The Chess Box

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Bruce Eder
Over the course of three compact discs, The Chess Box contains most of the highlights from Chuck Berry's career, including all of the hit singles. In addition to the familiar items, which are all included here, there are numerous tracks that are lesser-known but equally as good. That's particularly true on the stellar first two discs, where album tracks, B-sides, and forgotten singles like "Downbound Train," "Drifting Heart," "Havana Moon," "Betty Jean," "Bye Bye Johnny," "Down the Road a Piece," and "The Thirteen Question Method" get equal space with "Maybellene," "Thirty Days," "No Money Down," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Too Much Monkey Business," "Brown Eyed Handsome Man," ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Bruce Eder
Over the course of three compact discs, The Chess Box contains most of the highlights from Chuck Berry's career, including all of the hit singles. In addition to the familiar items, which are all included here, there are numerous tracks that are lesser-known but equally as good. That's particularly true on the stellar first two discs, where album tracks, B-sides, and forgotten singles like "Downbound Train," "Drifting Heart," "Havana Moon," "Betty Jean," "Bye Bye Johnny," "Down the Road a Piece," and "The Thirteen Question Method" get equal space with "Maybellene," "Thirty Days," "No Money Down," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Too Much Monkey Business," "Brown Eyed Handsome Man," "School Day," "Rock & Roll Music," "Sweet Little Sixteen," "Johnny B. Goode," and "Carol." Some serious fans, however, also found disc one, and especially the earlier songs on that disc, to be very controversial; part of the intrinsic nature of Berry's music was the sheer noisiness of the songs -- tracks like "Maybellene," "Thirty Days," "You Can't Catch Me," and "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" insinuated themselves into listeners' consciousness over the radio and on the jukebox with their sheer raucous, in-your-face sound frequently near overload. But at the time The Chess Box was done, the philosophy about CD mastering was to clean up the noise in original recordings whenever it was too pronounced, lest the "hot" digital sound make the track too harsh. Note: this "problem" especially afflicted "Layla" by Derek & the Dominos, so much so that the producers of the Clapton box remixed the song. Thus, the first 15 or so tracks on the first disc of The Chess Box may sound too "clean," lacking some of the raw edge from their vinyl editions. On the plus side, the detail revealed -- every note, and even the action on the guitar on the opening of "Roll Over Beethoven" -- is always interesting, and occasionally fascinating, and it is difficult to complain too loudly about hearing Johnnie Johnson's or Lafayette Leake's piano, or Willie Dixon's upright bass in such sharp relief. Additionally, for many years this set had the only undistorted CD version of "Come On" -- a relatively minor Berry song, but one that provided the Rolling Stones with their debut release -- that you could find, but potential purchasers should also be aware of the compromise in the sound. That caveat aside, the programming manages to get in most of the best album cuts, including tracks like Berry's hot cover of "House of Blue Lights" and the "Memphis Tennessee" "sequel" "Little Marie," though not quite enough material from 1964-1965. And toward the end of the set, the quality of the material begins to sag a bit, but there are still forgotten gems like "Tulane" that prove Berry's songwriting hadn't completely dried up. The now out of print Great Twenty-Eight collection remains the definitive single CD hits collection, and the audio quality on MCA's two-CD Anthology, released a dozen years later, is superior, but The Chess Box offers a flawed but near essential overview of his work for any serious fan, either of Chuck Berry or rock & roll.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/1990
  • Label: Chess
  • UPC: 076741080120
  • Catalog Number: 80001
  • Sales rank: 52,825

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Maybellene (2:18)
  2. 2 Wee Wee Hours (2:02)
  3. 3 Thirty Days (2:21)
  4. 4 You Can't Catch Me (2:42)
  5. 5 No Money Down (2:56)
  6. 6 Downbound Train (2:49)
  7. 7 Brown Eyed Handsome Man (2:15)
  8. 8 Drifting Heart (2:47)
  9. 9 Roll over Beethoven (2:22)
  10. 10 Too Much Monkey Business (2:53)
  11. 11 Havana Moon (3:06)
  12. 12 School Days (2:40)
  13. 13 Rock & Roll Music (2:30)
  14. 14 Oh Baby Doll (2:36)
  15. 15 I've Changed (3:04)
  16. 16 Reelin' and Rockin' (3:15)
  17. 17 Rockin' at the Philharmonic (3:21)
  18. 18 Sweet Little Sixteen (3:10)
  19. 19 Johnny B. Goode (2:37)
  20. 20 Time Was (1:56)
  21. 21 Around and Around (2:38)
  22. 22 Beautiful Delilah (2:13)
  23. 23 House of Blue Lights (2:24)
  24. 24 Carol (2:46)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Memphis (2:10)
  2. 2 Anthony Boy (1:52)
  3. 3 Jo Jo Gunne (2:45)
  4. 4 Sweet Little Rock & Roller (2:20)
  5. 5 Merry Christmas, Baby (3:11)
  6. 6 Run Rudolph Run (2:43)
  7. 7 Little Queenie (2:40)
  8. 8 Almost Grown (2:18)
  9. 9 Back in the U.S.A. (2:27)
  10. 10 Betty Jean (2:29)
  11. 11 Childhood Sweetheart (2:42)
  12. 12 Let It Rock (1:45)
  13. 13 Too Pooped to Pop (2:33)
  14. 14 Bye Bye Johnny (2:03)
  15. 15 Jaguar and Thunderbird (1:50)
  16. 16 Down the Road a Piece (2:13)
  17. 17 Confessin' the Blues (2:07)
  18. 18 Thirteen Question Method (2:12)
  19. 19 Crying Steel (2:32)
  20. 20 I'm Just a Lucky So and So (2:50)
  21. 21 I'm Talking About You (1:48)
  22. 22 Come On (1:48)
  23. 23 Nadine (2:35)
  24. 24 Crazy Arms (2:12)
  25. 25 You Never Can Tell (2:40)
  26. 26 The Things I Used to Do (2:40)
  27. 27 Promised Land (2:20)
Disc 3
  1. 1 No Particular Place to Go (2:41)
  2. 2 Liverpool Drive (2:53)
  3. 3 You Two (2:08)
  4. 4 Chuck's Beat (10:35)
  5. 5 Little Marie (2:34)
  6. 6 Dear Dad (1:48)
  7. 7 Sad Day, Long Night (2:42)
  8. 8 It's My Own Business (2:10)
  9. 9 It Wasn't Me (2:32)
  10. 10 Ramona Say Yes (2:40)
  11. 11 Viva Viva Rock & Roll (2:00)
  12. 12 Tulane (2:36)
  13. 13 Have Mercy Judge (2:38)
  14. 14 My Dream (5:56)
  15. 15 Reelin' and Rockin' (7:02)
  16. 16 My Ding-A-Ling (4:16)
  17. 17 Johnny B. Goode (3:13)
  18. 18 A Deuce (2:32)
  19. 19 Woodpecker (3:33)
  20. 20 Bio (4:22)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Chuck Berry Primary Artist, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Willie Dixon Bass
Matt "Guitar" Murphy Guitar
Johnnie Johnson Piano
Nic Potter Electric Bass
Fred Below Drums
Martha Berry Background Vocals
Bo Diddley Guitar
Stan Bronstein Saxophone
L.C. Davis Tenor Saxophone
Rick Frank Drums
Jerome Green Maracas
Jack "Zocko" Groendal Electric Bass
Adam Ippolito Piano
Lafayette Leake Piano
Robbie McIntosh Drums
Odie Payne Jr. Drums
Billy Peek Guitar
Jimmy Rogers Guitar
George "Harmonica" Smith Bass
Otis Spann Piano
Jasper Thomas Drums
Gary VanScyoc Electric Bass
Eddie Hardy Drums
Dave Kafinetti Piano
Owen McIntyre Guitar
Chuck Bernard Electric Bass
Bill Metros Drums
Paul Williams Piano
Technical Credits
Charles Brown Composer
Guitar Slim Composer
Chuck Berry Composer, Producer
Alan Freed Composer
Jay McShann Composer
Walter Brown Composer
Billy Altman Liner Notes
Bo Diddley Composer
Leonard Chess Producer
Phil Chess Producer
Esmond Edwards Producer
Greg Fulginiti Mastering
Andy McKaie Reissue Producer
Bob Russell Composer
Doug Schwartz Remastering
Johnny Moore Composer
Lou Baxter Composer
Benny Davis Composer
Gabriel Luna Composer
Russell Fratto Composer
Eugene West Composer
Johnny Moore Composer
Miguel Prado Composer
Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones Composer
E. Anderson Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Great 71

    71 great original Chuck Berry hits. If your a fan of Chuck's work you probably already have a collection, but if your kids or grandkids are unaware, maybe its time to buy them a set as well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews