St. Louis is home to a nice big arch, some buildings and—oh who cares, I’m here to see this guy:
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.
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.
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.
Like Chuck, for Buddy Guy this business is a family affair, with his son joining him on guitar.
In hindsight, breeding a band makes perfect sense.
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.