Jerry Lee Lewis
Rock and Roll Time
**and1/2 out of *****mentioned in the past that we have always been a fan of JLL and think he is, even with his notoriety, still criminally underrated in most circles. His bio is the best ever written on a rock star, it was a privilege to have seen him live and it makes us happy that he is still alive let alone making records such as the one we are about to review, 2014's Rock and Roll Time.
Jerry Lee Lewis last two releases have been guest-centric with the A-listers dwarfing the man they came to guest with. On Rock and Roll Time there are still guests of the best quality but non except Shelby Lynne takes the mic away from him, everyone else is contributing on an instrumental/backing vocal level. It is Lewis who takes the reigns from the beginning as he comfortably returns to Sun Records and tracks he has covered thousands of times.
The title Kris Kristofferson song rolls out easy with Lewis voice sounding every inch of it's 79 years but still manic enough to bring a smile. When Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie" gets a greasy airing it is fitting that both Rolling Stones guitarists help out Jerry with his ode to young love as Richards and Wood give encouragement so Queenie can go go; not mad, but still slinky.
His blues roll take on Bob Dylan's b-cut "Stepchild" fits his voice perfectly before the barroom stomp and easy roll of Jimmy Reed's "Bright Light's, Big City" which shows off not only Lewis, but a dream team of Neil Young and Ivan Neville. By far the oddest pairing on this disk it pays off with winning results; giving these three a full album worth of material would probably lead some insanely cool playbacks.
Unlike say the cover of "Folsom Prison Blues" which finds Lewis sounding gassed behind guitar pickers Robbie Robertson and Nils Lofgren. The cooking swing of closer "Promised Land" lets Doyle Bramhall cut a bit loose on guitar as Jerry bangs away but the truth is there is nothing vital on this disk but at this point nothing has to be.
The playing is fun and rocking for a man a year away from 80, the tracks are expertly produced and played, Lewis voice is strong and he sounds comfortable in his surroundings. You can't ask for much more at this point from The Killer.
Well we are ending 2014 with two of our favorite artists of all time via Uncle Neil and The Killer Jerry Lee. While not their best work, it makes us happy both are still kicking both literally and figuratively. Thanks to everyone for reading in 2014 and stay tuned for Jazzy January starting tomorrow.
Support The Killer here, buy the album here and peep some video below...New and old to end the year proper.
See ya in 2015....