Jerry Lee Lewis Mean Old Man

Jerry Lee Lewis Mean Old Man
Part of Jerry Lee Lewis's genius as an interpreter has been not only his ability to inject his unique sneer into any song he chooses, but also pathos. Now 75, and making records seemingly at the whim of multimillionaire super-fan Steve Bing, it's hard to differentiate between those two qualities in his approach anymore. Lewis's much-trumpeted duets album, Last Man Standing, was a worthy tribute to his truly remarkable longevity. On Mean Old Man, however, the similarly stellar guest list acts more as a crutch than an opportunity for Lewis to still show them who's boss ― and no, Bruce Springsteen isn't on this one. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards both appear though, and the renditions of "Dead Flowers" and "Sweet Virginia" are two of the album's more interesting moments, amongst more uninspired fare such as retreads of "Rockin' My Life Away" and "Middle Age Crazy," featuring Kid Rock and Slash on the former, and Tim McGraw on the latter. As might be expected, it's only when Lewis is left alone, as on Kris Kristofferson-penned title track/closer "Miss the Mississippi and You," that the unmistakable clash of sin and sentimentality rears its head. Fans craving that from Lewis will want this album for those two tracks. The rest, sadly, is unnecessary. (Verve/Shangri-La)