The second of four volumes in this extensive reference work dedicated to rock'n'roll's most influential guitarist and composer, Chuck Berry. It contains details of bootlegs; radio albums; movies; TV shows; video and DVD releases; international tour itineraries; hits, achievements and awards; Berry's songs, roots, and influence on other artists; tributes; Chuck Berry in print; fan clubs and websites; plus annotated discographies of pianist Johnnie Johnson (post-Berry) and the ultimate Berry copyist, Eddy Clearwater.
"I reviewed Volume 1 in JB 66 and I did warn you that there was more to come. Here is Volume 2, and the signs of a magnificent obsession are now apparent. After a short section on bootlegs, we have a vast, array of Chuck Berry lists: 'On the Radio', 'On TV', 'In the Movies', 'On Video & DVD', 'In Print'. There is a whole section of international (ie: non-U.S.) tour dates, proving what a compulsive list-maker Mr Reff is. Chuck's frequent touring has, it seems, only been interrupted by recording sessions and 'unfortunate jail sentences'. There's no mention of the fact that Chuck's appearances have not always given value for money. Several sections deal with the songs -- his own, as well as his cover versions and songs that influenced him. There is a fascinating chapter on Tribute Songs, which not only includes Robert 'Bilbo' Walker's "Berry Pickin" (with front and insert shots from the Rooster CD), but also such classics as Gilberto Gil's 'Chuck Berry Fields Forever' and Yukon Fudge's ambiguous 'He Can't Play Just Like Chuck Berry'. Of serious interest for blues lovers are two extensive chapters, one devoted to Berry's keyboard man Johnnie Johnson and the other to Berry-devotee Eddy Clearwater. Both get a worthwhile treatment, covering their solo releases (including video and DVD) and very detailed sessionographies. I cannot comment on how comprehensive these are, but there is one heck of a lot of information here. In fact, there is more information in this book than anyone but the most worshipful of Berry disciples could possibly wish for, or indeed, cope with. And there aren't quite so many illustrations in this volume, although those present are never less than Interesting. One small point of pedantry: the author has a habit of spelling the word 'good' as 'goode' -- is that an error or a deliberate hit of linguistic affectation?" -- Alan Empson, Juke Blues 67, Spring/Summer 2009 "As with the previous volume, it is illustrated throughout with masses of photos, labels and book. LP and CD covers, and the whole job is just as jaw-dropping s the first, still keeping the interest going despite the many pages of mere lists." -- Blues & Rhythm March 2009