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  #46  
Old 07-07-2012, 06:09 AM
chervokas chervokas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon C View Post
agree on the indispensability of Johnnie Johnson to Chuck's sound, having heard Johnnie do his thing in person...
Johnnie Johnson was a great boogie pianist, no doubt about it, and he's great on those Chuck Berry records. But indispensible? I think it's become a fashionalble bit of revisionism to attribute much of the greatness of those records to Johnson. Lafayette Leake plays piano on all those 1957 and 1958 Berry Chess dates that produced the likes of "Rock and Roll Music," "Johnny B. Goode," "Oh Carol," "Sweet Little Sixteen"....and nothing is "missing" from those records.
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  #47  
Old 07-08-2012, 07:02 PM
sideman sideman is offline
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I love that blonde ES-350 with P90s that he used in the mid and late '50s. At some point he moved over to a blond Gibson archtop with humbuckers, seen in the last two pics here. Maybe it was the same guitar and he had humbuckers put on it? You can see a couple amps in the last two pics.
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  #48  
Old 07-08-2012, 08:44 PM
guitarjazz guitarjazz is offline
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Damnit, you guys are going to make me get those Complete Chess box sets!
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  #49  
Old 07-08-2012, 09:28 PM
gldtp99 gldtp99 is offline
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Originally Posted by dead of night View Post
Berry makes Richards look like a little boy who just walked into the shop for guitar lessons. And that's saying a lot.

Yup--- that's what i see and i'm a Keith fan--- but i'm an even bigger Chuck Berry fan---- Chuck wasn't going too far out of his way there to make it easier for Keith--- but it is Chuck's song and he wanted it played the way he wanted it played---- he might have been a little upset after someone was adjusting the tone settings of his amp---as if he doesn't know how to work an electric guitar amplifier after doing so long before most of the other people there were even born...................gldtp99
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  #50  
Old 07-08-2012, 10:21 PM
Gretsch6136 Gretsch6136 is offline
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Originally Posted by gldtp99 View Post
Yup--- that's what i see and i'm a Keith fan--- but i'm an even bigger Chuck Berry fan---- Chuck wasn't going too far out of his way there to make it easier for Keith--- but it is Chuck's song and he wanted it played the way he wanted it played---- he might have been a little upset after someone was adjusting the tone settings of his amp---as if he doesn't know how to work an electric guitar amplifier after doing so long before most of the other people there were even born...................gldtp99
That whole "Chuck taking Keith to school" thing is a big overstatement. The only thing they were bickering about is whether the intro to Carol finished with a pre-bent double stop waver, or one that is bent into. Its a tiny difference....

Anyone who has heard Keith lay down his Chuck style soloing knows he can play that stuff as good as anyone, even Chuck himself.

Actually , on second thoughts, I think Rick Richards is the best Chuck Berry stylist out there.
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  #51  
Old 07-09-2012, 10:35 AM
JDW3 JDW3 is offline
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Originally Posted by Gretsch6136 View Post
That whole "Chuck taking Keith to school" thing is a big overstatement. The only thing they were bickering about is whether the intro to Carol finished with a pre-bent double stop waver, or one that is bent into. Its a tiny difference....

Anyone who has heard Keith lay down his Chuck style soloing knows he can play that stuff as good as anyone, even Chuck himself.
A prebent note, yet KR couldn't get it right. If Keith had gotten it the first time, we wouldn't be talking about it. Maybe Keith never learned it correctly in the 50s? Who knows. Chuck was right.
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  #52  
Old 07-09-2012, 11:25 AM
tsar nicholas tsar nicholas is offline
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I'm the biggest Berry fan there is, but I've always been pretty sure that Berry was just giving Richards a hard time about that "Carol" intro
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  #53  
Old 07-09-2012, 01:32 PM
Flogger59 Flogger59 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gldtp99 View Post
Yup--- that's what i see and i'm a Keith fan--- but i'm an even bigger Chuck Berry fan---- Chuck wasn't going too far out of his way there to make it easier for Keith--- but it is Chuck's song and he wanted it played the way he wanted it played---- he might have been a little upset after someone was adjusting the tone settings of his amp---as if he doesn't know how to work an electric guitar amplifier after doing so long before most of the other people there were even born...................gldtp99
I believe that led to Keef splitting Chuck's guitar signal and sending it to a Boogie in the basement to get recorded.
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  #54  
Old 07-09-2012, 03:11 PM
DrumBob DrumBob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretsch6136 View Post
That whole "Chuck taking Keith to school" thing is a big overstatement. The only thing they were bickering about is whether the intro to Carol finished with a pre-bent double stop waver, or one that is bent into. Its a tiny difference....

Anyone who has heard Keith lay down his Chuck style soloing knows he can play that stuff as good as anyone, even Chuck himself.

Actually , on second thoughts, I think Rick Richards is the best Chuck Berry stylist out there.

At one point in the rehearsals for Chuck's 60th b'day party concert, Chuck belted Keith a good one over something. That never made the film. Keith always said that Berry was the only person he never hit back.

And, I have to say that Rick Richards is a very good Berry-style player. So is Billy Peek, and Ronnie Wood. In all modesty, I do Chuck pretty well myself. LOL! Chuck, along with B.B. King, taught me how to play lead guitar.

BTW, I was rummaging through the videotapes in a local consignment store a few months ago and found a Chuck Berry tape. I thought it was live stuff, maybe a bootleg. So did the lady behind the counter. I read the copy on the back and realized it was a XXX tape of Chuck's sexual encounters. I told the woman, she was horrified, and threw it in the garbage can!
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  #55  
Old 07-09-2012, 03:29 PM
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big mike big mike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumBob View Post
At one point in the rehearsals for Chuck's 60th b'day party concert, Chuck belted Keith a good one over something. That never made the film. Keith always said that Berry was the only person he never hit back.

And, I have to say that Rick Richards is a very good Berry-style player. So is Billy Peek, and Ronnie Wood. In all modesty, I do Chuck pretty well myself. LOL! Chuck, along with B.B. King, taught me how to play lead guitar.

BTW, I was rummaging through the videotapes in a local consignment store a few months ago and found a Chuck Berry tape. I thought it was live stuff, maybe a bootleg. So did the lady behind the counter. I read the copy on the back and realized it was a XXX tape of Chuck's sexual encounters. I told the woman, she was horrified, and threw it in the garbage can!
Not sure it was the birthday party...Chuck was walking down the hall, Keith grabbed his shoulder from behind.

Knowing back then Keef was packing....he must've had huge respect for chuck not to bust one in his ass. He had been known to run off Ronnie's 'managers' at gunpoint....
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  #56  
Old 07-09-2012, 07:50 PM
DrumBob DrumBob is offline
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Originally Posted by big mike View Post
Not sure it was the birthday party...Chuck was walking down the hall, Keith grabbed his shoulder from behind.

Knowing back then Keef was packing....he must've had huge respect for chuck not to bust one in his ass. He had been known to run off Ronnie's 'managers' at gunpoint....

I think you're right about that. Keef surprised Chuck from behind and Chuck whirled around and decked him. Chuck was and probably still is, a very testy individual.

Ever hear the story of the time Keef told the DJ at a Stones party to stop playing disco? The DJ didn't. Next time, Keef pulled out a knife and told him again. That was the end of the disco music.
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  #57  
Old 07-11-2012, 06:03 PM
CBII CBII is offline
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Originally Posted by DrumBob View Post
Obviously, I'm a huge Chuck fan, but I also understand his weak points and foibles. I have met him several times, and aways felt as if I was walking on eggshells around him. No matter, I love his playing from years ago. He's my main influence.

I don't care what anyone says, Chuck's secret weapon was always Johnny Johnson. Without that boogie woogie/barrelhouse stuff going on in the back, Chuck's records would have never had the swing they had. And it's true that Chuck working with pickup bands was a bad move, ultimately. Younger musicians often don't understand that concept of swinging an eighth note groove. They just pummel the rhythm to death. One of the reasons I love Steve Jordan's drumming is because he gets it. That clip of the jam was a perfect example of guys who get that feel.
Johnny Johnson was not the ONLY boogie woogie/barrelhouse player on those recordings. Lafayette Leake, Otis Spann and Fred Below ALSO were on many of those early recordings. Those guys were Chess Records Session Players during the time much of the blues recordings AND Chuck Berry's records were created.

Johnny was one helluva a guy and could play the piano with great skill however, it would be doing a great disservice to the other key piano players of Chess Records to not give them credit. It also, puts into question exactly which keyboard player had the most impact to the recordings.

No question, getting pickup bands was a horrible move. Some of them could keep up with what was going on but far too many fell victim to "deer in the headlights syndrome". His been using pretty much the same core band for the last 12 - 15 years at least at the local shows in his home town and the sound and feel is much tighter and crisp.
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  #58  
Old 07-11-2012, 06:10 PM
CBII CBII is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chervokas View Post
Johnnie Johnson was a great boogie pianist, no doubt about it, and he's great on those Chuck Berry records. But indispensible? I think it's become a fashionalble bit of revisionism to attribute much of the greatness of those records to Johnson. Lafayette Leake plays piano on all those 1957 and 1958 Berry Chess dates that produced the likes of "Rock and Roll Music," "Johnny B. Goode," "Oh Carol," "Sweet Little Sixteen"....and nothing is "missing" from those records.
As I said in another post, Johnny Johnson was a fantastic player. He was also a very good friend to Chuck however, there were three other fantastic keyboard players at Chess records at the time Chucks early work was recorded. Marshall Chess, his Uncle, Buddy Guy and Chuck Berry are the only surviving people from that time. The best thing to do would be to read what they have said about this period in history.
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  #59  
Old 07-11-2012, 06:14 PM
CBII CBII is offline
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Originally Posted by Gretsch6136 View Post
That whole "Chuck taking Keith to school" thing is a big overstatement. The only thing they were bickering about is whether the intro to Carol finished with a pre-bent double stop waver, or one that is bent into. Its a tiny difference....

Anyone who has heard Keith lay down his Chuck style soloing knows he can play that stuff as good as anyone, even Chuck himself.

Actually , on second thoughts, I think Rick Richards is the best Chuck Berry stylist out there.
There's a friend of mine from Sweden you need to hear play Chuck's stuff. His name is Thomas Einnerson and the band he's in is called Bad Sign. The guy plays Chucks style like no one I've ever heard except the man himself. As to the so called taking Keith to school, you are correct. It was just a moment in which Taylor took advantage of the moment. Hackford was a investigative reporter prior to delving into the film business. Taylor was quite good at putting great emphasis on things that were trivial.

Last edited by CBII; 07-11-2012 at 07:15 PM.
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  #60  
Old 07-11-2012, 06:18 PM
CBII CBII is offline
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Originally Posted by Thinsocks View Post
A lot of that early stuff is actually a '54 Les Paul Custom. From what I understand he had that guitar with him when he first arrived at Chess.



This photo is from the pre-Chess Records days.

I must respectfully disagree with that statement. Chuck Berry had a Kay and ES-350 when I went to Chicago. The Les Paul came much later and was cast aside because of weight. It was consumed in a fire at BerryPark in 1969.
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