Chuck – Chuck Berry (review)

Chuck Berry. The name means so much: rock and roll, some of the finest guitar playing known, inventive and playful songs. 

To think that everyone from Buddy Holly to The Beatles covered his songs is mind-blowing. Without Chuck Berry the world would be a different place. 

I was lucky enough to see Chuck Berry live on one of his later trips to London. Even in old age, he played the guitar like no one else, attacking the strings, duck-walking and bouncing off of the audience reaction. 

I was thrilled to write a review of his last album, Chuck, for Songwriting Magazine. Read it here.

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August 2017 Playlist (The Proto-Punk Playlist)

Earlier this month I wrote a piece for Louder Than War detailing the start of the punk movement (if you haven’t had a look yet, you can read my article by clicking here).

As part of my research for this piece for Louder Than War, I spent a long time pouring over the early proto-punk songs I used to spend so much time listening to.

This playlist features these top ten songs, along with some other gems from the period and into the punk era.

Here’s the tracklist, with the playlist at the bottom:

  1. Have Love Will Travel – The Sonics
  2. Roadrunner – The Modern Lovers
  3. She Does It Right – Dr Feelgood
  4. Can’t Seem To Make You Mine – The Seeds
  5. Search and Destroy – The Stooges
  6. Politicians In My Eyes – Death
  7. White Light/White Health – The Velvet Underground
  8. Kick Out The Jams – MC5
  9. Personality Crisis – New York Dolls
  10. My Generation – Patti Smith
  11. I’ll Never Get Over You – Johnny Kidd & The Pirates
  12. Psychotic Reaction – Count Five
  13. Lust For Life – Iggy Pop
  14. Typical Girls – The Slits
  15. Teenage Depression – Eddie & The Hot Rods
  16. (White Man) In Hamersmith Palais – The Clash
  17. 96 Tears – ? & The Mysterians
  18. Anarchy In The UK – Sex Pistols

 

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Bob Dylan: Chronologically 

The other day, I was speaking to someone about Michael Connelly, the fantastic crime writer who has a new book out called The Late Show. 

‘Where should I start?’ they asked, after considering my suggestion. 

This got me thinking. 

Michael Connelly has created a parrel Los Angeles. Often, characters from different books appear in different places: a long forgotten detective can appear in a new book without warning. His most famous creation, Harry Bosch, is now featured in an Amazon Prime show called Bosch

The first Michael Connelly book I read was The Poet, which doesn’t feature Harry Bosch. When it came to reading the Bosch books, I read these out of sequence. 

Ultimately, my answer was ‘start at the beginning.’ (Which was advice I admittedly did not follow). In this case, start with the first of the Harry Bosch book series – The Black Echo. You will then see how the character – and writer – develops. 

So what does this have to do with Bob Dylan?

I’ve been a lifelong Bob Dylan fan. Some of my earliest memories are of my Dad playing Dylan records for me. They formed a part of my childhood, like nursery rhymes, I suppose. However, I’d never listened to Bob Dylan’s albums in chronological order. Maybe this would enable me to see how Bob Dylan develops as a songwriter? 

If you’re a Dylan fan, some of his albums you’ll have listened to reluctantly, or avoided completely. I want to give each of these albums the same amount of time, in the correct order. Maybe I’ll learn something.

I will be listening to studio albums only – which means no Bootleg Series – in order of the UK date of release. 

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Proto-Punk in Ten Songs

Music genres are interesting: they always evolve from something else. Years before a genre hits the mainstream, there are usually artists playing a similar type of music to small audiences. Often, there are other elements at play to create a perfect atmosphere for a new shift in the public consumption of music: economical, social, political.

Punk is no different. Except, it sort of is. Punk music was born in 1976, people will say. It’s ingrained in their minds, possibly more so than any other genre. Of course, the groundwork for punk was created much earlier.

Read my article for Louder Than War here, and explore some of these key influences.

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