Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Boo Boo Davis with Keith Robinson and Bob Lohr in St. Louis

Saw that the estimable Mssrs. Lohr and Robinson from the Chuck Berry Band are going to be backing Boo Boo Davis in at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups in St. Louis on December 3 and found them all together in a show from about a year ago.


The level of blues you can hear in some cities is pretty unbelievable.

According to the French notes on the video: James Boo Boo Davis (harmonica et chant), Bob Lohr (piano), Marquise Knox (guitare), Big Mike Aguirre (guitare), Nephew Davis (basse), Keith Robinson (batterie). John May intervient √† la fin en tant que pr√©sentateur.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chuck Berry, Etta James, Andrew Sullivan: Too Pure to Pop

Look who's on my favorite opinion website-- The Dish.  (Andrew Sullivan is a "conservative" who doesn't like the radicals who use that name these days.  Andrew Sullivan is actually pretty liberal.  But it's a worthwhile blog to check each day.  And look who I found there!)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

American Folk Blues Festival, Vol. 4

Muddy Waters, Joe Turner, Howlin' Wolf, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Hubert Sumlin, Willie Dixon, Sister Rosetta Tharpe.  And here it is.

American Folk Blues Festival, Vol. 3

Enjoy this while it lasts-- the whole show!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Blues

Are there other blues songs that say "thanks?"  J. B. Hutto spent some time in Seattle when I first moved here, around 1978.  A small miracle, and one of many for which we now give thanks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Keith Richards on Chuck Berry in Rolling Stone

I like it!
"When I saw Chuck Berry in "Jazz on a Summer's Day" as a teenager, what struck me was how he was playing against the grain with a bunch of jazz guys. They were brilliant – guys like Jo Jones on drums and Jack Teagarden on trombone – but they had that jazz attitude cats put on sometimes: "Ooh... this rock & roll..." With "Sweet Little Sixteen," Chuck took them all by storm and played against their animosity. To me, that's blues. That's the attitude and the guts it takes. That's what I wanted to be, except I was white."

"I listened to every lick he played and picked it up. Chuck got it from T-Bone Walker, and I got it from Chuck, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and B.B. King. We're all part of this family that goes back thousands of years. Really, we're all passing it on.
"Chuck was playing a slightly heated-up version of Chicago blues, that guitar boogie – which all the cats were playing – but he took it up to another level. He was slightly younger than the older blues guys, and his songs were more commercial without just being pop, which is a hard thing to do. Chuck had the swing. There's rock, but it's the roll that counts. And Chuck had an incredible band on those early records: Willie Dixon on bass, Johnnie Johnson on piano, Ebby Hardy or Freddy Below on drums. They understood what he was about and just swung with it. It don't get any better than that.
"He's not the easiest guy in the world to get along with, which was always a bit of a disappointment for me – because that cat wrote songs that had so much sense of humor and so much intelligence. The old son of a bitch just turned 85. I wish him a happy birthday, and I wish I could just pop around and say, "Hey, Chuck, let's have a drink together or something." But he ain't that kind of cat."


Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-guitarists-20111123/chuck-berry-19691231#ixzz1eYmltU00
I love in the clip how the brash young Berry tells that man a wailin' clarinet to "blow, blow, blow!"  How many times have we seen it since?  Chuck, making the tour of the (more compliant) big named backup and encouraging them to play.  (Check out the 1994 version of Roll Over Beethoven below.  Why, he's probably doing it in this shot, too.

Calling Chuck Berry: King Kahn and the Shrines

Here's a little interview with King Kahn and his upcoming visit to St. Louis.  (Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue, November 25.)  He wants  Chuck Berry to come see the show.  So if you know Mr. Berry, I'll leave it to your discretion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chuck Berry Playing Roll Over Beethoven at 1994 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert

Sharing the wealth at the 1994 Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame concert.  (As usual, we thank Doug!)

Chuck Berry in London, February 1967

Del Shannon and Chuck Berry, Saville Theatre, February 1967
Here's some microfilm about Chuck, John, Ringo and Beatles manager Brian Epstein at the Saville Theatre in London back in 1967.  (It was curtains for the theater manager who dropped the curtains on Berry before his finale.)  You can evidently pay to read more about the tour HERE.  Alas, the famous theater, which hosted everybody who was anybody except for ME and YOU was turned into a movie house.  You can read more about its ancient history here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bob Gruen Photos of Chuck Berry

You've seen the picture of Chuck in the 1970s, probably playing blues, looking like he's about to kiss the frets of his guitar.  HERE'S a little interview of him talking about his time in St. Louis.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Della Reese, Illinois Jacquet, Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis 1956

Yep.  I'd pay $1.50 to see this one! Thank you Mr. Bootlegger.



George Thorogood and the Preservationists

Here's an interview with George Thorogood talking about his LP 2120 South Michigan Avenue.  The money line for our purposes:


Do you ever get intimidated taking on a song by Chuck Berry or Muddy Waters, just because of their stature?
No. If you’re going to be intimidated in this business you shouldn’t be in this business. Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters — it’s almost like actors who don’t know anything about Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams — [they’re] almost like a standard part of your education. So it’s not something to be intimidated by; it’s something to be educated by.


Read more: http://blogcritics.org/music/article/an-interview-with-george-thorogood/#ixzz1eB28E3pN

Sunday, November 13, 2011

From the Redwood Forests, to the Blues


I first “discovered” the blues when I was 14 or 15, when I found record after record in the bargain racks.  Unfortunately, after an initial blast of enthusiasm that probably put me temporarily in the top 100 of young, naive blues fans, I adopted a line of thought made famous by once Governor Ronald Reagan who, desiring to cut them all down as fast as possible, once said “If you’ve seen one Redwood, you’ve seen them all.”  By the time I was 21 I figured I pretty much knew it all, and went on to dip just as shallowly in jazz, country, and other forms of music.
Of course, that’s pretty much all we can do, unless we’re musicians or historians or absolutely crazy.  I’ve only had time to be absolutely crazy about one musician, and we know who he is.  So I’m not ashamed to have stopped collecting blues in the late 1970s,  with bunches of records by people like Elmore James, T-Bone Walker, Jimmy Reed, B.B., and lots of others-- just embarrassed that I thought I knew more than a tidbit about the music.
When I started blogging about Chuck Berry it was a pretty natural progression to head back to the bargain bins, and luckily for me they have improved.  Blues are cheap again, but better produced.  People have taken those old masters and lovingly reworked them so that the sound and selection are better than ever-- and certainly better than the electronically altered for stereo versions that were out there when I was younger.
In addition to the blogging, I’ve been pushed to go back by my other interest-- playing.  I dabble in any instrument I can find time with, which turns out to be guitar, piano and drums.  (I should dabble more with bass, but tend to wait until I’m forced to play it to finish a song before picking it up.  I should get Gemma that stand up she wanted.  That would get me motivated.)  For a while I was trying to get in one band as a guitarist and spent a few weeks learning the top 25 blues riffs so that I could fit in.  Almost but not quite.  But then I found another band of aging fogies who let me in, so all that cramming came in handy.  But they wanted to do Allman Brothers versions, and I didn’t, so I had to look for another group of old folk, and what they wanted, and claimed was hard to find, was a drummer.  I don’t think they wanted a good one, either, because, they said, the good ones always left.  So I’ve found my temporary home.  A couple times a month I shuffle in and try to play shuffles.
But here’s the point.  When you try to play, you have to listen.  And when you listen-- or when you look-- suddenly all the redwoods don’t look the same anymore.  (There’s another thing.  One redwood just doesn’t cut it.  You need a forest to appreciate a redwood.)  When you listen you hear all the different twists and punches on that shuffle.  When you listen you hear all the little bits of this guy and that who went in and then came out as whoever it is you’re listening to: a little bit of T-Bone, and that new guy B. B., and thus and such.
One of the benefits of the blog is that I get occasional tips from my Blues 102 instructor, Mr. Lohr, who tells me or his Facebook friends, check out this, or check out that.  This morning I’m listening to ancient recordings from St. Louis-- Little Milton, and Clayton Love-- and I finally own a Magic Sam record.  Mr. Lohr says, charitably, that my guitar sounds a little like these guys.  (That first band should have nabbed me!  They loved Magic Sam, but went for a slick player who sounded sort of disco to me.)  Also Amy Winehouse’s record, because she’s part of the forest, too.
So, I keep walking a bit deeper among the trees.  But I know that if the camera panned back it would reveal that I’m still at the very, very edges of something huge.  I can’t get there from here, but it’s good to try.



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Meanwhile, 16 Years Later, He's Stiiiiiilllll Cookin'

Thank Ida May for this one.  Too bad the director's goal seemed to be to hide Chuck Berry behind peoples head's and drum heads (and to hide a really good piano player in the orchestra pit) this is a GREAT performance from 1988.  I've said it before-- I think this is Chuck Berry's favorite Chuck Berry song.

Chuck on BBC: Enjoy it While it Lasts

Thank Doug for this one!  (And if you like it [you will] check out what he did 16 years later, right above this post.)  (You might have to click on the masthead to find it.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

From St. Louis and Beyond

I figure if I get a tip from Mr. Lohr, I follow up.   This is the first thing I found from Little Milton at Bobbin Records in St. Louis.  Among everything else, I like the horns.



Here's another, but the sound's not great.  (Sound of the post.)



Magic Sam didn't record for as long a time, so easier to zero in!



But tomorrow, off to the used record store!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

They'll be Rocking at the State-- Easton, PA : Chuck Berry at the State Theater

Daryl Davis on guitar, the St. Louis band backing, and Chuck Berry on ... on... Vocals!  (Hey-- if you like this, click on the masthead and find more.)  (Although maybe not exactly like this!)

Blues from Barcelona

Actually, blues from a bright fall morning in Seattle, when, for reasons unknown, I decided to go back to my basement and record something.  I haven't done it in months.  Haven't played guitar in months, really-- been trying to learn to play the drums.   And I only play piano while balancing my 10 month old granddaughter Tulane between my hands, (which probably does increase skill development.)  Anyway, one take each on guitar, bass, and piano, and two on drums, because something was catching me up in the first verse.  But basically I'm proud.  As for the photos-- apologies in advance to the lovely Rebecca, who doesn't know that the only way I could fill five minutes was to use our recent trip photos.  Anyway, I make no apologies for this one.  It worked as well as it's ever gonna!

It Ain't Easy!

The caption says that David Grohl is doing his best Chuck Berry duckwalk.  You be the judge.  (His "scoot" is about a minute or so in.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


A Vision

I've had this sudden vision of Enrique:



And Dominic (check out this rarity!):



And Carmelo:



And Jean:



And Thomas-- (Can't find a good video) and get them all on stage together.  Before a Chuck Berry show.

Or after one, at a different location.

Either wasy

Tuesday, November 1, 2011