It would be an overstatement to say that Chuck Berry, like some guitar-slinging Dr. Frankenstein, single-handedly builtthe body of rock n' roll. Still, it is very likely that themonster's heart might have never started pounding properly had it not been for Berry's wholly revolutionary synthesis of R&B and rockabilly, his infectious, propulsive songs, his flashy, rock & roll attitude, and his no-nonsense approach to electric guitar solos.
The definitive collection of Berry's music, this two-disc, 50-track set is peppered with a few lesser-known cuts such as the dark, churning "Downbound Train" and the calypso-tinged "Havana Moon", as well as some entries from Berry's later period, such as the terrific "Tulane". But once Berry's classics start stacking up, there's not room for much else. Rock archetypes such as "Johnny B. Goode", "Sweet Little Sixteen", "Rock and Roll Music", and "Roll Over Beethoven" are merely the tip of the iceberg. Chess Records luminaries the likes of Willie Dixon, Hubert Sumlin,Otis Spann and Etta James and the Marquees lend bluesy, punchy, in-the-pocket back-up support. THE ANTHOLOGY is an utterly essential collection.