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St. Louis to Liverpool

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Berry responds to the British Invasion

    Having toured the UK in the early '60s, Berry was aware of the impact he was having, and perhaps had an inkling of the British tsunami that was about to flood American shores. This album, released in 1964, doesn't greatly change Berry's formula of clever lyrics, memorable guitar licks and Johnnie Johnson's ever-present piano backings, but it does add a few classics and some fine album tracks to the canon. // Best known are the hit "No Particular Place to Go," and the oft-covered "You Never Can Tell. Both are heard in crisp, expansive stereo - sure to confound listeners weaned on AM radio. A trio of slow blues includes the original "Night Beat," a cover of Guitar Slim's "Things I Used to Do" and a late-night reading of the Charles Brown chestnut "Merry Christmas, Baby." The original album's tracks include a follow-on to "Memphis" titled "Little Marie," and this release's bonus tracks include a follow-on to "Sweet Little Sixteen" titled "The Girl From Central." // Berry sounds energized on album cuts like "Our Little Rendezvous" and "Promised Land," and especially on the original instrumental "Liverpool Drive." With the Beatles and Rolling Stones just then beginning to cover his catalog on record, his singing, lyrics and guitar playing still sound contemporary-for-the-time. Even when he's recycling his own riffs and melodies, Berry adds new tempos, arrangements or lyrical twists that reinvent the original spark. Three bonus tracks include the non-US ballad, "Fraulein," the B-side instrumental "O'Rangutang," and the aforementioned "The Girl From Central." All tracks appear to be original stereo, except for 2, 10-12, and 14. // 4-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings.

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