Chuck Berry, from Jeff Watson

January 18, 2010 |

Chuck BerryAlthough Chuck Berry could not be considered 'Soul', he surely influenced the genre. At 83, he still plays regular gigs and his guitar skills have not diminished. Normally, when a guitar player gets to an advanced age, he will do a few riffs and let the second lead carry the load. Berry plays his 90 minute concerts from start to finish without a second lead. He is the consummate showman, an individualist, and has never let his legal and personal problems get in the way of putting on a great show.

He's probably one of the best guitarists alive, especially since Chet Atkins is no longer with us. Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, and Eric Clapton all cited Chuck Berry as a major influence on their work. Chris Spedding (a very underrated guitarist) paid special homage to Berry in his seminal Guitar Jamboree.

Besides being a great showman, Berry really entertains his audiences and mingles with the crowd, unlike the current crop of superstars like Sting and Bono. A Chuck Berry concert makes you feel like you really got your money's worth. Chuck was considered to be so good by his peers that he was in the first class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I've seen his concerts in every decade since the 1960s and have left every concert totally uplifted. He is the definition of a true showman, with as much presence as Elvis in his prime.





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