CHUCK BERRY: ST. LOUIS TO LIVERPOOL (1964)
If I was beginning in the ‘50s, I could have chosen several of Berry's seminal rock n roll recordings. But more than a half a dozen albums into his career, Berry was fully formed, and it shows more clearly on St. Louis…” than on anything else he ever did. This is the origin of guitar-fueled rock n roll, with piano offering flourishes and bass and drums driving it all relentlessly forward. It all seems so simple today, but in the early ‘60s, it was a cultural revolution.
St. Louis has iconic tracks like “Little Marie,” “No Particular Place to Go,” and “You Never Can Tell.” They have been covered by countless other performers, and used in movies and commercials. They have become a part of the fabric of American culture.
But St. Louis… is perfect because of the consistency Berry maintains throughout. He can romanticize the sound on “You Two,” or rock out with his signature guitar lick on “Promised Land.” He can slow down to the more traditional blues of “The Things I Used to Do,” or speed up to the instrumental “Liverpool Drive.” No matter what flavor he is exploring, that guitar is always there, and it’s always perfect.