Regular readers of the Chuck Bery Collectors Blog will have noticed that during the last weeks a new signature appeared below some of the posts: Morten Reff
Who is this guy, you may ask.
If you are collecting Chuck Berry records, you will not even think to ask this question. But for the one newbie reading these pages, let me briefly introduce Morten.
Morten Reff is a (or probably the
) world expert on Chuck Berry records. He's the one who knows everything about when a specific record was released in a specific country, what the cover looked like and what's special about its contents.
Like me, Morten is a second-hand Berry fan. When Berry had his first hits, Morten was only recently born, and I wasn't even that. So we were never touched by the original hype.
Morten started collecting Berry records when his hits were re-released during the early British Beat craze. He bought his first single on PYE Let it Rock
b/w Memphis, Tennessee
. I encountered Berry during the early 1970s, when his greatest hits were already marketed as "Golden Oldies".
Both of us then started to collect more and more Berry recordings and records, trying to find even less known or more strange songs. While I was happy to get some cheap French reprint of a Chess mono album, Morten ordered the old U.S. albums and got the then modern "enhanced stereo" versions. In any case we tried to get more and more, especially after having noticed that versions differed on some albums or singles.
Though not formally trained as a music historian, in this specific field Morten worked like one. His research became a huge stack of publishing data. Consequently when Howard DeWitt in 1981 published the first English-language book about Chuck Berry
, Morten directly wrote to the author about how faulty the included discography was. Due to this the 1985 printing of DeWitt's book came with a much better and much longer discography - written by Morten Reff.
During the last few years, Morten has published the essence of his 40+ year research on Berry recordings and Berry-related recordings in a series of books called The Chuck Berry International Directory (CBID).
Morten and I got into contact 18 years ago when an early print version of this blog was distributed to Berry collectors all over Europe by help of a British record seller, Hugh McCallum. Since then we continue to exchange news and findings on Berry rarities. We share a lot: We both like Berry's music, but don't care for his personal life stories. We're from Europe, and we both hate to accept that My Ding-A-Ling
became Berry's greatest hit. And finally we are convinced that a true collector must also be an extensive researcher. We both encourage other collectors to join in and share their knowledge with us.
With the print version of his over 2.000 pages of Berry's musical legacy finished, Morten agreed to post further findings (new records, new covers) in blog articles here. If you own the books, you might therefore bookmark this blog
and print out the CBID additions.
If you want Morten (or me) to write about a specific Berry-related subject, feel free to send an email to email@example.com
. We promise to at least think about it.