Chuck Berry Tone - Brown Eyed Handsome Man

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by GA19RVT, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. CBII

    CBII Member

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    What I see hear is the continued miss information first stated by Keith Richards during an interview for the movie Hail, Hail Rock N Roll. Here's a few things I guess some just don't realize. Chuck Berry sang in the children s group at Church, his sister Lucy was an aspiring Opera singer, his sister Thelma was an accomplished piano player as was their mother, he played the piano AND saxophone.

    What Keith overlooked was Chuck's background and what he listened to in his youth. Chuck grew up during the blues, country, boogie woogie and big band era of the 30's and 40's. What keys were the big band and boogie woogie bands using at the time, primarily HORN and PIANO keys! With him being a piano, sax and guitar player, listening to Charlie Christain, Carl Hogan and T-Bone Walker by default he played what were the keys of the big bands. Tommy Dorsey's band had a guitarist, but the guitar was nearly relegated to a filler position since it was an un-amplified instrument at the time.

    Did Johnny Johnson have an influence on the music? Of course he did just like Otis Spann, Lafayette Leek and Fred Below. What would be very helpful for some of you would be to listen to the session tapes in the BOX set and hear the interaction between the Chess Brothers and band. Ninety percent of it is directed toward Chuck Berry. You will also hear Chuck himself directing the other band members as to what to do.

    James Brown was the same way and even more so. He had absolute control over all the iterations of his band. Maceo, Fred, Bootsy, Catfish you name it, it was James Brown laying down the beats and humming the rhythms.
     
  2. Thinsocks

    Thinsocks Member

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    How "much latter" could it have been? That first photo is from 1955 and second one is when Berry was still "fronting" Johnson's band.
     
  3. CBII

    CBII Member

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    Since I'm the man's son and have seen nearly all of it first hand or have been told by the people that were actually there I just might have the upper hand on ANY of the things stated about this particular topic including that Les Paul. My dad told me when he started using and why he stopped. It was the only one he ever owned because of the weight AND tone.

    In the movie Hail, Hail Rock n Roll for example, Taylor Hackford said the band at the Cosmopolitan was just a pick up band. HUH? I personally would not call Johnny Johnson, my sister Ingrid, her husband Henry or Frank Dunbar a pick up band. By 1986 when that concert was being filmed, Johnny had 34 years under his belt, Ingrid 14, Henry 5 and Frank 7 or 8. That's not a pick up band my friend, those were seasoned veterans playing as sidemen in my fathers band.

    Or how about Keith saying they found Johnny driving a bus (which was true) but that he and my father had not performed together for many years. When in fact, the two had performed earlier that year (1986). There are fans that have stated they saw them perform in Sweden in 1984.

    Reference the member allaboard70's post.
    http://chuckberry.com/messageboard/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2142

    http://www.songkick.com/concerts/998857-chuck-berry-at-himmelstalundshallen

    For some reason, I don't think two guys that performed together earlier that year should be considered reuniting some long lost friends. I have personal video recordings of them playing back to 1980 forward. The coolest being them playing the V.P fair in 1982 under the Saint Louis arch.

    I'm not trying to be a dick about this rather attempting to give you guys the correct information about what is and is not true.
     
  4. tsar nicholas

    tsar nicholas Member

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    ^ holy cats, you're Chuck Berry's SON? That is the coolest thing I've ever heard! Thanks for joining us! Your dad is the ultimate!
     
  5. Thinsocks

    Thinsocks Member

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    Congrats on being Chuck's Son! In my mind, he's the true King of Rock N' Roll. I've said it on here before, "Maybellene" is the greatest record ever made. Period. Still, I'm confused about you saying that the Les Paul came "much latter", because both of those photos are from 1955... and that's the year your dad started recording for Chess, so it's not exactly "much later". I'm not trying to argue. I just want to know this stuff, because I dig the records and the music he made. Also, if your dad had the ES-350T with him when he arrived in Chicago, then the ES-350T had to be a '55, because that was the first year of the thinline version of the ES-350. It's a pretty rare guitar, because they made only a few in '55. It wasn't until 1956 that they went into full production. It would be interesting to see what the serial # is.

    Getting back to Maybellene, do you know who's idea it was to have Jerome Green on that session? There's just something about the added sound of the maracas on that record.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  6. CBII

    CBII Member

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    One of the Chess brothers (which I don't know, but Marshall Chess would) had a hand in adding Jerome Green on several of the early recordings. Mr. Green really was a member of Bo Diddley's band when he (Bo) originally was signed to Checker but those guys floated around like leaves in the wind at Chess back then. Kinda reminds one of how George Clinton leveraged the band members of the groups Parliament / Funkadelic.
     
  7. sideman

    sideman Member

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    Thanks. There's no comparison to their playing: CB brilliant, original, formative -- writer/composer, player and performer of many, many top hits; Richards derivitive, unoriginal, often drug-addled, back-up guy in an English band conceived in copying American originals (like CB).
     
  8. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    I feel sad reading posts like the last one. What is it about us musicians that make us drag another musician down to make our point? In any event, everyone is more or less derivative. John Kay of Steppenwolf perhaps said it best (in Tighten Up Your Wig): "Just before we go, I'd like to mention Junior Wells. We stole his thing from him, and he from someone else."
     
  9. sideman

    sideman Member

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    Well, jeepers, don't be "sad"! Try joining in the discussion instead of trying to play the "now you hurt my feelings" trump card. Should we (1) never be critical of, or discriminate among, artists (hey, they're all great!), and (2) pretend that it's all relative? I make no apologies for responding to the comparison of Keith Richards and Chuck Berry, and for holding the view that the latter is more original and impressive.
     
  10. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    Presentation is everything, and you can make your point without trashing on the guy you're comparing your favored guitarist to. ;)

    To CBII: Next time you see your dad, tell him some 42-year-old 'kid' in Seattle says thanks for putting all the pieces together and changing history. All roads lead back to Chuck Berry as far as rock and roll guitar is concerned. :aok
     
  11. DGDGBD

    DGDGBD Supporting Member

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    Hey I saw you perform with your Dad and sister a few years ago! That was quite a treat. One of my favorite rock n roll experiences of all time was a Chuck Berry concert at a small NYC club in the 80s; being allowed on stage during the encores.
     
  12. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    The part of your latest response that I cannot respect is where you took when I said, "I feel sad," and misquoted me as having said, "You hurt my feelings." I wonder if this difficulty in listening carefully is perhaps also contributing to your interpretations of the musicians we're discussing. EDIT And I think I'll stop here!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  13. CBII

    CBII Member

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    Whoa! Just as my dad was influenced by his hero's, so was Keith. To say Keith was unoriginal is quite harsh. It's hard to believe someone would say tunes like Under My Thumb or Jigsaw Puzzle were just examples of Keith copying my dads Rythm lines and figures. If T-Bone Walker had never become popular, just think of the ripple effect it would have had on 20th century music. B.B King, my father and many other guitarists sound would have been quite different.

    Bottom line? It's best to always keep in mind that there's nothing new under the sun and the everything is derived from something else.
     
  14. CBII

    CBII Member

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    Really, where did you see my dad with Ingrid and myself recently?
     
  15. CBII

    CBII Member

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    I'll do that.

    We'll take the comment on it all leading back to my dad as the root of Rock guitar. However, we have to toss in Scotty Moore, Bo Diddley, Ike Turner and others to be fair.
     
  16. DGDGBD

    DGDGBD Supporting Member

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    It was at a music festival in NJ...the Union County Music Festival at Nomahegan Park in Cranford. It might have been as much as five years ago.
     
  17. CBII

    CBII Member

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    YES! That was a real blast of a show. We'd played B.B Kings in New York City the night before. It was a outside show with maybe 8 - 10 thousand people in attendance. A nice sunny afternoon show with my dad's Saint Louis band backing him.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK534VWXq0U
     
  18. GA19RVT

    GA19RVT Member

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    Soooo...all the way through this post, including multiple diversions and a visit from a clear authority on the topic, I'm nowhere closer to understanding the guitar/amp rig on said song.
     
  19. HossNoshuns

    HossNoshuns Supporting Member

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    Threads like this make TGP absolutely amazing!
    Thank you to all...learning so much here, much love for the music made by the man, Chuck Berry.
     
  20. HossNoshuns

    HossNoshuns Supporting Member

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    oh and...CBII, could you please let me know if...
    "it was a two and three count" in Brown Eyed Handsome Man was metaphorical?

    i have always held the belief that it was...although i know some of my other closest friends disagreed with me.

    cheers!
     

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