By VennerRoad, 20th Nov 2016
Mr Rock ’N’ Roll Chuck Berry is working on a new album; Kiwi wondergirl Bic Runga has one out already.
Chuck Berry in 1997
Chuck Berry turned 90 last month, and might have been expected to rest on his laurels, but although he hasn’t produced a new album for 38 years, he did perform a regular monthly show at the Duck Room in his hometown Saint Louis until October 2014. Four years previously, in December 2010, he had collapsed on stage at Chicago, but bounced back. This new development is a welcome surprise.
If you haven’t heard a Chuck Berry song, you have certainly heard one influenced by him; unless you’ve been living in a hermit’s cave all your life, it is impossible not to. What can we expect though from this surprise offering which will be out next year? Whether or not there is any accompanying video footage, we can forget about seeing him perform the duckwalk. It is said to be a collection of new songs dedicated to his wife of 68 years, so expect it to be mellow. Musicians include his son and daughter as well as his long term bass player Jimmy Marsala. Chuck’s website is currently blank, but check out his Facebook page in the meantime.
Bic Runga in 2010
Although she is not as big as Chuck, Bic Runga is unquestionably the biggest thing to come out of New Zealand since the Moa bird. Fortunately, unlike that ill-fated ratite she is still around. Born in 1976, she shot to fame with her debut album Drive. Released in 1997, it was a one woman effort - she produced the album as well as writing all the tracks. Drive went platinum seven times in New Zealand, an incredible feat for a country with such a small population.
Although her work is always of exemplary quality, her output has been limited; Close Your Eyes is only her fifth studio album, and difficult though it is to believe, she is now forty. What does her latest work have to offer? Sadly it contains only two original songs. Bic has recorded the occasional cover before, but her version of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face is nothing special. A much better offer is Dream A Dream, the only other original song here.
Released October 26 - ahead of the album - the title track is an uptempo song with vocal overdubbing. In 2005 she recorded Birds; here she offers a song called Wolves, a far more fearsome beast, especially those that go on two legs; curiously this is a Kanye West number, one that for him is strangely palateable. Thankfully her much shorter version does not include the de rigueur rapper profanity. The downtempo but optimistic acoustic number Life Will Get Better Some Day is followed by Only Love Can Break Your Heart. Shouldn’t they be the other way around? If the title of the latter sounds familiar, that’s because this song is older than she is; nice to know she is a Neil Young fan though.
Okay, there is nothing wrong with a cover or even a tribute album, but this girl has such a rare musical talent it is a sin for it to go to waste. It may be asking too much for her to produce another song as fascinating as Gravity, as powerful as Sorry or as lachrymosal as Say After Me, but she could have made the effort.
To Wikinut Articles Page