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Album Review: Jerry Lee Lewis – Rock & Roll Time

2 min read

The six-decade career of the first great wild man of rock & roll has endured an arsenal of drugs, alcohol, guns, car accidents, and of course women. Jerry Lee Lewis, now three albums into a musical and spiritual comeback, is pushing 80, but an end to the raw, electrifying performance that define his career seems nowhere in sight. After 2006’s Last Man Standing and 2010’s Mean Old Man, ‘The Killer’ continues to look back on his 60 years as a formidable, frenzied entertainer with newest album Rock & Roll Time.

JERRY LEE LEWIS Rock and roll timeProduced by celebrated drummer Jim Keltner, Rock & Roll Time adds an aged depth to the frenetic output of the legendary performer. Lewis covers classics from the great American Songbook with country-infused, bluesy rock and roll, featuring some of the biggest names of the genre, including Keith Richards, Neil Young, Robbie Robertson, Shelby Lynne, Ronnie Wood and Nils Lofgren.

Rock & Roll Time opens with the lamentations of the Kristofferson-penned title track, and Lewis’ self-confessed favourite of the album, before launching into a collection of songs from the oeuvres of Chuck Berry (Little Queenie, Promised Land), Lynyrd Snynyrd (Mississippi Kid), Jimmy Rodgers (Blues Like Midnight), and Johnny Cash (Folsom Prison Blues).

Lewis’ take on the rather obscure Bob Dylan tune Stepchild is a powerful pursuit of authenticity, while on Jimmy Reed’s Bright Lights, Big City he proves that the 12-bar blues can be as equally fun as they are dismal. Keep Me In Mind, and duet with Shelby Lynne, Here Comes That Rainbow Again, recollects Lewis’ popular country ballads of the 1960s and 70s. His wonderfully emotive voice, whose country drawl is lightly stained with melancholy, and seemingly unaffected by years of abuse, shines brightly on these tracks,

Rock & Roll Time invites a reinvigorated Lewis to take centre stage. And while his piano playing might not radiate the mania of his younger self, Lewis nevertheless exudes a distinct musicianship and intensity that only adds fire to these powerful and spirited songs.