Chuck Berry fuses boogie woogie and classic blues on “Wonderful Woman,” the lead track from Chuck, an assortment of songs recorded between 1991 and 2014. Chuck is the first Berry album to be published after the rock and roll icon’s death in March at age 90 and his first LP of new studio material.
Berry assembled “Wonderful Woman” using the convention he perfected in the late 1950s. A rhythm section along with a single, propulsive guitar line provide the song an irresistible drive. Other instruments add satisfactory embellishments – lead guitar, harmonica and jolts of beating piano – while Berry sings about whiplash from a romantic relationship. “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 next song to be released from Chuck following “Big Boys.” When Berry announced the record 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!”