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Record Rating: ****

JERRY LEE LEWIS - LAST MAN STANDING: THE DUETS One of the original Rock & Roll greats to emerge with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis merged the fire of gospel with New Orleans R&B, pounding the piano and wailing with gleeful abandon. Although he was only a hit maker for a couple of years or so, his influence upon both the soul and rock artists of the 1960s was vast, and early hits like Great Balls Of Fire remain core classics of the rock genre.

Lewis has been subjected to plenty of compilations over the years, but Last Man Standing is the first big duet album of his career. The legendary singer songwriter has so many adoring celebrity fans, it comes as no surprise that the 71-year-old was able to draw 22 of the biggest stars from rock, country and pop music to show up on this one.

One surprise is how well the producers paired Lewis with both duet partners and fitting standards ~ among them Bruce Springsteen on 50s road trip anthem Pink Cadillac, Led Zeppelinís Jimmy Page for the piano thumping Rock And Roll; and a dapper post-Beatles Ringo Starr on the wickedly autobiographical Sweet Little Sixteen. Three Rolling Stone members ~ Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards ~ turn in boozy performances as well among the albumís 22 tracks ~ while elsewhere Kid Rock churns out with Lewis a crackling rendition of the Stonesí Honky Tonk Woman. Eric Clapton also seems fit for the torch song Trouble In Mind, but more often than not, the feelings Lewisís duet partners attempt to summon sound quite superficial.

Each performance was recorded with Lewis and his duet partners live in the studio and as befits such an all-star affair, every edge is polished and fine tuned to a safe sheen ~ losing the raw sound this Rock Ní Roll was truly all about. Still, this is a great listen.

Read our other reviews:

Crowded House - Farewell To The World       Norah Jones - Not Too Late       Simon Webbe - Grace       Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape      


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