By Bruce Sylvester
Jerry Lee Lewis
Original Classic Albums 1965-1969
Raven (2 CDs)
Thanks to the British Invasion and fallout from wedding his 14-year-old cousin, Jerry Lee Lewis didn’t have the best career in the mid-’60s.
When Louisiana-born Lewis moved from Sun Records to Mercury/Smash, producer Shelby Singleton envisioned him doing R&B songs in a pop vein. Actually, rockabilly pioneer Lewis had been a blue-eyed soul man before the term existed, but it took awhile for The Killer to hit his stride at Mercury.
Here, Australia’s Raven Records continues its reissues of the Ferriday Fireball’s Mercury/Smash LPs with “I’m On Fire,” “The Return Of Rock,” “Memphis Beat,” “Soul My Way” and (with sassy-voiced sister Linda Gail Lewis) “Together” — quite a bargain price-wise.
“Together” was the only album to chart and provided these platters’ sole hit single, a remake of Carl and Pearl Butler’s temptation-drenched “Don’t Let Me Cross Over.”
Elsewhere, a cover of Nat Cole’s “Too Young” is apt for a man with a child bride. Next comes “The Urge,” a pale attempt to mimic his Sun signature song “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On.” “Just Dropped In” predates the hit version by First Edition (with Kenny Rogers) without the hit’s eerie arrangement that fit the lyric. Ending the set, the siblings’ roaring “Roll Over Beethoven” almost tells Chuck Berry to roll over, too.