Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

They'll be Rocking in Cleveland! Chuck Berry to be Honored at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October

What's a fan to do with birthday month concerts in St. Louis at Blueberry Hill and an all star jam in Cleveland the day after his 86th birthday.  Go, I guess!

Read about it HERE.

Why You Should Go to BBH: Rock and Roll Music at Blueberry Hill, 7/18/2012

Thanks to Doug and to whoever made this video.  Great sound, great performances.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

There's Enrique in Mexico and Dominic in Great Britain.  Someday the three of them should meet.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Plays a Mean Piano, Takes a Perfect Picture

View from the piano bench at Blueberry Hill.

Enrique y su Idol

Got a little letter-- actually, a quite BIG one today, with a framed picture inside!

The drawing is by Enrique's uncle, Edgar Hernandez.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Read All About It!

A new installment HERE.

Chuck Dylan and Bob Berry

Two artists dominate my record collection. I’ve always thought they were more similar than different.

Both rooted in the blues.

Both born on the Mississippi.

Both Disciples of Muddy, (born further down).

Both enigmas.

Both touring constantly (at least for the first 70 years.)

Both attached to guitars (with a little piano on the side.)

Both authors of their own autobiographies, word for word, and both receiving critical acclaim for same at places like The New York Times for their work.

Both loose with their own melodies.

Both quiet off stage.

Both of them poets—authors of hundreds of songs.

Both, now, singers of Christmas carols!

It doesn’t matter if one stands stock still on stage, seemingly frozen, while the other scoots, bends, splits and duckwalks; or if one can barely crack a smile while the other grins and mugs.

Both dip deeply into the current of American music and pull up something that is timeless and original. They are both giants among their fellows.

Both hugely charismatic, each in his own peculiar way.

Both available to be seen and heard today.

My advice? Do it.

(Chuck Berry photo byKevin Reynolds,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Precedent! Chuck Berry Back In Court! (Just Kidding!) ( But Cited, For Sure!)

A little legalese to show just how far Mr. Berry's influence has spread.  Here, he and Ms. Mitchell are quoted gleefully by a rockin' panel of Ninth Circuit judges in a decision that calls the name "Yellow Cab" "generic!"  Go, Judges, Go!

YELLOW CAB COMPANY OF SACRAMENTO, a California corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. YELLOW CAB OF ELK GROVE, INC., a California corporation; Michael P. Steiner, an individual, Defendants-Appellees.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

August 9, 2005
419 F.3d 925

"In this Lanham Act case, plaintiff-appellant Yellow Cab of Sacramento appeals from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant-appellee Yellow Cab of Elk Grove. We conclude that there are issues of material fact as to (1) whether the mark "Yellow Cab" has become generic through widespread use in the marketplace, and (2) if descriptive, whether the mark has acquired secondary meaning. We therefore reverse the judgment of the district court. We also determine that the burden of proof as to validity and protectability of an unregistered mark lies with the party claiming trademark protection.

"* Perhaps the Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento didn't know what it had until it was gone.1 It had operated in the Sacramento area, including the suburb of Elk Grove, since 1922. At the time this suit was filed, it operated approximately 90 cabs, had approximately 700 business accounts, and was the only authorized taxicab provider to the Red Lion Hotel, Doubletree Hotel, Radisson Hotel, Holiday Inn Capital Plaza, Marriott Hotel Rancho Cordova, and the Amtrak Depot in the Sacramento area. In the fall of 2001, a cloud appeared over the Sacramento yellow cab empire when Michael Steiner started a one-cab taxi operation in Elk Grove and operated it under the name of "Yellow Cab of Elk Grove." Determined to "catch that yellow cab,"2 Yellow Cab of Sacramento filed this action against Yellow Cab of Elk Grove, alleging trademark violation under the Lanham Act and related state law claims for unfair competition, false advertising, and intentional interference with prospective business advantage. The district court granted Yellow Cab of Elk Grove's motion for summary judgment, holding that "yellow cab" is a generic term, and, alternatively, that even if "yellow cab" is a descriptive term, Yellow Cab of Sacramento failed to show secondary meaning and is therefore not entitled to trademark protection. Yellow Cab of Sacramento timely appealed. We review a district court's grant of summary judgment in a trademark infringement claim de novo, with all reasonable inferences drawn in favor of the non-moving party. Dreamwerks Prod. Group, Inc. v. SKG Studio, 142 F.3d 1127, 1129 (9th Cir.1998)."

(The footnotes are 1) "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell, and 2) "Nadine" by Chuck Berry.)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pearl Buttons

When Chuck Berry's Facebook page featured a picture of Chuck and Johnnie Johnson playing together one thing I noticed, besides the friendship and respect, was the yellow cowboy shirt with the pearl buttons.

If you're a "Chuck Berry freak" (and you know that you are) then you know the wardrobe, which seems to have consisted of about 44 items spread over 60 years of professional life: the purple pants, the red pants, the red and blue shirt, the paisley shirt, the green paisley sports coat, the red and blue sparkle shirts of today.  Throw in a couple of white suits for the vintage look, a captain's hat for the elder statesman of the blues look, and maybe a black sparkle outfit and you're getting very near the end.  But though I never saw it live, this yellow shirt hung on for a long time-- most famously in Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll where it sidled up to Keith Richards and knelt before Etta James.

I once got it in the form of a snapshot from Bob Margolin.  He took the picture at blues show in Europe when he was with the Muddy Waters band.  Like a lot of others, Margolin got his start copping Chuck Berry licks.

(I wouldn't be too surprised to learn that this shot was taken the same day.)

I didn't go poking around everyone's Facebook collection, but I looked in Jan's and found this one of the shirt posing with a couple of famous piano players.  (Judging by Johnson's suit it might be the same tour or same day as the top shot.)

I could probably go on.  Send me more, and I will!