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!

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