Day Trip to Warrenton and Wentzville

If you get off at Wentzville you'll learn pretty quickly what they think of Chuck Berry.  They even named the county after him.


And that's not all-- they want to elect him, too.


Not 100 yards from these signs I figured out where he might have found that marker for Berry Park-- the Wentzville Monument Company!


Which is right across the street from what used to be The Southern Aire Restaurant.


It's some sort of college now.  When Chuck Berry was a teen, he and his friends had to purchase their food at the back door.  I'm glad he wound up buying the place.


I figure if I ever want to move in to Wentzville myself, there's a turn key operation for me.



When we were looking around town, we saw a police officer and asked how to get to Highway Z and Buckner Road.  He told us.  He told us that he'd once stopped Chuck Berry, but that "it wasn't anything serious" and he didn't give him a ticket.  He said it took a moment looking at the license to realize that "Charles Berry" was the living legend.  He told me he went to school with one of Chuck's relatives, but didn't know it until Chuck Berry showed up at graduation.


We eventually found what we were looking for.  Here I'm with my sister-in-law Liz.  One thing made me pretty happy.  In some photos I've seen, the word "Welcome" is covered by duct tape.  The tape's gone now.


About 32 years ago I stalled my car about 75 yards up this driveway.  (It was a Fiat, on a hot day.)  I had to push it back to the road.  I was probably the reason they had to put up a gate.  Sorry!



This was actually my third visit to Wentzville.  I went in 1978, and before that in 1964.  I was only eight, and rode with my mother and five of my sisters and brothers from Sacramento, California to Warrenton, Missouri, a town about 15-20 minutes west of Wentzville.  My brother Paul was in a seminary there, studying to be a priest.  Here he is in front of the seminary with his wife Liz.  The priest thing didn't quite happen.  My other brother Stevo once told me that "No Particular Place to Go" was a big hit on that ride, but that my mother and sisters thought it improper.  According to Stevo, they'd argue about whether or not to turn the volume down.  (My sister denies any such prudishness.)  I was in the far back seat of a 1963 Impala station wagon, facing backward, getting teased by another brother, and so far from the radio I wouldn't have known.  What I do remember is that I learned to swim at a motel in Warrenton.  Also that the nuns at the seminary served ice cream to us in rectangles cut with a knife.  For an eight year old, rectangular ice cream is very memorable.


One thing Paul has in common with Chuck Berry, is that they both made lakes.  Paul and his fellow seminarians built this one by damming the southern end with a tractor and shovels about 50 years ago.


If I'm not mistaken, Bob Lohr also has something in common with Paul, since both are lawyers, and both have spent time in Warrenton, Missouri.  I think I remember Mr. Lohr saying he goes to court there from time to time.  Paul, alas, misses the old courthouse he saw as a child.  Only the cupola and four pillars remain from the old courthouse.


If you go to Warrenton, we all recommend the cobbler at a restaurant called Brewski's.  And I'm happy to say that we got the recipe-- but we'll carry that secret to our graves!  (Enough of that cobbler, and we'll get there sooner than we'd like-- but we'll die with smiles.)









Lord Have Mercy! Mondays Don't Get Any Better Than This (For Bob Lohr)

Look at the ways he holds that guitar!  And listen to how he plays it.  Those runs just go forever, and run circles around me!

A Non-Chuck Berry Story (But a Good One)

My sleep is not working right, so I'll fill the time by telling this little story:

I was walking back to the hotel and about to cross Delmar when a voice asked if it was time to cross.  It was an elderly guy behind me-- tall, thin, with a little bit of a speech defect.  "Oh our light changed," he said.

Then, as we waited, he said.  "It has sure changed!"

I knew he wasn't talking about the light anymore, so I asked him what had changed.

"The street.  The people.  It's all so different now."

"Have you been away?" I asked him.

"55 years," he tells me.  "I was up in [??] prison."

"And you just got out?"

"Just got out Friday night."

"Well congratulations," I said, shaking his hand.  "Did you live around here?"

"I lived over there," he said, pointing north.  "It's all changed.  This building wasn't here."  (He's pointing to my hotel.)  "There were other buildings there."

"Well if you lived over there, that's probably changed the most."  I was thinking of The Ville, the empty lots, the burned up houses.

(It irks me that I remember this random conversation so well compared to the one I had backstage at The Pageant where I was in some sort of dream state!)

He wound up asking for money, and I couldn't help myself this time and gave him a pretty good amount-- enough for a bad lunch.

As I continued down the street two teenage girls were giggling in my direction and it occurred to me that maybe they saw this guy tell this perfect story all the time.

Maybe.
 
But I figure sometimes you've got to believe, whether you ought to or not.

And today, I believed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

On the Civil Courthouse Steps...

This morning (late) I headed east on the metrolink.  My first stop was Grand Boulevard, where I headed north to the Fox Theatre.  If you've seen the film Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll you've seen the wonderful scenes at the ticket window and lobby of the Fox where Chuck Berry recalls his family being sent packing by a ticket seller.  "We don't serve your people here," they're told.  Then, inside the lobby, surrounded by reddish pillars, he says something like: "Just a few miles away, my forefathers were sold on the civil courthouse steps.  Sold!"

I got to the Fox just moments before a tractor came to dig up the sidewalk where Chuck Berry stood during filming.  (I should have run up and nabbed some chunks to send to you like pieces of the Berlin Wall.)  That was our Berlin Wall, of course. We had laws that stopped children from seeing a movie.

The theater itself is beautiful, at least as far as I got inside, which was to a velvet rope that prevented me from seeing the actual lobby.  But I saw the ticket booths, both inside and out, and will have to look at the movie to see which one he was standing at that day.

While I was there I searched my St. Louis Visitors Guide map to see where the civil courthouse steps might have been.  No luck.  (But luck comes easy these days.  Knock on wood!)

So after a pulled pork sandwich across the street from the Fox, I went further east towards the Mighty Mississippi and the Arch.

When I got off the metrolink I didn't go straight to the Arch-- I was drawn to the river, itself, and to a huge bridge that led across to East St. Louis.  The bridge looks like it might take the London Bridge's path someday if we don't get our act together and spend some money on good jobs-- ah, but that's another story.  It's a beautiful thing, that bridge, and as I gazed at it I thought: "I bet he used to take that one to the Cosmopolitan!"

(He sure as heck wasn't metrolinkin' over the hill!)

These days, I'm guessing, he takes the freeway over when he wants to play slots or put on a concert in Illinois.  Freeways, after all, are his thing.  (Who else wrote so many songs about them?)

I touched the water.  I figure that water flows through so many of his songs, and through so much of our cultural history.

Then to the arch.  I wasn't expecting much.  I've seen it from a distance.  Okay, it's there.  But from right below, it's a thing to behold-- an impossible arc of steel against a blue sky.  I was impressed, and took the same arty shots you might take there.

























But looking due west from under the arch I found my surprise: the courthouse steps.

The steps where his forefathers and mothers were sold.

It is part of a National Park.

And what's more, it's part of the sorriest story of American "law" and "justice."

Actually, it represented a glimmer of hope in a sordid story.

In that courthouse, it turns out, a jury of 12 white men gave a verdict in favor of Dred and Harriett Scott, who were suing the b@$&amp who thought she "owned" them for their hard earned freedom.

The Scotts had an excellent case.  Dred was brought to Missouri as a slave, travelled with the slave owner throughout the region, met his wife, married her (remarkably, the slave owner then purchased her) but spent considerable time in Illinois, a free state.  When the owner died, his wife "inherited" them and put them to work for wages which they were then forced to give her.  But they kept some, and saved, and eventually asked if they could buy their freedom.

B($%$ said "no."  (60 years later, her offspring sold tickets at the Fox).

So the Scotts sued her, and won.  The truth is, they had become legally "free" in Illinois.

But the Missouri Court of Appeals did what our current Supreme Court has been known to do of late: it ignored decades of precedent, said to hell with Illinois law, and said of the Scott familly: They're property.

Then the case got even uglier.  An old, ugly shrew of a "justice," Taney, wrote the following to justify the filth that he then made law of the land (whatever elements of truth are in this about "public opinion" should cause the "strict constructionists" among you to stop and think):

"It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in relation to that unfortunate race, which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted. But the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken.
'They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it. This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race." 
Then Taney and the majority of his fellow "justices" ruled against Dred and Harriett, held they were still slaves, and, to add injury to the injury, ruled they were not citizens.

That's why they call it the land of the free (Taney) and home of the brave (Dred and Harriet Scott).  Having won, the "owner" then sold the entire Scott family to the man who'd owned them prior for one dollar.

One dollar!

And he freed them.

Anyway, you can learn a lot listening to Chuck Berry, or by going on a Chuck Berry pilgrimage.

I'd encourage you to do both!  (But you already do!)

Dred Scott