Chuck Berry | Rock & Roll Music-Any Old Way You Choose It | 16xCD Box Set

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There have been countless Chuck Berry compilations but never one like Bear Family's Rock and Roll Music: Any Old Way You Choose It, a mammoth 16-disc box containing his complete recorded works for Chess, Mercury, and Atco. Only the soundtrack to Taylor Hackford's star-studded 1987 documentary Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll is missing and it isn't missed much, not in the face of this abundance.

Almost everything here is previously released -- Universal not only released Chuck's complete Chess recordings as three four-disc sets on Hip-O Select in the 2000s, they did a pretty good job clearing out the vaults in the '70s and '80s -- but with a set of this size, what counts is not rarities but context. Here, that context is not the original Chess singles of the '50s and early '60s, the smashes that became standards, but rather what happened afterward, when Chuck kept working and working, churning out records for Mercury as he played with pickup bands across the land. That said, the deeply detailed recounting of his pioneering first stint at Chess -- lasting from 1954 until 1966, barring a two-year hiatus to serve a prison sentence; here, the time line is expanded by a single he cut with Joe Alexander right before he signed with the Chess brothers -- remains rich and wondrous, illustrating how quickly Berry settled into his signature groove and how many variations he found within his blend of jazz, blues, and country.

All this is familiar from the three Hip-O Select sets, but when the late-'60s recordings for Mercury are added to the picture, it becomes more apparent how Berry was eager to change with the times, adding swinging horns as a nod to the soul emerging from the South or jamming with the Steve Miller Band so he could please the crowd at the Fillmore. Berry was savvy. He knew how to change with the times, a talent that is plain on the live material here, including both dates recorded with the Motown rhythm section in Detroit in October 1963 and the Toronto Rock n Roll Revival from 1969, some BBC sessions, and cuts from the Newport Jazz Festival in 1958. On the earlier dates he's charmingly polite, but in 1963 he starts to loosen up with offhand jokes, and by 1969 he's happily leading a large audience through a dirty nursery rhyme. That schtick could play on college campuses and Chuck, alone among the original rockers, really made a play for the counterculture by recording such outlaw anthems as "Tulane," an ode to a pair of dope dealers that sounded like nothing but Chuck Berry. This box makes clear that this is one of the keys to Berry's genius: he always stood apart from the pack, so he could sell trends back to the audience, all filtered through the boogie, blues, and sliding guitar runs he loved so. He kept this up until 1979, the year he released Rock It, an underrated little record that contained "Oh What a Thrill," a song that proved he still could knock off a killer when he needed. It was the last time he needed to, however: he had already built a body of work that defined rock & roll and, in many ways, all the hopes and dreams of 20th century America. The glory of Rock and Roll Music: Any Old Way You Choose It is that it captures that work in all its incandescent glory.

Track Listing:

1 Maybellene
2 Wee Wee Hours
3 Thirty Days (To Come Back Home)
4 Together (We Will Always Be)
5 You Can't Catch Me
6 Roly Poly
7 Berry Pickin' (Instrumental)
8 (The) Down Bound Train
9 No Money Down
10 I've Changed
11 Drifting Heart
12 Brown Eyed Handsome Man
13 Roll Over Beethoven
14 Too Much Monkey Business
15 Havana Moon
16 Rock and Roll Music (Demo)
17 Untitled Instrumental
18 Deep Feeling (Instrumental)
19 School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)
20 Lajaunda (Espaol)
21 Blue Feeling (Instrumental)
22 Low Feeling (Instrumental)
23 How You've Changed
24 Rock and Roll Music
25 Oh Baby Doll
26 Question Method
27 How High the Moon (Instrumental)
28 Maria Joe Alexander
29 Hope These Words Will Find You Well Joe Alexander
30 Sweet Little Sixteen (Demo)
31 Sweet Little Sixteen
32 Rock at the Philharmonic (Instrumental)
33 Guitar Boogie (Instrumental)
34 Night Beat (Instrumental)
35 Time Was (Slow Version)
36 Reelin' and Rockin'
37 Chuckwalk (Instrumental)
38 Johnny B Goode
39 Around and Around
40 Ingo (Instrumental)
41 It Don't Take But a Few Minutes
42 Blues for Hawaiians (Instrumental)
43 Beautiful Delilah
44 Vacation Time
45 21
46 21 Blues
47 Oh Yeah
48 Hey Pedro
49 Time Was
50 House of Blue Lights
51 Carol
52 Jo Jo Gunne
53 Memphis Tennessee
54 Anthony Boy
55 Sweet Little Rock and Roller
56 Long Fast Jam (Instrumental)
57 Long Slow Jam (Instrumental)
58 Merry Christmas Baby
59 Run Rudolph Run
60 Little Queenie
61 That's My Desire
62 Do You Love Me
63 Almost Grown
64 Back in the USA
65 Fast B 6 (Instrumental)
66 Blue on Blue (Instrumental)
67 Betty Jean
68 County Line
69 Childhood Sweetheart
70 One O'Clock Jump (Instrumental)
71 I Just Want to Make Love to You
72 Broken Arrow
73 Let It Rock
74 Too Pooped to Pop
75 Say You'll Be Mine the Ecuadors
76 Let Me Sleep Woman the Ecuadors
77 Drifting Blues
78 I Got to Find My Baby
79 Don't You Lie to Me
80 Worried Life Blues
81 Our Little Rendezvous
82 Bye Bye Johnny
83 Run Around
84 Jaguar and Thunderbird
85 Diploma for Two
86 Little Star
87 The Way It Was Before
88 Away from You
89 Down the Road Apiece
90 Confessin' the Blues
91 Sweet Sixteen
92 Thirteen Question Method
93 Stop and Listen
94 I Still Got the Blues
95 I'm Just a Lucky So and So
96 Mad Lad (Instrumental)
97 Crying Steel (Instrumental)
98 Route 66 (Take 10)
99 I'm Talking About You
100 Rip It Up
101 Come on
102 Adulteen
103 The Man and the Donkey
104 Go Go Go
105 Trick or Treat
106 Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Instrumental)
107 Brown Eyed Handsome Man
108 All Aboard
109 Nadine (Is It You?)
110 You Never Can Tell
111 The Little Girl from Central
112 (The) Things I Used to Do
113 I'm in the Danger Zone
114 I'm in the Twilight Zone
115 Fraulein
116 Lonely All the Time (Crazy Arms)
117 O Rangutang (Instrumental)
118 Big Ben (Blues)
119 (The) Promised Land
120 Brenda Lee
121 No Particular Place to Go
122 You Two
123 Liverpool Drive (Instrumental)
124 Chuck's Beat (Instrumental)
125 Bo's Beat (Instrumental)
126 Little Marie
127 Go, Bobby Soxer
128 Lonely School Days
129 His Daughter Caroline
130 Dear Dad
131 I Want to Be Your Driver
132 Spending Christmas (My Blue Christmas)
133 The Song of My Love
134 Butterscotch (Instrumental)
135 After It's Over (Instrumental)
136 Why Should We End This Way
137 You Came a Long Way from St Louis
138 She Once Was Mine
139 Jamaica Farewell
140 My Little Love Light
141 I Got a Booking
142 St Louis Blues
143 Shake Rattle and Roll
144 Honey Hush
145 Wee Wee Hours (Instrumental)
146 Run Joe
147 It's My Own Business
148 One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)
149 Every Day We Rock and Roll
150 My Mustang Ford (Instrumental)
151 My Mustang Ford
152 Merrily We Rock and Roll
153 Vaya Con Dios
154 Wee Hour Blues
155 It Wasn't Me
156 Ain't That Just Like a Woman
157 Right Off Rampart Street
158 Welcome Back Pretty Baby
159 Sad Day, Long Night (Instrumental)
160 Ramona, Say Yes
161 Viva (Viva) Rock and Roll
162 His Daughter Caroline (Fast Version)
163 Lonely School Days (Fast Version)
164 Campus Cookie (Instrumental)
165 Mum's the Word
166 My Tambourine
167 Laugh and Cry
168 Maybelline
169 School Days
170 Sweet Little Sixteen
171 Johnny B Goode
172 Memphis
173 Roll Over Beethoven
174 Rock'n'roll Music
175 Club Nitty Gritty
176 Around and Around
177 Oh Captain
178 Thirty Days
179 Back in the USA
180 Misery
181 Carol
182 Brown Eyed Handsome Man
183 Let It Rock
184 Reelin' and Rockin'
185 Almost Grown
186 Ramblin' Rose
187 Check Me Out
188 I Do Really Love You
189 Back to Memphis
190 Bring Another Drink
191 It Hurts Me Too
192 Goodnight, Well It's Time to Go
193 So Long
194 My Heart Will Always Belong to You
195 Flying Home (Instrumental)
196 Sweet Little Rock'n'roller
197 Oh Baby Doll
198 I Can't Believe
199 Soul Rockin'
200 Ma Dear
201 Rock Cradle Rock
202 The Love I los
203 Louie to Frisco
204 I Love Her, I Love Her
205 Little Fox
206 Song of My Love
207 Rock Cradle Rock (Alt Take)
208 Good Lookin' Woman
209 My Woman
210 It's Too Dark in There
211 Put Her Down
212 Concerto in B Goode (Instrumental)
213 Tulane
214 Have Mercy Judge
215 Untitled Instrumental
216 My Ding-A-Ling
217 Gun (Instrumental)
218 Gun (Fast) (Instrumental)
219 Gun (Slow) (Instrumental)
220 That's None of Your Business
221 Instrumental
222 Christmas
223 I'm a Rocker
224 Flyin' Home (Instrumental)
225 Fish & Chips
226 Some People
227 My Pad (Poem)
228 Oh Louisiana
229 Festival
230 Let's Do Our Thing Together
231 Your Lick
232 Bound to Lose
233 Bordeaux in My Pirough
234 San Francisco Dues
235 My Dream (Poem)
236 Roll 'Em Pete
237 Reelin' and Rockin'
238 My Ding-A-Ling
239 Johnny B Goode
240 Let's Boogie
241 Mean Old World
242 I Love You
243 I Will Not Let You Go
244 London Berry Blues (Instrumental)
245 Blues # (Instrumental)
246 Annie Lou
247 Rain Eyes
248 You and My Country
249 Sue Answer
250 Got It and Gone
251 A Deuce
252 Talkin' About My Buddy
253 Hello Little Girl Goodbye
254 One Sixty Nine Am (Instrumental)
255 Aimlessly Driftin'
256 Woodpecker (Instrumental)
257 Bio
258 Roll Away
259 Hi-Heel Sneakers
260 Jambalaya
261 The Song of My Love
262 South of the Border
263 I'm Just a Name
264 Too Late
265 Turn on the Houselights (Instrumental)
266 Swanee River
267 You Are My Sunshine
268 Johnny B Blues (Instrumental)
269 Dust My Broom
270 Don't You Lie to Me
271 My Babe
272 Here Today
273 I Just Want to Make Love to You
274 Rockin' (Instrumental)
275 Shake Rattle and Roll
276 Baby What You Want Me to Do
277 Chuck's Beat
278 Bo's Beat
279 Bio
280 I Got to Find My Baby (Stereo)
281 Bye Bye Johnny (Stereo)
282 Run Around (Stereo)
283 Diploma for Two (Stereo)
284 Down the Road Apiece (Stereo-Longer Fading)
285 Route 66 (Stereo, Alt Take)
286 I'm Talking About You (Stereo)
287 Come on (Stereo, Alt Take)
288 Go Go Go (Stereo)
289 Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Stereo Remix)
290 Jamaica Farewell (Mono)
291 My Mustang Ford (Stereo Remix)
292 It Wasn't Me (Stereo, Alt Take)
293 Ain't That Just Like a Woman (Unfaded)
294 Ramona, Say Yes (Stereo, Alt Mix W-O Sax)
295 Move It
296 Oh What a Thrill
297 California
298 Pass Away
299 I Need You Baby
300 If I Were
301 House Lights
302 I Never Thought
303 Havana Moon
304 Wuden't Me
305 Maybeline [Sic]
306 Roll Over Beethoven
307 Schooldays (School Day)
308 No Money Down
309 Sweet Little Sixteen
310 Johnny Be Goode
311 First Set Introduction
312 Guitar Boogie (Instrumental)
313 Johnny B Goode
314 Sweet Little Sixteen
315 School Day
316 Memphis
317 Maybellene
318 Rock and Roll Music
319 Dust My Broom
320 Instrumental Boogie (Instrumental)
321 Too Much Monkey Business
322 Johnny B Goode
323 Rock at the Philharmonic (Instrumental)
324 Memphis
325 Guitar Boogie (Instrumental)
326 Let It Rock
327 Wee Wee Hours
328 Goodnight Sweetheart/Johnnie B Goode/Let It Rock/Rock & Roll Music Medley
329 Introduction Walled Lake Casino, Detroit (October 26, 1963) First Set
330 Guitar Boogie (Instrumental)
331 Let It Rock
332 Almost Grown
333 Chuck Berry Dialogue #1
334 Memphis
335 Johnny B Goode
336 Introduction Walled Lake Casino, Detroit (October 26, 1963) Second Set
337 Instrumental Boogie
338 Sweet Little Sixteen
339 Wee Wee Hours
340 Chuck Berry Dialogue #2
341 Maybellene
342 Goodnight Sweetheart/Johnny B Goode/Let It Rock/School Day Medley
343 Fillmore Auditorium Introduction (June 27, 1967)
344 Rockin' at the Fillmore (Instrumental)
345 Everyday I Have the Blues
346 CC Rider
347 Driftin' Blues
348 Feelin' It (Instrumental)
349 Flying Home (Instrumental)
350 I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man
351 It Hurts Me Too
352 Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
353 Fillmore Blues (Instrumental)
354 Wee Baby Blues
355 Bring Another Drink
356 Worried Life Blues
357 Reelin' and Rockin'
358 My Ding-A-Ling
359 Johnny B Goode
360 Rock and Roll Music
361 Nadine
362 School Day (Long Live Rock and Roll)
363 (In the) Wee Wee Hours
364 Carol/Promised Land Johnny B Goode
365 Hoochie Coochie Man
366 Memphis Tennessee
367 Too Much Monkey Business
368 Reelin' and Rockin'
369 Sweet Little Sixteen
370 My Ding-A-Ling
371 Bonsoir Cherie
372 Johnny B Goode
373 Maybelline
374 Lanchester Arts Festival Introduction, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
375 Roll Over Beethoven (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
376 Nadine (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
377 Sweet Little Sixteen (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
378 Instrumental (Testing) (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
379 Roll 'Em Pete (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
380 Around and Around (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
381 It Hurts Me Too (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
382 Promised Land (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
383 Reelin' and Rockin' (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
384 My Ding-A-Ling (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
385 Johnny B Goode (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
386 South of the Border (BBC Television Theatre, London (March 29, 1972)
387 School Days (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 'Saturday Club' (BBC Light Programme)
388 Memphis Tennessee (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 'Saturday Club' (BBC Light Programme)
389 Sweet Little Sixteen (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 'Saturday Club' (BBC Light Programme)
390 Interview (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 'Saturday Club' (BBC Light Programme)
391 Nadine (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 'Saturday Club' (BBC Light Programme)
392 Johnny B Goode (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 'Saturday Club' (BBC Light Programme)
393 Interview (DR Pepper Promo)
394 Dr Pepper Commercial (DR Pepper Promo)
395 Reelin' and Rockin' - Roll Over Beethoven (Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles (Late 1977)