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It’s Gotta Be Rock and Roll Music: Bear Family Unveils Ultimate 16-CD Chuck Berry Box Set

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Chuck Berry - Rock and Roll Music

This fall, Bear Family Records is releasing the ultimate tribute to perhaps the ultimate rock and roll artist. On October 17, the label will unveil Chuck Berry’s Rock and Roll Music – Any Old Way You Choose It – The Complete Studio Recordings Plus! –and its title isn’t the only mammoth thing about it. The 16-CD box set is even lavish by Bear Family’s gold standard, containing within its 28 x 28 x 6 cm clothbound box every single and LP track recorded in the studio by Chuck Berry, starting with a rare pre-Chess single with Joe Alexander from 1954 and continuing with:

  • All of Berry’s Chess singles and album cuts from 1955 to 1966 and from 1969 to 1974;
  • All of his Mercury recordings from 1966-1969, and lone Atco album from 1979;
  • Every surviving alternate take;
  • Bonus live recordings from 1956 to 1972 including BBC performances;
  • Two hardcover books totaling 356 pages and including an exclusive introduction by Sir Paul McCartney!

All of Berry’s classics, needless to say, are here – some in multiple versions – on this set containing over 21 hours of music and 20 full studio albums. When assessing the single-disc anthology The Great Twenty-Eight back in 2011, I wrote, “’Maybellene,’ ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ ‘Rock and Roll Music,’ ‘Sweet Little Sixteen,’ ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ ‘No Particular Place to Go.’ If you ever have to explain rock and roll to an alien, you might as well hand the little green man a copy of The Great Twenty-Eight and go to town. The otherworldly creature would get it right away!” Indeed, Berry played an almost incalculable role in developing rock-and-roll, from its sound to its lyrical content to its style. Ironically, his sole No. 1 hit was “My Ding-a-Ling” – a double entendre-laden Dave Bartholomew novelty that’s hardly worthy of his legend.

This massive box goes even further than Hip-o Select’s acclaimed three-volume series which presented Berry’s complete Chess recordings by continuing the Kennedy Center Honoree and first class Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s story with his Mercury and Atco recordings. 1979’s Rock It, for Atco, remains Berry’s last studio album to date, but the 87-years young rocker still performs one Wednesday each month at Blueberry Hill, a restaurant and bar in St. Louis, Missouri.

Bear Family’s Rock and Roll Music tells the Chuck Berry story in words and music. The label explains, “Expatriate British photographer Bill Greensmith lives in St. Louis and a few years back he found the photo archive of Chuck Berry’s uncle, Harry Davis. Included are many previously unseen images of Chuck performing in St. Louis and hanging out with friends and family. In these images, Chuck is unguarded and relaxed. We also see him performing at blues nightspots in and around St. Louis before he was famous. These photos, included with this set in a high quality 104-page hardbound book, will open your eyes to Chuck Berry as you’ve never seen him.” The Bear team adds, “Plus, there’s a second 252-page hardbound book with a definitive essay from Chuck’s biographer, Bruce Pegg, additional texts by Mike Snow and Roger Fairhurst, a comprehensive discography by Fred Rothwell, [and] hundreds of published and unpublished photos, including several images made by respected French photographer Jean-Marie Perrier in 1964.”

We have more details, including the full track listing, after the jump!

Needless to say, this is a collection that belongs on the shelf of every rock-and-roll devotee. It’s due from Bear Family on October 17 – in a “standard” edition and a limited version housed in an actual guitar case (see image below)! You can peruse the track listing below. You might notice we haven’t provided full annotation; for that, you’ll have to pick up the box set with its trademark Bear Family-style discography! You can pre-order the “standard” edition of Rock and Roll Music at the link below for Amazon U.S.; click on the image of the guitar case for a link to that edition available directly from Bear Family.

Chuck Berry Deluxe

Chuck Berry, Rock and Roll Music – Any Old Way You Choose It – The Complete Studio Recordings Plus! (Bear Family, 2014)

CD 1

  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 (Español)
  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)

CD 2

  1. Sweet Little Sixteen
  2. Rock At The Philharmonic (Instrumental)
  3. Guitar Boogie (Instrumental)
  4. Night Beat (Instrumental)
  5. Time Was (slow version)
  6. Reelin’ And Rockin’
  7. Chuckwalk (Instrumental)
  8. Johnny B Goode
  9. Around And Around
  10. Ingo (Instrumental)
  11. It Don’t Take But A Few Minutes
  12. Blues For Hawaiians (Instrumental)
  13. Beautiful Delilah
  14. Vacation Time
  15. 21
  16. 21 Blues
  17. Oh Yeah
  18. Hey Pedro
  19. Time Was
  20. House Of Blue Lights
  21. Carol
  22. Jo Jo Gunne
  23. Memphis Tennessee
  24. Anthony Boy
  25. Sweet Little Rock And Roller
  26. Long Fast Jam (Instrumental)
  27. Long Slow Jam (Instrumental)

CD 3

  1. Merry Christmas Baby
  2. Run Rudolph Run
  3. Little Queenie
  4. That’s My Desire
  5. Do You Love Me
  6. Almost Grown
  7. Back In The USA
  8. Fast B 6 (Instrumental)
  9. Blue On Blue (Instrumental)
  10. Betty Jean
  11. County Line
  12. Childhood Sweetheart
  13. One O’Clock Jump (Instrumental)
  14. I Just Want To Make Love To You
  15. Broken Arrow
  16. Let It Rock
  17. Too Pooped To Pop
  18. Say You’ll Be Mine – The Ecuadors
  19. Let Me Sleep Woman – The Ecuadors
  20. Drifting Blues
  21. I Got To Find My Baby
  22. Don’t You Lie To Me
  23. Worried Life Blues
  24. Our Little Rendezvous
  25. Bye Bye Johnny
  26. Run Around
  27. Jaguar And Thunderbird
  28. Diploma For Two
  29. Little Star
  30. The Way It Was Before
  31. Away From You
  32. Down The Road Apiece
  33. Confessin’ The Blues
  34. Sweet Sixteen
  35. Thirteen Question Method
  36. Stop And Listen

CD 4

  1. I Still Got The Blues
  2. I’m Just A Lucky So And So
  3. Mad Lad (Instrumental)
  4. Crying Steel (Instrumental)
  5. Route 66 (Take 10)
  6. I’m Talking About You
  7. Rip It Up
  8. On
  9. Adulteen
  10. The Man And The Donkey
  11. Go Go Go
  12. Trick Or Treat
  13. Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Instrumental)
  14. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
  15. All Aboard
  16. Nadine (Is It You?)
  17. You Never Can Tell
  18. The Little Girl From Central
  19. (The) Things I Used To Do
  20. I’m In The Danger Zone
  21. I’m In The Twilight Zone
  22. Fraulein
  23. Lonely All The Time (Crazy Arms)
  24. O Rangutang (Instrumental)
  25. Big Ben (Blues)
  26. (The) Promised Land
  27. Brenda Lee
  28. No Particular Place To Go
  29. You Two
  30. Liverpool Drive (Instrumental)
  31. Chuck’s Beat (Instrumental)
  32. Bo’s Beat (Instrumental)
  33. Little Marie
  34. Go, Bobby Soxer

CD 5

  1. Lonely School Days
  2. His Daughter Caroline
  3. Dear Dad
  4. I Want To Be Your Driver
  5. Spending Christmas (My Blue Christmas)
  6. The Song Of My Love
  7. Butterscotch (Instrumental)
  8. After It’s Over (Instrumental)
  9. Why Should We End This Way
  10. You Came A Long Way From St Louis
  11. She Once Was Mine
  12. Jamaica Farewell
  13. My Little Love Light
  14. I Got A Booking
  15. St Louis Blues
  16. Shake Rattle And Roll
  17. Honey Hush
  18. Wee Wee Hours (Instrumental)
  19. Run Joe
  20. It’s My Own Business
  21. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
  22. Every Day We Rock And Roll
  23. My Mustang Ford (Instrumental)
  24. My Mustang Ford
  25. Merrily We Rock And Roll
  26. Vaya Con Dios
  27. Wee Hour Blues
  28. It Wasn’t Me
  29. Ain’t That Just Like A Woman
  30. Right Off Rampart Street 2:21
  31. Welcome Back Pretty Baby
  32. Sad Day, Long Night (Instrumental)

CD 6

  1. Ramona, Say Yes
  2. Viva (Viva) Rock And Roll
  3. His Daughter Caroline (Fast version)
  4. Lonely School Days (Fast version)
  5. Campus Cookie (Instrumental)
  6. Mum’s The Word
  7. My Tambourine
  8. Laugh And Cry
  9. Maybelline
  10. School Days
  11. Sweet Little Sixteen
  12. Johnny B Goode
  13. Memphis
  14. Roll Over Beethoven
  15. Rock’n’Roll Music
  16. Club Nitty Gritty
  17. Around And Around
  18. Oh Captain
  19. Thirty Days
  20. Back In The USA
  21. Misery
  22. Carol
  23. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
  24. Let It Rock
  25. Reelin’ And Rockin’
  26. Almost Grown
  27. Ramblin’ Rose
  28. Check Me Out
  29. I Do Really Love You
  30. Back To Memphis
  31. Bring Another Drink
  32. It Hurts Me Too
  33. Goodnight, Well It’s Time To Go
  34. So Long
  35. My Heart Will Always Belong To You
  36. Flying Home (Instrumental)

CD 7

  1. Sweet Little Rock’n’Roller
  2. Oh Baby Doll
  3. I Can’t Believe
  4. Soul Rockin’
  5. Ma Dear
  6. Rock Cradle Rock
  7. The Love I Los
  8. Louie To Frisco
  9. I Love Her, I Love Her
  10. Little Fox
  11. Song Of My Love
  12. Rock Cradle Rock (alt take)
  13. Good Lookin’ Woman
  14. My Woman
  15. It’s Too Dark In There
  16. Put Her Down
  17. Concerto In B Goode (Instrumental)
  18. Tulane
  19. Have Mercy Judge
  20. Untitled Instrumental
  21. My Ding-A-Ling

CD 8

  1. Gun (Instrumental)
  2. Gun (Fast) (Instrumental)
  3. Gun (Slow) (Instrumental)
  4. That’s None Of Your Business
  5. Instrumental
  6. Christmas
  7. I’m A Rocker
  8. Flyin’ Home (Instrumental)
  9. Fish & Chips
  10. Some People
  11. My Pad (Poem)
  12. Oh Louisiana
  13. Festival
  14. Let’s Do Our Thing Together
  15. Your Lick
  16. Bound To Lose
  17. Bordeaux In My Pirough
  18. San Francisco Dues
  19. My Dream (Poem)
  20. Roll ‘Em Pete
  21. Reelin’ And Rockin’
  22. My Ding-A-Ling
  23. Johnny B Goode
  24. Let’s Boogie

CD 9

  1. Mean Old World
  2. I Love You
  3. I Will Not Let You Go
  4. London Berry Blues (Instrumental)
  5. Blues #1 (Instrumental)
  6. Annie Lou
  7. Rain Eyes
  8. You And My Country
  9. Sue Answer
  10. Got It And Gone
  11. A Deuce
  12. Talkin’ About My Buddy
  13. Hello Little Girl Goodbye
  14. One Sixty Nine AM (Instrumental)
  15. Aimlessly Driftin’
  16. Woodpecker (Instrumental)
  17. Bio
  18. Roll Away
  19. Hi-Heel Sneakers
  20. Jambalaya
  21. The Song Of My Love
  22. South Of The Border

CD 10

  1. I’m Just A Name
  2. Too Late
  3. Turn On The Houselights (Instrumental)
  4. Swanee River
  5. You Are My Sunshine
  6. Johnny B Blues (Instrumental)
  7. Dust My Broom
  8. Don’t You Lie To Me
  9. My Babe
  10. Here Today
  11. I Just Want To Make Love To You
  12. Rockin’ (Instrumental)
  13. Shake Rattle And Roll
  14. Baby What You Want Me To Do
  15. Chuck’s Beat
  16. Bo’s Beat
  17. Bio

CD 11

  1. I Got To Find My Baby (Stereo)
  2. Bye Bye Johnny (Stereo)
  3. Run Around (Stereo)
  4. Diploma For Two (Stereo)
  5. Down The Road Apiece (Stereo-longer fading)
  6. Route 66 (Stereo, alt take)
  7. I’m Talking About You (Stereo)
  8. Come On (Stereo, alt take)
  9. Go Go Go (Stereo)
  10. Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Stereo remix)
  11. Jamaica Farewell (Mono)
  12. My Mustang Ford (Stereo remix)
  13. It Wasn’t Me (Stereo, alt take)
  14. Ain’t That Just Like A Woman (unfaded)
  15. Ramona, Say Yes (Stereo, alt mix w/o sax)
  16. Move It
  17. Oh What A Thrill
  18. California
  19. Pass Away
  20. I Need You Baby
  21. If I Were
  22. House Lights
  23. I Never Thought
  24. Havana Moon
  25. Wuden’t Me

CD 12

  1. Maybeline [sic]
  2. Roll Over Beethoven
  3. Schooldays (School Day)
  4. No Money Down
  5. Sweet Little Sixteen
  6. Johnny Be Goode
  7. First Set Introduction
  8. Guitar Boogie (Instrumental)
  9. Johnny B Goode
  10. Sweet Little Sixteen
  11. School Day
  12. Memphis
  13. Maybellene
  14. Rock And Roll Music
  15. Dust My Broom
  16. Instrumental Boogie (Instrumental)
  17. Too Much Monkey Business
  18. Johnny B Goode

CD 13

  1. Rock At The Philharmonic (Instrumental)
  2. Memphis
  3. Guitar Boogie (Instrumental)
  4. Let It Rock
  5. Wee Wee Hours
  6. Goodnight Sweetheart/Johnnie B Goode/Let It Rock/Rock & Roll Music Medley
  7. Introduction Walled Lake Casino, Detroit (October 26, 1963) first set
  8. Guitar Boogie (Instrumental)
  9. Let It Rock
  10. Almost Grown
  11. Chuck Berry Dialogue #1
  12. Memphis
  13. Johnny B Goode
  14. Introduction Walled Lake Casino, Detroit (October 26, 1963) second set
  15. Instrumental Boogie
  16. Sweet Little Sixteen
  17. Wee Wee Hours
  18. Chuck Berry Dialogue #2
  19. Maybellene
  20. Goodnight Sweetheart/Johnny B Goode/Let It Rock/School Day Medley

CD 14

  1. Fillmore Auditorium Introduction (June 27, 1967)
  2. Rockin’ At The Fillmore (Instrumental)
  3. Everyday I Have The Blues
  4. CC Rider
  5. Driftin’ Blues
  6. Feelin’ It (Instrumental)
  7. Flying Home (Instrumental)
  8. I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man
  9. It Hurts Me Too
  10. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
  11. Fillmore Blues (Instrumental)
  12. Wee Baby Blues
  13. Bring Another Drink
  14. Worried Life Blues
  15. Reelin’ And Rockin’
  16. My Ding-A-Ling
  17. Johnny B Goode 3:00

CD 15

  1. Rock And Roll Music
  2. Nadine
  3. School Day (Long Live Rock And Roll)
  4. (In The) Wee Wee Hours
  5. Carol/Promised Land Johnny B Goode
  6. Hoochie Coochie Man
  7. Memphis Tennessee
  8. Too Much Monkey Business
  9. Reelin’ And Rockin’
  10. Sweet Little Sixteen
  11. My Ding-A-Ling
  12. Bonsoir Cherie
  13. Johnny B Goode
  14. Maybelline

CD 16

  1. Lanchester Arts Festival Introduction, Coventry (February 3, 1972)
  2. Roll Over Beethoven (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972))
  3. Nadine (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972))
  4. Sweet Little Sixteen (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972))
  5. Instrumental (testing) (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972))
  6. Roll ‘Em Pete (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972))
  7. Around And Around (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972))
  8. It Hurts Me Too (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972))
  9. Promised Land (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972))
  10. Reelin’ And Rockin’ (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972))
  11. My Ding-A-Ling (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972))
  12. Johnny B Goode (Lanchester Arts Festival, Coventry (February 3, 1972))
  13. South Of The Border (BBC Television Theatre, London (March 29, 1972))
  14. School Days (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 ‘Saturday Club’ (BBC Light Programme))
  15. Memphis Tennessee (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 ‘Saturday Club’ (BBC Light Programme))
  16. Sweet Little Sixteen (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 ‘Saturday Club’ (BBC Light Programme))
  17. Interview (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 ‘Saturday Club’ (BBC Light Programme))
  18. Nadine (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 ‘Saturday Club’ (BBC Light Programme))
  19. Johnny B Goode (BBC Radio, May 11, 1964 ‘Saturday Club’ (BBC Light Programme))
  20. Interview (Dr. Pepper Promo)
  21. Pepper Commercial (Dr Pepper Promo)
  22. Reelin’ And Rockin’ – Roll Over Beethoven (Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles (Late 1977))

Written by Joe Marchese

September 8, 2014 at 11:15

17 Responses

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  1. I’m not even a big Chuck Berry fan but… WOW.

    Tom

    September 8, 2014 at 11:28

  2. Is there a version without the guitar case?

    Robert Lett

    September 8, 2014 at 12:21

    • Yes, it is listed on Bear Family’s website at 299.00 Euros. This set is absolutely staggering if you’re a big-time devoted fan, but, me, I’ll just stick with my Hip-O volumes. They’re pretty good overall. But this box proves one thing (yet again): Bear Family does NOT mess around!

      Chief Brody

      September 8, 2014 at 12:29

    • Indeed, there is; re-read the last paragraph. The guitar case edition is the “deluxe” edition; there is also a “standard” edition to which we’ve linked. 🙂 Thanks!

      Joe Marchese

      September 8, 2014 at 12:38

  3. Hell of a lot of chaff amongst the wheat!

    Ken

    September 8, 2014 at 12:27

  4. Nuts. About $25 per disc. I’m interested but, can’t do that price.

    Robert

    September 8, 2014 at 13:19

  5. Hey Second Disc, how about giving some of these to us readers in you next giveaway contest?! 😉

    Ernie

    September 8, 2014 at 14:30

  6. I really want that guitar case! But $600 – yikes!

    Tom

    September 8, 2014 at 14:31

  7. Story headline:
    It’s Gotta Be Rock and Roll Music: Bear Family Unveils Ultimate 16-CD Chuck Berry Box Set

    Alternate unused headline:
    It’s Time For His Breakfast: Bear Family Unveils Ultimate 16-CD Chuck Berry Box Set

    Spencer Kennedy

    September 8, 2014 at 14:41

  8. A little bit excessive … don’t you think. One of the great early pioneers in rock, however his great 28 pretty much do the trick in terms of relevance.

    Mr MacGoo

    September 8, 2014 at 16:09

  9. Of the three Hip-o Select-boxes I think the two first is great all through and the third uneven but since I only own the second and the first is sold out this complete collection is really tempting. Costly sure but it is The Chuck!

    Magnus Hägermyr

    September 8, 2014 at 19:06

  10. Good job winter is around the corner – this means a lot of nights in! Regards Thom.

    Thom Hickey

    September 9, 2014 at 14:17

  11. Best price I have seen is $284 at importcds.com

    Kevin

    October 12, 2014 at 11:27

  12. the books are almost half the cost

    Kevin

    October 12, 2014 at 11:27

  13. Best price now 256 at ErnieB’sReggae

    Kevin

    October 28, 2014 at 19:40

    • Thanks, Kevin!

      Joe Marchese

      October 29, 2014 at 10:34

  14. Current best price (though by only a $10 shipping savings), is at importcds.com, but only if you enter the promo code before November 10. The promo code is: save10 . This gives you 10% off, or a cost of $256, but with only a $3 shipping fee, rather than $13 elsewhere (heavy item).

    Kevin

    November 3, 2014 at 17:05


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