Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Routers - Play the Chuck berry Song Bookdot
artworkWell... it's hard to imagine that anyone could take Chuck Berry songs into such a barren landscape, but here they are. There a couple of tracks where Leon Russell's piano work shines.
Picks: School Days, Sweet Little Sixteen, Too Much Monkey Business, Wee Wee Hours, Bye Bye Johnny, Memphis, Tennessee, Johnny B. Goode, Maybelline, Rock And Roll Music, Roll Over Beethoven, You Never Can Tell, No Particular Place To Go

Track by Track Review

School Days dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Horn rock... coverin' Chuck Berry like rock 'n' roll was just fodder for band bar bands. Some fine sax work from Steve Douglas does set it up.

Sweet Little Sixteen dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Translating guitar man Chuck Berry's music into studio horns is a hard thing to pull off, as witnessed by how much this track misses the mark.

Too Much Monkey Business dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Aside from the Yardbirds' great cover, only Chuck Berry has made this song work. Studio horns playing in harmony take the bite out of it, rendering it pretty mindless.

Wee Wee Hours dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

There is some very cool piano work from Leon Russell, and Tommy Tedesco's guitar is appropriately blues-jammy. Joe Saraceno's arrangement is strangely in-sync with the blues original. Maybe the best thing here.

Bye Bye Johnny dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Well, there was the primal Chuck Berry original and the exceptional early Rolling Stones cover. Then there was this... not a trace of the original charm or the Stones' gutsiness. Horns and more horns.

Memphis, Tennessee dot
Rock (Instrumental)

This version of Chuck Berry's "Memphis" is slow and fairly lifeless. Not what you'd call groovy or exciting.

Johnny B. Goode dot
Rock (Instrumental)

One of Chuck Berry's more familiar songs, covered endlessly with rockin' credentials, somehow is disemboweled by the arranging skill of Joe Saraceno. Yikes!

Maybelline dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Only a couple of version of "Maybelline" ever caught my imagination - the Chuck Berry original of course, and Johnny Rivers' infectious live version from the Whiskey A Go Go. This is spunky, but pretty useless. It does have a curious fuzz rhythm riff in places that's like a low-key imitation of the guitar line from the Rolling Stones' "I'm All Right."

Rock And Roll Music dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Oh man... could you take more of the essence out of this song - I think not!

Roll Over Beethoven dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Aside from Leon Russell's piano wizardry, this is miles from credible. At least when ELO covered it, they retained the driving edge.

You Never Can Tell dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"You Never Can Tell" actually works pretty well in this arrangement, despite the harmony horns. Tommy Tedesco's guitar and Leon Russell's piano make nice with the rock 'n' roll ethic, and the drums and bass are quite solid.

No Particular Place To Go dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Bordering on marching band silly, this horn rock cover really does have no particular place to go.