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  Chuck Berry on pedal steel in 1957

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Author Topic:   Chuck Berry on pedal steel in 1957
David Doggett

From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

posted 10 May 2004 06:52 AM     profile     
Yep, Chuck Berry cut an instrumental on pedal steel called Deep Feeling, with Johnny Johnson on piano, Willie Dixon on Bass, and Fred Below on drums, Chess Records, Chicago, Jan. 21, 1957. It's kind of a slow bluesy number with lots of pedal mashing a la early Bud Isaacs. Don't know the brand of pedal steel, but it has a very lap steel sound, with lots of bar noise, like from a small light bar. I don't think anyone is going to be asking for the tab for this one. It's kind of interesting, but rough. Nothing like Robert Randolph. Too bad Chuck didn't stick with it. The history of the pedal steel would probably be a lot different.

This cut is on Slide Guitar Classics, Blues Masters, The Essential Blues Collection, Vol. 15, Rhino, 1993. This is by far the best slide guitar complilation CD I've ever run across. It has everybody from the great Chicago electric slide players like Elmore and Muddy to the very best of the early acoustic slide players like the Black Ace (from Texas, played a square neck National tricone). There is a cleaned up version of Blind Willie Johnson's Dark was the Night - Cold was the Ground that will chill your soul. Then there's the modern white boys like Butterfield, the Allmans, Johnny Winter and Ry Cooder - something for everyone, and only the very best (well, except for Chuck - he's obviously on here for the novelty).

Glenn Suchan

From: Austin, Texas

posted 10 May 2004 07:38 AM     profile     
There is a film the has Chuck Berry playing that song. I've seen it but I don't remember the name. Maybe someone else does. Anyhow, I think Chuck was playing a Fender Stringmaster in the flick.

Keep on pickin'!

David Mason

From: Cambridge, MD, USA

posted 10 May 2004 08:16 AM     profile     
"Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll!" - 1987. Keith Richards assembles and leads an all-star band backing Chuck - Clapton, Robert Cray, Julian Lennon etc. are guest stars. The parts in between the songs are pretty interesting too. It still shows up on cable at odd times.
CrowBear Schmitt

From: Ariege, - PairO'knees, - France

posted 10 May 2004 08:31 AM     profile
Hail Hail Grandpa Crazylegs Berry
David Doggett

From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

posted 10 May 2004 10:18 AM     profile     
So there you have it. Chuck debuted on pedal steel in 1957, and thirty years later was still into it enough to play in the movie "Hail, Hail Rock'n'Roll." Sounds like he used the same Fender 400 in both cases. Someday I gott see this movie.
Tim Whitlock

From: Arvada, CO, USA

posted 10 May 2004 11:08 AM     profile     
Cool movie, including Chuck in prime form in concert with a great band (a far cry from his many hit-and-run small venue gigs with pickup bands). Great behind the scenes looks at rehersals, including a tense staredown match between Chuck and Keith over Chuck's amp volume. Also some pretty funny anecdotes from Springsteen, Little Richard, Bo Diddly and others. Highly recommended!
CrowBear Schmitt

From: Ariege, - PairO'knees, - France

posted 10 May 2004 02:14 PM     profile     
David, it's a great flic and a must see
yes, there are quite a few funny anecdotes
Chuck's wife is being interviewed and Chuck steps in and says " ok, that's enough ! and puts an end to it right then and there.
there's a nice interlude where Chuck plays a Fender psg.
during rehearsal Chuck get's on Keith's case for not playin' the intro to "Oh Carol" properly and it does get really strained between them.
Keith paid for the flic, as well as Chuck's 60 th (?) birthday concert in that St Louis theater.
Chuck's bio is a keeper too
since Chuck lives in Wentzville, i'm sure he's been to Scotty's store
too pooped to pop or too much monkey bizness ?

[This message was edited by CrowBear Schmitt on 10 May 2004 at 02:16 PM.]

Billy Wilson

From: El Cerrito, California, USA

posted 10 May 2004 02:27 PM     profile     
Little Richard damn near steals the movie he's so damn funny. Then Chuch introduces Julian Lennon as "my good friend John Lennon" priceless stuff. Did he even realize it was the son and not the father? Well worth seeing.
Jonathan Gregg

From: New York City

posted 10 May 2004 09:02 PM     profile     
My favorite part is when they're playing the show after weeks of rehearsal at Keith's insistence to get it right, and in the middle of a tune Chuck leans over to Keith and says something and Keith shakes his head in vigorous disapproval. Cut to Keith after the show who says, "he was saying, right after this verse modulate to Bb," which of course they had never done... what a character.
Jim Peter

From: Mendon,Mich USA

posted 11 May 2004 09:16 AM     profile     
I always thought an interesting part to the movie was when they were interviewing Eric Clapton about taking a break on a song. He said something like, "before the break I have it all planned out what I am going to do and then when the break comes I forget all that and just play what I am feeling". That seems to happen a lot to me.


Andy Volk

From: Boston, MA

posted 11 May 2004 01:20 PM     profile     
Tom Morrell turns Chuck's tune inside out on Pteradactyle Ptales Volume 4.
Roger Rettig


posted 18 May 2004 11:29 AM     profile     
I remember this record well - I had it back in '57 on a purple-labelled
45'. It was the 'B' side to 'School Days'.


David Doggett

From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

posted 18 May 2004 12:49 PM     profile     
Well, the first three '45s I remember owning were Hound Dog, Bebop-a-Lula, and School Days. I even remember the purple label (Capitol?). But I don't remember the B side. Was I that unimpressed with this instrumental? But maybe it left a subliminal trace, 'cause years later I took up pedal steel, and years after that, I now play pedal steel (and sax) in a rockabilly band. Maybe things have come full circle for me.
CrowBear Schmitt

From: Ariege, - PairO'knees, - France

posted 18 May 2004 03:10 PM     profile     
Deep Feeling (actually called Blue Feeling on this LP)and Low Feeling are on the "One Dozen Berrys" Chess LP 1432 along w: Guitar Boogie (Jeff Beck did that tune) - Reelin' and a Rockin' - In Go - Sweet Little Sixteen - Rock at the Philarmonic - It don't take but a few minutes - La Jaunda - Oh Baby Doll - How you've changed - Rock and Roll Music
Michael Lee Allen

From: Fresno CA USA

posted 27 May 2004 11:57 AM     profile     
The tune in question is a retitled version of Floyd "Wonderful" Smith's "Floyd's Guitar Blues". Berry started on a Gibson Electraharp before the Fender 400 came out. I have a picture of him with it somewhere. "Mad Lad" was another steel instrumental he did which is probably the best known of several. Also the vocal "(I Won't Let You) Runaround" has overdubbed pedal steel in addition to standard guitar. There are probably at least six different Berry steel guitar recordings and those have been retitlted, slowed down, speeded up, and one even had audience overdubs put on for a fake live recording effect.

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