The Anthology

The Anthology

by Chuck Berry
5.0 1

CD

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Overview

The Anthology

Falling squarely between the 71-track triple-disc Chess Box and numerous single-album distillations of Chuck Berry's hits, most notably The Great Twenty-Eight, is this 2000-released, chronologically compiled double-disc set. Its 50 tunes include all of Berry's seminal Chess hits plus key album tracks like "Beautiful Delilah," "Jo Jo Gunne," and "Jaguar & Thunderbird" that were influential but never cracked the charts. The 20-page booklet features a fascinating, extensive essay that provides crucial insights into Berry's work as well as rare pictures and track-by-track personnel listing. Since virtually all of Berry's essential work was done for the Chess label, now part of the Universal empire, there's no reason to decry the lack of anything from Berry's Mercury years, even though those tracks are now owned by the same company and could have been included, especially tacked onto disc two that times out at a relatively conservative 64 minutes. But with a lineup like this, who's complaining? Berry is the undisputed father of rock & roll and his music, much of it blues based and in a few cases like "Havana Moon" even Caribbean inspired, remains timeless as well as inspirational decades after it was recorded. The joys of discovering forgotten, relatively obscure cuts like "Come On" or "I'm Talking About You," both of which are easily on par with any of his more popular hits, is one of life's little bonuses. Berry's lyrics remain intriguingly descriptive, and the remastered sound brings these songs alive with every instrument, especially Willie Dixon's dynamic, jazzy stand-up bass clearly defined. The savvy track selection makes this a better, more consistent listen than the bulky box and stands as the best introduction to one of the most significant pop musicians of 20th century music and the single most important rock & roller ever.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/27/2000
Label: Chess
UPC: 0008811230425
catalogNumber: 112304

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chuck Berry   Primary Artist
Willie Dixon   Bass
Etta James   Background Vocals
Matt "Guitar" Murphy   Guitar
Hubert Sumlin   Guitar
Johnnie Johnson   Piano
Nic Potter   Electric Bass
Fred Below   Drums
Martha Berry   Background Vocals
Stan Bronstein   Saxophone
L.C. Davis   Tenor Saxophone
Jerome Green   Maracas
Lafayette Leake   Piano
Odie Payne   Drums
Jimmy Rogers   Guitar
Otis Spann   Piano
Dave Kafinetti   Piano
Owen McIntyre   Guitar
Marquees   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Chuck Berry   Composer
Alan Freed   Composer
Jay McShann   Composer
Walter Brown   Composer
Leonard Chess   Producer
Phil Chess   Producer
Esmond Edwards   Producer
Andy McKaie   Producer
Russell Fratto   Composer

Customer Reviews

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The Anthology 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With the inclusion of every track from The Great Twenty-Eight plus 22 additional tracks, all remastered with warm, rich dynamics, The Anthology easily usurps its aforementioned predecessor as THE essential Chuck Berry CD. As a matter of fact, it is no overstatement to say that every Rock & Roll CD collection shouldn't be without it. With all due respect to the great Scotty Moore, in three of the first four songs of this set Berry lays the blueprint for Rock & Roll guitar playing and songwriting. But he doesn’t stop there. "Roll Over Beethoven," "Too Much Monkey Business," "Rock And Roll Music," "Reelin’ & Rockin’," and of course, the quintessential Rock & Roll number, "Johnny B. Goode." If Berry’s career had ended with that, he’d still be one of the great pioneers of Rock & Roll. Oh, but he was just getting started. The sheer quality of the 10 consecutive songs from "Down the Road Apiece" through "I Want to Be Your Driver" on disc 2 reveal how he continued to create vital music well into the sixties, just as "Tulane" and "Bio" proved he was still none too pooped to pop. If you own The Great Twenty-Eight, you will be pleased with the inclusion of some egregious omissions from that compilation: "Downbound Train," "House of Blue Lights," "Down the Road Apiece," "Confessin’ the Blues," "You Never Can Tell," "Promised Land," and especially "Dear Dad." These additions and the remarkable sound quality make it worth buying those fabulous 28 songs all over again. Chuck’s guitar sound is thick and raunchy. Willie Dixon’s bass comes through more fully, while Johnny Johnson’s indispensable piano completes the sound on top of the backbeat from any of a number of talented drummers on the Chess roster. Make no mistake, not every song is a winner. "My Ding-A-Ling’s" placing at the top of the Pop Charts is the only thing that earns it way onto The Anthology; and after about four minutes, the seven-minute-long live version of "Reelin’ & Rockin’" makes you wish Chuck had forgotten his watch on the night in question. "Havana Moon" and "Bye Bye Johnny" haven’t gotten any better since their release on The Great Twenty-Eight. To that end, there are still omissions, many of which can be found on Chuck Berry Blues and the hard-to-find Chuck Berry in London/Fresh Berrys CD. The best of those omissions, "St Louis Blues," coincidentally shows up on both. The twenty-page booklet includes informative liner notes, as well as recording information for each song. This is the place to begin. The Anthology is Rock & Roll at its seminal, bare-bones best. Over the course of 50 songs, Berry puts on a veritable guitar clinic. If I haven’t made it clear, replace your The Great Twenty-Eight with this. If you don’t have any Chuck Berry CDs, what are you waiting for?