TRACKLIST, WRITERS CREDITS, AND GUEST STARS
Jerry Lee Lewis "Rock & Roll Time" Tracklist, Writers Credits, and Guest Stars
In the 1950s, Jerry Lee Lewis' ferocious piano playing, high energy stage show, and powerful vocals helped define what the term "rock & roll" came to mean. Now at the age of 79, Lewis has recruited some of the greatest rock stars of later generations and released a covers album appropriately titled Rock & Roll Time.
Those guest stars include Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Ivan Neville, Robbie Robertson of The Band, Doyle Bramhall II, Derek Trucks, and Shelby Lynne. Filling out the band is producer / engineer / drummer Jim Keltner (72 years old himself), with a stable of ace session players including bassists Gus Seyfert, Bob Glaub, James "Hutch" Hutchinson, and Rick Rosas, guitarists Waddy Wachtel, Kenny Lovelace, and James Walbourne, and pedal steel player Greg Leisz. The official album stream is above, via Spotify.
Great songs, great performances, and great production make this album a must-listen for lovers of classic rock and roll. I particularly love how they've left some session outtakes like Jerry Lee laughing and joking around at the end of a few songs. This album is fun, and it sounds like they had a good time making it, too.
As you can see in the cover art, Jerry Lee Lewis is standing in front of the building where his career took off: Sun Studios in Memphis Tennessee. Rock & Roll Time is exactly what it says it is: 32 minutes of old school rock & roll. You hear the roots of rock, with traces of blues, country, gospel, jazz, and a whole lotta that boogie woogie that Jerry Lee Lewis perfected.
Right off the bat, you can hear that Jerry Lee Lewis' vocals and piano playing still sound great. He can't sing like a wild young man anymore, but he's adapted more of a classic honky tonk croon which suits him well and at times sounds like the great Hank Williams. Meanwhile, Lewis is the only piano player credited on the album -- somewhat surprising considering all the musicians who were involved in the recording process. His piano playing isn't featured prominently all the way through the album, but it steps to the forefront at perfect times to bring that classic Jerry Lee Lewis flavor to the wonderful collection of songs on the album.
The pool of songs that were selected for the record are an excellent mix of familiar classics and obscure deep cuts. The more well known tunes include Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie," Jimmy Reed's "Bright Lights, Big City," and Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." Those tunes are mixed in with cuts like Bob Dylan's "Stepchild" which was only released on one official Bootlegs album, Fats Domino's "Sick and Tired," longtime collaborator Mack Vickery's "Keep Me In Mind," Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Mississippi Kid," Jimmie Rodgers' "Blues Like Midnight," Kris Kristofferson's "Here Comes That Rainbow Again," and Chuck Berry's "Promised Land" (a song played by the Grateful Dead 425 times from July 1971 to the band's last show in 1995).
So many albums with guest star collaborations fall flat and don't live up to the potential, but this one more than lived up to the hype for me. Judge for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.
The album was released on the same day as a new book called Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, based on two years of conversations with pulitzer prize winning author Rick Bragg. You can also order that on Amazon or your local book store.
For Jerry Lee Lewis' latest music, news, and tour dates, check out his Zumic artist page.