Courtesy of Chess Records
A favorite in 1958 dancehalls, Chuck Berry’s second album, “One Dozen Berrys,” put an exclamation point on his flourishing career. With Berry writing all of the lyrics and music, the album has a strong sense of the direction Berry wanted to take his music.
The initial track, “Sweet Little Sixteen,” makes listeners dance to a sweet little piano solo in the bridge. The track climbed to number two on the American Hot 100s and number one in the U.S. R&B tracks. The song was the second biggest hit of Berry’s career.
“La Juanda” is a softer song of Berry’s, explaining his encounter with a woman who only spoke Spanish, and the communication breakdown of his English-only speaking self. The song puts you in a tropical mood while you casually embark on your everyday journey. This track is one of the most unique of the album, along with “Rocking at the Philharmonic,” with its collection of instruments creating musical genius.
The first single from the album, “Oh Baby Doll,” is a fun track that causes much foot-tapping. The track reached number 57 in the Hot 100 charts and number 12 in the R&B charts. The final track, “It Don’t Take But a Few Minutes,” takes a retro approach to the roots of rock.
“Guitar Boogie” is a heavily blues-influenced track along with “Ingo,” which showcases Berry’s musical brilliance.
Berry leads on guitar the whole way into the next track, “Reelin’ and Rockin’.” The track explains his night of looking at his watch and boogie-ing “until the break of dawn.”
“Rock & Roll Music” is one of Berry’s most well known tracks. In the fall of 1957, the song reached number six on Billboard Magazine’s R&B Singles chart and number eight on the Hot 100 chart. Since then, the song has been covered multiple times by many different artists such as the Beach Boys and the Beatles.
The next song, “How You’ve Changed” breaks from the song-instrumental-song pattern in the album, and is a great rock ’n’ roll song with emphasis on the bluesy aspect of Berry’s work. The following track, “Low Feeling,” is an instrumental that strongly relates to the second song on the album, “Blue Feeling.” The song has the familiar blues “feeling” with a great piano solo in the middle.
A great album to dance to, these sweet songs of Mr. Berry are here for the world to listen to over and over.