First Listen: Chuck Berry, ‘CHUCK’ – Tom Moon June 5, 2017 5:00 AM ET


Stream The Rock And Roll Pioneer’s Final Album

Chuck Berry’s new album, CHUCK, is out June 9.

Danny Clinch/Courtesy of Artist

Chuck Berry’s legacy didn’t need another record, or any kind of postscript for that matter.

When he died this March, the obits hailed him as the chief architect and driving force behind rock and roll. He was described as the catalyst of a cultural revolution, a titan whose crisp songs and ringing guitar blazed a superhighway-sized trail for future generations.

Chuck Berry, CHUCK.

Courtesy of artist

Further down in those appreciations, this was tucked away: On his 90th birthday, last October, Berry announced the release of a new studio album, to be called CHUCK. That project sees release next week and is now streaming right on this page. The album features his touring band, with cameos from Tom Morello and Gary Clark Jr., and is the follow-up to a mostly forgettable 1979 effort called Rock It. That’s right: Though he never stopped performing, Chuck Berry’s previous studio record came out during the last days of disco.

If you have even a teensy bit of love for the sound Berry gave the world, the song that opens this posthumous release will bring a smile. It’s called “Wonderful Woman,” and like many of his classics, it alternates between vocal verses and deliriously rhythmic guitar ad-libs, featuring Clark Jr. and three generations of Berrys – Chuck, his son Charles Berry Jr., and grandson Charles Berry III. Early on, the patriarch makes the kind of declaration that animated so many early rock hits – “I feel good, like it’s party time, don’t you know” – and then offers a chorus of stinging, hot-wired guitar as proof.

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