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Jerry Lee Lewis: Live From Austin Texas

4.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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(Jun 26, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the vaults of the award-winning PBS Austin City Limits TV show, this is the latest release in the acclaimed Live From Austin, TX series.

Rock and Roll s the thing, and Jerry Lee s the King... or so said an English fan once upon a time somewhere. Elvis fans might dispute that title, but nobody else in the history of popular music would dare call himself The Killer. Of all the legends who came out of Sun Records in the 1950s Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison no one would have bet the last one standing would be the pill-popping, whiskey-guzzling, gun-waving hellion from Ferriday, La. Except The Killer, of course.

Jerry Lee Lewis took black rhythm & blues, white gospel and other funky Mississippi sounds and turned them into rock and roll. But Jerry Lee s life also is, and has always been, his piano; he has kicked and banged and set on fire (literally) many of them over the course of six-plus decades.

He almost never made it to Austin City Limits. He cancelled one appearance, and only weeks before this recording on October 17, 1983, his wife died in a freak swimming pool accident at their home. But he did make it, and what we have here is one of the most amazing performances ever to go down on the ACL stage. Throughout the day he was a perfect gentleman, showing up on time and acting very graciously to one and all, but once he hit the stage, all hell broke loose. The songs speak for themselves; they re ALL here.

For many years later, Jerry Lee would carry a tape of this show to play for friends (and himself, many times). When producers tried to book him again for a return performance, the response was, Jerry Lee doesn t think he could possibly do a better show.

This DVD captures all the hits and more, and includes songs that were never aired on the original TV broadcast.

Review

From the Live from Austin, TX series documenting performances from the syndicated Austin City Limits public television program comes this volume of Jerry Lee Lewis from October of 1973. According to Terry Lickona's liner notes, Lewis' wife had died a few weeks earlier in a very controversial swimming pool accident and he almost didn't make it. Those lucky enough to hear this performance -- and now see it on the DVD version as well -- are lucky he did. Of the many officially released and bootlegged performance of the Killer from his mid-'50s debut on Sun to the present day, this one ranks among the finest. There are 15 cuts here, featuring Lewis fronting a taut sextet that includes guitarists Kenny Lovelace and Joel Shumaker, bassist Bob Moore, organist Bill Strom, and drummer Buddy Harmon. The tunes range from Hank Williams' "You Win Again" to Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little 16," "39 and Holding," "C.C. Rider," "Chantilly Lace" (leaving the Big Bopper's version in the dust), Charlie Rich's "No Headstone on My Grave," Ray Charles' "What'd I Say," and more, all topped off by his best-known tracks: "Great Balls of Fire" (written by Otis Blackwell, the man who made Elvis Presley famous) and, of course, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." The show is beautifully edited and the Killer's control of the gig is total. He understands how to bring it down and tear it up. There are a number of volumes in this series that simply don't get it for one reason or another; Jerry Lee's gig on Austin City Limits does -- and hard. Get it. --allmusic.com

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Directors: Gary Menotti
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Surround Sound
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: New West Records
  • DVD Release Date: June 26, 2007
  • Run Time: 55 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000QQ9TT6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,103 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richardson VINE VOICE on June 29, 2007
Format: DVD
I am beginning a nice collection from the NEW WEST RECORDS/ Austin City Limits series...From Steve Earle to Dwight Yoakam ,Lynyrd Skynyrd and now Jerry Lee Lewis. The shows are all remastered for optimum sound, the visuals are 1st class broadcast quality. Most of all..the folks who appeared on Austin City Limits...all seemed to know it was an important tradition and really laid it out performance wise. Jerry Lee absolutely burns through an hour of incendiary Rock, breakneck boogie woogie, heartbreaking Honky Tonk and in general OWNS the darn stage and is absolutely riveting. what else can you ask for?
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I am not sure what the previous reviewer meant when he said Lewis just did this for the money. Isn't that what all performers do? This is not "dreck". Jerry Lee Lewis is an incredible musician who can pretty much do anything with his voice and his piano.And if he is trying to pay the IRS, then that is a good thing, right? He had a lot of energy in this performance, and he did what he does best, sing and play. For those of us who were too young, or not allowed to even hardly know he existed, it has been a revelation to hear all the music he has done in the past 50 years. He is one of the few musicians I want to see and not just listen to. I am very grateful that the old videos are being released, and hope for more in the future. If you like Jerry Lee Lewis I believe you will appreciate this video.
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This 15-song set originally recorded in October of 1983 for PBS' "Austin City Limits" features the Killer at his best- mature, confident, and relaxed- mixing country, rock'n'roll, and gospel with an equal blend of grace and fire. Very little editing has taken place from the original broadcast with all the songs present and in their original sequence. The material, the band, the production, and Jerry Lee himself are all top-notch. Yes, "Last Man Standing" is great- but go back 20-plus years and watch the power of "Chantilly Lace" and "Boogie Woogie Country Man", the vivid "39 and Holding", and the wild "What'd I Say" and you'll get an excellent glimpse into what Jerry Lee, and his legacy, are all about.
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As always you get a performance that is first class from Mr.Lewis.What marks this apart from other shows is that Jerry had just lost his wife to a drug overdose.You can see and feel the pain in the performances from that night in the slow numbers.Where else can someone like Jerry Lee turn to other than the music to console themselves.
This is a must buy for anyone who likes to see the very essence of music.
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If you get nothing else, get this. I have seen many Jerry Lee Lewis performances and this one stands out - even from some of the 50's performances. In fact, I haven't found a 50's/60's performance that truly reflects the legend - this one comes close.

It is a must buy for those into rock n roll and, especially, any Jerry Lewis fan. Good on you Jerry.
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It does not get any better than this. If you buy few DVDs buy this one and Last Man Standing.
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The performance is a treat; thanks to New West for releasing this. There is no question in my mind who "the last man standing" from the 50s-rockers is. I agree with the previous reviewer who ranks this artist with the best of the all-time rock and rollers, not to mention his excellent country and western music. We had one chance to see him on this wonderful tv show and now we can see it whenever we want!
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The greatest piano player of the rock and roll age, Jerry Lee Lewis has a great gift and it is an honor to be able to watch him perform live and hear other people in the music industry comment about him.
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