Keith’s got aways to go: Chuck Berry turns 90, will release first new album in four decades

In conjunction with his 90th birthday today, rock ’n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry has announced the release next year of his first new album in nearly 40 years.

Titled “Chuck,” the album consists largely of new songs written and produced by the man considered one of the founding fathers of rock music.

As a singer, songwriter, guitarist and performer, Berry helped create the template for the rock ’n’ roll star still widely emulated 60 years later.

In a statement, Berry said, “This record is dedicated to my beloved Toddy,” the nickname for his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry.  “My darlin’ I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”

He is backed for the album by two of his children– guitarist Charles Berry Jr. and harmonica player Ingrid Berry. Other players include bassist Jimmy Marsala, pianist Robert Lohr and drummer Keith Robinson.

Berry has been telling interviewers for years that he was working on a new album, and he has finally completed it, having recorded in various studios around his longtime home in St. Louis. His most recent studio release prior to “Chuck” was “Rock It,” issued in 1979.

He and his band for years had a residency at the St. Louis club Blueberry Hill.

Berry was among the original 10 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it opened in 1986, and he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 1984. He also was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 2000.

NASA chose “Johnny B. Goode” as the only rock recording to be sent into outer space on the Voyager space probe in 1977.



Paying attention to risks at food festivals

I like rock and roll. I like ribs. Rock ‘n Ribs in Campbell Springfield, MO seems like a pretty great place to get your fingers sticky and listen to cover bands play songs from Sticky Fingers. Spring signifies the start of festival season, when tourism dollars pump into towns; the local kids will drink underage; and, hopefully no one gets sick from foodborne illness.

Festivals and temporary events have had their share of outbreaks in the past (Taste of Chicago in 2007, Folklorama in 2010 and numerous fundraisers and community dinners). Often there are folks at booths who are not full-time food handlers, dealing with lineups, makeshift heat sources and poor access to handwashing facilities.

These events need to have someone who is paying attention, inviting the health inspectors in to point out potential issues and have lots of portable restrooms/handwashing stations available for vendors and patrons.

As I told the venerable Portable Restroom Operator, the type of festival I want to go to as a patron is a place that doesn’t need to be regulated. They welcome inspectors as a second set of eyes but they should already have the mindset of ‘making 700 people sick would be bad for our festival’.

Rock ‘n Ribs sounds like they are paying attention.

In Ozarks First, Mike Brother of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department was cited as saying,  "We’re asking them to police themselves to work with the people doing the sampling to keep proper hygiene wash their hands and wear gloves."

"These kind of events these sampling events we can’t bring an inspector out to inspect all 50 or 60 or 100 of the booths out here giving samples," said Brothers.

Jim McLeod of Southwest Rotary says they’ve been in the competition for 12 years and always make sure they’re handing out safe food.
"Every time we get into the food we’ll wear gloves when we touch it we got the restaurant inspector out here just like anywhere else and we’re doing the same thing as restaurants," said McLeod.

Long live rock and roll. And ribs.

Pat Boone launches mail-order steak line

Would you buy a steak from Pat Boone? Maybe this is a reason for tougher U.S. food safety oversight.

Singer and actor Pat Boone – the man who made rock and roll safe for white people – has launched a line of mail-order meats called Pat Boone All-American Meats.

The line includes filet mignon, ribeye, top sirloin, New York strip, T-bone and porterhouse steaks, all made with U.S.-raised beef. The meats ship frozen.

The brand officially launches today at

Boone was inspired by Paul Newman.

“I’ve been so impressed by what Paul was able to accomplish with his incredibly successful line of salad dressings, that this seemed the perfect way for me to build a legacy that will carry on in the spirit of giving for generations. What better way to enjoy time with family and friends than over a tender, juicy steak and know that your hard-earned money is going to support American ranchers and help feed the hungry all at the same time?”