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Jerry Lee Lewis - Last Man Standing  
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

He’s amazing. At 71 years young, when many of a similar vintage are slowing down and smelling the roses and enjoying the chase for retirement tranquility, the ol’ Killer is back. Pounding and ripping apart musical notes that challenge description, all with a fevered style and urgency that’s both scary and inspiring, Jerry Lee Lewis lives up to one of his chartbusters; he leaves you breathless. He can still make, to my ears, one of the most electrifying albums of the year. The wildman of country and rock, he with a charred history of drugs, booze, interesting marriages (he once married his 13 year-old cousin) and erratic behaviour (he likes to kick his stool away while playing), the man who declares “I’m the best there ever was” is back with Last Man Standing. While really a rock’n’roll release, there’s still a whole lot of shakin’ going on, country style, to make this a must-have album. As the lone survivor of the Presley, Cash, Perkins and Orbison Sun Records legacy, the Killer delivers on an album that has already worked its way to the chart peak. And no wonder. Diehard fans have been waiting on a follow-up release since ‘95’s, Young Blood.

“I got music in my soul, rhythm in my veins and a lotta thunder in my left-hand,” says the Hall Of Fame “pianna” man. As if we needed reminding. With all the intensity of a train wreck, the unpredictable and self-taught piano rocker has welded a host of pop, country and blues royalty to an album that bops and jumps right across its generous 21 duet tracks. This album wins me for two simple, but practical, reasons. There’s not a dud in the pack, and ol’ Jerry Lee sounds like he’s having the time of his life. And that comes across. Now that, to me, is a good album.

Pairing with show stoppers like Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Merle Haggard, Rod Stewart and John Fogerty, the erratic piano-thumper from Ferriday, Louisiana – Jerry Lee once arrived at Elvis’ Graceland unannounced in the early morning and was told there would be no admittance; when asked why he was there, he moved back a coat flap and revealed a gun; he said the Killer wanted to shoot the King. (It was later proven to be a misunderstood joke). But on this album of remembered favorites, there’s no hit and miss. On this assortment of high gauge rock, roll, blues and country the delivery is like the joked about bullet: it’s capable of changing your mood…and quickly. 

Ol’ Jerry Lee, who has the envy of being able to work his name into just about every tune, yelps, pounds, bangs and bumps, while thumping, hard, his reliable Baldwin piano. Every note comes bathed in high stoked energy; you can imagine him standing over the keys, punching musical sense out those white and black notes. It’s art. Many have tried to copy it, a few may have come close; but no one, no one, does it quite like Jerry Lee Lewis.

Jimmy Page joins Jerry Lee on the opening blitz, “Rock And Roll”. Spirited guitars and Jerry Lee striking like a branding iron – hot, on target and sizzling. If you’ve come to dance, turn up the volume on “Pink Cadillac” with Bruce Springsteen; listen for a rug mover with Kid Rock on the Stones’ classic “Honky Tonk Woman”. More glide in the slide comes with the Killer trading boogie woogie energy with John Fogerty on the standout “Travelin’ Band”, while Little Richard forgets his wop-bop-a –loo-bop and hammers home a Beatles catchcry, “I Saw Her Standing There”. A bluesy album favorite comes with Buddy Guy on “Hadacol Boogie”. There’s humor too. As the track fades, Buddy asks Jerry Lee, “Why’d they call it the Hadacol Boogie?” “Well…they had to call it somethin', tells Jerry.

If you’ve come to listen, tune in to Rod Stewart doing “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous”. It’s a gem. So, too, is “Don’t Be Ashamed Of your Age” with George Jones. Willie guests on the Doctor Hook memory “Couple More Years”, and Kris Kristofferson pairs, perfectly, on The Pilgrim”. Robbie Robertson delivers on “Twilight”, while Keith Richards pleases on “That Kind Of Fool” 

If you’re ready for some real music, played like time is short, then get this album. It’s a blast. It’s left Jerry Lee unmoved, unrepentant, and hootin’ and hollering like his remembered past. 

“I am what I am. I’ve always said what I wanted to say, done what I’ve wanted to do and been what I wanted to be. I’ve never tried to hide anything,” tells Jerry Lee in his memoirs. “Everything I’ve done has been out in the open. If people don’t like that then that’s their problem. I’ve been picked on, abused, sued, jailed, ridiculed, persecuted and prosecuted but I never let it bother me.” 

The Last Man Standing is out now on Artists First.


Click on the CD cover to order yours!
1. Rock And Roll / Jimmy Page
2. Before The Night Is Over/BB King
3. Pink Cadillac/Bruce Springsteen
4. Evening Gown /Mick Jagger & Ronnie Wood
5. You Don't Have To Go/ Neil Young
6. Twilight/Robbie Robertson
7. Travelin' Band/ John Fogerty
8. That Kind Of Fool/Keith Richards
9. Sweet Little 16/Ringo Starr
10. Just A Bummin' Around/Merle Haggard
11. Honky Tonk Woman/ Kid Rock
12. What's Made Milwakuee Famous/Rod Stewart
13. Don't Be Ashamed Of Your Age/ George Jones
14. Couple More Years/Willie Nelson
15. Ol’ Glory/Toby Keith 
16. Trouble In Mind / Eric Clapton
17. I Saw Her Standing There/ Little Richard
18. Lost Highway /Delaney Bramlett
19. Hadacohl Boogie/Buddy Guy
20. What Makes The Irish Heart Beat/Don Henley
21. The Pilgrim / Kris Kristofferson

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