Jerry Lee Lewis & Linda Gail Lewis:´The Many Sounds Of Jerry Lee´(1969) - DVD Review

(text by Peter Checksfield)

detail7Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘The Many Sounds of Jerry Lee’ TV specials from 1969 have in recent years been (quite rightly) often cited as his greatest filmed performances – particularly by myself! Capturing him at his vocal & creative peak & during his so-called ´comeback´ when he was having giant hit after hit in the U.S. country charts, it also shows him at his most versatile – performing rock ‘n’ roll, country, pop, standards, soul, rhythm ‘n’ blues & gospel, as well as playing both guitar & drums in addition to some of his most inspired piano work.

detail1These were filmed at The Holiday Inn in Memphis Tennessee over several days during late September 1969, & (like the later 1971 one-off TV special) were produced by the late Rita Gillespie. According to the fan-club magazines at the time, these were compiled into five 30-minute TV specials (which in reality would probably equal around 20 minutes or so running time per show when allowing for advert breaks etc). Unfortunately they got just limited showings at the time (I believe it was just locally in the Memphis area + possibly in some parts of Canada), & for many years were almost forgotten.

detail5I first heard (but didn’t see) a few songs from this via a poor-quality cassette in the early 80s; then in 1987 excerpts of 3 songs (‘What’d I Say’, ‘Green Green Grass Of Home’ & ‘What’s Made Milwaukee Famous’) were broadcast in great quality as part of the ‘I Am What I Am’ documentary (also released on VHS, & later on DVD). A snippet of a 4th song (‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’) via a 1990 UK country music documentary just fuelled fan’s excitement even more. detail4Then, around 2002, a bootleg VHS tape finally surfaced with three complete 20-minute episodes (circulating also on bootleg DVDs within a year or two). These were broadcast on the U.S. ‘Outlaw Channel’ (probably at some point during the 90s), & further investigations by myself unearthed a fourth 20-minute episode, also broadcast by the ‘Outlaw Channel’. For years we’ve been searching for the 5th episode, though I now suspect that only 4 were re-broadcast…

Then, about a month ago fan & friend Per Kallin sent me this link: & I received the DVD (thanks Andrew!).

many-sounds-disc150My initial thoughts before viewing it are that this has the look & feel of a (good) bootleg rather than a full proper release: the cover artwork (though OK) features no barcode (& no song details either); the disc is not a proper ´pressed´ DVD but instead a computer-copy with a paper label; & the ´menu´ features just 4 thumbnails (1 for each show), with no full song chapters. On playing it I was fairly pleased with the quality; it’s certainly a considerable upgrade on our bootlegs (both visual & audio), though comparing it with the clips on the ‘I Am What I Am’ official DVD it looks slightly lesser picture quality: detail6this may be because the documentary came from a superior source or it may have just had better mastering (the ‘I Am What I Am’ clips also seem to feature a little added reverb). The great news is that everything that circulates on bootleg DVDs (& YouTube) is included on the disc (though not all songs are listed on the link above); in addition, this includes a few additional songs:

‘He’ll Have To Go’

‘Swing Down Sweet Chariot’ and ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’

Linda Gail Lewis ‘Paper Roses’

Here´s full details…

Show 1:
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Medley: I’m Movin On – Down The Line (with Linda Gail Lewis & others)
* Jerry Lee Lewis - Green Green Grass Of Home
* Conway Twitty – Johnny B. Goode
* The Rust College Quintet – Peace In The Valley
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Swing Low Sweet Chariot (with The Rust College Quintet)
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Flip, Flop & Fly
* Linda Gail Lewis – Son Of A Preacher Man
* Conway Twitty – To See My Angel Cry
* Jerry Lee Lewis & Linda Gail Lewis – Gotta Travel On
* Jerry Lee Lewis – What’d I Say

Show 2:
* Jerry Lee Lewis - Jambalaya
* The Finishing Touch - Rip It Up
* The Settlers - Salty Dog
* Jerry Lee Lewis & Linda Gail Lewis - Roll Over Beethoven
* Jerry Lee Lewis – What’s Made Milwaukee Famous
* The Finishing Touch – Let The Good Times Roll
* Linda Gail Lewis – South Side Soul Society Chapter No. 1
* Roy Drusky – My Grass Is Green
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Blue Suede Shoes
* The Rust College Quintet – Seek & Yee Shall Find
* Jerry Lee Lewis – He’ll Have To Go
* Donna Rhodes – I See Love
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Hit The Road, Jack
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Ubangi Stomp

Show 3:
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Medley: High School Confidential – GBOF – Mean Woman Blues
* Jerry Lee Lewis - Danny Boy
* Lynn Anderson – I’ve Been Everywhere
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Why Don’t You Love Me
* Linda Gail Lewis – Paper Roses
* Jerry Lee Lewis & Linda Gail Lewis – Don’t Take It Out On Me
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Long Tall Sally
* Linda Gail Lewis – The Shadow Of Your Smile
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Turn On your Lovelight

Show 4:
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Shout (with Linda Gail Lewis & others)
* Jerry Lee Lewis – She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye
* Greg Todd – Let The Good Times Roll
* The Finishing Touch – Let The Good Times Roll
* Linda Gail Lewis – I Wish You Love
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Money (That’s What I Want)
* The Finishing Touch – Proud Mary
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Swing Down Sweet Chariot (with The Rust College Quintet)
* Linda Gail Lewis – Son Of A Preacher Man
* Jerry Lee Lewis – Lewis Boogie

detail81Curiously, my early 80s cassette included three additional songs that have yet to surface: ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’, ‘End Of The Road’ & ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’. My guess is that the footage of these is now missing or damaged: the DVD includes 4 episodes that have been slightly-extended (instead of the originally broadcast 5 episodes),detail3& some of the previously unavailable tracks have very slight audio faults (notable ‘Swing Down Sweet Chariot’ & ‘Paper Roses’) which is why I suspect they weren’t rebroadcast on the ‘Outlaw Channel’.
To summarise then, this is well-worth buying, even if you own the old bootleg DVDs!


Thanks to Peter!

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