Monday, 22 February 2016

"Country Class/Country Memories" by JERRY LEE LEWIS (2016 Beat Goes On CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Georgia On My Mind..."

Beat Goes On of the UK continue their extensive reissue campaign of the Killer’s Country albums for Mercury Records in the sixties and Seventies – this time whomping us with "Country Class" from 1976 and "Country Memories" from 1977 onto 1CD.

After a steady diet of musical mediocrity, personal scandal and the occasional nasal operation – "Country Class" and "Country Memories" at least seemed to provide long-suffering fans with some 'very brief' moments worth cheering. But the problem with both albums is that they contained much that was risible too - and time hasn't been kind to either. Here are the 'one rose you left in my heart' details...

UK released Friday 19 February 2016 – "Country Class/Country Memories" by JERRY LEE LEWIS on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1222 (Barcode 5017261212221) offers 2LPs Remastered onto 1CD and plays out as follows (69:08 minutes):

1. Let's Put It Back Together Again
2. No One Will Ever Know
3. You Belong To Me
4. I Sure Miss Those Good Old Times
5. The Old Country Church
6. After The Fool You've Made Of Me
7. Jerry Lee's Rock & Roll Revival Show [Side 2]
8. Wedding Bells
9. Only Love Can Get You In My Door
10. The One Rose That's Left In My Heart
11. The Closest Thing To You
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "Country Class" – released October 1976 in the USA on Mercury SRM-1-1109

12. Middle Age Crazy
13. Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello (In A Friendly Kind Of Way)
14. Who's Sorry Now
15. Jealous Heart
16. Georgia On My Mind
17. Come On In
18. As Long As We Live
19. (You'd Think By Now) I'd Be Over You
20. Country Memories
21. What's So Good About Goodbye
22. Tennessee Saturday Night
Tracks 12 to 22 are the album "Country Memories" – released November 1977 in the USA on Mercury SRM-1-5004

There’s the usual card slipcase and a 12-page booklet with excellent ANDREW McRAE liner notes that tell it like it is about the musical content. ANDREW THOMPSON has done the new 2016 Remasters and they sound amazing. I wish the music warranted it...

"Country Class" opens with some genuinely awful schlock – "Let's Put It Back Together Again" – cheesy strings and even cheesier arrangements make it the kind of Country crud even Country fans hate. Things improve with "No One Will Ever Know" and his respectful cover of Jo Stafford's 1952 hit "You Belong To Me" isn't bad. But songs like "I Sure Miss Those Good Old Times" and "The Old Country Church" (associated with Hank Williams) feels tired - like Presley reaching for something safe rather than the fire of old. There's a brief moment of respite with "Jerry Lee's Rock & Roll Revival Show" where those brass and piano rolls sound more John Fogerty than Hank Snow – and in a good way. "Country Memories" only offers up more of the same – songs like "Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello (In A Friendly Kind Of Way)" has a half decent melody and lyric but its drowned in syrupy backing vocalists and the ever present Pedal Steel. His boogied-up "Who's Sorry Now" is o.k. but far better is "(You'd Think By Now) I'd Be Over You" – a genuinely pretty melody that Jerry Lee sings well.

Fans will love the Audio and the Quality presentation – but everyone else should get a listen first before they buy... 

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