Chuck Berry may be gone, but he’s also out with his first new single new single in nearly 40 years.
Dualtone has released “Big Boys,” a scorching Berry romp featuring Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and Nathaniel Rateliff. It’s the lead single from Berry’s upcoming album, Chuck, the late Rock and Roll legend’s first new album since 1979 and one he had been working on since 1991.
Kicking off with a classic Berry guitar riff, “Big Boys” offers the tale of a little boy who wants to party like the big boys do. Berry and Rateliff trade vocals, and while most of the guitar breaks are Chuck’s, the track ends with a smoking solo from Morello.
Rolling Stone has a look inside Berry’s final album, which includes a Johnny B. Goode sequel “Lady B. Goode,” and a re-write of “Havana Moon” called “Jamaica Moon.”
According to the magazine, some of the songs have their origins in the 1980s, when Berry was touring the oldies circuit. “He always had a pad and a pencil with him,” says frequent Berry bass player Jimmy Marsala. But a fire at Chuck’s Berry Park in 1989 destroyed 20 years worth of tapes.
Berry worked to recapture much of the music, switching to digital production and teaching band members parts he’d written on piano.
“Sometimes he’d show us the bass line or the piano line that he wanted,” Marsala tells Rolling Stone. He heard things differently than most people do, let’s put it that way.”
Then Berry would check the music with his wife of 68 years, Themetta “Toddy” Berry. “My mom would give a thumbs up or a thumbs down,” remembers Charles Berry, Jr., “Thumbs up, he was done. Thumbs down, ‘I’ve got more work to do.'”
Chuck is due June 16.
Here’s the track list:
“You Go to My Head”
“3/4 Time (Enchiladas)”
“Lady B. Goode”
“She Still Loves You”
“Eyes of Man”
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