Chuck Berry goes back to basics but thrills on Live From Blueberry Hill

Late legend Chuck Berry in excellent form on the club recording Live From Blueberry Hill

Live From Blueberry Hill
(Image: © Dualtone)

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Recorded in 2005 and 2006, Live From Blueberry Hill may well be the late Chuck Berry’s final album. It’s certainly a fine tribute to an artist who did more to change the concept of popular song in the 1950s than almost anyone else. 

This concert set is short, but effective. Even in his late 70s Berry was still a loose, witty and rock’n’rolling performer, and the power of his songs still shines through on this collection.

He was apparently fond of the venue, its small size fitting his desire to “play a place the size of the ones I played when I first started out”, and he gives the audience as much as they could possibly want, in the shape of a set of by-and-large entirely familiar songs: Roll Over Beethoven, Rock And Roll Music, Sweet Little Sixteen, and the entirely inevitable closer Johnny B. Goode

The effect may sometimes lack the vigour of his earlier work, but there’s a warmth here not always present in Berry’s performances, and for that alone this album is worth hearing.

David Quantick

David Quantick is an English novelist, comedy writer and critic, who has worked as a journalist and screenwriter. A former staff writer for the music magazine NME, his writing credits have included On the HourBlue JamTV Burp and Veep; for the latter of these he won an Emmy in 2015.