Jerry Lee Lewis

Southern Roots/Boogie Woogie Country Man

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Raven Records have done it again, pairing of two of Jerry Lee Lewis' best albums of the '70s into one hot CD, well over an hour of pounding, rippling rock & roll, with salaciousness and a sense of humor to spare. Some of what's here is laugh-out-loud funny and a lot else is openly lewd, but Lewis keeps the ivories so busy -- in tandem with an array of guitarists that include Steve Cropper, Carl Perkins, and Tony Joe White -- that somehow this record never got hung up by the censors, and Huey P. Meaux's production on the Southern Roots sessions gives you a sound so crisp that you'd swear it was the product of rock & roll's lean, mean early years, and not luxuriating in the services of upward of two-dozen players. The two bonus tracks from those sessions, incidentally, are fully worth hearing and only make this a more urgent acquisition for fans of rock & roll and honky tonk, or Lewis completists. The material off of Boogie Woogie Country Man is not as bracing but it captures the artist in a more reflective mode, trying for subtlety over excitement and mostly succeeding really well -- his playing here is downright gorgeous and his singing is finely nuanced. Most of that material consists of ballads with some gospel thrown in, and Lewis' keyboard acrobatics on "Jesus Is on the Mainline" is worth the price of admission on this end of the CD. The original album ended with the pounding rocker "Boogie Woogie Country Man," which is still a killer track, but here is followed by four bonus cuts from the same sessions -- the latter consist of country ballads ("That Kind of Fool"), the confessional (and bittersweet) "Damn Fine Country Song," the gospel number "When I Take My Vacation in Heaven," and the delightful throwaway confessional "Don't Boogie Woogie." The sound is killer, and the annotation by Australian writer John Dowler is very thorough, a final bonus on one of the best bargains in Lewis' entire CD catalog.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:47
2 4:23
3 4:22
4 3:09
5 2:57
6 2:50
7 2:51
8 2:55
9 4:21
10 3:26
11 2:11
12
2:58
13 3:08
14 2:24
15 2:09
16 2:13
17 2:55
18 2:14
19 2:31
20 2:42
21 2:36
22 2:14
23 3:43
24 2:26
25 2:07
26 3:05
27 2:34
blue highlight denotes track pick