Chuck Berry

Concerto in B Goode

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Berry's last record for Mercury was a successful attempt to merge blues, rock 'n roll, and psychedelia. He does four blues numbers--opening with an Elmore James riff--that work well despite some distracting trick effects in the stereo mix. The title track (which is incorrectly indexed on the CD) is an extraordinary 18-minute workout in which Berry rocks and rolls through just about every guitar lick he knows, backed by organ, bass, and drums (there are no credits to be found on the record, alas), and it is a treat for any fan of his playing, even if it is a little excessive--he manages to beat Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead at their own game, and also embraces an utterly unexpected funk sound similar to Booker T. and the M.G.'s. Nothing here is as memorable or definitive as his early hits, but the album works well on its own terms, and is superior to such Chess psychedelic releases as Howlin' Wolf's New Album and Muddy Waters' Electric Mud and After The Rain.

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