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Vinyl Treasures: Chuck Berry – Chuck Berry Is On Top

Our series continues with some classic shellac from the days when albums didn't really exist

During the late fifties and early sixties the album format didn't really exist. Records tended to consist of a couple of singles, a few covers, and a selection of whatever B-sides or live set fillers were lying around. For that reason - and the fact that the record industry was still in its infancy and recording techniques were at a rudimentary stage – the albums of this era were often inconsistent and therefore largely forgettable.

Every now and then a real gem would emerge though, and Chuck Berry Is On Top is a true diamond in the rough of the broader musical landscape of its day. It's the most fully realised record of Chuck Berry's career, and has often been referred to as a kind of greatest hits collection. If you're looking for an introduction to one of rock 'n' roll's true pioneers, this is hands down the best place to start.

Teen anthem Almost Grown kicks things into gear. From there the album cruises round every corner on the road to rock ‘n’ roll, from the Latin roots of Hey Pedro to the surf rock of Blues For Hawaiians, which was the only new song written for the album. Between the start and final destination, Chuck Berry Is On Top visits some of the definitive moments from its era.

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