JERRY LEE LEWIS
WHOLE LOTTA JERRY LEE LEWIS (4CD)
While he's not here (I sure wouldn't dare to do so if he was), I have to take issue with Jerry Lee. Halfway through the excellent booklet that comes with this wonderful box set, The Killer is quoted giving Cliff White a hard time for suggesting he is a country singer. To Jerry this was anathema - "I'm just Jerry Lee, that's all...a Rock ‘n' Roll mother-humper from Memphis!"
Well, maybe. Even if he does go on to deride other country singers, he sure does sound like a heck of a country singer to me. And if ever you were looking to build a case for the prosecution, this is the source material. Within the 106 career-spanning tracks contained on these 4 CDs, all of them, one way or another, provides the evidence of a top notch country boy putting everything he can into the articulation of the joys, fears and frustrations of ordinary living. Listening again to these tracks, whether he is rocking his way through the early Sun classics that dominate the first CD or (almost) taking you through the country music songbook on the Smash and Mercury recordings of the 60s and 70s, Jerry seems to be really living the songs not just singing them. Maybe that's why I like him so much - he sings these topsy-turvy emotions so we don't have to live them.
And right through the final CD, when age and fatigue may have started to make claims on his unearthly powers, he still had it in him to deliver performance after performance that spoke of his undimmed spirit. His Over The Rainbow from 1980 is a revelation and songs like Third Nine And Holding and Middle Age Crazy stand alongside anything he ever recorded.
Only a short review I guess but don't let this fool ya', there aren't enough good words that can be said about this marvellous set. If you have any interest in rock and roll and country music, you owe it to yourself to get this.
Review Date: April 2012