Together, Jerry Lee Lewis and Linda Gail Lewis (Smash SRS-67126)

...Linda Gail Lewis is Jerry Lee's sister, and she is as country as they come, with a powerful voice and a delivery that can even obscure the lyrics (a rare thing in country music) when she's really belting them out, which is most of the time. If you listen closely to the line "Our love is like a ship at sea that's tossed by stormy weather" in "Secret Places, " you can even hear the microphone buckling under the strain. Jerry Lee Lewis, of course, needs no introduction, and he is in rare form on this album, pumping away at the piano and getting so carried away with himself that you can't help but have fun listening to him. There's not a wasted track on Together, even though some of the numbers sound like one-take versions of classics ("Gotta Travel On," " Roll Over Beethoven") that were recorded just for fun.

The quintessence of this album, and in many ways of Jerry Lee's whole rocking country style, can be found on two cuts -"Sweet Thang" and "Jackson." The Nat Stuckey classic about the poor guy who is pursued by his over-protective mama lookin' for her "sweet thang" is made doubly amusing by Linda Gail's busting in with her "Weeeellll has anybody here seen my sweet thang?" Jeez. She musta busted every glass in the bar. And if you've only heard Nancy Sinatra doing "Jackson" you certainly don't have any idea what a great song it is. Jerry Lee and Linda Gail sound genuinely angry: "... in Jackson/I'll be dancin' on a pony keg (GO AHEAD)/I'll be leading you around ... like a dog/With your tail inbetween your legs." (Like I said, some of the words are unintelligible because how she sings.) You really can't afford to miss this one.

Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, on the other hand, are more sedate and dignified. Dolly would never be found dancing on a pony keg-she'd probably go off somewhere and drink herself to death instead. And Porter would probably be next door in the same sleazy hotel contemplating doing it, too...

Both of these albums are essential for the serious country fan, but they have an appeal that stretches beyond that of country music. What with the dearth of good rock albums these days, you could be spending your money on worse things than these, and who knows - you might even end up enjoying them...


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