"I agree with the review above, anytime you have a chance to find (and grab) the original recordings from a legendary artists, take advantage of it. Rhino is a great company that has devoted its time to restoring and making available material from everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis to Captain Beefheart to Alex Chilton.This compilation of 18 classic Jerry Lee Lewis songs is a treasure. And can I tell you, as a 28-year old listener who was born well after Lewis's heyday (I was born in 1971), that this man's music still sounds as vital today as it did over forty years ago? I find myself bouncing along not only with the obvious radio hits (Great Balls of Fire and Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On), but the lesser-known cuts as well (I love Big Blon' Baby). Lewis, along with Little Richard, paved the way for piano-playing rockers, and Lewis also straddled the line between rock and country; fans of both genres will find much to savor here. I wholeheartedly recommend this fine disc."
"The Killer" in all of his original glory!
Jim Walls (email@example.com) | Phoenix,Arizona | 02/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this Cd,unlike so many Jerry Lee Lewis compilations,you get to hear the original Sun Records recordings of his best and most popular tunes.When you hear these songs,you begin to understand why his influence on later rock and roll artists is so strong.The Reckless intensity he displays here on such classics as "Whole lotta shakin' goin' on","Breathless",and on such wild and quirky versions of Ray Charles'"What'd I Say",and the old Hank Williams favorite,"Jambalaya",is rarely heard anywhere else in his long and storied career.If you want to find out what all the fuss was about,this Cd is a great place to start."
A Good Intro to the Real King of Rock and Roll
Rachel | Nashville, TN, USA | 09/24/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As another reviewer has pointed out, I too was born long after Lewis's heyday. However, hearing his "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "Great Balls of Fire" on various oldies stations got me hooked when I was a teenager. It is hard to describe. The man had....something. Was it extremely sophisticated, complicated music? Hell, no. But it didn't have to be. It was raw, passionate and true. You could tell this guy loved what he was doing. Plus, even if the music was relatively simplistic, well, so was all of rock and roll. And Lewis was good at it. It has been pointed out that Lewis posed a "short-lived challenge" to Elvis Presley for the title of King of Rock and Roll. Lewis's shot at the real big time was basically wrecked when word got out that he'd married his 14-year-old cousin Myra Brown. It's a shame too - of course, I don't condone grown men marrying minors. Lewis screwed up there. However, as Albert Goldman pointed out in his controversial 1982 biography of Elvis, Lewis's downfall was ironic: Lewis was pilloried for marrying his 14-year-old cousin, while in the meantime 24-year-old Presley cohabitated with 15-year-old Priscilla at Graceland, and nobody seemed to consider this a problem. Besides that obvious bit of unfairness, it's also pretty damn sad that Lewis's challenge to Presley was so short-lived...because in this reviewer's opinion, he was a hell of a lot better of a musician than Presley, for a whole host of reasons, but I'll stick to the main ones. Firstly, Lewis actually played an instrument, the piano, and played it well. This is in contrast to Presley, for whom the guitar was a prop rather than an instrument he truly knew how to play. Secondly, Lewis sang on key with breath control, which Presley did not do. And for the fan who wants a good intro to Lewis's rock and country work, this disc will be a treat. As another reviewer has pointed out, certain key things unfortunately are missing, like "You Win Again." But despite that, it's an entertaining disc that you'll find yourself playing again and again. In every song, Lewis's driving passion for his work is evident, and his love for the music will make you love it too. The old standbys "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin" are on there, as well as a rockin' "When the Saints Go Marchin' In," "Matchbox," "What'd I Say," and "Jambalaya". Also of interest is an early version of "Drinkin' Wine (Spo-dee-o-dee)" (although Lewis did a remake of this song in the early '70s that was bass-driven rather than piano-driven, and was actually better than the early one, but no matter). No doubt, this disc will entertain...and the sampling of songs definitely shows who the real "King of Rock and Roll" should've been."
Leaves You Breathless--ah!
Gregor von Kallahann | 04/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I was a little kid, I remember watching Jerry Lee Lewis on some TV show or other and finding him a little scary. All that manic energy. He looked dangerous. When I got a little older, I decided that was a good thing.
Of course, coming of age in the age of psychedelia, I might have found Jerry Lee a little passe--but one of the good things about that era was that there really was an appreciation of what went down before. The best 60s groups were always quick to credit their artistic forefathers. Certainly that was the case with the Beatles and the Stones. The Beatles, like Jerry Lee here, did a version of "Matchbox" in their day, certainly a nod toward the greats of the previous decade.
Jerry Lee is known primarily for a handful of hard driving, piano based rockers like "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shankin'..." Aficionados (and knowlegeable dilettantes) know that he had a lot more up his sleeve than that. OK, so he couldn't turn in a masterful ballad, but there's still enough variety in the uptempo numbers to satisfy any discriminating rock'n'roll fan. What can you say about a collection that includes a rollicking "When The Saints Go Marchin' In" and then turns around and offers up a frankly salacious "Big Legged Woman" for your listening pleasure. Call it your basic Southern dichotomy--that largely unself-concsious blend of the sacred and the profane. Stylistically it provides textbook example after example of rock's links to the blues and C&W. It's all part of the gumbo, and it's all pretty darn tasty.