Chuck Berry reworks his classic “Johnny B. Goode” into the sleeker “Lady B. Goode” for the late rock icon’s upcoming LP Chuck, his first LP of original material in nearly 40 years.
The track borrows the structure and lyrics from the original 1958 single – “It was down in Louisiana, right there in New Orleans,” Berry sings on the new track – but with the guitarist now focusing on a “little teen queen” by the name of Lady B. Goode.”
While Berry’s longtime wife Themetta isn’t mentioned by name in the track, it’s evident by the song’s lyrics that Berry’s “spiritual sequel” to his signature tune is a tribute to his spouse. Three generations of Berrys – Chuck, son Charles Jr. and grandson Charles III – all play guitar on the ode to “Toddy.”
In the liner notes to Chuck, historian Douglas Brinkley wrote, “The first time I heard ‘Lady B. Goode,’ I felt like screaming ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ at the top of my lungs. While it is bursting with rhythmic excitement and an exuberant backbeat, the song has something even better in store: a Berry vocal that makes ‘Lady B. Goode’ thump.”
Brinkley continued, “Clearly this is the most autobiographical song on Chuck. Just hearing him sing of ‘New Ore-leans’ and ‘shrimp and red beans and rice’ is a real kick. Once again the combination of Lohr’s barrelhouse piano and Berry’s lightning-quick guitar rocks the roof off. And the two younger Berrys – son Charles, Jr. and Charles Berry III – blaze away on their magic guitars having learned well from the master.”