Although Jerry Lee Lewis devoured boogie woogie at the age of ten, he soon incorporated it with gospel and country to develop his own style of rockabilly. But he always admired the giants of boogie woogie, particularly Meade Lux Lewis (who died in a 1964 car crash).
Shortly after this tragedy, Jerry Lee Lewis went into the studio to record a tribute to the fallen giant but omitted a rhythm section entirely, sticking strictly to solo piano. Given the difficulties that Meade Lux Lewis had getting opportunities to record boogie woogie during the last few years of his life, it should come as no surprise that Jerry Lee Lewis was unable to find a label to issue it at the time. This long forgotten session remained in the can until it was finally issued in 2007 by the fledgling Checkmate label.
It will shock listeners, who think of the Killer strictly as the hit maker who recorded "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," as he demonstrates tremendous chops playing the late pianist's compositions, including powerful romps through up-tempo interpretations of "Randini's Boogie," "Bear Trap Stomp and even the intricate "Hammer Chatter." But Lewis also shows a subtle side interpreting the likes of "Yancey Special" and "Boogie Tidal." He even gamely attempts "Blues Whistle," though he obviously isn't as accomplished a whistler as Meade Lux.
Jerry Lee Lewis definitely shares one common tendency with Meade Lux Lewis: like the composer in later years, his rendition of the hit "Honky Tonk Train Blues" is played too fast, blurring the details of this timeless piece, though it does make for a show-stopping finish.
Personnel: Jerry Lee Lewis: piano; George Jones: liner notes.