Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Song

This has NOTHING to do with Chuck Berry.  But this morning I wrote this song and recorded it.  This afternoon I made the video.  I'd expect the royalty checks to arrive tomorrow, but it's gonna be Easter Sunday so no banks and no mail.  Have a good one!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I'm gonna guess and say 1974 or 1975.  (Thanks to Peter K. for the photo.)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Wentzville Slim

Photo and nickname provided by Robert Lohr, who's tickling the plastic here.  Taken about a year ago.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Roxy, Revisited

So tonight I watched the Roxy show again, and I liked it.  Thank you Ida May and Dominic.  I especially liked the songs that come right after "Nadine," when he "begins" the show with "Let it Rock" and "Promised Land."  I like the interaction with the piano player, who seems genuinely delighted, and although I don't like his style so much, I like to see the delight of the guitar player, too, when Chuck Berry is swinging his arm in front of him.  It's fun.

I'd bet $5 I saw pretty much the same band at that casino show at Tahoe.  (I right about it HERE.)  Certainly I saw the same suit.  Jim Marsala had to be there.  There were horns.  Pretty much the same crowd, just not quite as 1980s Los Angeles hip.  It was a Tahoe casino crowd that might also have gone to see Liza Minnelli or Dean Martin, but it was Chuck's night.

It was good that he was there.  11 or 12 years earlier he would have been in the free lounge, where I saw B. B. King and Bobby Blue Bland, and Jerry Van Dyke.  (The free lounge was a strange place.  But it was free!  Two drinks got you in a tiny club with some extraordinary musicians.  And since I worked there, even the drinks were free!)

Chuck was in the main showroom-- the dinner club.  And I guess, for me, that was the problem.  I was used to old barns filled with teenagers and seeing Chuck winging it with a band that would never forget that hour.

Funny how we insist so often on having things just the way we want them.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Flashback to Tahoe, 1982

The whole thing, on Youtube.  Which made everything fall into place for me.

I own a copy of this show.  I think I watched it once.  I didn't think a lot of it.  I don't even like the sound of the guitar.  (The notes are fine-- it's the sound, which sounds like television and chintzy speakers.)

What's interesting is that other Chuck Berry fans (Ida May, Dominic) love it.  I'll have to watch again and see what I am missing.

But what fell into place today, for the first time, is the realization that I probably saw Chuck right about the time this was filmed, wearing the same white suit, in a similar setting.  Could even be the same band.

I didn't like that much either.

I was home from West Africa for a few weeks.  It was the summer of 1982.  I was visiting family and my sister Maggie and her husband Ty took a bunch of us to see Chuck Berry at a casino in Tahoe.

The setting was nearly identical to what you see here: elegant booths spreading out, with tables, and dinners and drinks.  A bunch of slightly older folks in leisure suits.  A band that had actually rehearsed.

It was not what I was expecting.  I was used to being at the foot of the stage, surrounded by long haired kids, watching Chuck in his red or purple pants and a print shirt lead a pickup band through its hour of glory.  The songs were often extended with long guitar solos.  I wasn't prepared for arrangements, horns, elegance, and older folk.

Decades later I figured out the problem was me, not the show. It didn't meet my expectations, so I didn't like it.

So I'll have to watch this one again, and see what I really think.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Just a Nice Picture

A snapshot by Patrick Rocher.  I'm told it was taken five or six years ago on an earlier trip to Moscow.  Evidently Chuck Berry didn't just invent rock and roll.  Apparently he invented cloning, too.