Chuck Berry fuses boogie woogie and classic blues on “Wonderful Woman,” the lead track from Chuck, an upcoming collection of songs recorded between 1991 and 2014. Chuck marks the first Berry album to be released since the rock and roll icon’s death in March at age 90 and his first LP of new studio material since 1979.
Berry built “Wonderful Woman” using the formula he perfected in the late 1950s. A single, propulsive guitar line and a rhythm section give the song an irresistible drive. Other instruments add satisfying embellishments – lead guitar, harmonica and jolts of pounding piano – while Berry sings about romantic whiplash. “It done blew my mind when she smiled and said hello/ Well it broke my heart when she told me it’s time to go.”
Berry recorded “Wonderful Woman” with help from his son, Charles Jr., his grandson, Charles III, and the blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. “When his manager called me up and asked me to play on the Chuck album, I was really honored,” Clark Jr. told Rolling Stone. “… He was playing incredible still and singing amazing. I’m looking forward to this record.”
“Wonderful Woman” is the second song to be released from Chuck following “Big Boys.” When Berry announced the album in 2016, he dedicated it to his wife, Themetta “Toddy” Berry. “My darlin’, I’m growing old!” the singer wrote in a statement. “I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”