“Jerry Lee’s Greatest” by Jerry Lee Lewis - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1961Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

1961 goes down as one of the better years for Jerry Lee. Having been followed by a cloud of doubt since 1958, there were clear signs that the public were slowly coming round to accepting the marriage to his young teenage cousin. Of the career-threatening furore, Myra herself later opined: “They were looking for a place to stick the knife into rock n roll. And Jerry gave it to them—well, I did, I opened my mouth. That’s exactly what it was.” On February 9, 1961, Jerry Lee was the first of the Sun artists to record in Sam Phillips' new studio in Nashville. For the last song of the session that night, they decided to have another crack at Ray Charles’s “What'd I Say”, following on from previous attempts in January 1960 and again in June 1960. There was a great feeling that they had captured something new and quite special – Jerry Lee’s adrenalin fuelled piano hammering was still in evidence, but the overall group and vocal was much more modern, stylish and soulful. In April, Jerry Lee Lewis was back in the Billboard Pop Chart for the first time in 3 years. His Top 30 hit re-elevated his status overnight; bigger touring venues were back on the agenda and a tour with Jackie Wilson was booked. Suitably encouraged that the market was ready for it, Sun got around to issuing a new-ish Jerry Lee Lewis LP in December. 5 of the tracks were appearing for the first time; of these, all bar the newly recorded “Hello Josephine” stemmed from sessions in 1958 and 1959. Of the previously unreleased tracks, the raunchy “Hello Hello Baby” was a real gem just begging to be unleashed. Of the 7 single sides which were included, “Great Balls of Fire” (1957), “Break Up” (1958) and “Let’s Talk About Us” were the “oldies”. Only “Great Balls of Fire” had appeared in his back-album catalogue thus far. The other 4 were pooled from this year’s successful sides; “What’d I Say” (the big comeback hit from February), “Cold, Cold Heart” (a thoroughly excellent Hank Williams cover which was the follow up single in May, hitting #22 hit on the Billboard Country Chart), “As Long As I Live” (b-side to “Save The Last Dance For Me” in September) and “Money (That’s What I Want)” (the current single, issued in November, following in his new Ray Charles style). By years' end, Jerry Lee was back where he belonged – on the big stage, rockin' and rollin'.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:30] 6.7.png Jerry Lee Lewis and his pumping piano - Money (That’s What I Want) (Berry Gordy, Janie Bradford) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
A2 [02:25] 6.2.png Jerry Lee Lewis and his pumping piano - As Long As I Live (Bill Everhart, Ethel Ennis) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
A3 [02:05] 7.5.png Jerry Lee Lewis - Hillbilly Music (George Vaughn) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
A4 [02:36] 6.9.png Jerry Lee Lewis and his pumping piano - Break Up (Charlie Rich) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
A5 [03:20] 9.0.png Jerry Lee Lewis - Hello, Hello Baby (Traditional) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
A6 [01:58] 5.9.png Jerry Lee Lewis - Home (Roger Miller) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
B1 [02:05] 6.2.png Jerry Lee Lewis and his pumping piano - Let’s Talk About Us (Otis Blackwell) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
B2 [01:50] 9.2.png Jerry Lee Lewis and his pumping piano - Great Balls Of Fire (Otis Blackwell, Jack Hammer) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
B3 [02:30] 6.9.png Jerry Lee Lewis - Frankie And Johnny (Traditional) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
B4 [03:02] 8.7.png Jerry Lee Lewis and his pumping piano - Cold Cold Heart (Hank Williams) Country
B5 [02:25] 6.4.png Jerry Lee Lewis and his pumping piano - What’d I Say (Ray Charles Robinson) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
B6 [01:41] 6.1.png Jerry Lee Lewis - Hello Josephine (Antoine Domino, Dave Bartholomew) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly

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