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Jerry Lee Lewis: Who's Gonna Play This Old Piano/Sometimes a Memory Ain't Enough

Album Notes

BGO's 2015 two-fer pairs 1972's Who's Gonna Play This Old Piano and 1973's Sometimes a Memory Ain't Enough, two early-'70s country albums from the Killer. Despite opening with the rousing vaudevillian title track, Who's Gonna Play This Old Piano is a rather sweet affair from Jerry Lee, often sweetened by Jerry Kennedy's strings. Despite this sentimentality, there's some good hard country here -- "Bottom Dollar," the boogying "We Both Know Which One of Us Was Wrong," the saloon ballad "Wall Around Heaven" -- and sometimes those strings push the Killer into hazy early-'70s progressive country territory, such as the rolling "No Traffic Out of Abilene," which is worthy of Glen Campbell. Stan Kesler produced Sometimes a Memory Ain't Enough but it's also rather sticky with strings -- they attach themselves to something as flinty as Billy Joe Shaver's "Ride Me Down Easy" -- and the only time they lift is for the ballad "The Morning After Baby Let Me Down" and a rockabilly revival of Elvis' "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone." Despite this extraneous sweetening (which gets really sappy when the backing vocals are added to the mix; they nearly sink "Honky Tonk Wine"), Jerry Lee still turns in some nice performances and it's a pleasant record, even if it hints why the Killer decided to shake things up on Southern Roots later in 1973. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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