Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy and Chess: St Louis and Chicago

Blueberry Hill

St. Louis is home to a nice big arch, some buildings and—oh who cares, I’m here to see this guy:

Chuck Berry

The legend of rock ‘n’ roll, Chuck Berry, is now 84, but still does a monthly show in Blueberry Hill. Unsurprisingly, it is sold out, with the crowd (of all ages) piling in hours before the doors open. Chuck Berry is still wonderfully entertaining, thoroughly charming and the audience is just in love with him. The love of music is clearly a family affair, with his son joining him on guitar and his daughter offering some superb harmonica and vocals.

Chuck Berry's Daughter

Chuck Berry

24 hours later and a quick trip to Chicago, I’m in time to see a blues master, Buddy Guy. Every January he holds court in his own blues club, Buddy Guy’s Legends.

Buddy Guy

He’s on superb form. At a spry and youthful 76, he is as energetic as ever, wandering into the crowd during a great solo and adding himself to the list of Celebrities I’ve Been Close Enough to Lick. As well as performing his classics, he spent some time doing a retrospective of how he got his start, the musicians he’s worked with, which resulted in him playing everyone from Ray Charles to Jimi Hendrix.

Buddy Guy Crowd

Like Chuck, for Buddy Guy this business is a family affair, with his son joining him on guitar.

Buddy Guy Family

In hindsight, breeding a band makes perfect sense.

Buddy Guy Drumstick solo Buddy Guy Buddy Guy Hendrixing

The morning after, I visit Chess Records, which recorded such legends as Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters (as well as both Buddy Guy and Chuck Berry). The Rolling Stones also swung by to record on multiple occasions.

Chess Records: Willie Dixon Chess Records Studios
Chess Records: Chuck Berry

Chess Records External

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