Sadly passing just a few months before its release, the simply titled ‘Chuck’ sees one of the most important musicians of the 20th century offering a swaggering and sweet swan song. Incredibly his first set a fresh material since 1979’s ‘Rock It’, Chuck Berry goes out doing what he did best, namely discussing woman, woes, and wonder - all with a mischievous grin.
As opposed to Johnny Cash’s twilight work, ‘Chuck’ sounds far more youthful then you’d imagine, its production simple, ballsy and effectively basic. A sprightly ten tracks, eight of which written by Berry, help reaffirm what an important figure the man truly was. As John Lennon once said “If you had to give Rock ‘n’ Roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry”, the ripping licks present on ‘Big Boys’ providing all the proof you need to confirm that statement.
Apart from a little thickness added to his voice it’s hard to visualise a man approaching the end on these numbers. ‘She Still Loves You’s honky-tonk groove has the charm of old while a live take of ‘3/4 Time (Enchiladas)’ proves a darkly-humorous treat about rocking right till the very end. A fine goodbye filled with easy charm and style.
Words: Sam Walker-Smart
- - -
- - -