Saturday, 18 April 2009

Jerry Lee Lewis - The Road Begins

Jerry Lee Lewis - The Road Begins
El Toro Records- ETCD1022

1 End of the Road
2 Crazy Arms
3 Born To Lose
4 Turn Around
5 Matchbox (Carl Perkins)
6 Your True Love (Carl Perkins)
7 Silver Threads Among The Gold
8 Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
9 Roll Over Beethoven (Carl Perkins)
10 Straight A's In Love (Johnny Cash)
11 Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
12 It'll be Me
13 I Love You Because (Johnny Cash)
14 Great Balls Of Fire
15 You Win Again
16 I Want You Baby (Billy Riley & his Little Green Men)
17 Flyin' Saucers Rock & Roll (Billy Riley & his Little Green Men)
18 The Crawdad Song
19 Deep Elem Blues
20 I'm Feelin' Sorry
21 Put Your Cat Clothes on (Carl Perkins)
22 Love My Baby (Hayden Thompson)
23 Mean Woman Blues
24 Dixie
25 Crazy Arms (Million Dollar Quartet session)
26 End Of The Road (Million Dollar Quartet session)
27 Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (Steve Allen TV Show)
28 Don't Stay Away ('Til Love Grows Cold) (demo 1952)
29 Jerry Lee's Boogie (demo 1952)
30 I Don't Hurt Anymore (demo 1954)
31 I Need You Now (demo 1954)

El Toro Records continue to go from strength to strength with their releases of both old catalogues and some of the best current bands. Obviously this little peach sits fair and square in the first category. Most fans will have everything here many times over but who can be arsed to create a playlist that captures the early years of the Ferriday Fireball like this.

Jerry Lee blew into Memphis with a single minded, confident vision of fortune and fame that he just knew he was going to attain. The compilation features the earliest classics from his time at Sun like Crazy Arms and It'll Be Me, together with some that weren't destined to classics for a few more decades, like Deep Elem Blues and The Crawdad Song. When the Killer wasn't criss-crossing the country on Sun package shows he was used by Sam Phillips as a session man. We get some perfect examples of it here, backing the masters Johnny Cash (JLL's participation is dubious however) and Carl Perkins as well as being a key component in the sides of Billy Lee Riley and Hayden Thompson. The Thompson and Riley tracks stand-up against the others and prove that they could just as eaasily made the big time, if fate (and Sam) had played a different hand.

Elsewhere there's a few from the legendary Million Dollar Quartet session and Shakin' from his tv debut on the Steve Allen Show (see below). The two private accetates from the teenage tearaway from New Orleans in '52 and Shreveport in '54 show that Jerry Lee was already an accomplish pianist in need of a sympathetic ear and a decent studio. Enter, Sam Phillips and his Memphis Recrording studio, where the road really did begin. A brilliant release.

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