Now Run, Run Real Fast: The Richard Berry Thread

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Doesn't seem to be one.

When I did interviews 30 years ago, I was lucky: Joey Ramone, Bob Mould, Paul Westerberg, Johnny Thunders, a few other then-heroes. My favourite from this vantage point might have be Richard Berry, who came through Toronto for a couple of club shows. A complaint I usually don't make: how is he not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Not just for "Louie, Louie," although that's probably enough right there. Just started listening to a box set of all his work with the Flairs, the Dreamers, and the Robins, where he sang on "Riot in Cell Block #9." He released his own version of "Riot," "The Big Break," a year later, and it's just as wild. The Flairs' "She Wants to Rock" is incredible, and he could sing ballads, too.

clemenza, Thursday, 14 September 2017 04:22 (eight months ago) Permalink

His other work is pretty great. Not even sure how well his original of Louie Louie compares either to his own other songs or non calypso influenced covers. I remember reading debate about whether or not it was a cash in on Chuck Berry's Havana Moon which is from around the same time.
But his other stuff rocks. I've been meaning to pick up one of the more recent compis than Get In The Car which I already have.
Henry Rollins appears to have been a fan and covered several of his songs, notably Next Time.

Stevolende, Thursday, 14 September 2017 06:28 (eight months ago) Permalink

You can get this for under $15 on Amazon--must have close to everything:

clemenza, Thursday, 14 September 2017 11:32 (eight months ago) Permalink

I sent in an "Ask Greil" about Berry the other day--I'll reprint his response here:

I’ve written about Richard Berry here and there. For me, it’s always been the prison trilogy: the Coasters’ “Riot in Cell Block #9” with Berry doing the spoken parts, his own “The Big Break,” and his little known “Next Time.” Legal-jeopardy discs were a big part of early Los Angeles R&B and rock & roll, partly because everyone knew the LA police force was racist and murderous to the core. In the fifties the likes of the Rodney King beating was about as remarkable as a traffic stop.
In 1994, for an Oakland conference of the Center for California Studies at the Oakland Museum called “Bright Lights, Mean Streets: California as City,” I set up the panel “Bop City: LA’s ’50s Rhythm & Blues” with Danyel Smith and Richard Berry himself. He was a complete charm, though there because he wanted recognition as a pioneer and an artist. He wasn’t scheduled to perform afterward, but he insisted on it. He was a powerful physical presence, but a legend in the flesh: I AM SITTING NEXT TO THE MAN WHO WROTE “LOUIE LOUIE”!

clemenza, Friday, 22 September 2017 22:44 (eight months ago) Permalink

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.