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on 15 April 2012
4 Cds, and they're all top drawer. Putting aside what Ace do with their Southern Soul and Fame Studio box sets, this is seriously good value for money at under £25, and one of the best reissues of 2012 thus far.

I know there'll be some caveats: not enough Sun material, nor enough of the live recordings. My main caveat is that there is not enough of the Southern Roots album , which was the last great album of the Killer's. Only two tracks, however, yet there should have been countless more. Whither That Old Bourbon Street Church, or Meat Man ? It didn't even merit a mention in the booklet, whereas the Session did.

Objectively, I have always found the Session to be similar to albums recorded by Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf in London, whereby the older artist retreads his way through some older tracks, and the younger guest plays some tasty licks. I prefer Jerry Lee's version of Drinkin Wine Spo Dee o Dee from 1966's Memphis Beat album, and where was the marvellous coda to The Session that was Jack Daniels Old No 7 ?

However, I have still given it five star: 12 tracks from the Sun era is more than enough. Record shops are inundated, and so too is Itunes, with budget versions of Jerry Lee's Sun material. I have also found that the Sun material lacks the emotional depth and maturity of the post 1968 country material, nor does Jerry rock as hard as he did on, yes you guessed it, Southern Roots. I also think that, on disc 1, two of his best rock tracks are I'm On Fire and Hi Heel Sneakers, which are from the Smash era.

The early Smash era, up to Soul My Way, was a series of misfires, but with some great tracks, i.e. I'm On Fire, Hi Heel Sneakers, Green Green Grass of Home, but Shelby Singleton and Jerry Kennedy didn't know what to do with Jerry Lee - Can we market him rock, country, soul, blues etc ? Smash also had the same problem with Charlie Rich, and he had to wait until 1972 for success after his initial promise of greatness on Lonely Weekends from 1960.

However, it is disc 2 where Jerry Lee really kicks up a gear. Country was as natural as living and breathing to the Killer. From 1968 - 1973 he hardly misfired, and his earning capacity skyrocketed. What was amazing about Another Place, Another Time, What's Made Milwaukee Famous, She Still Comes Around, and She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye, was that there were all stripped down honky-tonk ballads. The strings didn't kick in until 1971 with Touching Home, Would You Take Another Chance On Me, and Think About It Darlin. I think the only misfire on Disc 2 is Roll Over Beethoven with Linda Gail Lewis: it really doesn't rock.

Disc 3 shows that the country is getting diluted somewhat with strings. The material is still great, ranging from Chantilly Lace through to Boogie Woogie Country Man. However, it is the country stuff that still has the emotional depth, i.e. No Traffic Out of Abilene, Ride Me Down Easy, Sometimes A Memory, He Can't Fill My Shoes. Though, I feel we could have done with Jerry Lee's cover of Billy Joe Shaver's Bottom Dollar, or Keep Me From Blowing Away, or the greatest ever Killer outtake, All Over Hell & Half of Georgia.

Disc 4 highlights the final years of the Mercury recordings. Again it's the country stuff that means the most, that shows the Killer more engaged. Jerry Lee's Rock n Roll Revival Show is a turgid track on a great album, i.e. Country Class. The Closest Thing to You, Let's Put It Back Together, Middle Age Crazy, and Come On In are all great country tracks, yet I Hate You is an undiscovered gem from the pen of Dan Penn: an equally good version of this track is by Bobby Bland on Get On Down, which was Bobby's country album.

We then move to the Elektra recordings from 1979-1980; Rockin My Life Away totally annihilates Jerry Lee's Rock n Roll Revival Show. It's a pity there was no space for the Killer's version of Rita Mae from 1979, which was The Killer cutting Bob Dylan for the first and last time, thus far, or his version of Don't Let Go. However, as Bobby Gillespie stated on the recent Ron Wood show on Sky1, you can't beat the Killer's version of Over the Rainbow, which is here on all its glory, and so too is 39 & Holdin' which was the Killer's last great country hit.

This leaves me to state that the last few tracks are from the MCA era, the Class of 55, and a re-recording of Wild One from 1989. The MCA stuff could have benefited from having She Sang Amazing Grace and That Was The Way It was Then on the compilation, and Honky Tonk Rock n Roll Piano Man excised from the compilation. Sixteen Candles though was the best thing on the Class of 55 album. However, what about the X Rated Whole Lotta Shakin' from the Great Balls of Fire soundtrack, or It Was The Whisky Talkin' ? I think the original version of Whisky Talkin was from the soundtrack to Dick Tracey, an awful movie enlivened by the Killer's dixieland track.

Ultimately, you want the Killer, buy this as it highlights the true, many sides of Jerry Lee.
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Let me say straight off that I haven't purchased this set but I am the owner of more than 90 per cent of the contents - and that's without counting - many of which tracks I have on both vinyl and CD. I think that gives me at least some credibility in attempting a review. The presence of existing positive reviews from Uncut, Mojo and even the Daily Telegraph leads me to believe that there's likely to be very little wrong with the sound quality. Nor is there anything wrong with the packaging. Uncut awards 8/10 for what it quaintly calls "Extras", in other words, the 70 page booklet including rare photos, biography and full track details. This is just the sort of packaging that I would expect to get with a retrospective but then I was spoilt by the 2006 Snapper "Sun Essentials" 4 CD set from the Killer.

Although the appearance in the aforesaid reviews is of a new look back at the Lewis career, Amazon's headline description of the album includes phrases like "Collector's Edition" and "Extra Tracks" which rather suggests that this is but an updated version of an existing retrospective. I have to admit to ignorance on whether or not this is the case but several aspects about the contents do rather confirm the impression.

Chief among these is the woefully short list of tracks from that glorious Sun period. I can understand any compiler's problem here. In the great man's youthful period - I originally wrote "pomp" but that would have been wrong - every individual song was attacked with flair, gusto and above all, imagination leading to an unbelievably high and consistent quality of output. Just what would you leave out? What we are left with on Disc 1 is 12 tracks only, these largely being the hits which doesn't do any justice to the terrific volume of material he recorded in the timeframe. Indeed there is a higher proportion of music on Disc 1 from the initial Smash/Mercury period (which yielded zero hits) prior to the man's country breakthrough. This does seem slightly against the grain even if this music is well worth hearing, which it is of course.

Disc 2 focuses on that country breakthrough and, it has to be said, makes a sterling job of covering the period. This particular disc plus a few of the tracks on Disc 3 does as good a job of summarising Jerry's country phase as I've seen anywhere. The only major omission is his reading of Kristofferson's "Help me make it through the night" which should have been present. Set against that is the inclusion of some tracks which don't often appear in collections.

The above evidence does suggest that this set was originally compiled by those folks at Smash/Mercury, or whichever conglomerate has swallowed them up now, with earlier tracks purchased since I'd guess this was prior to all the Sun material coming available in the public domain.

Regardless of the above the key question is still, does this set do the job as a "Definitive Retrospective" which is what it claims to be?

I'd say that the answer has to be a hesitant yes but with quite a few negatives which I've listed below. To the best of my knowledge there is no other set which attempts to cover the career of Jerry Lee from his Sun days up to roughly, 1980, so this isn't a bad start and maybe a later update might be even better.

So, the negatives ...

- Even though the set contains plenty of pre-country Smash material it doesn't have his great covers of the two Cookie & the Cupcakes numbers, "Mathilda" and Got you on my mind". Nor does it have his take on George Jones' "I Still Care" which has always been a favourite of mine.
- There's nothing from the recently re-released "Live at the Star Club, Hamburg" album, a candidate for best live rock'n'roll album ever.
- I would have liked one or two more of his versions of Mickey Newbury songs in addition to "She even woke me up to say goodbye". I always felt Jerry was one of the few artists to make a real fist of Newbury songs.
- From the Elektra period, which is otherwise well covered, the near autobiographical "I'd Do it All Again" doesn't appear and this is a serious omission. The good news is that they do retain his marvellous "Over the Rainbow".
- There's nowhere near enough from the "Killer Rocks On" album - I'd have had more of these tracks and less of the London session.
- I'd also have liked to have had "Born to be a Loser" from the "Southern Roots" album which is another one that's under represented.
- There's nothing from the 1995 "Young Blood" album which had a mixed critical reception though as I stated earlier, I guess the set stops somewhere in the eighties. Needless to say there's nothing from the more recent, Rubin style, "Last Man Standing" or "Mean Old Man" albums.

With the exception of the near minimal presence of Sun tracks, all the above could be viewed as gripes from a Lewis fanatic who's never going to be satisfied with any best-of, even one as relatively all embracing as this. And I have to add that, if you complemented this set by one of the longer Charly/Snapper albums from the man, you would have a pretty good picture of the Killer's oeuvre.

The vast majority of people only know Jerry from his Sun sides and only the better known hits at that. What this set does do is more than balance this perception of Jerry's output. I refused to use the word pomp earlier when mentioning the Sun period. And that's because Jerry's rarely not been in his pomp (and that's ignoring his own opinion of himself!). Even when he was really churning out country stuff like there was no tomorrow there was almost invariably the odd track per album where he rose above the sometimes mundane material he was given. And every now and then he'd pull out an absolute beaut - give a listen to "Don't Boogie Woogie when you say your prayers tonight" which leads off Disc 4 for a typical inflammatory example. Of all the fifties rockers and that's including his great rival Elvis, Jerry continued to make inspired records even up to yesterday ("Mean Old Man"). His voice may not be quite what it was but it's still a lot better than Dylan's!

I was going to drop a star because of the lack of many key Sun tracks but if I'm honest the material here deserves the full monty even if, for a definitive retrospective, it could have been better. However anything that continues to boost the appreciation of Lewis as a major figure in American music who has put on record superb performances in blues, R&B, country, gospel, country soul and even standards, rather than just a caricatured rocker has to be applauded.
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on 18 February 2013
This is an excellent collection for anyone who likes Jerry Lee Lewis, especially for those more recent converts who won't have many of his tracks. This comes in a really nice box with an interesting 70 page booklet. Purists will moan that there is not enough of 'this period' or 'that period' but these 107 tracks - for a mere £20 gives a good coverage of this highly talented musician's career. The quality is A+ and this rates as one of the best music buys I've made in a while.
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on 12 June 2012
Very pleased with the 4 CDs and informative booklet. Many of the numbers I already have in either LP or CD format, but I am happpy to have them repeated. A lot of the numbers are new to me and I was surprised, especially in the slower numbers what a good voice JLL has. For me as a frustrated pianist in my early teens he remains simply the best.
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on 14 May 2013
I hesitated over buying this especially as I already owned the complete Sun box set and the best of the Smash/Mercury recordings 1963-77 (3 cd's). However, in fact this set contains a total of 80 tracks I didn't previously have in my collection. Discs 2-4 are very country. Don't worry though it's really country music not the garbage that currently comes out. Also there are glimpses of good old rock'n'roll eg Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (73 not the Sun version), House of Blue Lights, Wild One (again not the Sun version), Jerry Lee's Rock'n'Roll Revival Show. Also you get some very tasty ballads. For the money this is superb and possibly one of my best box sets. Great booklet too, just read what the Killer said to Cliff White NME journalist in '79 "Are YOU sanctified boy!!"
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on 14 February 2016
CONTENT:

This 4 CD box set, released by Salvo label in UK under Universal Music, contains 106 songs. I have compiled a detailed song listing (with label & number, chart position, with personal comments)(BB=Billboard Hot 100; C&W=Billboard Country Chart; R&B=Billboard Rhythm & Blues Chart; CB=Cash Box; RW=Record World; UK=British Singles Chart):

DISC 1:
01 CRAZY ARMS (Sun 259)(uncharted a-side, 1956)*first single released.
02 WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN’ GOIN’ ON (Sun 267)(a-side)(BB 3(2)/1957); C&W 1(2)/1957; R&B 1(2)/1957; CB 5/1957; RW 5/1957; UK 1/1957)*first No. 1 Country hit.
03 GREAT BALLS OF FIRE (Sun 281)(a-side)(BB 2(4)/1957; C&W 1(2)/1957; R&B 3(2)/1957; CB 2/1957; RW 2/1957; UK 1/1957)*second No. 1 Country hit.
04 YOU WIN AGAIN (Sun 281) (US b-side)(BB 95/1958; C&W 4/1957)*double sided hit.
05 BREATHLESS (Sun 288)(a-side)(BB 7/1958; C&W 4/1958; R&B 3/1958; CB 10/1958; RW 12/1958; UK 8/1958)
06 HIGH SCHOLL CONFIDENTIAL (Sun 296)(a-side)(BB 21/1958; C&W 9/1958; R&B 5/1958; CB 20/1958; RW 26/1958; UK 12/1958)
07 LEWIS BOOGIE (Sun 301)(US b-side, 1958)*a-side was Return of Jerry Lee.
08 BREAK UP (Sun 303)(a-side)(BB 52/1958; CB 74/1958; RW 78/1958)
09 I’LL SAIL MY SHIP ALONE (Sun 312)(a-side)(BB 93/1959)
10 LOVIN’ UP A STORM (Sun 317)(a-side)(CB 81/1959; UK 28/1959)
11 WHAT’D I SAY (Sun 356)(a-side)(BB 30/1961; C&W 27/1961; R&B 26/1961; CB 33/1961; RW 33/1961; UK 10/1961)
12 COLD COLD HEART (Sun 364)(a-side)(C&W 22/1961)*this song was overdubbed with Orion vocals, and released in 1979 (Sun 1141)(C&W 84/1979)
13 HIT THE ROAD JACK (Smash 1857)(a-side)(BB 103/1963)*rare gem; this single starts his career on Smash label.
14 PEN AND PAPER (Smash 1857)(US b-side)(C&W 36/1964)*rare gem.
15 I’M ON FIRE (Smash 1886)(a-side)(BB 98/1964; CB 100/1964; RW 99/1964)
16 SHE WAS MY BABY (HE WAS MY FRIEND)(Smash 1906)(uncharted US a-side, 1964)*rare gem.
17 HIGH HEEL SNEAKERS (Smash 1930)(a-side)(BB 91/1964)*rare gem.
18 JUST IN TIME (recorded in 1965)*previous unreleased.
19 BABY, HOLD ME CLOSE (Smash 1969)(a-side)(BB 129/1965)*rare gem.
20 I BELIEVE IN YOU (Smash 1969)(US b-side, 1965)*rare gem.
21 GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME (Smash 2006)(uncharted US a-side, 1965)*rare gem.
22 BABY (YOU’VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES)(with Linda Gail Lewis)(Smash 2006)(US b-side, 1965)*rare gem.
23 DETROIT CITY (Star Club 148 150)(uncharted US a-side, 1965)*rare gem.
24 ROCKIN’ JERRY LEE (recorded in 1966)*previously unreleased; later released as b-side to Honky Tonk Stuff (Elektra 46642)(US b-side, 1980)*rare gem.
25 MEMPHIS BEAT (Smash 2053)(uncharted US a-side, 1966)*rare gem.
26 BIG BOSS MAN*album track from LP Memphis Beat (Smash 67079, 1966).
27 IT’S A HANG UP BABY (Smash 2103)(uncharted US a-side, 1967)*rare gem.
28 TURN ON YOUR LOVE LIGHT (Smash 2122)(uncharted US a-side, 1967)*rare gem.
29 SHOTGUN MAN (Smash 2122)(US b-side, 1967)*rare gem.

DISC 2:
01 ANOTHER PLACE, ANOTHER TIME (Smash 2146)(a-side)(BB 97/1968; C&W 4/1968)
02 WALKING THE FLOOR OVER YOU (Smash 2146)(US b-side, 1968)*a charted hit for Pat Boone (BB 44/1960).
03 I’M A LONESOME FUGITIVE*album track: from LP Another Place, Another Time (Smash 67104, 1968)
04 WHAT’S MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS (Smash 2164)(a-side)(BB 94/1968; C&W 2(2)/1968)
05 SHE STILL COMES AROUND (TO LOVE WHAT’S LEFT OF ME)(Smash 2186)(a-side)(C&W 2(2)/1968)
06 TO MAKE LOVE SWEETER FOR YOU (Smash 2202)(a-side)(C&W 1(1)/1968)*his 3rd No. 1 Country hit.
07 THERE STANDS THE GLASS*album track: from LP She Still Comes Around (Smash 67112, 1968)
08 DON’T LET ME CROSS OVER (with Linda Gail Lewis)(Smash 2220)(a-side)(C&W 9/1969)
09 JACKSON (with Linda Gail Lewis)*album track: from LP Country Music Hall of Fame Hits Vol. 1 (Smash 67117, 1969)*rare gem.
10 ONE HAS MY NAME (THE OTHER HAS MY HEART)(Smash 2224)(a-side)(C&W 3(3)/1969)
11 INVITATION TO YOUR PARTY (Sun 1101)(a-side)(C&W 6/1969)
12 EARTH UP ABOVE (with Linda Gail Lewis)*album track: from LP Together (Smash 67126, 1969)*rare gem.
13 SHE EVEN WOKE ME UP TO SAY GOODBYE (Smash 2244)(a-side)(C&W 2(2)/1969)
14 ONE MINUTE PAST ETERNITY (Sun 1107)(a-side)(C&W 2/1969)
15 ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN (with Linda Gail Lewis)(Smash 2254)(a-side)(C&W 71/1970)*rare gem.
16 WORKING MAN’S BLUES*album track: from LP She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye (Smash 67128, 1970)*rare gem.
17 WINE ME UP*album track: from LP She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye (Smash 67128, 1970)*rare gem.
18 ONCE MORE WITH FEELING (Smash 2257)(a-side)(C&W 2(2)/1970)
19 I CAN’T SEEM TO SAY GOODBYE (Sun 1115)(a-side)(C&W 7/1970)
20 THERE MUST BE MORE TO LOVE THAN THIS (Mercury 73099)(a-side)(C&W 1(2)/1970)*his 4th Number 1 Country hit and first single with new label Mercury.
21 WAITING FOR A TRAIN (Sun 1119)(a-side)(C&W 11/1970)
22 IN LOVING MEMORIES (Mercury 73155)(a-side)(C&W 48/1971)
23 SWEET GEORGIA BROWN*album track: from LP There Must Be More To Love Than This (Mercury 61323, 1971)*rare gem.
24 TOUCHING HOME (Mercury 73192)(a-side)(BB 110/1971; C&W 3(1)/1971)
25 WHEN HE WALKS ON YOU (LIKE YOU HAVE WALKED ON ME)(Mercury 73227)(a-side)(C&W 11/1971)*rare gem.
26 WOULD YOU TAKE ANOTHER CHANCE ON ME (Mercury 73248)(a-side)(C&W 1(1)/1971)*his 5th Number 1 Country hit.
27 ME AND BOBBY MCGEE (Mercury 73248)(US b-side)(BB 40/1971; C&W 1/1971; CB 63/1971; RW 48/1971)*major double sided hit.
28 THIRTEEN AT THE TABLE*album track: from LP Would You Take Another Chance On Me (Mercury 61346, 1971)*rare gem.

DISC 3:
01 CHANTILLY LACE (Mercury 73273)(a-side)(BB 43/1972; C&W 1(3)/1972; CB 56/1972; RW 42/1972; UK 33/1972)*his 6th and final Number 1 Country hit.
02 THINK ABOUT IT DARLIN’ (Mercury 73273)(US b-side)(C&W 1(3)/1972)*double sided hit.
03 WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES*album track: from LP The Killer Rocks On (Mercury 637, 1972)*rare gem.
04 LONELY WEEKENDS (Mercury 73296)(a-side)(C&W 11/1972)*rare gem.
05 ME AND JESUS (with Linda Gail Lewis)(Mercury 73303)(uncharted US a-side, 1972)*rare gem.
06 WHO’S GONNA PLAY THIS OLD PIANO (Mercury 73328)(a-side)(C&W 14/1972)
07 NO HONKY TONKS IN HEAVEN (Mercury 73328)(US b-side, 1972)*rare gem.
08 NO TRAFFIC OUT OF ABILENE*album track: from LP Who’s Gonna Play This Old Piano (Mercury 61366, 1972)
09 NO MORE HANGING ON (Mercury 73361)(a-side)(C&W 19/1973)*rare gem.
10 DRINKIN’ WINE SPO-DEE-O-DEE (Mercury 73374)(a-side)(BB 41/1973; C&W 20/1973; CB 25/1973; RW 33/1973)
11 BAD MOON RISING*album track: from LP The Session (Mercury 803, 1973)*rare gem.
12 JUKE BOX*album track: from LP The Session (Mercury 803, 1973)*rare gem.
13 NO HEADSTONE ON MY GRAVE (Mercury 73402)(a-side)(BB 104/1973; C&W 60/1973)
14 SOMETIMES A MEMORY AIN’T ENOUGH (Mercury 73423)(a-side)(C&W 6/1973)
15 RIDE ME DOWN EASY*album track: from LP Sometimes A Memory Ain’t Enough (Mercury 677, 1973)
16 I’M LEFT, YOU’RE RIGHT, SHE’S GONE (Mercury 73452)(a-side)(C&W 21/1974)*rare gem.
17 JUST A LITTLE BIT (Mercury 73462)(uncharted US a-side, 1974)*rare gem.
18 BIG BLUE DIAMONDS*album track: from LP Southern Roots (Mercury 690, 1973)*rare gem.
19 TELL TALE SIGNS (Mercury 73491)(a-side)(C&W 18/1974)*rare gem.
20 HE CAN’T FILL MY SHOES (Mercury 73618)(a-side)(C&W 8/1974)
21 HONEY HUSH*recorded in 1974; previously unreleased; rare gem.
22 I CAN STILL HEAR THE MUSIC IN THE RESTROOM (Mercury 73661)(a-side)(C&W 13/1975)*rare gem.
23 HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHTS*recorded in 1975; previously unreleased; rare gem.
24 BOOGIE WOOGIE COUNTRY MAN (Mercury 73685)(a-side)(C&W 24/1975)
25 A DAMN GOOD COUNTRY SONG (Mercury 73729)(a-side)(C&W 68/1975)

DISC 4:
01 DON’T BOOGIE WOOGIE (Mercury 73763)(a-side)(C&W 58/1976)*rare gem.
02 I CAN’T KEEP MY HANDS OFF YOU*recorded in 1975; previously unreleased; rare gem.
03 I DON’T WANT TO BE LONELY TONIGHT*album track: from LP Odd Man In (Mercury 1064, 1976)*rare gem.
04 LET’S PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN (Mercury 73822)(a-side)(C&W 6/1976)
05 JERRY LEE’S ROCK ‘N’ ROLL REVIVAL SHOW (Mercury 73822)(US b-side, 1976)*rare gem.
06 THE CLOSEST THING TO YOU (Mercury 73872)(a-side)(C&W 27/1976)*rare gem.
07 MIDDLE AGE CRAZY (Mercury 55011)(a-side)(C&W 4/1977)
08 TENNESSEE SATURDAY NIGHT (Mercury 6173 006)(uncharted US a-side, 1976)*rare gem.
09 COME ON IN (Mercury 55021)(a-side)(C&W 10/1978)
10 I’LL FIND IT WHERE I CAN (Mercury 55028)(a-side)(C&W 10/1978)
11 I HATE YOU*album track: from LP Keeps Rockin’ (Mercury 5010, 1978)*rare gem.
12 ROCKIN’ MY LIFE AWAY (Elektra 46030)(a-side)(BB 101/1979; C&W 18/1979)*his first single on Elektra label.
13 I WISH I WAS EIGHTEEN AGAIN (Elektra 46030)(US b-side, 1979)*rare gem.
14 WHO WILL THE NEXT FOOL BE (Elektra 46067)(a-side)(C&W 20/1979)*rare gem.
15 WHEN TWO WORLDS COLLIDE (Elektra 46591)(a-side)(C&W 11/1980)*rare gem.
16 OVER THE RAINBOW (Elektra 47026)(a-side)(C&W 10/1980)
17 THIRTY-NINE AND HOLDING (Elektra 47095)(a-side)(C&W 4/1981)
18 I’M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY (Mercury 76148)(a-side)(C&W 43/1982)*rare gem; his last single released on Mercury label.
19 MY FINGERS DO THE TALKIN’ (MCA 52151)(a-side)(C&W 44/1982)*rare gem; his first single on MCA label.
20 COME AS YOU WERE (MCA 52188)(a-side)(C&W 66/1983)*rare gem.
21 HONKY TONK ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PIANO MAN*album track: from LP My Fingers Do The Talkin’ (MCA, 1983)*rare gem.
22 WHY YOU BEEN GONE SO LONG (MCA 52233)(a-side)(C&W 69/1983)*rare gem.
23 SIXTEEN CANDLES (with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison & Carl Perkins)(America Smash 884934)(a-side)(C&W 61/1986)*rare gem.
24 WILD ONE (with David Kemper & Gerald McGee)*album track: from LP Great Balls of Fire Soundtrack (Polydor 839516, 1989)*rare gem.

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 This is the first single box set to cover the ENTIRE charting career of Jerry Lee Lewis, covering various labels, including Sun, Smash, Mercury, Elektra and MCA. If you discount the output from the three expensive Bear Family box sets, most of the songs here are rare gems, many making their CD debut, especially his latter years on Elektra and MCA. All his Number 1 Country hits are included, plus many rare duets with Linda Gail Lewis.
2 The sound is wonderfully remastered: clean, vibrant with no hiss. The piano sound is outstanding. You can hear every note from the piano ivory. What a good pianist Jerry Lee is. Whenever possible, the source was from the Original Master Tapes.
3 There is a wonderful 72-page booklet, with an informative detailed essay by Roger W. Dobson. All the label, number and chart position were included.
4 The songs are arranged more or less chronologically.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 I wish that instead of album tracks, the songs are replaced by other rare singles and their b-sides.
2 From the gatefold package, the 4 discs are placed 2 on each side, overlapping each other. It is kind of difficult to remove the discs.

COMPLETE SINGLES DISCOGRAPHY:

Jerry Lee ‘The Killer’ Lewis has a long illustrious singles career, from 1956 to 2009. I have painstakingly constructed a Complete Singles Discography (charted & uncharted, a- and b-sides, US & UK). There are an amazing 98 singles (only 194 songs, not 196 songs, because 2 were repeated releases). His singing career can be divided into 2 main phases: (1) Pop (1956 – 1968): until 1961, he was known as Jerry Lee Lewis and His Pumping Piano; (2) Country (1957 – 1989). He has an amazing 65 charted entries on the C&W chart. His labels are: (1) Sun (1956 – 1963), (2) Smash (1963 – 1970), (3) Mercury (1971 – 1978), (4) Elektra (1979 – 1982), (5) MCA (1982 – 1983), (6) American Smash (1986), (7) Curb (1989), (8) Sire (1990 – 1995) and (9) Verve (2009). His last release in 2009 was Mean Old Man. To complete his discography, you will need the three gorgeous, but highly expensive Bear Family box sets: (1) Classic: The Definitive Edition of his Sun Recordings (1956 – 1963)(10 CDs) (2) The Locust Years and Return to the Promised Land (9 CDs, covering his Smash years), and (3) Mercury Smashes (10 CDs).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

His nickname from the start of his career was The Killer, which captured the power and presence of his performances, and encapsulated his role as rock and roll’s first great wild man. His first class piano playing paved the way for Billy Joel and Elton John later. This current set has the most complete coverage of his entire career, especially his Country sides. The sound is excellent. The three Bear Family box sets are simply too expensive. Perhaps and hopefully, someday, a Complete Country Singles Collection will be released. In the meantime, this current set is very highly recommended.
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on 5 February 2016
Well pleased with this ,nice to look at even better to listen too and importantly didn't break the bank,always a vital consideration for me .Arrived in perfect condition having been supremely well packed.If all this was not enough a lot of the tracks were new to me and all had been well recorded.
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on 17 September 2013
As usual Jerry Lee dosen;t disappoint.Very good value.Highly recommended.Although I already had many of the tacks it was still worth it.
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on 10 April 2012
With the now relatively hard to find 'All Killer No Filler' 2 cd set from RHINO
I would recommend this box set without hesitation if you haven't shelled out for the comprehensive
Bear Family Box Sets over the past 20 years plus.
The recentish 'The Many Sides of ' & 'Killer Years' CD's '63-67 70-72 & 73-78' Phonogram put out yonks ago
(the latter being digest of the BF Box sets) Smash/Mercury period are rarely spotted on the shelves though worth seeking out also.
All for a little over £20 4cd's rare photos get's my vote.This is the best one-stop shop JLL to date for me.
JLL UK FAN CLUB Rep was working hard behind the scene to get the right takes of the songs & his overall input was valued by the compilers (I hope)
'Just In Time' is new to CD for me,as is 'No Traffic Out Of Abilene,'It's A Hang Up Baby'.
A sides throughout JLL's career are heavily featured.
The Live albums 'Starclub', 'Greatest Live Shows' etc are stand alone releases IMO.
Simon F
GLASTONBURY
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on 29 April 2012
If you have enjoyed any of the music of Jerry Lee over the years, then this is a "must have". More fun than driving a supercar in the rain and as comforting as a glass of claret. Sheer class!
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