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Last Man Standing, Jerry Lee Lewis - The Killer strikes again!,
This review is from: Last Man Standing (Audio CD)
Over the last few years there has been a series of albums from music legends as they turn 70. For example, there has been Tom Jones' `Praise and Blame', Kris Kristofferson's `This Old Road' and Johnny Cash's superlative `American recordings'. In these the various artists have taken a look back at a long life, sung about their regrets and asked forgiveness for sins.
If any artist has sins to forgive, or a right to any regrets, it is Jerry Lee Lewis. The originator of the rock'n'roll lifestyle (and an originator of rock'n'roll!) he drank hard, played hard and fought hard. But now he has reached 70 one might expect him to have matured and be turning out music as reflective as his contemporaries.
Not a bit of it! From the opening bars it is clear that the Killer regrets nothing, except perhaps that he didn't do more of it. He still has the zest, vim and vigour that made him the most powerful rocker of his generation. He grabs each song by the scruff and makes it his own, turning out a real rockin' powerhouse of a record. The nearest he gets to reflective is the last track, a moody rendition of Kris Kristofferson's 'Pilgrim', which could almost have been written about Lewis. But with the final line, 'From the rocking of the cradle, to the rolling of the hearse, the going up was worth the coming down' Lewis reaffirms that every step was worth it for all the fun he had, and he would do it all over again. It's a powerful closing line for the album in its delivery, and worth the price of admission by itself.
When I saw that this is an album of duets I felt a bit uneasy, such efforts are usually rubbish. But this time it works. The main reason for this is that Lewis cuts his guests no slack. They either fit in and keep up with him, or they fade out of sight. This is his record, and no one is allowed to forget it.
The Killer is really on fire, vocally and on piano. Sometimes he sounds just like he did in his heyday. Songs are grabbed by the scruff and he stamps his authority all over them. Standouts are `Pink Cadillac', which he turns into a lascivious sounding double entendre, and `Rock and Roll', aided by Jimmy Page. When he sings `Been a long time', you think `yeah, you've been away for far too long'. It's a great album, and I look forward to the follow up, Mean Old Man when it is released.