Following an unsatisfying three-year stint at Mercury Records, Chuck Berry returned home to Chess in 1969, just like Phil Chess predicted. Heading home didn’t necessarily mean retreating, as the four-disc Have Mercy: His Complete Chess Recordings 1969-1974 illustrates. During his time at Mercury, Chuck followed the kids wherever they went, aligning himself with the psychedelic ‘60s in a way none of his peers did. This shift is immediately apparent on “Tulane,” the very first song he cut upon his return to Chess. An ode to a couple of kids who dealt dope underneath the counter of a novelty shop, “Tulane” puts Chuck on the side of the counterculture, and over the next five years, he never strayed back to the other side of the fence, often singing about getting stoned, dabbling with a wah-wah pedal, rhapsodizing about rock festivals, cheerfully telling smutty jokes.
If the 60's ever had a "hit" jazz record, it was probably this one! The album's a sparkling live session featuring the trademark soul jazz sounds of the Cannonball Adderley group with Joe Zawinul on acoustic and electric piano, and brother Nat Adderley on cornet. The tracks have a long soulful groove, with gutbucket solos from the 3 above-mentioned players, and tight live production by a young David Axelrod. Titles include "Sticks", "Hippodelphia", "Sack O Woe", and the classic "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" – a jazz theme that you'll recognize instantly!