Memphis meets Nashville
p. silverman | USA | 05/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"About a month after Jerry Lee made his last recording for Sun Records in 08-63, he recut several of his original hits for Mercury/Smash with Mr. Shelby Singleton at the producing helm - interestingly enough, the guy who much later reportedly bought Sam Phillips' back catalogue and reissued Jerry Lee's *original* versions!
Behind-the-scenes data aside, it's what's up front at the mike in late September, 1963, that counts. It's JLL kickin' out those rockin' licks and overcoming "pop" trappings and occasional hoarseness. "Whole Lotta Shakin'" even has background voices, but they're mixed to the back and it's a fun ride. In fact, it recalls his sometimes excerpted c. '64 performance of the tune at his own English TV Special - his voice is deeper, actually more powerful than before. Don't dismiss Sun 102 *too* fast but don't place this one too far down the carousel, either. It's a very representative cut from that period. "Great Balls Of Fire" has the same feel, and the stereo sounds brings out the piano often down in the earlier mixes. The classic Lewis composition "End of The Road", a thumping honky-tonker, is arranged a bit too fast; a slower tempo could have given him a modest hit at the time. It borders on over-production, but it succeeds famously. His first release, "Crazy Arms" is perhaps a bit rushed also. "You Win Again", ofcourse the HW tune, is just right and receives that special Lee Lewis treatment. Folks, I like it better than the Sun side. His wisened, worldly delivery sells it big, baby. "I'll Make It All Up To You" is a country music ballad classic, a Lewis offer which deserves to be placed on any Country or Oldies station playlist.
True, some of the grit is smoothed over for this '63 session, but like Little Richard for Vee Jay and Fats Domino for ABC Paramount, who also traveled to Nashville to recut hits during that time, there were certain artistic demands apparently made and production was looking ahead, not back, and new technology was applied.
Yes, something was lost, but something was gained. It was and still is...a gas!"
Excellent remakes all around!
Admit One | Pasadena, CA United States | 04/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is not the gritty honky tonk of the sun sessions, but it's not supposed to be. These are 1963 Nashville remakes that are slicker and tighter than the originals. Actually, they are a precursor to the sound that Lewis would come to use on a regular basis (there must be something he likes about it). The thing that brings these sessions together is Lewis' vocals and piano. It's what HE brings to the party that makes all this work. There is not a bad one in the bunch.
Don't make the mistake of thinking the Killer isn't present here - he definitely is. Breathless is every bit as good as the original, if not better. High School Confidential moves like a newly purchased Cadillac convertible.
My only complaint is that this CD clocks in at a mere 25:15. It's like Thai food. You don't get a lot, but what you get is so good, it leaves you wishing there was more.
This is the perfect bookend to the Sun recordings. I say this one is a sure fire yes."
Fun, fast, wild, outrageous talented
Morgan Madison | glendale, CA United States | 04/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jerry Lee Lewis at his best - a raucous rendition of ten favorites great for a party - or whenever you need an emotional lift. Would also be a good choice to exercise to.Jerry's distinctly passionate singing style combined with his famous wild-man piano playing makes this CD one of my all-time favorites. Nobody - I mean nobody - sings and plays like this man. You gotta love him."