By 1964, Jerry Lee Lewis' career was in a downward spiral. He had never been able to bounce back from his scandalous marriage to his teenage cousin, and the Beatles hadn't yet reintroduced the world to the rock & roll heroes of the '50s through their own interpretations. Lewis' creative fire, though, would never go out. He continued to record and to perform for the rest of the century, his power utterly undiminished. This live album, then, catches his star in the ascendant, at least aesthetically.
Accompanied by the then-unknown Nashville Teens (who would later score with "Tobacco Road"), he pays tribute to his Sun records pals Roy Orbison ("Mean Woman Blues") and Carl Perkins ("Matchbox") in addition to delivering definitive versions of his own classics ("Whole Lotta Shakin'," "Great Balls of Fire"). Lewis performs with such an unhinged fervor, it's a wonder he didn't dislocate something on that night in Hamburg. LIVE AT THE STAR CLUB represents that point where rockabilly, country and R&B meet, in a blueprint laid out by one of the original rock & roll architects. After the original Sun recordings, this is the Lewis album to own.
Rolling Stone (7/11/02, p.112) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...This is the earliest and most feral of Lewis' concert releases from his wilderness years....showdown rock & roll, with no survivors but the Killer..."
Q (1/02, p.59) - "...The permanently touring, biphetamin-addicted rocker and Liverpudlian house band The Nashville Teens race each other to the end of every song. This might be the most exciting performance ever recorded..."
Mojo (Publisher) (3/01/04, p.52) - Included in Mojo's The 67 Lost Albums You Must Own! - "[A]n unbelievably seismic document of rock 'n' roll so demonic and primal it can barely keep its stage suit on....It's up there with James Brown's great live albums."