My Ding-A-Ling…#1 With a Bullet

Chuck Berry is amazing.  Really.  How many other 84-year-old rock legends can you name who still perform on a regular basis?

That’s what I thought….

I give you this…his infamous “Duck Walk” may now more resemble a wounded goose…but he can still walk the walk!   And he may forget the lyrics or repeat himself and his songs…in the same set…but this is an 84-year-old Chuck Berry!  All of his contemporaries are either gone, or no longer performing…at least on stage.  C’mon, Berry is included in several  “Greatest of All Time” lists, including being ranked fifth on the Rolling Stone 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll included three of Chuck Berry’s songs!

But, those three songs, while attaining the list of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, never achieved a certain status that is reserved for “top” songs.  No, there is an elite groups of songs.  Songs that attain the highest level there is to attain.  The top.


Those are songs that reach #1.  That’s right. Numero Uno.  The top songs of the week, the month, the time in question.


Johnny B. Goode?  Not good enough.


How about “No Particular Place To Go”? Well only if it is not going to #1.

No, these hits plus the likes of “Rock and Roll Music” and “Roll Over Beethoven” never made to the epitome of the charts…at number one.

But “My Ding-A-Ling” did.  Yep of all the great Rock and Roll songs that came out of this St Louis Rock n Roller, “My Ding-A-Ling ” is the only one to go all the way to the top of the Pops.  Ironic?  Yeah. That a little ditty about a little diddy out-charted his other great songs is really funny.  (I guess Johnny wasn’t so good after all)

Almost as ironic as people still standing in line and paying to see this icon repeat himself, forget lyrics and yet still have a good time entertaining folks each month at the “Duck Room” at Blueberry Hill in St Louis.  A rather intimate venue only holding about 200 or so music lovers is the stage each month for this musical treasure that St Louis offers up as one of their own.

This past summer, Diana and I went to see this icon of Rock and Roll.  (it really is amazing how many people thought we were nuts to want to go see him…I guess they have never been to the college of musical knowledge, therefore have not completed their homework assignment on personally seeing as many great R ‘n Rollers as possible).  We went with Lauren and we took my mom.  Mom may be 80 yrs old herself, but when it comes to music, she has a hard time sitting still.  (She may forget where she is, but she still knows the words to the songs…yeah, that apple doesn’t fall very far…)  As a matter of fact, if she had a little more spring in her step…I think she may have joined ole CB on stage and tried to duck walk herself…than God for small favors!

So, it is in the honor of this Rock ‘n Roll legend…the one who “Hails, Hails Rock and Roll”…the creator of the one-legged hop called the “duck walk…the one who John Lennon said,””if you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”  It is this one that I give the name for my “Cocktail of the Week”…while Keith Richards called him “rhythm supreme”, I call the drink Chuck Berry, just super.

The Chuck Berry

  • 2.5 oz bourbon (as usual I prefer Buffalo Trace)
  • 2 oz Thatcher’s Apple Spice (this is an organic liqueur, Thatcher’s has several kinds and I recommend them)
  • .5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup (I used a simple syrup infused with lemon zest the first time I made this, but the next time I used just regular simple syrup and it was also very good)
  • 4-5 fresh red raspberries

Muddle the raspberries , simple syrup and lemon juice together in a shaker with a little cracked ice.  Add the bourbon and the Thatcher’s Apple Spiced liqueur.  Shake vigorously and strain into an Old Fashioned glass with one large ice-cube.   Garnish with a raspberry.  Drink.  Enjoy.  Make another.

Anthony Kiedis, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers said of Chuck Berry, (the rocker, not the cocktail)  “Chuck Berry is a musical scientist who discovered a cure for the blues.”

Well I am not sure this cocktail is a cure for much of anything.  But I do know that is a nice start to a wonderful evening…especially if that evening falls on a Friday…Cocktail Friday.  Balance…just like Johnny B Goode.  Smooth like you would expect Maybellene to be.  And full of a distinct rich flavor…just like rock and roll…whatever type you like.

Speaking of “likes”…I hope you like this drink, but I also hope you love your life and all of those in it…that is key to enjoying anything else…

Enjoy Chuck.  And if you get to St Louis, other than seeing the Cardinals, try to see a duck walkin’ 84 year old rock and roller who can still remind you to…

Hail, hail rock’n’roll
Deliver me from the days of old
Long live rock’n’roll
The beat of the drum is loud and bold
Rock rock rock’n’roll
The feelin’ is there body and soul

Published in: on February 1, 2011 at 1:25 am  Leave a Comment  

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