Barrelhouse Chuck (real name Charles Goering) never studied music and has no formal training on piano. Which doesn't necessarily explain much beyond the fact that his exceptional abilities are based on feel, touch, and most important, a sincere love of blues piano.
Indeed, Chuck has literally devoted his life to preserving the classic barrelhouse sound, perhaps best exemplified by Sunnyland Slim (one of Chuck's previous recordings - this, near as I can tell, is his fourth - was a tribute to the late master). But he's equally fluent in just about every other style, from that of Leroy Carr (another significant influence, with Chuck paying homage by way of four covers here) to Otis Spann, from Pinetop Perkins to Big Maceo. But as much as Chuck may admire and wish to honour those who established the parameters of the style, he never lets scholarly reverence get in the way of a rollicking good time.
On "Prescription for The Blues," Chuck presents a mixed bag of covers by many of his heroes, along with a handful of originals, all done up in a classic style. Most are performed as solos; on three tunes he's joined by Chicago legend Erwin Helfer, one as vocalist, one for a piano duet, and one with Chuck seated at the Farfisa organ (there's simply no sound on earth quite like it).
There are any number of solo piano discs out there, and to the casual listener no doubt many are somewhat interchangeable. Pianists, however - even those with extensive experience - will likely learn much from Chuck's mastery of the form. Player or not, most will find "Prescription" an enjoyable listen; if you've no other outings like this in your collection it's as good a place to start as any. And taken as a lesson in the form, you just might find you've learned something!
The Sirens Records, LLC
P.O. Box 1997, Highland Park, IL 60035-1997
Label Web: www.thesirensrecords.com
Chuck's website: www.barrelhousechuck.com
Simply click on the CD cover at left to order this CD NOW!
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