A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers and contributors are listening to right now...
In early 1964, Jerry Lee Lewis’ career couldn’t have been in worse shape. The Beatles had exploded on U.S. shores, igniting the British Invasion that rendered the seminal American rockers who preceded — and profoundly influenced — them virtually obsolete. In addition, Lewis was a pariah in many circles for having married his 13-year-old cousin Myra, leaving him off-limits to disc jockeys, TV show hosts, record company executives and many fans who had originally supported him a few years earlier when he was one of the prime architects of rock ’n’ roll.
Any lesser talent — or ego — might have been crushed by the weight of the forces working against him. But the man known as the Ferriday Fireball has never suffered any shortage of either quality, so despite the hurdles in front of him, he kept plowing ahead with live performances, where he was free to go wherever his muse would lead him.
These three CDs pull together four live albums, plus a full disc of outtakes from those sessions, recorded from 1964 to ’70, by which time he’d rejuvenated his career as a straight-ahead country singer of hits including “She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye,” “Another Place, Another Time” and “Once More With Feeling.”