Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Berry’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #54– Chuck Berry: “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” b/w “Too Much Monkey Business” – Chess 45-1635 (G6/H6)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #54– Chuck Berry: “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” b/w “Too Much Monkey Business” – Chess 45-1635 (G6/H6)

The great thing about having a jukebox is that you can make the B-side of a single the A-side with a flip of the record in the slot. Today’s jukebox classic is one such record that I purchased specifically for the B-side and changed them around.

“Brown Eyed Handsome Man” was the flip side of Chuck Berry’s fifth single for Chess Records, “Too Much Monkey Business,” and was also from his 1956 debut album After School Session. The track was recorded in April of 1956 and features Johnnie Johnson on piano, L.C. Davis on tenor sax, Willie Dixon on bass and Fred Below on drums. Even though the song was designated as the B-side of the single, it still managed to place at #5 on the R&B charts. It was also one of the few singles in the juke that was originally released as a 78rpm first.

Berry was one of the first literary rock and roll songwriters whose sophisticated prose and observational skills created songs that described his world with pinpoint accuracy. “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” was a sly comment on race relations that was written after Berry witnessed an arrest of a Hispanic man in California. In it, Berry also brags about the appeal of black men to white women, much to the chagrin of 1950s white America.

The song has been covered by the likes of Buddy Holly, Johnny Rivers, Nina Simone, Waylon Jennings, Robert Cray, Paul McCartney, and it was also performed by Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley when they convened at Sun Studios for the relaxed jam session that is now known as The Million Dollar Quartet.

The real A-side to the single is “Too Much Monkey Business,” that according to Chuck Berry’s autobiography was meant to describe the types of hassles a person encounters in everyday life. The song was recorded at the same session as its flip and also featured Johnnie Johnson on piano, Willie Dixon on bass and Fred Below on drums. The song climbed to #4 on the Billboard Jukebox Play chart.

It has been covered by the likes of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Hollies, The Yardbirds, the Kinks and Eric Clapton to name but a few, and the song was a huge influence on Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: July 21st, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #54– Chuck Berry: “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” b/w “Too Much Monkey Business” – Chess 45-1635 (G6/H6)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #54– Chuck Berry: “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” b/w “Too Much Monkey Business” – Chess 45-1635 (G6/H6)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

The great thing about having a jukebox is that you can make the B-side of a single the A-side with a flip of the record in the slot. Today’s jukebox classic is one such record that I purchased specifically for the B-side and changed them around.

“Brown Eyed Handsome Man” was the flip side of Chuck Berry’s fifth single for Chess Records, “Too Much Monkey Business,” and was also from his 1956 debut album After School Session. The track was recorded in April of 1956 and featured Johnnie Johnson on piano, L.C. Davis on tenor sax, Willie Dixon on bass and Fred Below on drums. Even though the song was designated as the B-side of the single it was on, it still managed to place at #5 on the R&B charts. It was also one of the few singles in the juke that was originally released as a 78rpm first.

Berry was one of the first literary rock and roll songwriters whose sophisticated prose and observational skills created songs that described his world with pinpoint accuracy. “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” was a sly comment on race relations that was written after Berry witnessed an arrest of a Hispanic man in California. In it, Berry also brags about the appeal of black men to white women, much to the chagrin of 1950s white America.

The song has been covered by the likes of Buddy Holly, Johnny Rivers, Nina Simone, Waylon Jennings, Robert Cray, Paul McCartney, and it was also performed by Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley when they convened at Sun Studios for the relaxed jam session that is now known as The Million Dollar Quartet.

The real A-side to the single was “Too Much Monkey Business,” that according to Chuck Berry’s autobiography was meant to describe the types of hassles a person encounters in everyday life. The song was recorded at the same session as its flip and also featured Johnnie Johnson on piano, Willie Dixon on bass and Fred Below on drums. The song climbed to #4 on the Billboard Jukebox Play chart.

It has been covered by the likes of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Hollies, The Yardbirds, the Kinks and Eric Clapton to name but a few, and the song was a huge influence on  Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”

Edited: January 8th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 8/2/13

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “The Promised Land” from Sunshine Daydream by Grateful Dead (from the film Sunshine Daydream, Veneta Oregon, 8/27/72)

I look all around me and see dead people…”

We’re in our local movie theater in Lincolnshire, Illinois waiting for the Third Annual – (Jerry Garcia’s Birthday) -Grateful Dead Meet-up At The Movies to begin. This year’s film is from footage that was shot at a benefit show for the Springfield Creamery (makers of Yogurt) in Veneta Oregon on August 27, 1972.

The superb footage in this film is a treat for the eyes …where has this footage been for 41 years?

The film captures the band basking in the afterglow of their triumphant Europe ’72 tour from the previous April and May where they introduced a whole host of new classics into their repertoire. Most of the songs performed in the film turned up the classic trio of 1972 albums Europe ’72, Garcia (his first solo record), and Bob Weir’s Ace. Only about half of the show is represented by video in the movie, but what is there is terrific to watch.

It’s great to see such great footage of the Dead at the height of their powers with the classic lineup Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzman, and Keith & Donna Godchaux, still settling down as a unit, in the wake of the departure of founding member Ron ‘Pig Pen’ McKernan from the group. There is very little footage of Keith and Donna Godchaux in the film. Although heard on the soundtrack, neither of them show up on the screen until well after an hour has lapsed.

The show took place on a blazingly hot August afternoon where temperatures were over 100 degrees, and indeed themes of dire heat and water conservation play as a backdrop to footage. It doesn’t stop Jerry and company from raising the temperature from the get-go on a rollicking concert-opening version of Chuck Berry’s “The Promised Land.”

Jerry, Bob and Phil are all in very strong voice throughout the show, harmonizing together on a terrific “Jack Straw.” Donna Godchaux shows up on stage with the band late in the film for a tender Jerry-led version of Merle Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home.” There’s also great footage of Bill Kreutzman throughout the film playing the drums looking like a total biker dude.

You really get a great sense of the interplay between Garcia and Weir in the film, particularly watching Weir drive Jerry’s soloing along with his rhythm playing.  There’s so much improvisational electricity between Garcia and Weir on “Bird Song,” and they musically challenge each other on a rousing performance of “China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider,” as the band cooks up their own kind of prog-rock-psych-jazz brew.

And there are lots of naked dancing hippies!

Did I mention the naked dancing hippies? I love the classic concert footage of 20,000 hippies getting down to the music. (It’s a scene I only wish would reproduce itself this weekend at Lollapalooza.) There are also great photos and some vintage footage of many from the Dead’s inner circle including Owsley Stanley (Bear), SF legend Wavy Gravy (who does his interview in the reclining position), tour manager  John Cutler, Rock Skully, most of their crew, and many others.

Like 1974’s The Grateful Dead Movie, psychedelic visuals accompany the trippiest parts of the music, and in this concert it’s the epic 31 minute “Dark Star.” I would gladly forgo the psychedelic visuals in Sunshine Daydream in favor of the rest of the footage of Jerry, Bob and Phil improvising together. You can actually see how intently they listen to each other as they are playing.

The film and the full concert are being released in September in several different formats through Rhino Records. Here’s a link to www.dead.net for more information about the Sunshine Daydream film and soundtrack, plus the full track listing of show:

1. Introduction [4:01]

2. Promised Land [3:24]

3. Sugaree [7:30]

4. Me And My Uncle [3:16]

5. Deal [4:55]

6. Black-Throated Wind [7:01]

7. China Cat Sunflower> [7:58]

8. I Know You Rider [7:03]

9. Mexicali Blues [3:49]

10. Bertha [5:59]

11. Playing In The Band [19:57]

12. He’s Gone [9:32]

13. Jack Straw [5:06]

14. Bird Song [13:17]

15. Greatest Story Ever Told [5:36]

16. Dark Star [31:28]

17. El Paso [5:04]

18. Sing Me Back Home [10:51]

19. Sugar Magnolia [8:45]

20. Casey Jones [6:25]

21. One More Saturday Night [5:03]

Edited: August 2nd, 2013

Song Of The Day – 12/23/11

 

 

 

 

 

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Sweet Little Sixteen” by Chuck Berry

All that is great about Rock ‘n’ Roll can be found right here! Driving guitar riff…superb lyrics way ahead of their time for 1958…duck walking guitar solo…clarinet solo…an original song by perhaps the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roller we’ve ever had. Here is Chuck Berry in a rare live performance from 1958. What is lacking in the sound quality is more than made up for in the video. Just watched the Stones do this from their 1978 tour on the “Some Girls Live” DVD…couldn’t argue with their performance, now here’s the real deal…

Edited: December 23rd, 2011