Album Details

July 04, 2011
Beat Goes On
Pop/Rock, Rock & Roll

Album Review

Two of Chuck Berry's earliest (and best) albums are paired up on this two-fer reissue from Beat Goes On Records, and while they both make clear Berry cut better albums than most rockers of the era (who often put out long-players loaded with filler), even he wasn't immune to adding a bit of padding here and there. Chuck Berry is one of rock's greatest songwriters, but he was clearly having a bad day as a lyricist when he came up with "Together We Will Always Be" for After School Session, and "Drifting Heart" is not one of Chuck's more inspired Latin-themed numbers; meanwhile, "Hey Pedro" from Chuck Berry Is on Top is a truly regrettable exercise in dialect humor ("Anthony Boy" gets a pass for at least being something you can dance to), and it's hard to overcome the misguided concept of "Blues for Hawaiians." But once you get past this nitpicking, this disc offers a bunch of the greatest and most influential rock & roll tunes ever written -- "Carol," "Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven," "School Days (Ring Ring Goes the Bell)," "Brown Eyed Handsome Man," and "Too Much Monkey Business" all on one disc? With great lesser-known numbers like "Wee Wee Hours," "No Money Down," "Almost Grown," and "Down Bound Train" also on deck? Not to mention Chuck Berry playing killer guitar on every tune, while Johnny Johnson adds brilliant piano fills and Willie Dixon rocks the bass? If you care at all about rock & roll, most if not all of this music needs to be in your collection, and the remastering on this set clears off years of aural murk and allows the details of Berry's trailblazing guitar work to shine like gold. This is hardly the only Chuck Berry collection you should own, but if this is the only one you have, you're not doing badly at all.
Mark Deming, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. School Day (Ring Ring Goes the Bell)
  2. Deep Feeling
  3. Too Much Monkey Business
  4. Wee Wee Hours
  5. Roly Poly
  6. No Money Down
  7. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
  8. Berry Pickin'
  9. Together We Will Always Be
  10. Havana Moon
  11. Down Bound Train
  12. Drifting Heart
  13. Almost Grown
  14. Carol
  15. Maybellene
  16. Sweet Little Rock & Roller
  17. Anthony Boy
  18. Johnny B. Goode
  19. Little Queenie
  20. Jo Jo Gunne
  21. Roll Over Beethoven
  22. Around and Around
  23. Hey Pedro
  24. Blues for Hawaiians
  25. Time Was [*]
  26. Little Marie [*]
  27. Come On [*]
  28. Promised Land [*]