Jerry Lee Lewis

Another Place Another Time

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Jerry Lee Lewis had been at Smash Records for several years, searching for a hit and searching for a direction, prior to releasing Another Place Another Time in 1968. While the quality of his music didn't necessarily dip -- he was still capable of transcendent moments on a regular basis -- he was out of step with the times and lacked focus, simply cutting whatever he or producers laid across his piano. With Another Place, he snapped into focus and moved toward country. Not that the Killer had avoided country -- his first single for Sun was a version of Ray Price's "Crazy Arms," and he cut many Hank Williams songs and country standards while at Sam Phillips' label -- but here, he deliberately sticks to pure, hardcore country throughout the record, refashioning himself as a barroom balladeer and honky tonk raver. This reignited his career, sending him to the top of the charts with this album and its singles "What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)" and "Another Place Another Time." Even though this brought him success, this was not the sound of Jerry Lee pandering for a mass audience. In 1968, hardcore country was not a stranger to the top of the charts -- Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash were charting regularly -- but it was not a sure-fire success, either, especially in a year when Glen Campbell had six different number one albums. Also, there were no other singers as stubbornly hardcore as the Killer, who not only made everything sound as if it was written for him, he made everything sound like it could only be played in a dark, damp bar late, late in the evening. This is seriously pure country music, and while he tackles some familiar songs, it's not in predictable ways -- witness the storming "Walking the Floor Over You" or the heavy backbeat on "Break My Mind," where Jerry Lee takes standards and imparts his own signature. Then, there are the ballads and barroom weepers that form the heart of this record -- the two hits, plus "Play Me a Song I Can Cry To," a sadly elegant "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," a high lonesome take on "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive," and a duet with Linda Gail Lewis on "We Live in Two Different Worlds." Song for song, there's not a bad tune here, and each performance is a stunner, making for not just a great second beginning, but for one of the greatest hardcore country albums ever.

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