During the last weeks, SEVERAL CD sets appeared containing most or even all of Berry's 1950s recordings. There is a simple legal reason for this which I will cover in a different blog entry. Thus we can can be sure to see more of such re-releases over the years.
In any case, such re-releases will be of interest to customers only if they are complete, if they come with additional information, or if they contain rarities or unreleased recordings. Given that, let's have a look on the 3-CD set Chuck Berry in the 1950s
(Chrome Dreams CD3CD5073, 2011).
Yes, it contains every track released until 1960. The sequence is a bit odd as they chose to put the first four CHESS albums in their original sequence on the first two CDs. The third CD then combines the remaining tracks from singles which did not make it to the original albums. As with the other set discussed some weeks ago
they mistakenly included the wrong version of Sweet Little Sixteen
. Any unreleased tracks from the 1950s have not been included.
The box comes with a nice 16-page booklet containing photos (some rare) and a well-written lengthy story by Charles Waring.
The additional 'bonus' tracks include the Ecuadors and Alexander recordings plus one of the two 1956 live tracks. These aren't really rare in contrast to the two live recordings with John Lennon from 1972. These recordings for the Mike Douglas TV Show broadcast 16 February 1972 can be found on many Vinyl bootlegs, but to my knowledge are here for the first time on a legal CD.
While there are no unreleased musical recordings on this CD set, we do find four interviews which have not been published on audio CDs or Vinyl records before. Despite the CD title, this is Chuck Berry in the 1970s and 1980s.
- There is the interview from the same 1972 Mike Douglas TV show with Berry, Lennon and Yoko Ono. This has been available on video and DVD before, though not on audio.
- Next is an eight-minute segment from the John Davidson Show broadcast originally on 15 October 1980. This segment has been available on YouTube for some time but then pulled for legal reasons.
- The interview labeled FM Radio 1983 was in fact recorded backstage at the Sam's Town Hotel in Las Vegas on 15 October 1983. Steve Goddard talks about how he made this interview here. This is probably also the source for this audio track.
- Finally there is a seven-minute segment from Johnny Carson's Tonight Show of 5 November 1987. This is available on YouTube in case you want to see the complete show.
The Chrome Dreams three-CD set Chuck Berry in the 1950s
is available from the usual Internet shops. For some offers, click here