Friday, June 03, 2016

FFB: Chuck Berry: The Autobiography

Chuck Berry says at the beginning of the book that there is no ghost writer involved.  These are his words, and he typed them himself.  Read the book, and you'll believe it.  It's full of alliteration, rhymes, and rhythm.  It's not polished, but that's fine.  It's like good rock 'n' roll, a little rough around the edges, and even in the middle.

It's also frank and open about Berry's times in prison, all three of them.  Maybe a little slanted in his favor, but he doesn't try to cover anything up.  There was less here about his music than I wanted to know, but there's plenty about his sex life.  Not enough to satisfy Berry, though.  At the end of the book, he promises that he's going to write another one that's about nothing else except his sex life.  Since this one was published in 1987 and there's been nothing since, I guess the rest of his sex life will remain a secret.  That's okay.  He tells plenty here, and the story that interested me most was the one about his affair with Candace Mossler, who was involved in a famous Texas murder trial that I read a book or two about years ago.  I sure didn't know that she and Berry had been an item, or at least a hookup.  

It was during his third stint in prison that Berry started writing this book, and he tells a good bit about improving his typing and about the word processors he used to finish the book with once he got out.

While I found the book really interesting for its information of Berry the man, I would've liked a little more about his touring, about his recording, about his early work with Chess records.  Still, I'd recommend the book if you're interested in Berry's work.  It's fascinating and entertaining, and you can't ask for much more than that.


Deb said...

I think he was once charged with video voyeurism for installing cameras in the women's restrooms at a club he owned, so the less I have to read about his sex life, the better.

In this book, LIFE, Keith Richards had some interesting insights into Chuck the musician. Richards loved Berry the iconic musician but had a much more complicated response to Berry the very imperfect man. And when someone's erratic behavior makes Keith Richards look measured and sane, you might have some issues.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I had no idea Chuck and Candy Mossler hooked up.

My favorite "sex and musicians" book was THE LIFE AND TIMES OF LITTLE RICHARD. He talks about the size of Buddy Holly's organ, and details the time he brought Buddy along to an orgy, where he proved very popular.

Great stuff.

Unknown said...

Jeff, the Chuck/Candy story was a big surprise to me. I've read the Little Richard bio. Very sleazy.

George said...

I read a biography of James Brown recently so I'm in the mood for a Chuck Berry bio. I'll track down a copy.

Rick Robinson said...

The things you wanted and didn't get from this book are the things I'd also want, so, since I won't get them if I read it, I won't.

Mathew Paust said...

Deb's comment takes the cake.

Anonymous said...

I just got done reading Brown Eyed Handsome Man, and in it, the author states that Candy Mossler is the person Chuck is referring to in Houston that won't let a poor boy down and bought him a silk suit.