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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Chuck Berry talks about genre on Soul Train

Laquinta asks "Do you find blues more soothing than today's sounds?"1 to which Chuck Berry replies "Well, to me, each type of music is a feeling, and blues, there's nothing that can replace it when you're blue. And there's nothing that can replace rock when you're reeling, and so on..."

Chuck Berry's contribution to Western music was to, if not create, to solidify the template for the popular music of the past sixty-or-so years. You're either following it or you're not. My criticism is that he all-to-rarely strayed from it.2 (Find six differences (musically, that is) between School Day and No Particular Place to Go.)

That being said, spending two hours immersed in the master's music is not a bad thing, and there may not be a better way to do it than Matt Fiveash's sendoff on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio stream (which is where I heard this quote.) Even if once or twice you find yourself going "didn't he play this one already?"

I will also admit I've vastly underrated Chuck as a lyricist.

1I also find this question interesting in the context of the fact that in 1973, in Philadelphia, Chuck Berry needs to rely on a white hippie blues band to back him up on Soul Train.
2Although, that did help him gig consistently for sixty-odd years without ever having a working band.

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