Chuck Berry, Kingsize Taylor & the Dominos, Carl Perkins, the Animals, the Nashville Teens: Finsbury Park Astoria, London

CHUCK’S HERE AT LAST

“IT’S BEEN a long time, but here I am” were Chuck’s own words as he opened his act at the Finsbury Park Astoria on Saturday last.

Chuck arrived on Saturday morning when he visited Sound City in Shaftesbury Avenue and after came to the Record Mirror offices, for a rest from the hordes of fans. With Chuck was not his road manager — but his lawyer. Nevertheless he was in a happy mood, posing amiably for photographs although he was obviously shaken up by recent fast-moving events.

DRAMATIC

In the evening at Finsbury Park, the atmosphere was tense and dramatic. The show opened with the Nashville Teens, a competent beat group wearing leather railwaymen’s hats and waistcoats. They provided a driving start to the show and were followed by a femme vocal duo who called themselves the Other Two. They were two lasses dressed in black slacks and sweaters who sang a variety of numbers including ‘Walking The Dog’ and ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover’. They went down fairly well, and they were followed by the Animals. Currently in the lists with ‘Baby Let Me Take You Home’ they ploughed through this, and several other items including ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, ‘Talking About You’ (The Ray Charles version) and, of course, their hit. They went down well, but the audience was already shouting for Carl Perkins.

Cries of “We want the King Of Rock” filled the air, and Carl was greeted enthusiastically. He went through numbers like ‘Matchbox’, ‘Mean Woman Blues’, ‘Hi Heel Sneakers’ and of course ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, but his voice was rather country-tinged owing to the years he has spent singing C & W. After Carl came the Blue Jeans — but the audience just didn’t respond well to them.

Kingsize Taylor and the Dominos proved to the audience that their reputation from Hamburg was fully justified. ‘She Said Yeah’, ‘Sherry’ and ‘Heebie Jeebies’ were a few of their numbers and Kingsize was really on fine form. It’s a pity this artiste hasn’t yet clicked with a disc release — certainly he’s one of the best beatsters we have in Britain.

Then came Chuck. Dressed soberly in a dark grey suit and swinging his guitar Chuck went through a load of his hits like ‘School Days’, ‘Johnny B. Goode’, ‘Sweet Little 16’, ‘Wee Wee Hours’, ‘Guitar Boogie’, ‘Nadine’ and ‘Maybellene’. He was in excellent vocal form, as clear and precise as on his discs, and the Dominos offered him reasonable support — although the two saxes were probably unnecessary. But the highlight was probably Chuck’s superb guitar work — he proved himself to be a master of the instrument ere the performance was out.

If the rest of the shows are as good as this one, then British audiences are in for a wow of a load of shows…

© Norman JoplingRecord Mirror, 16 May 1964

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