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elcome to the Digital Meltd0wn Music Blog. The aim of this blog is to introduce the readers to music that is out of print, commercially unavailable, released under a creative commons license, or with approval by the featured artist. The majority of the music posted here would be considered underground. Don't let that fool you into thinking that the music featured here might be any less enjoyable than that of the mainstream artists you hear on the radio, as this couldn't be further from the truth. Please keep in mind that the majority of the artists that appear on this blog, along with their respective record labels, are not wealthy and need your support. If you enjoy the material that you find here, please support the artists/labels by purchasing their material afterwards. If you are an artist/label that would prefer to have your material removed from this blog, simply leave me a comment, and I would be more than happy to promptly remove the offending post. In addition to running this blog, I also work on a few other projects during my spare time. You can find links to those, as well as a few other important links associated with Digital Meltd0wn in the menu bar above.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Lee Lewis - Live at the Star Club Hamburg


Words cannot describe -- cannot contain -- the performance captured on Live at the Star Club, Hamburg, an album that contains the very essence of rock & roll. When Jerry Lee Lewis performed the concert that became this album in the spring of 1964, his career was at its lowest point. Following his scandalous marriage to his teenage cousin, he was virtually blacklisted in the U.S., and by 1964 it had been six years since he had a real hit single, he was starting his recording career again with a new label, and, to make matters worse, America had fallen in love with the Beatles and the bands that followed in the British Invasion, leaving him exiled from the charts. Ironically, he wound up in the Beatles' old haunt of the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, in the spring of 1964, backed by the Nashville Teens, who still had yet to have a hit with "Tobacco Road" (which would scale the charts later that year). Lewis and the Nashville Teens had been touring throughout the group's native England for about a month, capped off by a stint at the Star Club, where the band played for two weeks, but was only joined by Lewis for one night, which was what was captured on this incendiary recording. Who knows why this was a night where everything exploded for Jerry Lee Lewis? It sounds like all of his rage at not being the accepted king of rock & roll surfaced that night, but that probably wasn't a conscious decision on his part -- maybe the stars were aligned right, or perhaps he just was in a particularly nasty mood. Or maybe this is the way he sounded on an average night in 1964.

In any case, Live at the Star Club is extraordinary -- the purest, hardest rock & roll ever committed to record. It starts with the Killer launching into "Mean Woman Blues" at a tempo far faster than the band is prepared for, and he never, ever lets go from that moment forward. He pounds the piano into submission, sings himself hoarse, berates the band ("What'd I Say, Pt. 2" has him yelling at a Nashville Teen to "play that thing right, boy!"), increases the tempo on each song, and joins in with the audience chanting his name. It's a crazed, unhinged performance, with the Nashville Teens running wild to follow his lead, and it's a great testament to the bandmembers that they nearly manage to keep up with him. One of the profound pleasures of this record is hearing the band try to run with Jerry Lee, which is exceeded only by the sheer dementia of his performance; he sounds possessed, hitting the keys so hard it sounds like they'll break, and rocking harder than anybody had before.

Track List:
1. Mean Woman Blues
2. High School Confidential
3. Money (That's What I Want)
4. Matchbox
5. What'd I Say Pt. 1
6. What'd I Say Pt. 2
7. Great Balls of Fire
8. Good Golly Miss Molly
9. Lewis Boogie
10. Your Cheatin' Heart
11. Hound Dog
12. Long Tall Sally
13. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

Download: Jerry Lee Lewis - Live at the Star Club Hamburg (47.3MB)

6 comments:

Dgrador said...

incredible album.

declan said...

hi, thanks for some great posts! is there any chance you could post 'internal wrangler' by CLINIC please? brilliant fuzzy sometimes electronic pyschedelic album from liverpool wierdo's. it'd be much appreciated, i'd love to find it

Jake Team said...

Amazing music, amazing performance, amazing record. Far and away my favorite JLL recording. Thanks for putting this up. Really been enjoying some of your posts... Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I had never heard of it before, but after reading your enthusiastic writeup, I had to give it a spin. I'm glad I did.

Pogel said...

Just what the doctor ordered. I was having a shitty day until now. Cheers

Anonymous said...

amen, 'unhinged performance' is right, this is powerful stuff. thx for posting!