Album no. 48/1001
This album was recorded during Jerry Lee’s ‘wilderness’ years, when nobody wanted to listen to him because he married his 13 year old cousin. If you can get past that it’s really fun!
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I’ve never heard this. I don’t know a lot about Jerry Lee Lewis, just that he was an early rock and roll guy who sort of got wiped out by Beatlemania.
CL: No, but I like Jerry Lee Lewis – he’s pretty badass. I mean, he was a bit weird, but still badass.
NK: ‘Weird’ is pretty mild for a guy whose third marriage (at 22) was to his (allegedly) 13 year old second cousin.
NK: ‘What’d I Say’ is my pick. This album is more what I thought Ray Charles was going to be like, really rocking out. Jerry only has 2 writing credits on this, he clearly hadn’t gotten the ‘writing your own songs is cool now’ memo when this came out.
CL: That piano. Hot DAMN. Was it still in tact at the end of this recording? Even after the first track ‘Mean Woman’ it sounds like it’s been bashed to shit. Which is awesome – I’m just concerned for the instrument’s wellbeing.
NK: He played it pretty hard, didn’t he? It’s not quite Pete Townshend smashing his SG to bits, but he’s just starting out.
CL: I quite like his version of ‘Money’ (once again, another cover), but I love ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On’. I do like ‘Lewis Boogie’ too though. I wish I had enough self-confidence to write a song about myself. And rhyming Louisiana with piano/”pianah” – love it.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: To me this sounds exactly like the music that would be played at a high school graduation in a movie set in the 60s.
CL: This was recorded at the Star Club in Hamburg – and I’m just picturing of all these cool German kids rocking out. It sounds pretty wild.
NK: It is difficult to go past a German nightclub in the 1960s. I still think this is graduation ball music though, sorry Jerry.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: I think he was taking the rock performance to another level, really kicking out the jams.
CL: Jerry Lee Lewis was one of the first performers you could really call a “rock star” – he’d kick over his piano bench and stand on the piano and play it with his feet and all sorts of NONSENSE – and this album captures that wildness pretty well. It’s definitely chaotic.
Will you be listening again?
NK: Probably not. This is fun, but I’m not sold on Jerry by any means. Finding out he married a thirteen year old has really put me off him. I wish I didn’t know that.
CL: I’m really surprised because I was sort of expecting this to be along the same lines as early Elvis, you know? Pretty meek and clean-cut, but this is the other end of the spectrum. It’s definitely worth a listen – he’s such a FABULOUS pianist and he would’ve been an amazing performer. Yep. I’m sold.