Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mr. Coffee Colored Cadillac



I've been home for a couple of days with a cold/flu/allergy/small pox ... whatever ... so I've had time to get back to writing posts for my blog.

To those who actually read my posts (all three of you), I apologize.

As you probably know, Chuck Berry died a few weeks ago. He was 90 years old and one of the most talented musician/ songwriters ever.  "He could play a guitar just like ringin a bell." Of course I would defer to the best guitar players I know ... Mike and George ... to verify Chuck's guitar abilities but I think it's safe to say he was a pioneer in creating the sound we hear today in music.

As my own tribute to the man, I've been listening to his tunes back and forth from work. Since I'm on the road for a good 3 hours a day ... this gives me plenty of time to appreciate his legacy.

Oh ... almost forgot his keyboard player, Johnnie Johnson. The greatest. He actually hired Chuck to play in his band way back in the 50s when his guitar player got sick and never returned.

Chuck had limited experience playing guitar back then but his voice and personality and writing ability immediately made him a force to be reckoned with.  He wrote Maybelline and the Chess Brothers signed him as a solo act. Apparently, he took over the band soon afterward because ... as Johnnie said, "We could get better jobs with Chuck running the band. He had a car and rubber wheels beat rubber heels any day."

Chuck wrote Johnnie B. Goode as a tribute to Johnson referring to Johnnie's behavior when he was drinking. Chuck was a tough leader and insisted the band not drink in the car on the way to jobs. The band complied by sticking their heads out of the window when they were drinking.

I remember seeing Chuck in concert in the early eighties in St. Pete at the groundbreaking of Tropicana Dome. Started out with that famous lick on his guitar ... and then ... he stopped dead in his tracks, staring at someone in the crowd. "If you take your camera out one more time while I'm playing, I'll leave and never come back."

He knew what he wanted.

His lyrics are some of the best ever written. My all time favorite:

NADINE

As I got on a city bus and found a vacant seat,
I thought I saw my future bride walking up the street,
I shouted to the driver hey conductor, you must slow down
I think I see her please let me off this bus
Nadine, honey is that you?
Oh, Nadine
Honey, is that you?
Seems like every time I see you
Darling you got something else to do

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back
And started walkin' toward a coffee colored Cadillac
I was pushin' through the crowd to get to where she's at
And I was campaign shouting like a southern diplomat
Nadine, honey is that you?
Oh, Nadine
Honey, where are you?
Seems like every time I catch up with you
You are up to something new

Downtown searching for 'er, looking all around
Saw her getting in a yellow cab heading up town
I caught a loaded taxi, paid up everybody's tab
Flipped a twenty dollar bill, told him 'catch that yellow cab
Nadine, honey is that you?
Oh, Nadine
Honey, is that you?
Seems like every time I catch up with you
You are up to something new

She move around like a wave of summer breeze,
Go, driver, go go, catch 'er for me please
Moving through the traffic like a mounted cavalier
Leaning out the taxi window trying to make her hear
Nadine, honey is that you?
Oh, Nadine
Honey, is that you?
Seems like every time I see you
Darling are up to something new




   

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