Ladies and gentlemen, now the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the world famous Jack Rabbit Slim’s Twist Contest!

So where the hell is “You Never Can Tell” on this compilation?  It’s on the Chuck Berry Definitive Collection, which is pretty much the same set of songs plus “You Never Can Tell” and “My Ding-A-Ling”.  I can live without “My Ding-A-Ling” (I always thought that song was stupid), but not putting “You Never Can Tell” on this album is a very serious omission.  Were the marketing reps worried about messing up the rhyme scheme?  Did “The Fine Twenty-Nine” not have the same ring to it as “The Great Twenty-Eight”? Sad, because “You Never Can Tell” is better than 90% of the songs on this disc.  Yes, I am biased because the song appeared in the iconic dance scene in Pulp Fiction, my favorite movie (and Second.Best.Soundtrack.Ever), and yes, I know Chuck Berry wrote the song while her was serving a prison sentence for a liaison with an underage Native American girl (hey, unlike MJ, at least he served his time), but “You Never Can Tell” is a really great song, and it deserves to be on this compilation.

Okay, I’m done now.  I’ll get off my soap box.  Let’s talk about the situation at hand.  When I was a kid, mi madre had a VHS videocassette that showed many of  the rock and roll pioneers like Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and Jerry Lee Lewis.  I think it may have been called “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” (please note the Oxford comma).  Anyhow, that video was my introduction to many of the early rock and rollers, including Chuck Berry and his infamous duck walk.  That, and of course Michael J. Fox playing “Johnny B. Goode” at the school dance in Back to the Future, one of the quintessential movies of the 80s.

So I bought this album on Amazon for $5.96, and despite the omission of my favorite Chuck Berry song, it’s still a lot of fun.  Most of the songs are about cars, girls (most of them underage…which is admittedly creepy considering his conviction), high school, and rock and roll.  It all seems to be wrapped up in sort of a 1950s innocence (at least until the blatant double entendre of the last track, “I Want to Be Your Driver”) that makes me want to go get a milkshake and a burger at a local diner while I put quarters in a juke box (too bad I’m 180 miles from Eddie’s Grill right now, but its probably closed for the season anyway).  And I never knew that the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA” was such a blatant rip off of Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” (again, creepy title dude) until I heard this album.

Other lists: The following songs make the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: #7 “Johnny B. Goode”, #18 “Maybellene”, #97 “Roll Over Beethoven”, #129 “Rock & Roll Music”, #277 “Sweet Little Sixteen”, and #383 “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man”.  Chuck Berry is also listed as the#41 Greatest Singer, the #7 Greatest Guitarist, and the #5 Greatest Artist of All Time.

My favorite track: “30 Days”

Honorable mention: “Roll Over Beethoven”

Quote: “If I don’t get no satisfaction from the judge, I’m gonna take it to the FBI and voice my grudge.  If they don’t give me no consolation, I’m gonna take it to the United Nations.”

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