Two Songs Listed in Top 20 of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
"Rock and roll guitar starts here"; – Rolling Stone, in reference to "Maybellene";
Great music doesn't get more automatic than this. Someone who requires no introduction, Chuck Berry is rock and roll royalty, ground zero for everything that followed in his wake. And St. Louis to Liverpool – a compilation that pairs together two early collections, 1959's Berry Is On Top and 1964's From St. Louis to Liverpool – captures the iconic guitarist at his peak. Yes, every one of the 27 songs here is from his days at Chess Records. And every one of them now sounds as if they had just been recorded yesterday fresh off the studio floor at 2121 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
Countless Berry anthologies have emerged over the years, but we guarantee you none is in the same sonic universe as St. Louis to Liverpool. Mobile Fidelity engineers painstakingly transferred the sides from 15 reels of analog tape, many of which needed to be hunted down, identified, and then, finally, auditioned. Two years later, the results justify the time and expense. The tone, reach, presence, action, body, and resonance of Berry's Gibson guitar as well as the dimensions of Chess' famed studios are all here – real, lifelike, natural, rich, immediate. This is not to be missed.
As for the music? To say it's familiar, timeless, and boundlessly influential would be to understate its appeal. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then consider the names that have covered the material here. There's "Carol"; (covered by the Rolling Stones). "Promised Land"; (a longtime concert staple of the Grateful Dead). "Little Queenie"; (again, the Stones). "Roll Over Beethoven"; (the Beatles and countless others). "Maybellene"; (Elvis Presley and dozens more). "Almost Grown"; (featured in American Graffiti). "Johnny B. Goode"; (everyone who's ever picked up a guitar).
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