Newport R&B festival,chuck berry and me

Look how happy! This was my first encounter with chuck berry. I have always been a fan, I mean what human being doesn’t know Johnny B Goode? Chuck wrote short stories for teenagers, it was about us, much like Bill Cosby. The characters weren’t black or white, Asian or Hispanic, they were for ALL of us. Nobody was as COOL as chuck either. He could play the hell out of that guitar while duck walking, with an attitude of double badass! Think about teenage wedding, and the storyline, and resolution of a very touchy situation for that time…..he got it ALL said in less than 3 minutes!
Or riding along in my automobile, with no particular place to go, Memphis,cool breeze. The list is endless, the double stop guitar licks, Johnnie Johnson’s rat a tat piano riffs,a driving backbeat……draw a straight line from Louis Jordan and you find chuck, Louis used uptown playing with clever stories in short to the point funny as hell commentary, whereas chuck was greasy and down home balls to the wall rhythm n blues until they called it rock n roll. His guitar playing and song form were so uniquely HIS, that he was able to successfully sue the beach boys for his impact on surf music! Bill edmunds, photographer,reporter, and one of my best friends arranged the meet at the Newport R&B festival in Rhode Island. That smile on my face tells the whole story. The next time I saw chuck was at Berkeley school of music in Boston for a show benefeiting a rehab organization. Chuck Berry is a prickly dude, there are so many stories, but I’ll leave those out for now, and just leave on the high note of his incredible contribution, hail hail rock n roll!!!!!!

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