With the passing of rock and roll legend Chuck Berry, his label has released a single from Berry’s forthcoming album, Chuck.
The track, “Big Boys,” features Prophets of Rage guitarist Tom Morello and Nathaniel Rateliff of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. It’s a classic-sounding Chuck Berry rock and roll tune, and you can hear it below.
Dualtone says it will release Chuck on June 16. The record will feature the first new recordings in nearly four decades by the founding rock and roll legend, who passed away on March 18 at the age of 90.
Comprised of 10 new recordings, eight of which were written by Berry, Chuck is his first new album since 1979’s Rock It. It was recorded and produced by Berry in various studios around St. Louis and features his longtime hometown backing group—including his children Charles Berry Jr. (guitar) and Ingrid Berry (vocals, harmonica), plus Jimmy Marsala (Berry’s bassist for 40 years), Robert Lohr (piano) and Keith Robinson (drums)—which supported him for nearly two decades on over 200 residency shows at the famed Blueberry Hill club.
In addition to appearances by Morello and Rateliff, the album includes guest performances from Gary Clark Jr. and Chuck’s grandson Charles Berry III. Acclaimed author and historian Douglas Brinkley contributes liner notes.
“Working to prepare the release of this record in recent months and in fact over the last several years brought him a great sense of joy and satisfaction,” the Berry family said in a statement posted to Facebook earlier this week. “While our hearts are very heavy at this time, we know that he had no greater wish than to see this album released to the world, and we know of no better way to celebrate and remember his 90 years of life than through his music.”
Some of the songs on Chuck were originally conceived as far back as the 1980s, with Berry developing them in his home studio in St. Louis over many years during down time between tours. He worked on the album through 2014.
When health concerns forced him to stop touring and recording in 2015, Berry continued to oversee production and planning for Chuck, enlisting his family and close friend Joe Edwards, the owner of Blueberry Hill, to fulfill his wishes that the album be completed and released. And from album highlight “Lady B. Goode,” a spiritual sequel to the iconic “Johnny B. Goode” featuring ripping solos from three generations of Berry guitarists, to the poignant country balladry of “Darlin’,” a duet with his daughter Ingrid, Chuck truly is a family affair.
Chuck Track List
You Go to My Head
3/4 Time (Enchiladas)
Lady B. Goode
She Still Loves You
Eyes of Man