This album brings to fruition a long ambition to record a selection of the works of Chuck Berry. I have always been an avid fan, and never tire of playing and listening to his captivating compositions. I have seen him live more times than I can remember and once even had the privilege, after a show, to jam with him at the Queens Garden Restaurant in the 60s. Frustratingly for me, in 2004, I had to sit and watch my wife Sandra up on stage dancing alongside him at a concert. The moment he walks on stage, I am totally entranced by his presence because, to me, he is the consummate entertainer, singer and musician. I once heard him introduced as “The Rock Poet and Father of Rock 'n' Roll, the master of rough-cut Rhythm and Blues and the number one composer of classical popular music”. The birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll was a mixture of ‘black’ and ‘white’ music, comprising Elvis Presley, a white man who loved gospel and blues, and Chuck Berry, a black man steeped in swing, blues, who loved country and western. Together they defined Rock ‘n’ Roll forever, eradicating the boundaries of ‘black’ and ‘white’ music. Chuck created a completely new sound and guitar style by combining his influences of jazz, gospel and blues, and took the world by storm. His guitar tone, syncopations and bends have an attitude of their own. To quote the old cliché, “If you tried to give ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll' another name, you might call it Chuck Berry”…..John Lennon. What would the Rolling Stones and The Beatles sound like without him?
Our arrangements of Chuck Berry’s music and songs are not meant to be exact duplicates or carbon copies, but simply our own interpretations, in our own style and with our own individual sound, whilst still being faithful and retaining the flavour of the originals. Chuck Berry music is what the electric guitar was made for. The music is driving, gritty and dynamic, and the lyrics jaunty, cheeky and entertaining. I have sought to create an interesting and authentic ‘Chuck Berry’ feel with my guitar passages. Dick’s articulate bass line adds body and drive to the compositions, whilst Sandra’s nimble dexterity on keyboard is integral to our sound. Her talent and expert timing on percussion adds an individual rhythmic embellishment, including the use of darabuka and the rattle of the ‘golden egg’!