Chuck Berry

Chess, 1973

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Chuck Berry passed away in 2017 at the age of 90. He was one of the originators of rock and roll by combining his guitar sound with other styles of music. His string of singles during the late 1950s and early 1960s is one of the best catalogues of music in rock and roll history.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It has always amazed me that his studio albums could never approach the level of his early material. His live releases tended to be better due to their improvisational nature, but his studio releases were at best average with a few highlights to be found amongst the chaff.

In many ways he never changed. His early material was so important to the history of rock and roll but he never moved on and just road that wave for the next 60 years. His 1973 release, Bio, is not a bad album; just not one you will want to listen to very often.

They only track that strikes a nerve is his fusion of country and blues on “Rain Eyes.” It features a chugging guitar and Berry even takes the time to double track the vocal harmonies. If he put this effort and thought into the other tracks, the album would have been a lot more worthwhile.

“Aimlessly Drifting” is a slow blues number that was a stretch for Berry at the time. “Woodpecker” is a nice little instrumental that does not have enough time to really take off. Meanwhile, songs such as “Got It And Gone” and “Talking About My Buddy” just slide by without to much notice.

Elephants Memory, an underappreciated early 1970s band, provides the primary instrumental support. They provide solid, if uninspired backing, which is all that Berry asked of his backing bands.

Chuck Berry rarely climbed the heights of his early material. Bio is not a disaster, just not a release that rises above average. Okay should not have been good enough for Chuck Berry.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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