Picks and Pans Review: Live at Gilley's

Jerry Lee Lewis (Q Records)

By the mid-’80s, three decades after “Great Balls of Fire,” ol’ Jerry Lee might have lost a step or two to the tangled personal and health woes that had beset his career almost from the beginning. But the Killer could still slay in concert, as he proved on two occasions in 1984 and ’87 at Gilley’s, the enormous Houston-area honky-tonk that was the setting of 1980’s Urban Cowboy and just happened to be owned by his first cousin, country singer Mickey Gilley. One of a series of newly released live performances by the likes of Fats Domino and Carl Perkins recorded at the club between 1976 and 1989, this disc (from two mid-’80s shows) finds Lewis in full-tilt rocker mode. Slowing down only to croon Hank Williams’s “You Win Again,” Lewis turns in an incendiary set, playing his patented speed-boogie piano and wailing hits like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and his middle-aged signature, “Rockin’ My Life Away.”

Bottom Line: The Killer is killer

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