140 of 143 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2006
Duets album are always tricky endeavors. Very seldom they succeed. The long awaited "Last Man Standing" is a pleasant exception to the rule. The record features no less than 21 collaborations. The song selection is a balanced choice of Jerry Lee classics and "new" material for the Killer. The album rightfully avoids the obvious selections as "Great Balls of Fire", which are well enough left alone. In stead the selections play Jerry Lee's strengths amazingly well. The album opens with a strong rocker featuring Jimmy Page, but leans heavy into Country material, the Killer's main strength.
Some of the "new" songs here as Springsteen's Pink Cadillac sound as if they were written fro Lewis, or at least with Lewis in mind. The "old" material works just as well as when he recorded it first. Though out the album the guest musicians put themselves in service of Jerry Lee and the song, thus avoiding a trap many duets albums fall for, where the guests get too much spotlight and the main star disappears in the shadow. This is a Jerry Lee Lewis album first and foremost. Only when called for the album goes in full duet mode. "Just Bummin' Around", a collaboration with Merle Haggard, one of the albums highlights, sounds like two friends sharing some good times, "Hadacohl Boogie" allows Buddy Guy to rip loose.
Last man standing doesn't really have flaws worth mentioning. The record does Jerry Lee justice and is one of his finest releases in many years. It works almost just as well as a greatest hits package as a showcase of his talents and is certainly a fine addition to such a package. Not to be missed by fan or casual passerby alike. It's a Killer.
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2007
This wonderful Jerry Lee Lewis live album belongs in the collection of every rock and roller. I've been a Jerry Lee fan since I first heard Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On back in 1958. I've got all of Jerry's rock albums, including the complete Sun Sessions, and the wonderful Bear Family box sets of his Mercury years for the ocassional rock & roll song that would nest like a gem among all the country weepers.
First and only caveat: Jerry looks bad, old -- it shook my wife up. Considering the life he's led, the hell raisin', the drugs, the drinkin', the fighting... Well, next to Keith Richards he's been #2 on the Next Rock Star To Die List since the the 1970s, and he almost did die more than once. And it shows, but Jerry can still play the keys off a piano; by the end of the concert he's rockin' up a storm with the best version of Roll Over Beethoven I've ever heard! That song alone is worth the price of this inexpensive DVD. It's a long concert too, running 1 hour and 42 minutes and some. The bonus features are short and sweet, but who cares with all that great music.
Also, the tributes from Tom Jones through Kid Rock are touching, and sincere. The Killer is the Man! As always, Jerry dominates every collaboration. Only John Fogerty sings a solo and that's on Good Golly Miss Molly, a version that's comparable to Little Richard himself at his best, and is one of the highlights of this great concert DVD.
There are a lot more country weepers than I like, but I found myself entranced by the performances, and the respect and love given by Jerry's peers. The DVD shows excellent picture quality and the sound is great -- a 10 for both! This is not a budget production, like too many of the Killer's shows in the past; first class all the way.
Jerry opens with Great Balls of Fire and it's a little shaky. Things pick up with Chantilly Lace, and End of the Road with Tom Jones. Hadacol Boogie with Buddy Guy just cooks and if I had any complaint it's that they didn't jam for another five minutes! Buddy just shreds on guitar and Jerry's piano playing is really starting to cook.
Chris Isaak and Jerry do a nice version of Over the Rainbow, which Jerry did for Electra back in the 1970s on one of his comeback trails... Chris is obviously touched at being on stage with Jerry Lee and says some very nice things about the Killer. Jerry does one of his better renditions of Rockin' My Life Away with Ron Wood soloing. The backup band is all star and they kick. Ron Wood plays rythmn and lead, as does Kenny Lovelace and Nils Lofgren. Ian Neville plays keyboards, and the drummer is hot! Jerry is startin' to really wail, and does one of the best live versions of Lewis Boogie I've heard.
There's a killer version of What'd I Say with Ivan Neville; it should have been on the album it was so good. Jerry and John Fogerty do a mid-tempo kick-up of the blues standard CC Rider. Kid Rock, who I really did not like on "The Last Man Standing" CD, really impressed me live. They did a version of Little Queenie that Chuck only wishes he could do these days... And, they cooked on Honky Tonk Women; I thought the album version was weak, but it came together live and I really enjoyed it. I'm a big Stones fan so I feel pain when someone messes up one of their classics. Even Ron Wood was taken aback!
The finale consisted of a great acoustic take on That Lucky Old Sun, a kick-out-the-jams version of Roll Over Beethoven and an amazing (Jerry Lee just kept gettin' stronger; he's the Killer, man!) version of Whole Lotta Shakin' Going on. All in all a great concert memento of one of the Top Three 1950's Greatest Rock & Rollers of all time -- the other two being Elvis and Chuck Berry. I'm glad Jerry Lee finally got some of the aclaim he's deserved for the last 50 years, while he is still alive to enjoy it! Hell, he looked ten years younger by the end of the concert --Hats off to Jerry Lee Lewis!!!
Now, maybe "The Last Man Standing" will herald a new era for Jerry Lee Lewis live recordings and we'll see more of his fabulous concerts slip out of the record company vaults -- well, we can hope!
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2007
This is a wonderful DVD. Jerry's piano playing is great, the song selections are diverse, from rock to blues to gospel. His and Kid Rock's rendition of Honky Tonk Woman is memorable. I have just one complaint. The echo is up way high on his microphone. It doesn't matter on most of the songs but on his duets with Kris Kristopherson and Merle Haggard you can hardly hear them above Jerry. However, if you go to the Bonus Features and catch his echoless microphone you will hear a great, great rendition of Goodnight Irene with Merle. Buy this DVD. You will not be disappointed.
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2006
This cd has a few great tunes that eclipse any defects one may hear. I don't like all the pairings, but Jerry Lees work with Jimmy Page on Led Zeps "Rock and Roll" alone makes the disc worth the price. My other favorite selections are tracks with Ringo, Buddy Guy (cooks!)and Eric Clapton. Rod Stewart and Bruce Springsteen sound awful...
I enjoy the unpretentious informal "jam session" atmosphere of the disc. It's as if the duet partners showed up on the same day and took their turns performing with Jerry Lee. Many tracks have chatter before or after the song, and this lends to my theory that making this disc was like a big party and everyone had a good time .....this feeling is conveyed in the sparkling lively performances. Regarding my remark about some of the guests sounding awful, well perhaps they were just being a little too kicked back.
I must also commend the engineer and producer who recorded these sessions..great sound!
The disc is not about perfection...it's about real music, real instruments, passion, commitment and the legacy of the killer. The energy on this disc could light up a big city ...after all these years Jeery Lee shows us he's still a great ball of fire!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2006
The Killer is back BIG TIME!!! For all those people who have forgotten just how great that man is - musically speaking - this cd is a really an eye-opener. Every style of music he has ever done is on it, showing his diversity, and it's all merged into Jerry Lee Lewis music through his unique persona. All the years of abuse to his body have left their traces, you can hear it on a couple of songs, but there still is that sheer manic energy on the rockers, and he clearly enjoyed himself on those sessions. He comes over very strong vocally and the piano work is just very well-dosed and right to the point perfect. The duet partners compliment the man and the music with great respect. Not a new concept, but very well produced by Jimmy Rip, this is an outstanding album and should get the Killer a good hit on the charts - some 50 years after his first.
John Cash, the other late and great survivor of Sun's Million Dollar Quartet, who had an understanding producer in his final years in Rick Rubin, put out five stunning albums of beautiful and authentic music, but has been dead a while now, and one was in wonder who could follow him. It's Jerry Lee Lewis.
Luckily somebody remembered just how he great he was and still could be and got him into the studio again. Thanks to Jimmy Rip. It took a while to get the album released, but it was worth the wait.
To use the Killer's words: "If you couldn't git it with this one, you couldn't git it at all!"
Thank you, Jerry Lee Lewis. Hope you record again soon. Stay healthy and rrrock on, Killer!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2006
It's almost impossible not to compare this to other albums made late in the career of living legends like Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison where they made the best music of already great careers.
However, this album is very easy to keep from that category. A lot has been written about Lewis' "first album in 20 years" and "the best music he's made since the early 70's" but it's more like that time never elapsed. He's lost no energy and his talent hasn't gathered any dust.
I can't claim to love every song but that's a matter of style - every song is magnificent. It took me a long time to play anything but the first couple amazing tracks which are, alone, worth the price of the CD.
It's a great mix of rock, country, boogie woogie, rhythm and blues.
It also comes with a very cool booklet with tons of great pictures. Buy this without hesitation. And go see the man on tour! I saw him about a month ago, just a couple weeks before his 71st birthday and he still played with his feet and threw back his bench during the encore.
He hobbled out on the stage slowly, set the piano on fire (figuratively, not literally) with an unbelievable set ... many songs were way better live than on record ... and then hobbled back off stage. It was like watching Yoda jump all over and fight like a warrior against Count Dooku in Star Wars and then pick up his cane and hobble off.
In closing, this is his best album and you should own it.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2006
Lots of people were afraid that Jerry Lee Lewis' new record, "Last Man Standing," would be an over-the-hill disappointment -- all too typical of expensively produced geriatric "duet" CDs. Instead, this is the opposite. It is a triumphant piece of work. The duets are magnificent (with Lewis leading all the way), some featuring heart-rending harmonies -- such as "What Made Milwaukee Famous" with Rod Stewart and "Wedding Gown" with Mick Jagger. But the true highlights are the tried-and-true hard rockers, such as "Pink Cadillac" with Bruce Springsteen. Virtually every cut is a masterpiece. Whether one is a Lewis fan or not, this is virtuoso stuff -- and stuff of real historical importance. Lewis has not sounded this great since the '50s, and the Grammy Best-of-Year buzz has already started. In Shakespeare's words, this is a "consummation greatly to be wished. (Jerry might well state that wish in different terms.)
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2006
Jerry Lee will knock you out with this cd. His smoke and whiskey cured voice has not lost a thing. His piano playing sounds perhaps better than it has since the 1950s. The selection of songs fits well and the guest stars add to the performance without distracting, as sometimes happens on duets. Although recorded in studio, this album has the engergy of a live performance. If you like Jerry Lee's past rock and country music, you will love this album.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2006
This is, quite simply, the most powerful statement Jerry Lee has made since his early 1970s heyday, when everything he cut soared to the top of the country charts. Ostensibly twenty-two front line stars complement Jerry Lee on this album, but the real 'partner' on these 'duets' is the hidden geniuis of producer Jimmy Rip, who has engineered a masterpiece.
Rip has done what so many over the years have either tried and failed to do, or simply not even dared try... capture the soul of Jerry Lee Lewis on disc. Jerry Lee deserves this and it's great to see the world appears to be taking notice at last.
Five stars is selling this set short. It's a work of art, the finest tapestry of rock, blues and country music ever woven onto a single disc. The album of the year, no question.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2006
During its time as one of the funniest and hip programs on television, The Drew Carey Show would stage some incredibly subversive music events. The one that was among the most enjoyable and surprising came - as many of the best moments on the show did - during the closing segments. In it, Joe Walsh and Little Richard played an incandescent version of Rocky Mountain Way. The two performers were figuratively within each others' body and soul; as they - to steal a line from Spinal Tap - took it to 11!
I mention that event as a preamble to this review of Jerry Lee Lewis' Last Man Standing. The title is a bit of a word play. It has been 50 years since Lewis, Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash met at Sun Studio in Memphis and recorded a batch of material. The passing of his companions leaves only Jerry Lee and he has decided to explore some familiar ground in terms of material, but rather eclectic group of partners.
This twenty-one song CD finds Lewis singing and playing with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, BB King, George Jones, Toby Keith and Kid Rock. The songs are often, though not always, by the guest artist and also cover a broad range of genres including blues, rhythm and blues, country and rock `n' roll. In all cases, the lead artists are backed by a strong rhythm section.
For those who remember the Richard/Walsh duet or have it on the soundtrack CD, the transcendence of it was that the two performers complemented each other and gained from the synergy that exploded out of the performance. The same cannot always be found on each cut of this CD. Lewis is in amazingly good voice. Age and mileage have narrowed his vocal range a touch and the voice does exibit tremors here and there, but each song is delivered with all the arrogance of The Killer. At the same time, some of his partners do not deliver with similar commitment. There are cases where some very big name talent seem to be "mailing it in."
The first two cuts - Rock and Roll with Jimmy Page and Before the Night is Over with BB King - find Jerry up front with the aforementioned partners all but invisible. My despair at the CD being a dog began to dissipate on track three where Springsteen and Lewis deliver a chuggin' version of Pink Cadillac that had me riding shotgun with the two of them on the Ocean Avenue/Kingsley Avenue circuit in Asbury Park.
Then, my hopes were dashed again as Mick Jagger and Ron Wood joined Lewis on Evening Gown, a so-so performance where Wood's slide guitar and Jerry Lee's keyboard were offset by an embarrassing, mincing vocal by Sir Mick.
A rebound comes with a rousing Travelin' Band as Lewis and John Fogarty seemed to thoroughly enjoy working the song.
The erratic performances came to an end at the middle of the CD with string of strong performances with Merle Haggard, Kid Rock, Rod Stewart, George Jones, Willie Nelson and Toby Keith. The sinews that bound this collection of songs together was a raucous honky-tonk attitude which indicated perhaps where Lewis' comfort zone was at the time of recording. The CD remains strong through to the end by keeping to this roadhouse ambiance, most notably with Delaney Bramlett on Lost Highway and Buddy Guy on Hadacol Boogie.
When Lewis et al play to their combined strengths, the CD is among the best for this year. The misses - especially in view of the weakness of the first two cuts - pull down the overall pleasure of the listening experience. There are eighteen solid performances here. The producers would have served Lewis better by culling the weaker ones.