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Matthew

Chuck Berry R.I.P.

57 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, Dave Garrett said:

Hip-O also released a third set that went up to 1974, Have Mercy: His Complete Chess Recordings 1969 - 1974. Given the asking prices for the Hip-O sets now, if I didn't already have them and was looking to get a comprehensive set of Berry's recordings I'd probably opt for the big Bear Family box instead. I haven't heard it, but I've read generally positive things about it (although the mastering on some BF sets can be a contentious subject).

Chuck Berry: Rock And Roll Music - Any Old Way You Choose It - The Complete Studio Recordings ... Plus! (16-CD & 2 Bücher)

You're right, totally forgot about that third Hip-O set. Never got it, the material is not my cup of tea. The 1950s were Berry's prime years; the decline set in during the following decade, although he made a few fine recordings in the early 1960s. 

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2 hours ago, Brad said:

When you say you have the three Chess boxes, do you mean the Hip-O Select ones? The one I was referring to in my original post was this one, which I assume is the one in your last sentence. 

 

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Correct, I have the three Hip-o Select boxes (bought the first two direct from Hip-o Select back in the day, the third one with a torn cover very inexpensively a few years ago).  And I have had the original 3CD "Chess Box" forever, which is totally redundandt for me since I have the other 3 boxes,

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I remember when Sugar Hill owned the Chess masters, and brought out The Great 28.  Everyone then said the sound was dry.  I wonder whether Chess was just getting it wrong before then, or perhaps people just weren't used to hearing these songs without clicks and dirt in the grooves.

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I have most of his important work on 3 box sets (two 5-disc and one 3-disc), The Chess Story.  Sound quality is fine.

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23 minutes ago, mjzee said:

I remember when Sugar Hill owned the Chess masters, and brought out The Great 28.  Everyone then said the sound was dry.  I wonder whether Chess was just getting it wrong before then, or perhaps people just weren't used to hearing these songs without clicks and dirt in the grooves.

Similarly, I wonder how many people realize that what you hear on a 45 on a jukebox or on an AM radio is usually not going to sound the same on an LP at home.

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On 3/20/2017 at 8:08 AM, paul secor said:

Something that's perhaps overlooked about Chuck Berry is the social commentary that appeared in his lyrics.

He wrote and recorded "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" in 1956 when it was unheard of for a record with lyrics like that to be heard on the airwaves:

Arrested on charges of unemployment,
he was sitting in the witness stand
The judge's wife called up the district attorney
Said you free that brown eyed man
You want your job you better free that brown eyed man

Flying across the desert in a TWA,
I saw a woman walking across the sand
She been a walkin' thirty miles en route to Bombay
To get a brown eyed handsome man
Her destination was a brown eyed handsome man

Way back in history three thousand years
In fact every since the world began
There's been a whole lot of good women sheddin' tears
For a brown eyed handsome man
It's a lot of trouble was brown eyed handsome man

Beautiful daughter couldn't make up her mind
Between a doctor and a lawyer man
Her mother told her darlin' go out and find yourself
A brown eyed handsome man
Just like your daddy, he's a brown eyed handsome man

Milo Venus was a beautiful lass
She had the world in the palm of her hand
But she lost both her arms in a wrestling match
To get brown eyed handsome man
She fought and won herself a brown eyed handsome man

Two, three count with nobody on
He hit a high fly into the stand
Rounding third he was headed for home
It was a brown eyed handsome man
That won the game; it was a brown eyed handsome man

He had to be sly with his lyrics, but the meaning was there. Beat James Brown by 12 years.

 

I've read somewhere that it was originally supposed to be "Brown Skinned Handsome Man". 

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12 hours ago, medjuck said:

I've read somewhere that it was originally supposed to be "Brown Skinned Handsome Man". 

That's the clear meaning, for sure.

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Posted (edited)

Are there 4-5 songs from that ‘65-‘75 era (like a couple from each half-decade), that are notable or recommended?  Something other than “My Ding-a-Ling” please.

Yeah, yeah, before anyone else says it - this is probably rooted in my bias FOR that particular 10-year period (in terms of jazz, and black music in general).

Also, did Chuck ever record anything in terms of Black Consciousnesses or ‘Black Power’? Cuz that’d sure be the era for him to have ever done anything like that.

Or baring that, what titles jump out from that ‘65-75 set? Thanks!

PS: Oh wait, I’m now just seeing that those “Chess Story” boxes are multi-artist comps.

Anyway, my questions still stand: what are 4-5 Chuck Berry tunes that are worth hearing from roughly 1965-75, anything other than that damn Ding-a-Ling song.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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