Saturday, March 31, 2012

Floyd's Guitar Blues = Blues for Hawaiians

Not that many people have looked at this.  But it's worth looking at, even though I have to admit it shook me up.  But it's the way the blues so often worked-- songs passed down through time.  I was brushing my teeth, looking at Fred Rothwell's Long Distance Information, when I saw for the first time in the section about "Deep Feeling" mention of "Floyd's Guitar Blues" recorded in 1939 by Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy, with Floyd Smith on steel guitar. (Smith, incidentally, or not incidentally, is from St. Louis!)  Take a listen.

The song isn't "Deep Feeling."  It's "Blues for Hawaiians."  Check it out.

It's too late now, but the Floyd Smith estate might have taken the same route Chuck did with "Surfin' USA."  (Funny that he gave it a surf name.)  Which of course takes us back to Berry Park in 1986, the camera flying over a filthy pool, and there is Chuck, maroon jacket and bolo tie, paying homage to Mr. Smith.

I always wondered how and why he remembered the song after all those years-- (a song he obviously hasn't played much in concert).  Now I know.  It's a song he heard as a teenager, and we never forget those.

Here's Muddy Waters doing it, too-- although his version is a bit modified.

I've got to say, I always credited the strange slide sound of Chuck Berry to Chuck Berry, and was knocked senseless by the melancholy beauty of that closing scene in "Hail! Hail!"  Now I need to learn more about Mr. Smith.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Speaks for Itself!

Why it's Right and Fitting: Chuck Berry Wins Pen Award for Literary Excellence

(Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen received the Pen New England award for Songs of Literary Excellence.  Here's my take on why Chuck deserves it.)

One night I challenge my wife Rebecca to name someone with more cultural impact than Chuck Berry.   

“Shakespeare,” she says.

She gets me, first time.

“Okay, but he’s the only one!” I stammer, less confident.

I am quick to acknowledge other musical geniuses—greater ones:  Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk.  

There are many better singers.  There are better guitar players (though not many who could be called more important or more influential.)  I’m not sure there are better entertainers—just different ones.  Few songwriters can match him.

But Chuck Berry’s importance goes beyond the music, or the songs, or the poetry, or the performance.  He is one of the big daddies of modern history.  In the pantheon of important and great Americans I think he matches all but two.  Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln are alone at the top.  But when you accept that an artist can be as important as a military leader, or a politician, or an industrialist, or an inventor—and I certainly do—then he is up there with the most important.  Compare Chuck Berry to the self important-- to murderers for hire like Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney.  See who actually matters.  Some men are distinguished only by the slaughter and heartache they cause, or what they stole.  Chuck Berry changed a culture.  

He didn’t do it alone, and though his art and his career moves were carefully calculated, he didn’t exactly do it on purpose; but he was part of a movement that delivered us from days of old to a new and different and in many ways a better place.  And there is something unique about his individual role.  He wasn’t just a singer, or a star, or a guitarist, or performer, or poet, or songwriter, or businessman, or felon, or genius, or icon—he was all of that.  It is no accident that he was born and stayed at the very heart of the country and continent, on a river that has symbolized the soul of that country from the time of Twain until the time of Dylan.  Nor is it mere coincidence or happenstance that in his fourth recording session he told Tchaikovsky the news and then, in the 60 years that followed, lived up to the boast.  

He might deny his importance.  He once told a reporter “I ain’t no big shit.”  But he is a big shit— a popular artist who achieved uncommon results in the vernacular. Our Dante.  Our Shakespeare.  A man who does everything Mark Twain did, but backwards, with a guitar.  And like both Twain and Shakespeare, he did it as much to earn a living as to make art.  

It starts, of course, with the songs-- dozens and dozens and dozens of them.  Hundreds, actually. Written, Chuck Berry will tell you, for commercial purposes.  “I was writing commercially then,” he says of “Johnny B. Goode.”  In the film “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll” he says “Half the young people go to school so I wrote about school…  Half the young people have cars and I wrote about cars.  And mostly all the people, if they are not now, they’ll soon be in love—and those that have loved and are out of love remember love, so write about love.  So I wrote about all three.”  

The vast majority of Chuck Berry songs are “good” songs.  (There are definitely some clunkers.)  But then there are the great ones-- the two minute ditties with the fast folk poetry and searing 10 second guitar breaks, the songs recorded at Chess Records between 1955 and 1964, with Johnnie Johnson, Otis Spann, or Lafayette Leake on piano, Willie Dixon on bass, and Ebby Hardy, Fred Below, or Odie Payne on drums—those songs—“Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “School Day,” “Memphis,” “Nadine,” “No Money Down,” “Maybellene,” and more--  those songs come as close to perfection as we human beings get.  They have it all: energy, poetry, youth, sass, nostalgia, family, fantasy, comedy, rhythm, rhyme and blues.

The poet Cornelius Eady, who wrote a poem entitled Chuck Berry about Chuck Berry, wrote in an e-mail that “John Lennon once called CB one of America's great poets, and I have heard (and read) little to dis sway me of that notion."

Consider “Johnny B. Goode,” recorded by hundreds of different groups and individuals, played by hundreds of thousands of small time singers, guitarists, and bands, in millions of performances, a song that was sent out to the galaxy on both Voyager spacecraft to represent humanity’s better angels to other worlds.  “This is a present from a small, distant world,” wrote President Jimmy Carter to whatever distant life form first spins “Johnny B. Goode” on that ultimate, intergalactic gold record, “a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.”  (The joke, on Saturday Night Live, is that the first radio message received from aliens in outer space says “Send more Chuck Berry!”)  It’s a song so overplayed and omnipresent that it should be cliché, but Chuck’s original version, recorded in 1958, never grows old.  And no wonder-- it has everything: ringing guitar, pounding bass, Lafayette Leake’s rippling piano, great drums, inventiveness, a perfect title (the economy of turning “be” into an initial), a timeless story, and vivid imagery: the log cabin “made of earth and wood,” the gunny sack, the tree, the railroad track, the great name envisioned in lights.  (He wrote it after seeing his own name on the marquee of a theater in New Orleans.)  It is pure and perfect poetry, the best all around rock and roll song ever recorded, and probably the greatest American song of all time—that famous “Great American Novel” crystallized in two minutes and 42 seconds of perfect sound.

But wait—there’s more!  The ode to broken homes called “Memphis, Tennessee!” “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” rock and roll’s first manifestation of black pride.  There’s the angst and excitement of young love in “Carol” and “Little Queenie.”  There’s the sexual frustration of “No Particular Place to Go,” and the sexual riot of his live version of “Reelin’ and Rockin’.”  There’s the youthful frustration of “Almost Grown,” the youthful fantasy of “You Never Can Tell,” the youthful energy of “School Day.”  There’s the geography and history of “Promised Land,” the insane, unstoppable energy of “Let it Rock!” the crushed spirit of “Oh, Louisiana,” the hard blues of “Have Mercy Judge,” and the charming innocence of “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

New York Times writer Verlyn Klinkenborg called “Memphis”  a “short story,” and found herself haunted by “the metrical precision of the lyrics, its emotional realism and, of course, the revelation in the penultimate line. You know the one: that this is a father’s mournful love song to his daughter, Marie, who is only 6 years old.”

“What I really find myself listening to,” wrote Klinkenborg, “is Chuck Berry the sociologist of incredible economy. It’s the open-ended plea to that disembodied personage, ‘Long-distance information.’ It’s the household where uncles write messages on the wall. It’s the geographical precision of Marie’s home, ‘high up on a ridge, just a half a mile from the Mississippi bridge.’ Undercutting it all is the very hopelessness of the singer’s plea.”

 “Too Much Monkey Business,” almost a protest song, is the certain inspiration for Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and a probable inspiration for the Stones’ “Satisfaction.”    In his autobiography Berry said he wrote it to describe “the kinds of hassles a person encounters in every day life” and says he “would have needed over a hundred verses to portray the major areas that bug people the most.”  

It begins with Chuck’s lead guitar ringing exactly like a bell. 

Deedlee-dee, deedlee dee,
deedlee-dee, deedlee-dee,
deedlee dee, deedlee-dee,
Then Willie Dixon’s jazzy acoustic bass, answered by Chuck‘s chords and Johnnie Johnson’s rippling piano.  The song doesn’t have the boogie-woogie rhythm guitar work that Chuck Berry became so famous for (almost none of the early songs have it); the roots here are jazzier, with strummed chords.  The sound is incredibly light and clear, like a flat rock skipping over wind dimpled water on a bright day.  It swings.  But when the band jolts to a stop to make room for the lyrics, it’s pure rock and roll.

Running to and fro
Hard working at the mill
Never fail in the mail here come a rotten bill
Chuck’s 29 when he sings that first verse, but his voice sounds older—not too different from the 82 year old voice I heard at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis in 2009.  Unlike “School Day” or “Oh Baby Doll,” this isn’t teenage stuff—it’s real world frustration, “16 Tons” with a backbeat.  He doesn’t use his famous fine diction here—“business” is pronounced “bidness,” or just “bi’ness,” “here” is “hiya.”
Salesman talking to me
Tryin’ to run me up a creek
Says you can buy it go and try it
You can pay me next week—Ahh!
This is where Mick Jagger, an accomplished Berry scholar, first hears absence of Satisfaction:
Man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be,
But he can’t be a man cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarettes as me.
I can’t get no
Mick’s song certainly has more in common with Chuck’s than with Muddy’s hard core “Can’t Be Satisfied.”  

And it’s a radical song.  In 1956 Chuck Berry sings:

Blond hair, good lookin’
Trying to get me hooked
Wants me to marry, settle down,
Get home, write a book.  Hmmf!
In 1956 it’s against the law in many states, and frowned on in all of the others, for Chuck Berry to marry a blonde—especially, it seems, in 1958 Missouri, where what passed for the law routinely stopped, prosecuted, and once imprisoned the man for dalliances with any female not black.  How dare he sing these words?  Of course, maybe it’s not Chuck-- but we know it is: it’s Chuck rounding third and heading for a once forbidden place he admits had always tantalized him; and somehow, in a way, predicting his own future, since in just two months (according to his Autobiography) he’d meet the good looking blonde who would share much of his life and ultimately help him write his book.  (Maybe the book is off by a few months.  Maybe he’d already met her.)

That same day he recorded “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” whose first hero has been “arrested on charges of unemployment.”  Another radical song!  It ends with another hero smacking the game winning home run.  It so happens I was born a month after that song was recorded.  My wife, Rebecca, once bought me an old LIFE magazine from the week that I was born.  It’s a pretty scary document.  There’s an ad for Heinz that tells how to make “Baked Fish in Ketchup Sauce.”  There’s a Cadillac ad that would have got Chuck’s attention.  In another a bunch of women hold up enormous panties that would make Bridget Jones’ boyfriend laugh.  A dozen or so ads for Bourbon explain my father’s taste in tragedy.  But the only brown eyed man in the whole magazine is Willie Mays, who, an ad for Wheaties explains, hit 51 homers the year prior.  That makes me happy.  I’ve always compared Willie and Chuck.  Willie was described as a five tool player, who could hit, hit with power, field, throw and run.  Chuck can write, write with poetry, sing, perform, and play.  As a kid I saw Willie Mays in San Francisco, and I always figured it was Willie who was rounding third and heading for home in Chuck’s song of black pride.  

If you want to appreciate Chuck Berry the singer, try to spit out the first line of “No Money Down”-- “Well Mister I want a yellow convertible”-- in the space allotted.  (Pronounce it “convoitable.”)  The syllables just keep coming, like circus clowns from a broken down old ragged Ford.  Cars are, of course, everywhere in Chuck Berry songs, from the sleek “Flight DeVille” to the beaters in “Dear Dad,” “Come On,” and “Move It.”  In “You Can’t Catch Me” Flat Top “comes movin’ up with me, then goes waving goodbye, in a little old souped-up jitney.”  Pierre and the Mademoiselle also owned “a souped-up jitney, ‘twas a cherry red ’53.”   Nadine and Maybellene are last seen in ground Cadillacs— a coffee colored one for coffee colored Nadine.  Girls disappearing in Cadillacs are a big reason why the hero of “No Money Down” has to get out of his “broken down old ragged Ford” and into a “yellow convertible four door De Ville,” but it’s twice the Caddy.

I want air conditioning
I want automatic heat
I want a full Murphy bed
In my back seat
I want short wave radio
I want TV and a phone
You know I got to talk to my baby
When I’m riding alone…
“Let it Rock” is a grown up work song.  I’m pretty sure it’s one of Chuck Berry’s own favorites.  I don’t recall a show where he didn’t sing it, and with plenty of room for guitar, it always gets him going.

In The Heat Of The Day Down In Mobile, Alabama
Working on the railroad with the steel driving hammer
Got to make some money to buy some brand new shoes
Tryin' to find somebody to take away these blues
She don't love me, hear ‘em singing in the sun
Payday's coming and my work is all done
This isn’t “Johnny B. Goode.”  No one’s going to make a motion picture.  It’s a song about energy, motion and an unstoppable force.

Everybody's scrambling, running around
Picking up their money, tearing the teepee down
Foreman wants to panic, 'bout to go insane
Trying to get the workers out the way of the train
Engineer blows the whistle loud and long
Can't stop the train, gotta let it roll on
Another wild one is “Promised Land”—the same sort of motion, but this time across the country by bus, train and plane to California.  The song starts with an abbreviated Carl Hogan guitar intro and then rolls unstoppably, like the train in “Let it Rock,” the only pause being a T-bone steak “a la carty” high over Albuquerque.  It’s never seemed like a coincidence that “Promised Land,” written a matter of months after the terrorist bombing of a church killed three little girls, talks about “trouble that turned into a struggle in downtown Birmingham.”  Nor is it coincidence that the “Po’ boy” wants to get “across Mississippi clean.”  Chuck Berry was nearly lynched in Mississippi by drunken frat boys who feigned outrage when he returned the kiss of a white girl who jumped on stage.  Guess who got arrested.    

In 2011, I would learn more about history and more about the lyrics of Promised Land.  I was watching a television show celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders—a racially mixed group of young people who attempted to integrate commercial busses in 1961.  A group of them are attacked in the Rock Hill bus station.  The police who are supposed to protect the riders vanish.  

Freedom Riders in Rock Hill, 1961

No wonder the Po’ Boy’s Greyhound chooses to “bypass Rock Hill.”

And no wonder these songs grow larger and more powerful with time.  It is like Chuck Berry dipped deeply into the Missouri or the Mississippi Rivers and pulled up what makes us who and what we are.  

The untroubled vocals and sprightly guitar disguise something weightier and more important.  This isn’t a silly trip on busses, trains and planes.  This is the same Promised Land that Martin Luther King saw, but viewed through Chuck Berry’s unique perspective.  Think how a ballet dancer’s art makes his partner look weightless.  That’s what Chuck Berry does with his humor and his guitar.  Don’t be fooled.

Rebecca was right, Shakespeare has more significance.  But not many others.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah He was Feeling so Good Today

Doug's got it right-- clearly inspired by Ida May's long distance call, he opened and closed with "Back in the U.S.A!"  This is a great version-- a clear indication why people still travel from miles around to hear him play his music.  There's the stirring introduction by Joe Edwards.  There's the brilliant one-liner about the tin cup.  And there's the surprise rendition of a great song he usually doesn't play anymore.  Then check out the solos-- first his own great one, then Bob Lohr, CBII, and the exchange with drummer Keith Robinson.  Not news but worth repeating that these Blueberry Hill shows are a brilliant chapter in his 60 year career.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives Open for Chuck Berry at Blueberry HIll

Memphis based John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives sound like a perfect opening act for Chuck Berry tonight at Blueberry Hill.  And good that Keith tweeted he's spending the afternoon playing The Great Twenty-Eight loudly enough to scare his cat.  Read about him on his WEBSITE here.

The bits of music I've heard from Keith and his band have a 60s guitar band sound-- or maybe late 1970s.  (Long time ago, anyway!)  Here's a good one-- from somewhere in between Roy Orbison and The Clash.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Saw Ida May in a Coupe De Ville! On Delmar!

(Here's a reprint in honor of Ida May, who is in St. Louis to see Chuck Berry at Blueberry Hill.) 

Maybe you saw pictures or video of her on stage with Mr. Berry in her home town of Porto Alegre, Brazil. 

I once called her Chuck Berry's number one fan because of her incredible exuberence about the man.

I wish I could post Ida May's answers in Portuguese.  Instead, she gamely responded in English, and we worked together, sending drafts back and forth, to try to get it right.  Hope we did!

Is that your real name, Ida May? Or is it Ida Red and Maybellene combined?

Well, my real name is Ida Maria-- the same first name as Ida Red, with Maybellene’s initials…

When did this fascination with Chuck Berry start for you? And how?

Well, I was a girl who loved The Beatles-- and mainly John Lennon. So, I first heard of Chuck Berry on Beatle albums. I fell in love with “Roll over Beethoven,” “Rock and Roll Music”…and with him! His genius can do everything, and I love him for all his talent, for everything he represents to international music, and to his fans all over the world.

What is it about the man and his music that affects you so?

His songs are great, and they’re part of my life. I couldn’t say what song I love more. I love “You Never Can Tell,” “Wee Wee Hours,” “Every Day I Have the Blues.” And the man: He’s the love of my life !!!

I know you’ve danced with him! Have you met him off stage?

Yes, it was very amusing--  and I would like to meet him after the show…

There’s a great shot taken at the airport. Tell us about that one. Did you take it?

Actually it is a wonderful picture, but I was not there. It was published for the local press…

How many times have you gotten to see him perform live? What are some of your favorite memories of those shows?

I’ve been able to see him live in concert three times in Porto Alegre. Each show brought a different emotion.

The first time was in “Pepsi on Stage” in June 2008. It was very cold and I arrived there an hour early. I was very excited. The place was an antique hangar next to the airport transformed in a show house. A red carpet was in the entrance, and a local rock band showed up before the master Chuck Berry.

The curtains opened at 10:00 p.m. sharp. He was there wearing a brilliant red shirt. I felt like I was inside Youtube. He was right there, so near. I got perplexed all the time looking at all the details. I was really enchanted, and hoped I could see him again. I believe we attract everything we love.

The second show was 14 months later. I found out about the second show through my friend Jan Richter. He sent me an e-mail. Between 2008 and 2009, I got in touch with CBII on the internet and I told him that I would be at the show at the Bourbon Country Theatre on August 20th.

It was on this day that my heart almost stopped!! I had an idea! I took a sign that said “I’m Ida May.” CBII recognized me, and before his last song he invited me to come on the stage. I was excited and was brave enough to do this. I went on the stage…the dream was real…

I got face to face with Chuck and he smiled at me. He gave me his arm, and led me on the stage. It was a magic moment. The audience was going wild…Unforgetable !!! That night, I came back to the hotel. I couldn’t believe what had happened. I was by myself. I was there to watch the show… I didn’t sleep…

Seven months later, Jan Richter wrote me saying: “You are lucky, Chuck Berry is going to back to Brazil in May 2010 to do two shows in São Paulo e Rio de Janeiro.” I started to send e-mails to the promoter in Porto Alegre, so that they would include the city in his Brazilian tour. They included it!

I could see him near me and I said: “I love you”…

I thought of asking CBII if I could go to the dressing room to take a photo, but I figured it wouldn’t be allowed. I left the theatre very happy, but with a feeling of emptiness. Would I have another opportunity? I want to see him at Blueberry Hill…

Tell us about the place you live and what you do there.

I’m decorator, and have two sons-- a lawyer and a teacher. I was born in Porto Alegre, but live in Santa Catarina State.

Have you been to the U.S.? St. Louis? Are you going to make it to Blueberry Hill some day?

I have never traveled abroad, but I want to know the USA, mainly St. Louis. I haven’t an opportunity to go there yet. I want to greet all fans who have the privilege to see him every month in Blueberry Hill.

Brazil, Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and the United States are all linked by rich traditions of music with African roots. Tell us about your favorite Brazilian music. Who are some people we should learn more about or listen to?

Brazil is a happy country, and we have a variety of music in each area. I like the instrumental music, and Brazilian music with African roots, like “Olodum” with Bahia’s rhythm. And I also love the singer “Ivete Sangalo,” who showed up in Madison Square Garden in NY city.

(Editor's Note: Yes, I think could enjoy a trip to see Olodum in Bahia!) (Or as they say in Chicago, Hey Bo Diddley, where you been?) 

(Editor's second note:  Are they singing "Go Johnny Go!" in Portuguese?  Or is this the Brazilian equivalent?

Report of the Chuck Berry Geographical Society

When I started doing this blog I started to realize that I wasn't alone-- that there were others who suffered from Chuck Berry Syndrome.  It's not dangerous, and it's not in the DSM-IV, but it might be someday.  When I learned about Doug, Carmelo, Ida May, Jan, Stefano, Manuel, Ira, Jean, Judy, Karen, Peter K., Dominic and Enrique, I realized we were long lost brothers and sisters all touched and changed by the experience like the people in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."  That's why it was easy to book a long road trip to Memphis with someone I'd never met.  It's probably also the reason that Peter K., Dominic and I all are star gazers.  (When I theorized 12 year old Chuck Berry was looking at an eclipse through his telescope, Peter K. found the eclipse that passed through St. Louis that year.)

Well, yesterday he did it again.

One of my favorite website's is Andrew Sullivan's blog The Dish.  I like it for the politics and the point of view, but I also sort of like the feature "The View From Your Window," which is usually just a snapshot, but sometimes a contest.  In the contest they show a picture and let readers try to figure out where it is.

I never do the contest, but the day before yesterday I did.  It took about half an hour.  Here's my letter to some family members describing my weird efforts to identify the picture.

I never bother much with the “View from your window” contest on Andrew Sullivan’s website, but for some reason I was drawn into this picture.  It seemed like an easy one.

I felt like I could find a building you drive through.  First I googled things like “mansard roof drive through,” but that gets you lots of mansard roofs without drive throughs and, of all things, McDonald's (which, I’d never realized, had mansard roofs.)
Then I had a feeling.  I saw the skyscrapers and spire.  I typed “Budapest.”  I’d never been to Budapest, but it seemed worth a try.  But Budapest looks more like Florence, a low city by a river with one large dome.  Still, I felt I was on the right track.  If not Chicago, it had to be Eastern Europe.  So I typed “warsaw skyline” and got this.

You’ll admit now, I’m good-- that it is no accident I terrorized GM as a nameless paralegal.  But it couldn’t be this easy.  I decided to check what details were available and googled “warsaw parking sign.”  Here is the result.  If I’m not mistaken, one like it is in the original picture.

So I figured I was right.  (I’d also found a color we can label “Polish Yellow.)  I even sent in my entry.  But I decided it wasn’t enough.  I figured the building itself, the mansard roof with a drive through, was within a mile of that old spire.  So I found the spire on google maps.  It might be hard to see, but look for the shadow of the spire at the middle of the image.  

First I tried moving east and west and north of this spire, but I didn’t get anywhere.  Then I decided to find the thin skyscraper visible to the spire’s right in the original photo.  If you look to the upper left of this shot you’ll see just such a building, near the intersection of Emili Plater and SwOIUGHJBKJegeuybieic streets.  So the mansard drive through had to be to the east, or right, of the spire.
The next part was more painstaking, (but from beginning to end no more than 30 minutes-- maybe five for this part.)  And there it was.  A mansard with drive through, connecting to a flat topped rectangle.

You’ll note small details-- the patch of grass, the iron posts that line the sidewalk, The shot must have been taken from the building further east.
So-- if I don’t win for accuracy, surely I win for ingenuity.  Because if this isn’t the spot, I’ve found its twin.
And I’ve never been to Warsaw. 
Well, so much for my boasting.  Then I got an e-mail from Peter K. in Sweden.  So I sent him a link to the Sullivan blog and a challenge to find it within 24 hours, the deadline for the contest.  Peter is an internet sleuth of the first order.  If I were still practicing law I would hire him as my investigator.  I knew he could match me, or beat me.

30 MINUTES LATER he sent the answer, and unlike me, got down on the ground to prove it absolutely.  You can find his amazing result HERE!

What this tells, again, me is that there is some deeper genetic or spiritual kink that sends us down the Chuck Berry path.  We share more than a love for 'Go Johnny, Go!"

Sadly, neither Peter K. nor Peter O. were given the prize.  Others figured it out.  But our work on committee didn't stop.  The two of us put our bizarre skills to more important use, finding the spot where Chuck and friends were standing back in 1965.  That was easier-- more clues!  We sent e-mails back and forth, zeroing in in a matter of seconds.

Bet we see Peter and Family filling that spot soon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Enrique Berry-- Mejor Cada Vez!

I hope that says "better every time" because that's what I intended to say!  And it's true.

And geez-- check this out.  There are moments here that remind me of when I first saw Chuck Berry.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

And The Winner..........................

Fred Rothwell, who responded:

"From left to right.

Reggie Boyd, Chuck, dj E. Rodney Jones, Odie Payne, Johnnie Johnson

The photo features in the Bear Family CD 'Chuck Berry Rocks', which is a superior release. I spent some time tracking down the faces for the release."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Who Are They? A GHO Contest.

Help me out!  (Thanks to Doug for the photo.)  (No points for anyone dressed in white.)

I'm guessing this is c.1963-5 and that Odie Payne is wearing the Space Needle Hat in the rear.

Here's some good reading, unlikely to HELP.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chuck Berry, Face au Public, COMPLETE, Belgium 1965

Thank you Fred!  This is the complete show.  "No Particular Place to Go" is particularly fine.