ARTIST: Chuck Berry
TITLE: The Chess Box
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 20: Maybelline (#5 US, #1 R&B), Wee Wee Hours (#10 R&B), Thirty Days (#2 R&B), No Money Down (#8 R&B), Roll Over Beethoven (#29 US, #2 R&B), Too Much Monkey Business (#4 R&B), School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell) (#5 US, #1 R&B, #24 UK), Rock and Roll Music (#8 US, #6 R&B), Sweet Little Sixteen (#2 US, #1 R&B, #16 UK), Johnny B. Goode (#8 US, #2 R&B), Carol (#18 US, #9 R&B), Almost Grown (#32 US, #3 R&B), No Particular Place to Go (#10 US, #10 R&B, #3 UK), My Ding-A-Ling (#1 US, #42 R&B, #1 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: How many don’t you know?
LINEUP: Chuck Berry. His early band had Johnnie Johnson, Willie Dixon, and Fred Below, but there so many others.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: It’s Chuck Berry. C’mon, man.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: His impact is short-changed by the charts, but running down the tracks in this collection is staggering as to what he wrote, and what he performed. Even if you don’t like a couple of tracks, there are many many others you’ll know.
He wrote about a lot of every day problems, and always tinged with his status as someone who was poor and a minority in Middle America.
There are 71 tracks here, from his great beginning, to some of his best later stuff (like “Tulane”), and yes, “My Ding-a-Ling” which should be excised from human existence. But that should not dissuade you. Just delete it from your collection and move forward.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: He had some legal issues, tax issues, and some…other issues. He’s not in the HOF of best-ever people.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. Chess did a good job here.
GRADE A+: It’s Chuck Berry.