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John Berry

Songs & Stories – 2003 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by John Berry

Whether you're one who has "taken a shine" to John Berry's music or not, you have to at least give the singer/songwriter credit for making a live album the right way. Berry's studio albums sometimes get bogged down underneath the performer's over-the-top sentimentalism, but with a satchel full of funny stories, plus live audiences to keep him on track, this collection presents the man as a likable entertainer.

Recorded at various tour stops between Bakersfield and Kalamazoo, this album leaves plenty of room for the hits (such as "Kiss Me In The Car" and "Your Love Amazes Me"), as well as slots for quite a few suitable covers. Disc two begins with Hank Snow's "90 Miles An Hour (Down A Dead End Street)," along with a funny story about being asked to sing at Snow's memorial. It's followed by Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold" and John Denver's "Annie's Song." Before performing the Denver song, Berry tells his audience about being totally flabbergasted when he first met that Seventies superstar. And the influence of that pop-country icon has clearly left a deep impression upon Berry because his stories and songs reveal a man who is unashamedly rocky mountain high on life. (John Berry)