Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" had a powerful effect when it first hit the national airwaves in 1957. Elvis was one thing, but this was a dangerously deranged, lustful single from an absolute wild man who seemed to understand instinctively what rock & roll was really about -- sex and attitude -- and had the balls and fervor to give his performance plenty of both. Other songs Lewis released in this same period like "Breathless," "Great Balls of Fire," and "High School Confidential" were cut from the same combustible cloth, all delivered with gospel intensity and each one cut at Sam Phillips' now legendary Sun Studios in Memphis. All of these songs are here in this double-disc set, along with material from Lee's slightly more sedate post-Sun and more country-tinged period with Smash Records like "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye" through later releases for the Mercury and Elektra imprints. The end result is a nice introduction to Lewis' fascinating mix of early rock & roll, piano boogies, blues pieces, sexed-up gospel, and straight-out country that runs from his here-I-am-folks "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On" Sun single from 1957 through a fine Smash LP cover version of Merle Haggard's "Workin' Man's Blues" from 1970 to his late Electra single "I'll Do It Again," which hit in the lower ends of the country charts in 1982. The most exciting stuff, obviously, hails from his incendiary start with Sun Records, which will always remain the heart of Lewis' legacy, but for including the rest of the story, as the saying goes, this set is well worth checking out at a decent price.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2