12 Songs, 28 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Don't be confused by the title; this 1961 release isn't a best-of. It's Jerry Lee Lewis's second and final LP for Sun Records. (He was much more prolific on the singles end during his Sun tenure.) The best-known cut here is his 1957 smash "Great Balls of Fire," which had never been on an LP before. With Lewis in post-marriage-scandal mode, Sun may have figured that an old hit would help the album's sales. In fact, The Killer's loose-limbed version of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" here would be his biggest pop hit for the next decade. Besides indicating the power of Lewis' later Sun sides, the album is a relatively early indicator of the eclecticism that would serve him well throughout his career. Things take an unexpected turn straight out of the gate, with the stinging, horn-punctuated swing of Jerry Lee's take on the Barrett Strong classic "Money." Lewis goes on to tackle country ("Cold, Cold Heart," which earned him a country hit), blues ("Hello, Hello Baby"), and straight-up rock 'n' roll (Charlie Rich's "Break Up"), offering ample evidence that he was one of American roots music's most agile interpreters.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Don't be confused by the title; this 1961 release isn't a best-of. It's Jerry Lee Lewis's second and final LP for Sun Records. (He was much more prolific on the singles end during his Sun tenure.) The best-known cut here is his 1957 smash "Great Balls of Fire," which had never been on an LP before. With Lewis in post-marriage-scandal mode, Sun may have figured that an old hit would help the album's sales. In fact, The Killer's loose-limbed version of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" here would be his biggest pop hit for the next decade. Besides indicating the power of Lewis' later Sun sides, the album is a relatively early indicator of the eclecticism that would serve him well throughout his career. Things take an unexpected turn straight out of the gate, with the stinging, horn-punctuated swing of Jerry Lee's take on the Barrett Strong classic "Money." Lewis goes on to tackle country ("Cold, Cold Heart," which earned him a country hit), blues ("Hello, Hello Baby"), and straight-up rock 'n' roll (Charlie Rich's "Break Up"), offering ample evidence that he was one of American roots music's most agile interpreters.

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