The Sun material stops 12 songs into Rhino's double-disc, 42-track collection, All Killer, No Filler: The Jerry Lee Lewis Anthology. Since Jerry Lee's legacy is built on his scintillating sides for Sun -- they're among the fiercest rock & roll ever recorded -- that could seem to be a problem, but the Killer didn't stop making great music when he left the label. He continued to cut classics for Smash and Mercury well into the '70s, after he toned down the rock & roll and turned up the country. Prior to All Killer, No Filler, no other collection attempted to tell this story, but this set does, taking it all the way into the early '80s, when Lewis wrapped up his career as an active recording artist. The scope of this alone is to be admired, particularly because most listeners tend to concentrate on "Crazy Arms," "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On," "Great Balls of Fire," "Down the Line," "Breathless," and "High School Confidential," overlooking everything else he did, even his string of number one country singles in the late '60s and early '70s. Those singles are justly celebrated, but this proves that his sides for Smash and Mercury are equally stellar -- maybe not as visceral or potent, but surely as musically satisfying. They also offer a clear argument for Jerry Lee's versatility and strength as a stylist, how he can make any song sound as if it were written especially for him. All Killer, No Filler accomplishes this by not providing a laundry list of hits -- although all the key ones are here -- but by wisely choosing among his vast catalog of album tracks, forgotten singles, and even live cuts. Apart from arguably "In the Mood," which demonstrates his instrumental prowess but slows the flow, there's not a wrong move here, and it would be hard to better this as either a concise career summary or introduction. Neophytes who just want a heavy dose of Sun should stick with 18 Original Sun Greatest Hits, but anybody who truly wants to appreciate the richness of Jerry Lee Lewis' music should start here.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
feat: Linda Gail Lewis
Track Listing - Disc 2