Interview: Jerry Lee Lewis - JazzWax

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September 08, 2010


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Jan Stevens

I can appreciate Jerry Lee's contributions to early rock n' roll but to say "Mean Old Man is a tremendous album that any jazz listener will love" seems like a huge stretch. How can that be possible? By anyone's estimation, including his own, Jerry Lee Lewis doesn't PLAY jazz and never has. I'm confused here, Marc.

I Witness

Really, Marc? "As authentic as they come"? Goodness, gracious, great balls o' somethin'. Are all-star tribute/duet albums in homage to elder musicians ever really necessary? Killer may still be killer (what, no filler?), but it'll be me bettin' that "Mean Woman Blues" cuts "Mean Old Man," that Rock and Slash sound more like "High School Coincidental," and that Mick and Keith need to scrape their shoes. And, goldarn it, I'm grousing as a serious fan of Jerry Lee, and the Stones, and most all the others recorded here.

But I grew up on real rockabilly and I promise you, the Sun and early Merc tracks leave this disc in the dust (while the later Mercury albums are as country as six nights of sin and one day of church). Yeah, there'll be a whole lotta shakin' on down the line when "Pumpin' Piano Rock" and "Lewis Boogie" leave you... uhhh, breath-less-a.

drew williams

Two shows stand out of the many I have seen in my fifty four years.....Sarah Vaughn and Jerry Lee Lewis.

I am a drummer and around '82 I opened for Jerry Lee in a 300 seat night club near detroit.From the moment he hit the stage he had complete command of the audience;simply enchanting.

A few years later at the detroit montreux festival when it had ticketed events a friend and I went to the Sarah Vaughn concert to see our friend Earl Van Riper (a great detroit jazz pianist)open the concert with the intention of not staying for sarah vaughn. Because Harold Jones was drumming for her I asked if we could stay for a cuople songs........we were glued to our seats because she was so confident and in such command of the audience it reminded me very much of the jerry lee lewis experience

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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