Various Artists – Jingle Bell Rock (1987)

FrontCover1And here´s a nice sampler withRok N Roll and Soul songs about Christmas, publish  by Time Life. And this sampler was a part of the “The Rock N Roll Era”.

Time-Life’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Era: Jingle Bell Rock collects 25 classic tracks of the holiday genre including “Run, Rudolph, Run” (Chuck Berry), “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” (the Jackson 5), “Jingle Bell Rock” (Bobby Helms), “Sleigh Ride” (the Ventures) and “Step into Christmas” (Elton John). Many of these artists will appeal to a broad range of ages, making it perfect for family gatherings. (by Al Campbell)

in 1987, I guess I was bitten by the same CD buying bug that many were: I bought into the Time-Life “Rock ‘n’ Roll Era” series of CDs. Thankfully I found that the musical selection on these were fine for my purposes, although the sound often suffered a bit. It did enable me to amass a good collection of “oldies” that I otherwise never would have bought. One surprising favorite came my way during the holidays–the compilation Jingle Bell Rock. A couple of the Motown tracks need to be skipped (the Temptations’ “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” is narcoleptic at best), but for the most part it is a very enjoyable and crowd-pleasing collection of holiday favorites.

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On here are tracks by Jan and Dean (“Frosty the Snowman”, rescued from obscurity), The Ventures (“Sleigh Ride”), Jack Scott (“There’s Trouble Brewin’”), The O’Jays (“Christmas Ain’t Christmas Without The One You Love”) and Dodie Stevens (“Merry, Merry Christmas Baby”). The usual suspects are here also (“JIngle Bell Rock”, “Run, Rudolph Run” and “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”) and Elton John’s “Step into Christmas” finishes out the disc with the most recent song in the collection. (by rudyscorner.com)

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Tracklist:
01. Bobby Helms: Jingle Bell Rock (Boothe/Beal) 2.08
02. Chuck Berry: Run, Rudolph, Run (Berry) 2.43
03. Otis Redding: Merry Christmas Baby (Moore/Baxter) 2.29
04. Smokey Robinson And The Miracles: Go Tell It On The Mountain (Traditional) 3.40
05. The Supremes: My Favorite Things (Hammerstein/Rodgers) 2.45
06. The Drifters: White Christmas (Berlin) 2.35
07. The Beach Boys: The Man With All The Toys (Wilson) 1.30
08. Booker T. And The MG’s: Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 2.27
09. The Temptations: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) 2.55
10. Carla Thomas: Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas (Thomas/Cropper) 2.38
11. The Jackson 5: Someday At Christmas (Wells/Mills) 2.38
12. Jan And Dean: Frosty The Snow Man (Rollins/Nelson) 2.04
13. King Curtis: The Christmas Song (Tormé/Wells) 2.55
14. Brenda Lee: Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree (Marks) 2.03
15. Smokey Robinson And The Miracles: Medley: Deck The Halls / Bring A Torch (Traditional) 3.55
16. Marvin & Johnny: It’s Christmas (Josea/Phillips) 2.14
17. The Temptations: My Christmas Tree (Webb) 3.05
18. The Ventures: Sleigh Ride (Anderson) 2.20
19. The O’Jays: Christmas Ain’t Christmas Without The One You Love (Gamble/Huff) 2.12
20. The Jackson 5: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Connor) 2.59
21. Jack Scott: There’s Trouble Brewin’ (Veronica) 2.22
22. Dodie Stevens: Merry, Merry Christmas Baby (Lopez/Sylvia) 2.11
23. Aretha Franklin: Winter Wonderland (Smith/Bernard) 2.09
24. Donny Hathaway: This Christmas (Hathaway/McKinnor) 3.26
25. Elton John: Step Into Christmas (John/Taupin) 4.22

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Swinging Blue Jeans – Blue Jeans à Swinging (1964)

LPFrontCover1Blue Jeans a’Swinging is the first UK studio album by British Merseybeat band the Swinging Blue Jeans, released in November 1964 on HMV.

The Swinging Blue Jeans were near the top of Liverpool’s rock & roll bands, although Americans who’ve only heard their pile-driver-textured Top 30 version of “Hippy Hippy Shake” (utterly unrepresentative of their sound or range) might wonder at that statement. This album provides the evidence — ironically, with a little better choice of material, it would rate very close behind the With the Beatles LP as a fresh and brilliant piece of music-making, and even as it stands, it’s not too far behind. In order to fully appreciate Blue Jeans a’ Swinging, you have to put yourself back in 1964. Liverpool and the rest of the north are filled with acts that can thump away hard, or harmonize pleasingly, but only a handful that can do both, and even fewer that can do both well, and most of those, apart from the Beatles, can’t decide if they want to be the Everly Brothers or Chuck Berry. The Beatles knew that with a little care, they could be both — and based on the evidence on this album, the Swinging Blue Jeans were of the same mind and had the talent to pull it off.

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Blue Jeans a’ Swinging features punchy, crunchy rhythm guitar, jangling lead guitar, some pretty raw singing by all four bandmembers alternating with decent harmonizing. There are also a few offbeat song choices, starting with the opening track, “Ol’ Man Mose.” Their cover of “Save the Last Dance for Me” is a credible rendition of a contemporary Drifters hit, and their versions of “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and “Long Tall Sally” are solid pieces of rock & roll. Their Buddy Holly-like versions of the Hank Marvin-Bruce Welch songs “That’s the Way It Goes” and “Don’t It Make You Feel Good” have enough hooks that either could’ve been a single and a hit; the ballad “All I Want Is You,” dominated by the quartet’s harmony vocals, sounding even more like Holly.

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The band reaches back further than the Shadows, covering, “It’s All Over Now,” an offbeat lament written by Wally Whyton of the Vipers Skiffle Group-this is their “Ringo Starr number, ” slightly goofy, with a vague country-ish tint. Even the one original here, a group composition called “It So Right,” is a good rock & roll number with acceptably clever wordplay. Only their version of the Boudleaux Bryant “Some Sweet Day” seems flaccid and second-rate. That flaw aside, this is one of the best rock & roll albums of its era to come out of Liverpool. (by Bruce Eder)

Many songs are from the innocent side of the early Beat music (like “Save The Last Dance For Me”)  … but on this album you can some real hightlights from this period of music like “TuttiFrutti”, a great version of “Around And Around” by Chuck Berry and of course “Long Tall Sally” … one of the est versions ever recorded …

Oh … let´s have some fun tonight …

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Personnel:
Les Braid (bass, keyboards)
Ray Ennis (lead guitar, vocals)
Ralph Ellis (guitar)
Norman Kuhlke (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Ol’Man Mose (Armstrong/Randolph) 3.07
02. Save The Last Dance For Me (Pomus/Shuman) 2.53
03. That’s The Way It Goes (Marvin/Welch) 2.38
04. Around And Around (Berry) 2.09
05. It’s All Over Now (B.Womack/S.Womack) 1.58
06. Long Tall Sally (Johnson/Blackwell/Penniman) 1.45
07. Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Price) 1.42
08. Some Sweet Day (F.Bryant/B.Bryant) 2.07
09. It’s So Right (Braid/Kuhlke/Ellis/Ennis) 1.58
10. Don’t It Make You Feel Good (Welch/Marvin) 1.42
11. All I Want Is You (Ireland/Chilton) 2.11
12. Tutti Frutti (LaBostrie/Lubin/Penniman) 1.58

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They say the joint was rocking
Going round and round
Yeah reeling and a rocking
What a crazy sound
Well they never stop a rocking
Until the moon went down

Oh it sound so sweet
Gotta take me a chance
Rose out of my seat
Just had to dance
Started moving ma feet
Well and clapping my hands

Well the joint started rocking
Going round and round
Yeah reeling and a rocking
What a crazy sound
Well they never stoped rocking
Until the moon went down

Twelve o’clock
Well the place was packed
Front doors was locked
Well the place was packed
When the police knocked
Both doors flew back

Well they kept on rocking
Going round and round
Yeah reeling and a rocking
What a crazy sound
Well you never stop rocking
Until the moon went down

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The Swinging Blue Jeans, live in 2013 !!!

The Allisons – Are You Sure (1961)

FrontCover1The Allisons held similarities to American duo the Kalin Twins of a few years earlier. They harmonised their voices beautifully, had one enormous smash hit, and then struggled to get recognition for much else. Perhaps it was being so successful too quickly that ultimately proved to be a handicap by raising expectations too high. Whatever the reason for their very short spell at the top, the quality of their recordings would seem to indicate that they should have done better.

Although Brian Alford had been singing in the choir of Saint Dionis Church in Parsons Green, Fulham, since an early age, it wasn’t until around 1956 that it occurred to him that he might be good enough to become a professional. Although he came from a poor background, he managed to raise the sum of £2 2s (£2.10p) with which he purchased his first guitar. He was fortunate to find a local jazz musician willing to teach him how to play it. Like so many youngsters in the UK at that time he became a skiffle enthusiast. It wasn’t long before he had formed his own group, “The Shadows”, at his local church youth club. Despite starting work as a trainee draughtsman, Brian began writing his own songs- an activity that would have a huge influence on his future.

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By 1958, Brian and a fellow member of the Shadows, John White formed a duet- calling themselves the ‘Shadows Brothers’. The gigs they did were mostly unpaid, but they longed to try their talents in the burgeoning coffee bars of London. However, parental approval for taking themselves to Soho to do this was not forthcoming. They entered an audition in Finsbury Park- and from this became Carroll Levis “Television Discoveries”- they performed in two shows which were the highlights of their careers up to that time.

In January 1959 John White decided to quit, and Brian Alford carried on as a soloist until August when he began a new partnership with Colin Day- somebody he sang with in the church choir. At this point the act was renamed “The Allisons”. They each adopted a new name- Brian became John Allison and Colin became Bob Allison. This they thought would strengthen their professional image as “brothers”. This new pairing worked well and by 1960, they had managed to obtain a residency at ‘The Breadbasket’ coffee bar in Cleveland Street. Other famous stars had precursed their careers here- notably Emile Ford, Wally Whyton, and Jimmy Justice.

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They entered a national talent competition co-sponsored by the pop newspaper DISC and a tape recorder manufacturer. They reached the finals at the ATV studio in Wembley despite a roster of 600 entries, and went on to win- then being invited to sing on Bert Weedon’s TV programme “Lucky Dip” that same day. They also won a record test and taped several of the songs that John had previously written earlier during 1957 and 1958. These were submitted to Fontana Records in the hope of obtaining a full recording contract. Fontana were impressed and selected “Are You Sure” for submission to the UK heats to decide Britain’s entry to the Eurovision song contest.

Despite having turned professional less than a month earlier, the Allisons won the British heats and narrowly missed the top spot in the actual contest in Cannes.

However, despite their near miss, the record became a massive hit all over Europe eclipsing the other entries and reached the UK #1 spot in all the major versions of the chart, including NME which was regarded widely as the most definitive at the time. [From March 1960 Guinness adopted a chart compiled by Record Retailer for their “British Hit Singles”- now accepted as the de facto standard. This has meant the Allisons are strangely absent from most lists of UK #1s. This web page is no exception.]

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Sadly, the Allisons’ follow ups to “Are You Sure” largely went unnoticed by record buyers. Doubtless, the Allisons were poorly prepared for the highly commercial world they had entered and management disputes, poor promotion and naivety took their toll. They achieved only two further minor chart placings in the UK.

As the sixties progressed the pair eventually decided to split up and leave foreground pop music. At first, John turned to full time songwriting but the yearn to perform became too great and he soon found himself keeping the Allisons name alive whenever he could. He and Bob would reunite occasionally for short tours, but during the 1970s and 1980s John teamed up with other “brothers”- notably Mike “Allison” and Tony “Allison”.

Ultimately, the Allisons, in common with many of the musicians whose popularity peaked in the 1960s have found themselves in great demand again. Although now 50 years have elapsed since he first felt compelled to sing, John Allison is still at it- and “Are You Sure” is still going strong. John and Bob now reunite regularly and they still harmonise their voices beautifully. (by 45-rpm.org.uk)

And here´s their debut album … a real charming one … a nice mixture between Buddy holly and Tom & Jerry (pre-Simon & Garfunkel)

Bob Allison died on 25 November 2013, aged 72, after a long illnes.

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Personnel:
Bob Allison (guitar, vocals)
John Allison (guitar, vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (Anka) 2.04
02. There’s One Thing More (B-Allison/J.Allison) 1.53
03. Darling Trust In Me (B-Allison/J.Allison) 1.50
04. Never Be Anyone Else But You (Knight) 2.33
05. Be My Guest (Domino(Marascalo/Boyce) 2.01
06. Are You Sure (B-Allison/J.Allison) 2.03
07. Blue Tears (J.Allison) 2.02
08. From Now On (B-Allison/J.Allison) 1.47
09. Lightning Express (Kincaid) 5.53
10. That’ll Be The Day (Holly/Petty) 2.06
11. Fool’s Paradise (Petty/Linsley/Claire) 2.17
12. Be Bop A Lu La (Vincent/Davis) 2.11

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Fats Domino – Rock And Rollin’ (1956)

FrontCover1Fats Domino, the New Orleans rhythm and blues singer whose hits include Blueberry Hill and Ain’t That a Shame, has died aged 89 of natural causes.

Domino, born in 1928 and one of nine siblings, left school at 14 to take on work in a bedspring factory – but went on to sell over 110m records in a career that took off in the mid-1950s, having learned piano on an upright a cousin left in his New Orleans family home.

As his name suggests, he was frank about his 200lb frame. In his first recorded song, The Fat Man (1949), he sang that despite (or perhaps because of) his size, “all the girls, they love me, ’cause I know my way around” – it became a million-seller. With his distinctive gelled and flattened hairstyle, he would sometimes play the piano standing up, slamming his body against it to push it across the stage in time with the music.

He became one of the first black performers to feature on pop music television shows, appearing alongside the likes of Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. But as rock’n’roll gave way to the guitar pop of the Beatles and others in the 1960s, American tastes changed, and his popularity started to dwindle. He didn’t chase fashion, however. “I refused to change,” he once said. “I had to stick to my own style that I’ve always used or it just wouldn’t be me.”

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His style was of rolling waltz-time ballads and pounding uptempo numbers, and the best known of his songs is perhaps Blueberry Hill, later selected for the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry which recognises songs worthy of preservation. Originally written in 1940 and recorded by Louis Armstrong, Domino’s seductively smooth version became the most famous; even Vladimir Putin covered it at a charity dinner in 2010.

Domino also was one of the first ever inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and, in 1998, the first rock’n’roll musician to be awarded the National Medal for the Arts.

He lived in New Orleans all his life, and was badly affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – he had to be rescued by boat along with his family, losing three pianos and dozens of gold and platinum records. But he would occasionally still appear in the city’s blues clubs right up until 2007. He and his wife Rosemary, who died in 2008, brought up eight children together.

His friend David Lind described him as “warm, fun-loving, spiritual, creative and Fats&Davehumble. You don’t get more New Orleans than that.”

Various stars have already paid tribute to him. LL Cool J said on Twitter, “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill… that line inspired me to dream,” Kid Rock called him “a true American treasure”, while songwriter Damien Jurado wrote: “There would have been no rock n’ roll, Jamaican ska, or rocksteady, had it not been for the major influence of Fats Domino.” Brian Wilson, Stephen King, Samuel L Jackson and Harry Connick Jr have also tweeted their respects. (by Ben Beaumont-Thomas; The Guardian)

And here´s his second LP from The Fifties … Come on, baby … Let the good times roll … including a great boogie piano (“Fat’s Frenzy”) and hot saxophone solos (“Second Line Jump”) and of course some sentimental ballads (“My Heart Is In Your Hands”) … that´s what I like !

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Personnel:
Fats Domino (piano, vocals)
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a bunch of unknon studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. My Blue Heaven (Whiting/Donaldson) 2.10
02. Swanee River Hop (Traditional) 2.53
03. Second Line Jump (Bartholomew/Domino) 2.39
04. Goodbye (Bartholomew/Domino) 2.20
05. Careless Love (Koenig/Williams/Handy) 2.22
06. I Love Her (Bartholomew/Domino) 2.11
07. I’m In Love Again (Bartholomew/Domino) 1.56
08. When My Dreamboat Comes Home (Friend/Franklin) 2.20
09. Are You Going My Way (Bartholomew/Domino) 2.47
10. If You Need Me (Bartholomew/Domino) 2.08
11. My Heart Is In Your Hands (Bartholomew/Domino) 2.46
12. Fat’s Frenzy (Bartholomew/Domino) 2.31

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Keith Richards – Unknown Dreams (Toronto Sessions) (1977)

OriginalLPFrontCover1As the story goes: Keith recorded a full album titled: “Unknown Dreams” in 1978. This was right after his heroin bust in Canada.

This was a bootleg album and only 1000 copies were ever made.

And we can hear Keith Richards  .. playing the piano and singing old Rock N Roll and Country & Western tunes … in a very sentimental mood …

In other words: This is the most intimate Keith Richards album … this is the other side of Keith Richards … a  real treasure in the history of rock !

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Personnel:
Keith Richards (piano, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Say It’s Not You (Frazier) 3.29
02. Don’t (Leiber/Stoller) 3.29
03. Blue Monday (Domino/Bartholomew) 1.58
04. Oh What A Feelin’ (Everly) 3.50
05. Sing Me Back Home (Haggard) 4.18
06. Nearness Of You (Carmichael/Washinton) 3.52
07. Apartment No. 9 (Paycheck/Foley/Owen) 3.44
08. All I Have To Do Is Dream (Bryant) 4.00
09. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On (Williams/David) 1.14
10. Oh What A Feelin’ (Everly) 2.32
11. Apartment No. 9 (version 2) (Paycheck/Foley/Owen)  4.41

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Ronnie Hawkins – Same (1959)

FrontCover1Ronald Hawkins, OC, (born January 10, 1935) is an American/Canadian rockabilly musician whose career has spanned more than half a century. His career began in Arkansas, where he was born and raised. He found success in Ontario, Canada, and has lived there for most of his life. He is considered highly influential in the establishment and evolution of rock music in Canada.

Also known as “Rompin’ Ronnie”, “Mr. Dynamo”, or simply “The Hawk”, he was one of the key players in the 1960s rock scene in Toronto. Throughout his career, Hawkins has performed all across North America and recorded more than twenty-five albums. His hit songs included covers of Chuck Berry’s “Thirty Days” (entitled “Forty Days” by Hawkins) and Young Jessie’s “Mary Lou”, a song about a “gold-digging woman”. Other well-known recordings are “Who Do You Love?”, “Hey Bo Diddley”, and “Susie Q”, which was written by his cousin, rockabilly artist Dale Hawkins.

Hawkins is also notable for his role as something of a talent scout and mentor. He played a pivotal role in the establishment of premiere backing musicians via his band, the Hawks. The most successful of those eventually formed The Band, while other musicians Hawkins had recruited went on to form Robbie Lane and the Disciples, Janis Joplin’s Full AdTilt Boogie Band, Crowbar, Bearfoot, and Skylark.

Hawkins was born in 1935 in Huntsville, Arkansas, two days after the birth of Elvis Presley. When he was nine years old, his family moved to nearby Fayetteville, Arkansas. After graduating from high school, he studied physical education at the University of Arkansas, where he formed his first band, the Hawks. He toured with them throughout Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. Hawkins also owned and operated the Rockwood Club in Fayetteville, where some of rock and roll’s earliest pioneers came to play including Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Conway Twitty. (by wikipedia)

And here´s the start of a real legend of Rock N Roll, featuring Levon Helm (pre The Band !)

Listen … this is Rock N Roll and Rock N Roll only … performed by the great Ronnie Hawkins …

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Personnel:
Jimmy “Lefty” Evans (bass)
Ronnie Hawkins (vocals)
Levon Helm (drums)
Jimmy Ray “Luke” Paulman (guitar)
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Jeanie Greene (background vocals)
Willard “Pop” Jones (piano)
Jerry “Ish” Penfound (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Forty Days Forty Days (Berry) 2.16
02. Odessa (Hawkins/Magill) 2.15
03. Wild Little Willy (Hawkins/Magill) 2.16
04. Ruby Baby (Hawkins/Magill) 2.13
05. Horace (Hawkins/Magill) 2.33
06. Mary Lou (Hawkins/Magill) 2.08
07. Need Your Lovin’ (Oh So Bad) (Hawkins/Magill) 2.22
08. Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Hawkins/Magill) 1.55
09. One Of These Days (Hawkins/Magill) 2.35
10. Oh Sugar (Hawkins/Magill) 2.15
11. What’ Cha Gonna Do (When The Creek Runs Dry) (Hawkins/Magill) 1.48
12. My Gal Is Red-Hot (Hawkins/Magill) 1.51

Please note: Many songs, like “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” are not written by “Hawkins/Magill” … “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” was written by Larry Williams in 1958 … but those were the days in the Fifties … Money, that´s what I want …

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Ronnie Hawkins in 2014

Chuck Berry – After School Session (1957)

FrontCover1Chuck Berry, who with his indelible guitar licks, brash self-confidence and memorable songs about cars, girls and wild dance parties did as much as anyone to define rock ’n’ roll’s potential and attitude in its early years, died on Saturday. He was 90.

The St. Charles County Police Department in Missouri confirmed his death on its Facebook page. The department said it responded to a medical emergency at a home and he was declared dead after lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.
While Elvis Presley was rock’s first pop star and teenage heartthrob, Mr. Berry was its master theorist and conceptual genius, the songwriter who understood what the kids wanted before they did themselves. With songs like “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven,” he gave his listeners more than they knew they were getting from jukebox entertainment.
His guitar lines wired the lean twang of country and the bite of the blues into phrases with both a streamlined trajectory and a long memory. And tucked into the lighthearted, telegraphic narratives that he sang with such clear enunciation was a sly defiance, upending convention to claim the pleasures of the moment.
In “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “You Can’t Catch Me” and other songs, Mr. Berry invented rock as a music of teenage wishes fulfilled and good times (even with cops in pursuit). In “Promised Land,” “Too Much Monkey Business” and “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” he celebrated and satirized America’s opportunities and class tensions. His rock ’n’ roll was a music of joyful lusts, laughed-off tensions and gleefully shattered icons. (by Jon Parles, The New York Times)
ChuckBerry4Chuck Berry’s music has transcended generations. He earns respect to this day because he is truly an entertainer. Berry, also known as “The Father of Rock & Roll,” gained success by watching the audience’s reaction and playing accordingly, putting his listeners’ amusement above all else. For this reason, tunes like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene” and “Memphis” have become anthems to an integrated American youth and popular culture. Berry is a musical icon who established rock and roll as a musical form and brought the worlds of black and white together in song.
Born in St. Louis on October 18, 1926 Berry had many influences on his life that shaped his musical style. He emulated the smooth vocal clarity of his idol, Nat King Cole, while playing blues songs from bands like Muddy Waters. For his first stage performance, Berry chose to sing a Jay McShann song called “Confessin’ the Blues.” It was at his high school’s student musical performance, when the blues was well-liked but not considered appropriate for such an event. He got a thunderous applause for his daring choice, and from then on, Berry had to be onstage.

Berry took up the guitar after that, inspired by his partner in the school production. He found that if he learned rhythm changes and blues chords, he could play most of the popular songs on the radio at the time. His friend, Ira Harris, showed him techniques on the guitar that would become the foundation of Berry’s original sound. Then in 1952, he began playing guitar and singing in a club band whose song list ranged from blues to ballads to calypso to country. Berry was becoming an accomplished showman, incorporating gestures and facial expressions to go with the lyrics.
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It was in 1953 that Chuck Berry joined the Sir John’s Trio (eventually renamed the Chuck Berry Combo), which played the popular Cosmopolitan Club in St. Louis. Country-western music was big at the time, so Berry decided to use some of the riffs and create his own unique hillbilly sound. The black audience thought he was crazy at first, but couldn’t resist trying to dance along with it. Since country was popular with white people, they began to come to the shows, and the audience was at some points almost 40 percent white. Berry’s stage show antics were getting attention, but the other band members did their parts as well. In his own words: “I would slur my strings to make a passage that Johnnie (Johnson) could not produce with piano keys but the answer would be so close that he would get a tremendous ovation. His answer would sound similar to some that Jerry Lee Lewis’s fingers later began to flay.”

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Later in 1955, Berry went on a road trip to Chicago, where he chanced upon a club where his idol, Muddy Waters, was performing. He arrived late and only heard the last song, but when it was over he got the attention of Waters and asked him who to see about making a record. Waters replied, “Yeah, Leonard Chess. Yeah, Chess Records over on Forty-seventh and Cottage.” Berry went there on Monday and discovered it was a blues label where greats like Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley recorded. He didn’t have any tapes to show, but Chess was willing to listen if he brought some back from St. Louis. So Berry went home and recorded some originals, including the would-be “Maybellene,” then called “Ida May,” and drove back to Chicago later that week to audition. Much to Berry’s surprise, it was that hillbilly number that caught Chess’ attention. Berry was signed to Chess Records and in the summer of 1955, “Maybellene” reached #5 on the Pop Charts and #1 on the R&B Charts. Through Chuck Berry, Chess Records moved from the R&B genre into the mainstream and Berry himself was on his way to stardom.

ChuckBerry3Berry continued his success with such hits as “Brown-Eyed Man,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” “Memphis,” “Roll Over, Beethoven!” and “Johnny B. Goode.” “Johnny B. Goode” is Berry’s masterpiece, as it brought together all the elements of Berry’s unique musical sound. It cemented his place in rock history and led to fame in the 1950s. His popularity garnered him television and movie appearances and he toured frequently.
Berry’s incredible success is due to his ability to articulate the concerns and attitudes of his audience in his music. At the height of his success, Berry was a 30-year-old black man singing to a mostly white, teenage audience. Dubbed the “Eternal Teenager,” Chuck Berry’s knowledge of the pop market made it possible for him to break color barriers and play to an integrated audience.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Berry’s music was the inspiration for such groups as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Berry had a number of comeback recordings and in 1972 had the first and only #1 Pop Chart hit of his career with “My Ding-A-Ling. 1986 fittingly saw him inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the very first inductee in history. As a tribute to his pervasiveness in the realm of rock, a clip of “Johnny B. Goode” was chosen played in the Voyager I spacecraft, proving Chuck Berry and his rock legacy are truly out of this world. (taken from his Website)
After School Session is Chuck Berry’s debut album, released in May 1957 (see 1957 in music) by Chess Records as LP 1426. It was the second LP record released by Chess.
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The first song on the original version of After School Session to be released was “Wee Wee Hours”, the B-side of “Maybellene”, issued in July 1955. It peaked at number 10 on Billboard magazine’s R&B Singles chart. The next song to be released was “Together We Will Always Be”, the B-side of “Thirty Days”, in September 1955. The next two songs released were “No Money Down” backed with “Down Bound Train”, in December 1955, the former peaking at number 8 on the R&B Singles chart. In May 1956, “Drifting Heart” was released as the B-side of “Roll Over Beethoven”. Berry’s next single, “Too Much Monkey Business” backed with “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”, was released in September 1956; these songs reached number 4 and number 5 on the R&B Singles chart, respectively. “Havana Moon”, the B-side of “You Can’t Catch Me”, was released in November 1956. The last single from the album to be released was “School Day (Ring Ring Goes the Bell)” backed with “Deep Feeling”, in March 1957, with the former reaching number 1 on the R&B Singles chart and number 3 on the Hot 100.

The songs on After School Session were taken from Berry’s first five sessions for Leonard and Phil Chess. “Wee Wee Hours” was the first to be recorded, on May 21, 1955. “Together (We’ll Always Be)” was recorded in September 1955. At the next session, on December 20, 1955, Berry recorded “Roly Poly” (also known as “Rolli Polli”), “No Money Down”, “Berry Pickin'”, and “Down Bound Train”. The third session was on April 16, 1956, when he recorded “Too Much Monkey Business”, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”, and “Drifting Heart”. “Havana Moon” was recorded on October 29, 1956. The last session took place on January 21, 1957, when he recorded “School Days” and “Deep Feeling”.(by wikipedia)
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Chuck Berry’s debut LP (60 years old !!!) is fairly strong musically, as well as having a really cool cover (a still shot of Berry, guitar slung in front of him, from the movie Rock, Rock, Rock!). After School Session was just the second long-player ever issued by Chess — only the soundtrack to the movie Rock, Rock, Rock! preceded it. This May 1957 release made Berry something of a late-bloomer among rock & roll’s foundation performers — he’d had his first recording session two years earlier, in May of 1955, and by the spring of 1957, Bill Haley already had a handful of LPs to his credit, Elvis Presley was gaining on him, and Clyde McPhatter’s version of the Drifters was represented on album, with numerous others soon to join their ranks. Berry had actually enjoyed only two major pop (i.e. rock as opposed to R&B) chart hits at the time: “Maybellene” in the summer of 1955, and “Roll Over Beethoven,” which had just made the Top 30 in the summer of 1956. It was “School Day,” the lead-off track here, that heralded his successful 18-month assault on the Top 40, opening a string of hits that included “Rock and Roll Music,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and “Carol,” and resulted in the release of After School Session — the title offers curious multiple meanings, incidentally, intended to attract Berry’s teen audience in the most innocent of terms (in connection with the rock & roll cuts), but also subtly invoking more daring “extra-curricular” activity in its blues and ballads, and older, post-teen concerns.
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In those days, as a policy, Chess’ rock & roll and blues LPs were comprised of previously existing single sides, and, thus, beyond the current single, the songs leap wildly across different sounds and styles — impromptu blues (“Deep Feeling”), and dance (“Roly Poly,” “Berry Pickin'”), instrumentals are interspersed with a trio of rock & roll jewels, “Too Much Monkey Business” and “No Money Down,” with their accents on the joys and textures of teenage life, which somehow didn’t catch on among mainstream listeners as singles, and the piercing, provocative “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” which showed how easily Berry could broach sensitive or provocative material if it were masked by a hot enough beat and loud enough guitar, bass, and drums; and we take detours into blues (“Wee Wee Hours,” “Downbound Train”), ballads (“Together (We’ll Always Be),” “Drifting Heart”), and even calypso music (“Havana Moon”). All of it was recorded in four separate sessions spread across almost two years; the rock & roll numbers and the guitar-driven instrumentals out-class most of the blues and ballads, but there’s nothing here that could be classed as “filler,” either — a lot of British Invasion bands wore out copies of these same sides learning their basic repertory, and domestic roots rockers could have done worse than to listen to “Downbound Train” or “No Money Down.” (by Bruce Eder)
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Personnel:
Fred Below (drums)
Chuck Berry (guitar, vocals, steel guitar on 02.)
Willie Dixon (bass)
Ebby Hardy (drums)
Johnnie Johnson (piano)
Jimmy Rogers (guitar)
Otis Spann (piano)
Jasper Thomas (drums)
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L. C. Davis (saxophone on 03. + 12.)
Jerome Green maracas  on 15.)
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Tracklist:
01. School Days 2,43
02. Deep Feeling 2.21
03. Too Much Monkey Business 2,56
04. Wee Wee Hours 3.05
05. Roly Poly (aka Rolli Polli) 2.51
06. No Money Down 2.59
07. Brown Eyed Handsome Man 2.19
08. Berry Pickin’ 2.33
09. Together (We Will Always Be) 2.39
10. Havana Moon 3.09
11. Downbound Train 2.51
12. Drifting Heart”  2:50
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13. You Can’t Catch Me 2.44
14. Thirty Days (To Come Back Home) 2.25
15, Maybellene 2.19

All songs written by Chuck Berry.

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R.I.P.:
Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017)
We all had to thank !