R.I.P. Chuck Berry, 1926-2017

Wickersham's Conscience

Chuck Berry, c. 1973 Chuck Berry, c. 1973

The very first concert WC saw in Chicago was Chuck Berry at a small venue – the name of which WC has long since forgotten – on the west side of the Loop, in what was then called the Blues District. Berry was touring in support of his latest album, 1972’s The London Chuck Berry Sessions, which included the unfortunate “My Dig-a-ling,” Berry performed that song twice in his one hour gig.

It was a greatest hits show, with a loose group of local musicians backing him. They were surprisingly ragged at the start of each song. It turned out that was because Berry never told his local backing band the set list, never rehearsed and expected the  musicians to come in on his guitar intro. He did his signature stage hop, a couple of short guitar solos and that was it. Absolutely no patter. The…

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