Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rock'n'Roll Memories - 5 - Chuck Berry and the Moody Blues

We are still at Southampton and the year was probably early 1965. Came the announcement "Chuck Berry to perform at the Gaumont".

Chuck Berry, one of the gods of rythym and blues, famous guitarist with the "duck walk", is often credited with being a father of rock'n'roll. Of course there is some truth in this as rock'n'roll is really a welding together of several disparate music styles, and Chuck Berry had a lot to do with integrating white music (hillbilly) with black music (blues) and along the way helped to put rock'n'roll in the forefront of modern music. In the early 1960s Chuck Berry, fresh out of jail, was making a comeback on the strength of the British Invasion, his songs having been recorded by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones (who actually had very little esle in common). Hence his UK Tour.

The Gaumont Cinema was a large building with several tiers of seats. I wonder if it's still there? Anyway, the bill included about five acts but most of us were only interested in Chuck Berry and found it hard to sit through the first three. Then on came the Moody Blues. Their first big hit was Go Now, which of course they played. This was the first Moody Blues, before John Lodge and Justin Haywood joined, so it is hard to compare that concert with most of the more famous material of the second Moody Blues line up. But it was certainly more blues-ey. A grand piano featured heavily in their music.

The crowd became less friendly to the Moody Blues as their set went on. Finally they announced the final act and were sent packing with the loudest of accolades. Except it wasn't for them.

Chuck Berry was great. All the simple 2 minute 35 second songs of his era spilled out effortlessly - Johnny B. Goode, Nadine, Sweet Little Sixteen, No Particular Place to Go (I have the album). And then the greatest Berry song of all (IMO) Memphis Tennessee. And of course he did the duck walk!

Earlier Memories: The Yardbirds - Long John Baldry - The Who - Screaming Lord Sutch