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Chuck Berry

Reading his obituary and a piece in the Guardian’s G2 brought home to me how important Chuck Berry was to the development of rock and roll and the music that followed it.

His heyday was in the 50s so I had kind of missed all that by being too young. I must have been aware of him somewhere in the background via the paltry amount of rock music on the radio in those times but I didn’t really come into contact with his music till the mid to late 60s when some of his singles were in the pile beside the record player at a youth club I went to. It’s therefore No Particular Place to Go and Memphis Tenessee I remember most particularly. It wasn’t actually till years later that I discovered No Particular Place to Go was a reworking of a 1957 song, School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell).

Not the least of his accomplishments was to irritate Mary Whitehouse with his ding-a-ling. (Well, it seems it was Dave Bartholomew’s ding-a-ling, but it was Chuck who annoyed Whitehouse.)

His personal life may not have been unblemished but he certainly has an impressive musical back catalogue, and that’s only the singles.

So here are those two Berry singles the second in a later live version.

Chuck Berry: No Particular Place to Go

Chuck Berry: Memphis Tenessee

Go Johnny go! Tell Tchaikovsky the news.

Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry: 18/10/1926 – 18/3/2017. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 132: Changes

Following last week’s offering from Black Sabbath here’s a more famous Changes – the Bowie song, here taken from BBC sessions. To my mind there’s a lot more energy in this live version than the LP track.

David Bowie: Changes

Reelin’ In the Years 131: Changes

A most un-Black Sabbath-like Black Sabbath song, I include this not only for the mellotron but the similarity of the piano chords to those in Birth by The Peddlers and Elton John’s Border Song.

Black Sabbath: Changes

End of an Era

Regular readers will know I occasionally mention the Radio 2 programme Sounds of the Sixties.

Barring two minor interludes when he was unwell, for all the time I’ve been listening to it – many years now – it has been compered by Brian Matthew, a well-known voice from the Light Programme of my youth. In fact he has introduced the show for 27 years.

Recently he has been absent for a span of time during which Tim Rice filled in. I was pleased when I learned on 18/2/17 that Matthew was set to return – as he did last Saturday, the 25th.

This turned out to be a temporary reprieve as Saturday’s episode was valedictory and Matthew informed us it would be his last ever Sounds of the Sixties.

Fair enough, Matthew is not a young man any more. I wish him well in his (part) retirement. I say part as he did say he would be introducing other Radio 2 shows from time to time in the future. But I’ll miss him.

The good lady and I speculated on who might or could replace him – neither of us thought Tim Rice had quite the timbre of voice for it – whether a star of the 60s or the only other DJ from that time presumably available (Johnnie Walker already ensconced in the Sounds of the Seventies seat) Tony Blackburn.

All was revealed in a trailer I heard on Sunday. It’s to be Blackburn. I suppose it’s the obvious choice. The show will feel very different, though. Blackburn does not have the gravitas that Matthew has.

Another change is that Sounds of the Sixties will now be aired at 6.00 am rather than 8.00 am as previously. That’ll be me listening on catch-up then.

If any of you still hanker after Matthew and his style that last show is available on the iPlayer for another three weeks or so.

Reelin’ In the Years 130: You’re a Lady, Love is the Sweetest Thing, Roll Away the Stone

I discovered two sad departures this week, both Peters, though one of them actually occurred in January.

Peter Skellern’s affection for the brass band sound made him stand out as a bit old fashioned in the early 1970s.

His biggest hit was You’re a Lady, no 3 in 1972.

Peter Skellern: You’re a Lady

I remembered his revival of Frank Noble’s song Love is the Sweetest Thing as being a bigger hit than in fact it was. It apparently only reached no 60. It has a brilliant lyric, though.

Peter Skellern: Love is the Sweetest Thing

Peter Overend Watts was Mott the Hoople’s bass player and is seen quite prominently in this clip:-

Mott The Hoople: Roll Away The Stone

Peter Skellern: 14/3/1947 – 17/2/2017. So it goes.

Peter Overend Watts: 13/5/1948-22/1/2017. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 148: Birth

The Peddlers were a frequent sight on UK TV at the back end of the 1960s and very early 1970s but never had much chart success. Birth, from 1969, was their biggest hit.

The piano riff is reminiscent of the one in Elton John’s Border Song which came out in 1970.

The Peddlers: Birth

Friday on my Mind 147: Put Your Mind at Ease

This is an odd mixture of psychedelia and that USian vocal sound exemplified by The Association. The guitar intro is reminiscent of Paperback Writer and Pleasant Valley Sunday.

Despite the hippy gear they still managed to look very USian and clean cut. But that keyboard player was so affected.

The miming in the clip is also pretty bad.

Every Mother’s Son: Put Your Mind at Ease

Reelin’ In the Years 129: Live Till You Die/Fresh As a Daisy

As I mentioned last week DJ Alan “Fluff” Freeman championed Emitt Rhodes (once of the Merry-Go-Round) when his first solo album came out in 1970, but that still didn’t make for much success in the UK.

On that self-titled LP there’s a strong feel of the Beatles feel to most of Rhodes’s songs, with a hint of Gerry Rafferty in the vocals.

Here are Live Till You Die and the more “pop”py Fresh as a Daisy.

Emitt Rhodes: Live Till You Die

Emitt Rhodes: Fresh as a Daisy

Friday on my Mind 146: You’re a Very Lovely Woman

I came across this when I was searching for Emitt Rhodes songs. It seems he started out in The Merry-Go-Round. Being a US (minor) hit I hadn’t heard it before or at least didn’t recall it. I do remember Alan Freeman championing Emitt Rhodes when his first solo album came out, in 1970 I think.

There’s a Zombies feel to the introductory guitar and the “strings” sound very like a mellotron to me.

I can’t resist the mellotron sound.

The Merry-Go-Round: You’re a Very Lovely Woman

Friday on my Mind 145: Gin House Blues

I heard this on the radio the other day and it reminded that before they drifted into a more “pop”py sound Amen Corner started out as a blues band.

This was a cover of a song originally titled Me and My Gin as recorded by Bessie Smith in 1928!

Amen Corner: Gin House Blues

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