When Berry passed away in March, he had Chuck in the can. We’re told that Berry had been work.ing on songwriting and tracks for Chuck in a personal studio, on and off since the 1980s, but efforts to release the album clearly ramped up more recently, as guest stars on the album include Gary Clark Jr., Nathaniel Rateliff and Tom Morello. Berry’s band comprises sidemen Robert Lohr (piano), Jimmy Marsala (bass), Keith Robinson (drums), and two of Berry’s children: Charles Berry Jr. (guitar) and Ingrid Berry-Clay (vocals and harmonica).
Many flavors of Berry are represented: there’s his iconic, signature guitar licks on “Big Boys”; sultry blues on “You Go to My Head”; a gritty spoken-word track called “Dutchman” set to a funk rhythm section; and a reggae-influenced spinoff of “Havana Moon” called “Jamaica Moon.” Chuck is a fine album and a generous last gift from the man who gave us at least 28 of the greatest rock ’n’ roll songs of all time.
Producer: Chuck Berry. Additional production: Jeremy Lutito. Engineering: David Torretta. Additional engineering: Lutito, Logan Metheny and Tim Gebauer. Mixing: Lutito and Metheny. Mastering: Chris Athens Masters (Austin, Texas).