© October 30, 2015 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254 (1-18) mono digital

A Bear Family Records Product. 18-CD boxset with 2 hardcover clothbound books, 300 pages, in a clothbound slipcase. The story began at Sun Records almost 60 years ago. Now every surviving song and every surviving take that Jerry Lee Lewis recorded for Sun is here. All other sets are obsolete! Years of painstaking comparisons and tape vault research! 18 generously full CDs, 623 tracks, more than 100 previously unheard versions! All mono versions! All stereo versions! All original Sun era overdubs! Two comprehensive hardbound books: one with the discography and commentary, and another of photos, many of them previously unpublished!

These 18 CDs place you in the studio as Jerry Lee Lewis records one epochal session after another for Sun Records between 1956 and 1963. In the history of recorded music, no one created such an incredible and indelible body of work in such a short time. Jerry Lee spanned the breadth of American music: gospel, rhythm and blues, blues, country, pop, and of course rock 'n' roll. Incredibly, he only recorded one LP during the course of his career at Sun. Another LP mixed some older and some newer recordings, and that was it before Sun was sold. The floodgates opened after the sale in 1969. There have been countless Jerry Lee Lewis anthologies since then, more than anyone could possibly tabulate, many of them drawing on the incredible wealth of unissued songs. But now you can get rid of them all. This is the guaranteed ultimate Jerry Lee Lewis on Sun listening experience. You can hear recordings created in the studio. Some were done in one take. If that's all it needed, that's all it took. Some were painstakingly recorded and re-recorded through days and sometimes weeks. It's all here. Every complete take, every incomplete take, every piece of chatter. It took two years of analysis to compare all the sources, but now it's done. And it took years of research to find rare and published photos, and date them properly.

Sam C. Phillips, Jack Clement, Billy Sherrill, and Scotty Moore
Re-Issue Producers:
Andrew McRae, Pierre Pennone, and Richard Weize
Tape Research:
Andrew McRae and Pierre Pennone
Tape Comparison and Analysis:
Valery ''Valerik'' Orlov and Willem Moerdijk
Willem Moerdijk and Andrew McRae
Disc Transfer and Mastering:
Christian Zwarg
Liner Notes:
Andrew McRae
Valery ''Valerik'' Orlov and Pierre Pennone
Musicians and Sessions Detail:
Willem Moerdijk
Cover Illustrations:
Evelyyne Gerstenberger

Photos and Illustrations:
Wim de Boer, Horst Dieter Fischer collection, Rob Illingworth, Graham Knight,
Kay Martin, Augusto Morini, Now Dig This magazine, Pierre Pennone,
Jean-Louis Rancurel

Photo Restoration:
Sam Malbuch
Mychael Gerstenberger

Hank Davis

Bear Family is indebted to all those involved in the production of earlier Jerry Lee Lewis box set collections, including Colin Escott, Martin Hawkins, Hank Davis, Cliff White, Barrie Gamblin and others associated with such works duly credited at the time.

Thanks also to:
Terry Adams, Freddy de Boer, Peter Checksfield, Chas Hodges, Per Kallin,
Anne Palmer, Scott Parker, Thomas Rund, J.M. Van Eaton
(in conversation with Hank Davis), and Myra Lewis Williams.

For Biography of Jerry Lee Lewis see: > The Sun Biographies <
Jerry Lee Lewis' Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube < 

CD 1 Contains 1956-1957
1 Crazy Arms (1) Master)
2 End Of The Road (Master)
3 Born To Lose
4 You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (1.1)
5 You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (1.2)
6 Deep Elem Blues (1)
7 Deep Elem Blues (2)
8 Silver Threads Among The Gold
9 Crawdad Song
10 Singing The Blues
11 Honey Hush
12 Goodnight Irene (1)
13 Goodnight Irene (2)
14 Goodnight Irene (3) (Undubbed Master)
15 Goodnight Irene (4)
16 The Marines' Hymn
17 Dixie
18 It'll Be Me (1.1) (Chatter & Take)
19 It'll Be Me (1.2) (4 False Starts)
20 It'll Be Me (1.3)
21 It'll Be Me (1.4) Chat, Take, Chat)
22 It'll Be Me (1.5)
23 It'll Be Me (1.6) (Single Master)
24 Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On (1.1) (Fragment)
25 Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On (1.2)
26 Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On (1.3)
27 Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On (1.4)
28 Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On (1.5)
29 Ole Pal Of Yesterday (1)
30 Ole Pal Of Yesterday (2)
31 Ole Pal Of Yesterday (3)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 2 Contains 1957
1 It'll Be Me (2.1)
2 It'll Be Me (2.2) (3 False Starts)
3 It'll Be Me (2.3)
4 It'll Be Me (2.4)
5 It'll Be Me (2.5) (4 False Starts)
6 It'll Be Me (2.6)
7 It'll Be Me (2.7)
8 It'll Be Me (2.8) LP Master)
9 It'll Be Me (2.9)
10 All Night Long (1) (Chatter & Take)
11 All Night Long (2)
12 Old Time Religion (1)
13 Old Time Religion (2)
14 When The Saints Go Marching In (Undubbed master)
15 It All Depends (1) (Undubbed Master)
16 You Are My Sunshine (1) (2 False Starts)
17 You Are My Sunshine (2)
18 You Are My Sunshine (3)
19 I Don't Love Nobody (1)
20 I Don't Love Nobody (2)
21 Long Gone Lonesome Blues
22 It'll Be Me (3)
23 Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On (2) (Master)
24 My Carolina Sunshine Girl
25 Shame On You
26 Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (1)
27 Pumping Piano Rock
28 Little Green Valley (1)
29 Little Green Valley (2)
30 Little Green Valley (3)
31 Little Green Valley (4)
32 Little Green Valley (5)
33 Little Green Valley (6)
34 Little Green Valley (7)
35 Little Green Valley (8)
36 Little Green Valley (9)
37 Tomorrow Night
38 Love Letters In The Sand
Original Sun Recordings

CD 3 Contains 1957
1 Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
2 You Win Again (1.1)
3 You Win Again (1.2)
4 You Win Again (1.3) (False Start & Take)
5 You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (2.1) (Chord & Take)
6 You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (2.2)
7 You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (2.3)
8 Sixty Minute Man (1)
9 Sixty Minute Man (2)
10 Sixty Minute Man (3)
11 I'll Keep On Loving You
12 Lewis Boogie (1)
13 Lewis Boogie (2) (Master)
14 I'm Feelin' Sorry (1.1)
15 I'm Feelin' Sorry (1.2)
16 I'm Feelin' Sorry (1.3) (Fragment)
17 I'm Feelin' Sorry (1.4) (Master)
18 Turn Around (Master)
19 Great Balls Of Fire (1.1)
20 Great Balls Of Fire (1.2)
21 Great Balls Of Fire (1.3)
22 Great Balls Of Fire (1.4)
23 Great Balls Of Fire (1.5)
24 Great Balls Of Fire (1.6)
25 Great Balls Of Fire (1.7) (3 False Starts)
26 Great Balls Of Fire (1.8)
27 Religious Discussion
28 Great Balls Of Fire (1.9) )Movie Version)
29 You Win Again (2) (Chatter & Undubbed Master)
30 It All Depends (2)
31 I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.1) (4 False Starts)
32 I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.2) (Chatter & Take)
33 I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.3) (False Start & Take)
34 I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.4)
35 I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.5) (False Start)
36 I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.6)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 4 Contains 1957-1958
1 Ooby Dooby (1)
2 Ooby Dooby (2)
3 Why Should I Cry Over You
4 I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.1)
5 I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.2) (Chatter & Take)
6 I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.3)
7 I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.4) (Chatter & Take)
8 I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.5)
9 I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.6) (Distorted)
10 I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.7) (Distorted)
11 I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.8)
12 I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.9)
13 I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.10)
14 Mean Woman Blues (Master)
15 Great Balls Of Fire (2.1) (2 False Starts & Take)
16 Great Balls Of Fire (2.2)
17 Great Balls Of Fire (2.3) (False Start & take)
18 Studio Chatter
19 Great Balls Of Fire (2.4)
20 Great Balls Of Fire (2.5) (Chatter & Take)
21 Great Balls Of Fire (2.6) (Master)
22 I Love You Because (1)
23 I Love You So Much It Hurts
24 I'm Sorry I'm Not Sorry
25 Sexy Ways (1.1) (False Start)
26 Sexy Ways (Cool Cool Ways) (1.2)
27 Down The Line (1)
28 Down The Line (2) (2 False Starts)
29 Down The Line (3) (Chatter, Take, Chatter)
30 Down The Line (4)
31 Down The Line (5)
32 Down The Line (6)
33 Down The Line (7)
34 Down The Line (8)
35 Down The Line (9) (Master)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 5 Contains 1958
1 Jambalaya (Master)
2 Milkshake Mademoiselle (1)
3 Milkshake Mademoiselle (2) (2 False Starts)
4 Milkshake Mademoiselle (3)
5 Milkshake Mademoiselle (4) (Chatter & Take)
6 Milkshake Mademoiselle [5) (4 False Starts)
7 Milkshake Mademoiselle (6) (Fragment)
8 Milkshake Mademoiselle (7)
9 Milkshake Mademoiselle (8)
10 Breathless (1)
11 Breathless (2)
12 Breathless (3)
13 Breathless (4)
14 Breathless (5)
15 Breathless (6)
16 Breathless (7)
17 Breathless (8)
18 Breathless (9) (Master)
19 Cold Cold Heart (1)
20 Someday
21 Don't Be Cruel (Master)
22 Pink Pedal Pushers
23 Good Rockin' Tonight (1)
24 Hound Dog (1)
25 Jailhouse Rock
26 High School Confidential (1.1)
27 High School Confidential (1.2)
28 High School Confidential (1.3)
29 High School Confidential (1.4) (False Start & Take)
30 High School Confidential (1.5)
31 High School Confidential (1.6)
32 High School Confidential (1.7)
33 High School Confidential (1.8) (False Start & Take)
34 High School Confidential (1.9)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 6 Contains 1958
1 High School Confidential (1.10) (False Start & Take)
2 High School Confidential (1.11)
3 High School Confidential (1.12)
4 High School Confidential (1.13)
5 High School Confidential (1.14) (2 False Starts)
6 High School Confidential (1.15)
7 High School Confidential (2.1)
8 Keep Your Hands Off Of It (1) (False Start)
9 Rockin' With Red
10 Matchbox (1) (Chatter & Undubbed Master)
11 Matchbox (2)
12 Ubangi Stomp (Master)
13 Rock And Roll Ruby
14 So Long I'm Gone (Fragment & Take)
15 Sexy Ways (Carryin' On) (2.1)
16 Sexy Ways (Carryin' On) (2.2)
17 Fools Like Me (1) (Fragment & 4 False Starts)
18 Fools Like Me (2)
19 Fools Like Me (3) (Undubbed Master)
20 Put Me Down (1)
21 Put Me Down (2)
22 Put Me Down (3)
23 Put Me Down (4)
24 Put Me Down (5) (Chatter & Take)
25 Put Me Down (6)
26 Put Me Down (7) (Master)
27 I'm Throwing Rice
28 Your Cheatin' Heart (1)
29 Crazy Heart (1.1) (False Start & Take)
30 Crazy Heart (1.2)
31 Crazy Heart (1.3)
32 Crazy Heart (1.4)
33 Crazy Heart (1.5)
34 Hello Hello Baby (Master)
35 Slippin' Around (1) (False Start)
36 Slippin' Around (2) (Chatter & Take)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 7 Contains 1958
1 Wild One (1)
2 Wild One (2)
3 Let the Good Times Roll
4 Sexy Ways (Carryin' On) (3)
5 High School Confidential (3.1) [(False Start)
6 High School Confidential (3.2)
7 High School Confidential (3.3) (2 False Starts)
8 High School Confidential (3.4) (Chatter & Take)
9 High School Confidential (3.5)
10 High School Confidential (3.6)
11 High School Confidential (3.7)
12 I'll See You In My Dreams (False Start & Take)
13 Break Up (1.1)
14 Break Up (1.2) (Fragment)
15 Break Up (1.3) (Chatter & Take)
16 Break Up (1.4)
17 Break Up (1.5) (Chatter & Take)
18 Break Up (1.6) (False Start)
19 Break Up (1.7)
20 Break Up (1.8)
21 Break Up (1.9) (Fragment)
22 Break Up (1.10) (Fragment)
23 Break Up (1.11)
24 Break Up (1.12)
25 Memory Of You
26 Come What May
27 Johnny B Good (1)
28 That Lucky Old Sun
29 Crazy Arms (2) (Chatter & Take)
30 Live And Let Live (Chatter & Take)
31 Crazy Heart (2) (Chatter & Take)
32 Settin' The Woods On Fire
33 Break Up (2.1) (False Start to ''Settin' The Woods On Fire'' & Take)
34 Break Up (2.2)
35 Break Up (2.3) (Chatter & Take)
36 Break Up (2.4) (Fragment)
37 Break Up (2.5)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 8 Contains 1958
1 I'll Make It All Up to You (1.1) (Fragment)
2 I'll Make It All Up to You (1.2) (False Start & Take)
3 I'll Make It All Up to You (1.3) (Chatter & Take)
4 I'll Make It All Up to You (1.4) (Fragment of False Start)
5 I'll Make It All Up to You (1.5)
6 I'll Make It All Up to You (2.1)
7 I'll Make It All Up to You (2.2)
8 I'll Make It All Up to You (2.3) (False Start, Fragment & Take)
9 I'll Make It All Up to You (2.4) (Fragment)
10 I'll Make It All Up to You (2.5)
11 I'll Make It All Up to You (2.6) (Undubbed Master)
12 Break Up (3.1) (Chatter & Take)
13 Break Up (3.2) (Chatter & Take)
14 Break Up (3.3) (Fragment)
15 Break Up (3.4) (Fragment)
16 Break Up (3.5)
17 Break Up (3.6) (Fragment)
18 Break Up (3.7)
19 Break Up (4) (Master)
20 Big Legged Woman
21 Johnny B Good (2)
22 I Can't Help It (1)
23 Lovesick Blues
24 Studio Chatter
25 Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (2.1)
26 Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O+Dee (2.2)
27 I'll Sail My Ship Alone (1)
28 I'll Sail My Ship Alone (2) (False Start & Take)
29 I'll Sail My Ship Alone (3)
30 I'll Sail My Ship Alone (4) (Chatter & Take)
31 I'll Sail My Ship Alone (5) (Chatter & Take)
32 I'll Sail My Ship Alone (6) (Master)
33 I'll Sail My Ship Alone (7)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 9 Contains 1958-1959
1 You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (3.1) (3 False Starts)
2 You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (3.2) (Chatter & Take)
3 You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (3.3) (Chatter & Take)
4 Studio Chatter (1)
5 It Hurt Me So (1)
6 Studio Chatter (2)
7 It Hurt Me So (2)
8 It Hurt Me So (3)
9 It Hurt Me So (4)
10 It Hurt Me So (5)
11 It Hurt Me So (6) (Undubbed Master)
12 Lovin' Up A Storm (1) (Chatter & Take)
13 Lovin' Up A Storm (2) (False Start & Take)
14 Lovin' Up A Storm (3) (4 False Starts)
15 Lovin' Up A Storm (4) (Fragment)
16 Lovin' Up A Storm (5) (False Start & Take)
17 Lovin' Up A Storm (6) (False Start & Take)
18 Lovin' Up A Storm (7) (Master)
19 Frankie and Johnny (Master)
20 Big Blon' Baby (1) (Master)
21 Big Blon' Baby (2) (Fragment)
22 Studio Chatter
23 I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (1.1)
24 I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (1.2)
25 I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (1.3) (Master
26 Shanty Town (Unfinished)
27 Release Me
28 Sick And Tired
29 Hillbilly Music (Master)
30 I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (2.1)
31 I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (2.2) (2 False Starts)
32 I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (2.3) (2 False Starts & Take)
33 I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (2.4) (False Start & Take)
34 Near You (1) (Chatter & False Start)
35 Near You (2) (Chatter & Take)
36 Near You (3)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 10 Contains 1959-1960
1 My Blue Heaven (1.1)
2 My Blue Heaven (1.2)
3 My Blue Heaven (1.3) (Chatter & Take)
4 My Blue Heaven (1.4)
5 Let's Talk About Us (1.1) (Chatter & Take)
6 Let's Talk About Us (1.2) (Chatter & Take)
7 Let's Talk About Us (1.3) (3 False Starts)
8 Let's Talk About Us (1.4)
9 Let's Talk About Us (1.5) (False Start & Take)
10 Let's Talk About Us (1.6)
11 Let's Talk About Us (1.7)
12 Let's Talk About Us (1.8)
13 Let's Talk About Us (1.9)
14 Let's Talk About Us (1.10)
15 Let's Talk About Us (1.11) (Chatter & Take)
16 Let's Talk About Us (1.12)
17 Let's Talk About Us (1.13) (Chatter & Take)
18 Let's Talk About Us (1.14)
19 Little Queenie (Master)
20 Home (Master)
21 Friday Night
22 I'm The Guilty One (Chatter & Take)
23 Let's Talk About Us (2.1) (Undubbed Master)
24 Let's Talk About Us (2.2)
25 Will The Circle Be Unbroken
26 Night Train To Memphis
27 The Ballad Of Billy Joe (Master)
28 Sail Away (1)
29 Sail Away (2)
30 Am I To Be The One (1)
31 Am I To Be The One (2) (False Start & Take)
32 Am I To Be The One (3) (3 False Starts)
33 Am I To Be The One (4)
34 Am I To Be The One (5)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 11 Contains 1960
1 Mexicali Rose (1) (Chatter, Slate #1, False Start)
2 Mexicali Rose (2) (Part 1)
3 Mexicali Rose (3) (Chatter, Slate #2, Part 2)
4 In The Mood (1) (Chatter & Take)
5 Studio Chatter
6 In The Mood (2) (Master)
7 I Get The Blues When It Rains (1) (Chatter & Take)
8 I Get The Blues When It Rains (2) (False Start & Master)
9 Don't Drop It (1) (Chatter, Slate, Take 1)
10 Don't Drop It (2) (Chatter & Take)
11 Great Speckled Bird (1) (Slate #1 & 5 False Starts)
12 Great Speckled Bird (2) (Take 1)
13 Great Speckled Bird (3) (Chatter & Take)
14 Bonnie B (1) (Chatter, Slate, Take 1)
15 Studio Chatter #1 & Slate #1-Channel B
16 Bonnie B (2) (Take 1 Channel B)
17 Studio Chatter #2 & Slate #2-Channel B
18 Bonnie B (3) (Take 2 Channel B)
19 Bonnie B (4) (Chatter, Slate, Take 3 Channel B)
20 Studio Chatter #3
21 Bonnie B (5) (Master)
22 Bonnie B (6) (Fragment)
23 Bonnie B (7) (Chatter & Take)
24 As Long As I Live (1) (Slate & Take 1)
25 As Long As I Live (2) (Slate & Take 2)
26 As Long As I Live (3) (Slate, False Start, Take 3)
27 As Long As I Live (4) (Chatter, Slate, Take 4)
28 As Long As I Live (5) (Slate #5 & False Start)
29 As Long As I Live (6) (Slate & Take 5)
30 As Long As I Live (7) (Chatter, Slate, Take 6)
31 As Long As I Live (8) (Chatter, Slate (Wrongly 6), Take 7)
32 As Long As I Live (9) (Slate #1-track B & 3 False Starts)
33 As Long As I Live (1.0) (Take 1 Track B)
34 As Long As I Live (1.1) (Slate, False Start, Master Take 3 Track B)
35 I Can't Help It (You Can't Help It) (2.1) (Slate & Take 1 Channel B)
36 I Can't Help It (You Can't Help It) (2.2) (Slate & Take 2)
37 I Can't Help It (You Can't Help It) (2.3) (Slate #3 & 3 False Starts)
38 (Hank Williams) I Can't Help It (You Can't Help It) (2.4) (Take 3)
39 Studio Chatter & Slate #4
40 I Can't Help It (You Can't Help It) (2.5) (Take 4)
41 Your Cheatin' Heart (2)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 12 Contains 1960
1 Baby Baby Bye Bye (1) (Slate & take 1)
2 Baby Baby Bye Bye (2) (Slate & Take 2)
3 Baby Baby Bye Bye (3) (Chatter, Slate, Take 3)
4 Baby Baby Bye Bye (4) (Chatter, Slate, Take 4 Channel B)
5 Baby Baby Bye Bye (5) (Unfinished)
6 Baby Baby Bye Bye (6) (Chatter, Slate, Take 6)
7 Baby Baby Bye Bye (7) (Chatter & Take)
8 Studio Chatter #1 & Slate #8Ttrack B
9 Baby Baby Bye Bye (8) (Take 8 Track B)
10 Studio Chatter #2 & Slate #9-Track B-Take 2)
11 Baby Baby Bye Bye (9) (Take 9-Track B-Take 2)
12 Studio Chatter #3 & Slate #10
13 Baby Baby Bye Bye (10) (Take 10 Unfinished)
14 Studio Chatter #4 & Slate #11
15 Baby Baby Bye Bye (1.1) (Undubbed Master Take 11)
16 Old Black Joe (1) (Slate, Take 1, Chatter)
17 Old Black Joe (2) (Slate #2 & False Start)
18 Old Black Joe (3) (Take 2)
19 Old Black Joe (4) (Slate & Undubbed Master Take 3)
20 Old Black Joe (5) (Slate & Take 1 Track B)
21 Hound Dog (2) (Slate & Take 8)
22 What'd I Say (1.1) (Slate & Take 1)
23 What'd I Say (1.2) (Slate & Take 2)
24 Keep Your Hands Off Of It (2) (Chatter, Slate, Take 1)
25 The Wild Side Of Life
26 Billy Boy (Slate & Take 7)
27 My Bonnie (Slate & Take 4)
28 Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes (False Start, Slate, Master Take 1)
29 John Henry (Extended Master)
30 What'd I Say (2)
31 C C Rider (1)
32 When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again (1)
33 When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again (2) (Slate & 2nd Series Take 1)
34 No More Than I Get
35 When I Get Paid (Extended Master)
36 Love Made A Fool Of Me (Extended Master)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 13 Contains 1961-1962
1 I Forgot To Remember To Forget (2)
2 Cold Cold Heart (2) (Slate & Master Take 5)
3 Livin' Lovin' Wreck (Master)
4 What'd I Say (3) (Master)
5 It Won't Happen With Me (1)
6 It Won't Happen With Me (2) (Master)
7 C C Rider (2)
8 I Love You Because (2)
9 Save The Last Dance For Me (Master)
10 Lewis Workout
11 Hello Josephine (1) (Slate & Master Take 10)
12 High Powered Woman (1) (Slate & Take 5)
13 My Blue Heaven (2.1)
14 My Blue Heaven (2.2) (Slate & Take 4)
15 Sweet Little Sixteen (1) (Slate & Take 2)
16 Ramblin' Rose (1) (Extended Master)
17 Ramblin' Rose (2)
18 Money (Extended Master)
19 Rockin' The Boat Of Love
20 I've Been Twistin' (1)
21 I've Been Twistin' (2) (Slate & Take 4)
22 Whole Lotta Twistin' Going On (3)
23 I Know What It Means (1) (Master)
24 I Know What It Means (2)
25 High Powered Woman (2)
26 Sweet Little Sixteen (2.1) (Slate & Take 1)
27 Sweet Little Sixteen (2.2)
28 Sweet Little Sixteen (2.3)
29 Sweet Little Sixteen (2.4) (Slate & Master Take 4)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 14 Contains 1962-1963
1 Hello Josephine (2)
2 Set My Mind At Ease (1)
3 Set My Mind At Ease (2)
4 Set My Mind At Ease (3)
5 Waiting For A Train (1.1)
6 Waiting For A Train (1.2)
7 How's My Ex Treating You (1) (Master)
8 How's My Ex Treating You (2)
9 How's My Ex Treating You (3)
10 Good Rockin' Tonight (2) (Slate, Take 2, Chatter)
11 Be-Bop-a-Lula
12 Hello Josephine (3) (Slate, Chatter, Take)
13 Good Golly Miss Molly (1) (Chatter & Take)
14 Good Golly Miss Molly (2) (False Start & Rehearsal)
15 Good Golly Miss Molly (3) (Chatter, Take, Chatter)
16 Good Golly Miss Molly (4) (Chatter, False Start, Chatter)
17 Good Golly Miss Molly (5) (Slate, Chatter, Take 4)
18 Studio Chatter (snippet of 'Good Golly Miss Molly'')
19 Good Golly Miss Molly (6) (Master)
20 I Can't Trust Me (In Your Arms Anymore) (1) (Slate & Take 1)
21 I Can't Trust Me (In Your Arms Anymore) (2) (Slate & Take 2)
22 I Can't Trust Me (In Your Arms Anymore) (3) (Master)
23 My Pretty Squadron
24 Waiting For A Train (2.1) (Take 1 & Chatter)
25 Waiting For A Train (2.2) (Slate, Take 2, Chatter)
26 Waiting For A Train (2.3) (Slate, False Start, Take 4)
27 Waiting For A Train (2.4) (Back Vocal Tune, Slate, Take 5)
28 Waiting For A Train (2.5) (Slate #6 & False Start)
29 Waiting For A Train (2.6) (Chatter & Take 6)
30 Waiting For A Train (2.7) (Chatter, False Start, Slate #9)
31 Waiting For A Train (2.8)
32 Seasons Of My Heart (Slate & Master Take 1)
33 Teenage Letter (Slate, False Start, Master Take 2)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 15 Contains 1963
1 Your Lovin' Ways (Slate & Take 8)
2 Just Who Is To Blame (1) (False Start & Take)
3 Just Who Is To Blame (2) (Slate & Take 12)
4 Just Who Is To Blame (3)
5 Hong Kong Blues (1) (Slate & Take 2)
6 Hong Kong Blues (2) (Slate #4 & False Start)
7 Hong Kong Blues (3) (Take 4)
8 Love On Broadway (Chatter & Take)
9 One Minute Past Eternity (1) (Slate & Take 12)
10 One Minute Past Eternity (2)
11 One Minute Past Eternity (3)
12 Invitation To Your Party (1) (Slate #2 & False Start)
13 Invitation To Your Party (2) (Take 2)
14 Invitation To Your Party (3) (Slate, Chatter & Chords)
15 Invitation To Your Party (4)
16 Invitation To Your Party (5) (Slate #5, 2 False Starts, Slate #6)
17 Invitation To Your Party (6) (Take 6)
18 Invitation To Your Party (7) (Slate & Take 7)
19 Invitation To Your Party (8) (Slate #8, False Start, Chatter)
20 Invitation To Your Party (9)
21 I Can't Seem To Say Goodbye (1) (Slate #1, False Start, Take 1, Chatter)
22 I Can't Seem To Say Goodbye (2)
23 Carry Me Back To Old Virginia (1) (Slate & Take 1)
24 Carry Me Back To Old Virginia (2) (False Start, Slate, Take 2)
25 Studio Chatter (Fragment, Slate #3)
26 Carry Me Back To Old Virginia (3) (Take 3)
27 Carry Me Back To Old Virginia (4) (Chatter, Slate #4, False Start, Chatter)
28 Carry Me Back To Old Virginia (5) (Take 4)
29 Carry Me Back To Old Virginia (6) (Slate #5, Chatter, False Start, Slate #6, False Start, Chatter)
30 Carry Me Back To Old Virginia (7) (Extended Master)
31 The Wild Side Of Life (Stereo)
32 Billy Boy (Stereo)
33 My Bonnie (Stereo) (Slate & Take 4)
34 Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes (Stereo) (Master)
35 John Henry (stereo) (Extended Master)
36 What'd I Say (2 Stereo)
37 C C Rider (1 Stereo)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 16 Contains Stereo Tracks 1960-1962
1 When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again (1 Stereo)
2 When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again (2 Stereo)
3 No More Than I Get (Stereo)
4 When I Get Paid (Stereo) (Master)
5 Love Made A Fool Of Me (Stereo) (Master)
6 I Forgot To Remember To Forget (2 Stereo)
7 Cold Cold Heart (2 Stereo) (Master)
8 Livin' Lovin' Wreck (Stereo) (Master)
9 What'd I Say (3 Stereo) (Master)
10 It Won't Happen With Me (2 Stereo) (Master)
11 C C Rider (2 Stereo)
12 I Love You Because (2 Stereo)
13 Save The Last Dance For Me (Stereo) (Master)
14 Lewis Workout (Stereo)
15 Hello Josephine (1 Stereo) (Slate & Master Take 1)
16 High Powered Woman (1 Stereo)
17 My Blue Heaven (2.1 Stereo)
18 My Blue Heaven (2.2 Stereo)
19 Sweet Little Sixteen (1 Stereo)
20 Ramblin' Rose (1 Stereo) (Extended Master)
21 Ramblin' Rose (2 Stereo)
22 Money (Stereo) (Master)
23 Rockin' The Boat Of Love (Stereo)
24 I've Been Twistin' (2 Stereo) (Slate & Take 4)
25 Whole Lotta Twistin' Going On (3 Stereo)
26 High Powered Woman (2 Stereo)
27 Sweet Little Sixteen (2.1 Stereo) (Slate & Take 1)
28 Sweet Little Sixteen (24 Stereo) (Master)
29 Hello Josephine (2 Stereo)
30 Set My Mind At Ease (1 Stereo)
31 Set My Mind At Ease (2 Stereo)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 17 Contains Stereo Tracks 1960-1962
1 Waiting For A Train (11 Stereo) (Chatter & Take)
2 Waiting For A Train (12 Stereo)
3 How's My Ex Treating You (2 Stereo)
4 Good Rockin' Tonight (2 Stereo)
5 Be-Bop-A-Lula (Stereo)
6 Hello Josephine (3 Stereo)
7 Good Golly Miss Molly (3 Stereo)
8 Good Golly Miss Molly (4 Stereo) (False Start)
9 Good Golly Miss Molly (5 Stereo)
10 Good Golly Miss Molly (6 Stereo) (Master)
11 I Can't Trust Me (In Your Arms Anymore) (1 Stereo)
12 I Can't Trust Me (In Your Arms Anymore) (2 Stereo)
13 I Can't Trust Me (In Your Arms Anymore) (3 Stereo) (Master)
14 My Pretty Squadron (Stereo)
15 Waiting For A Train (2.1 Stereo) (Take 1)
16 Waiting For A Train (2.2 Stereo) (Take 2)
17 Waiting For A Train (2.3 Stereo)
18 Waiting For A Train (2.4 Stereo) (Back Vocal Tune, Slate & Take 5)
19 Waiting For A Train (2.6 Stereo) (Take & False Start)
20 Waiting For A Train (2.8 Stereo)
21 Seasons Of My Heart (Stereo) (Master)
22 Teenage Letter (Stereo) (False Start & Master Take 2)
23 Your Lovin' Ways (Stereo)
24 Just Who Is To Blame (1 Stereo)
25 Just Who Is To Blame (2 Stereo)
26 Just Who Is To Blame (3 Stereo)
27 Hong Kong Blues (1 Stereo)
28 Hong Kong Blues (3 Stereo) (False Start & take 4)
29 Love On Broadway (Stereo)
30 One Minute Past Eternity (1 Stereo)
31 One Minute Past Eternity (2 Stereo)
32 Invitation To Your Party (9 Stereo)
33 I Can't Seem To Say Goodbye (2 Stereo)
34 Carry Me Back To Old Virginia (7 Stereo) (Master)
Original Sun Recordings

CD 18 Contains Re-Engineered Tracks
1 Great Balls Of Fire (2.6) (Master Take with Alternate Drum Overdub)
2 You Win Again (2d) (Master)
3 High School Confidential (3.8) (Master 3.5 & 3.2 Spliced)
4 Fools Like Me (3d) (Master)
5 Goodnight Irene (3d) (Master)
6 When The Saints Go Marching In (d) (Master)
7 It All Depends (1d) (Alternate Overdub)
8 It All Depends (1d) (Master)
9 Matchbox (1d) (Master)
10 I'll Make It All Up To You (2.6d) (Guitar Overdub)
11 I'll Make It All Up To You (2.6d) (Master)
12 It Hurt Me So (6d) (Master)
13 Let's Talk About Us (2.1d) (Chorus Rehearsal & Alternate Chorus Overdub)
14 Let's Talk About Us (2.1d) (Master)
15 Baby Baby Bye Bye (1.1d) (Master)
16 Baby Baby Bye Bye
(Backing Vocals by Gene Lowery Singers) (1.1ds) (Fully Dubbed Master Take 11)
17 Old Black Joe (4d) (Master)
18 Old Black Joe (Backing Vocals by Gene Lowery Singers) (4ds) (Fully Dubbed Master Take)
19 I've Been Twistin' (3) (Master 1 & 2 Spliced)
20 Settin' The Woods On Fire (d) (Instrumental Overdub)
21 Break Up (1.8d) (Chorus Overdub)
22 Break Up (2.1d1) (Chat & Overdub #1)
23 Break Up (2.1d2) (False Start to ''Settin' The Woods On Fire'' & Overdub #3)
24 Break Up (2.1d3) (False Start to ''Settin' The Woods On Fire'' & Overdub #5)
25 Break Up (3.5d) (Chorus Overdub & Fragment)
26 I'll Make It All Up To You (1.3d) (Chatter & Chorus Overdub)
27 I'll Make It All Up To You (1.5d) (Chorus Overdub)
28 Let's Talk About Us (1.5d) (Female Chorus Overdub)
29 High School Confidential (2.2d) (Movie Version)
30 The Return Of Jerry Lee
31 Two unidentified Snippets of Unknown ''Lost Tracks''
Original Sun Recordings 

© Original Sun Recordings, licensed from Sun Entertainment, Inc.  

For Biography of Jerry Lee Lewis see: > The Sun Biographies <
Jerry Lee Lewis' Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

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THE ''GREAT BALLS OF FIRE'' THEORY - Let's now turn to the next major landmark, ''Great Galls Of Fire''. The related development work has been one of the more sensitive subjects to deal with, not least because it involves disputing a series of dates that have hitherto been regarded by many as reputable entries in the often far from dependable recording diary. It seems, however, that this is a case where Sam Phillips did deliberately draw a veil over proceedings when he reported studio activity to the musicians' union, while others involved in the recording of Jerry Lee's second million-seller have contributed to the confusion by claiming that the finished product was arrived at in a single take. This fancy was perpetuated by Jerry Lee's bass player, cousin and sometime father-in-law Jay W. Brown as recently as in 2010, but it's a weak proposition in the face of so many indications to the contrary. One might speculate that such a declaration was originally part and parcel of Sam's efforts to outwit the union; looked at in that light, abiding loyalty to such a deception would be laudable!

However, it's clear that such stories about only ''one take'' being required to arrive at an impeccable cut, be it of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' itself or others of Jerry Lee's hits, haven't always been inspired by any intention to mislead. Rather, they may be down to a basic misunderstanding between the musicians involved and some of those who have delved into these events in much later years. It's only fair to say that the likes of Jay W. Brown, Jimmy M. Van Eaton and Jerry Lee himself wouldn't necessarily have regarded as ''takes'' any performances which were, in effect, only ''rehearsals'', while their own perceptions of the process may have failed to acknowledge the fact that quite so many run-throughs were being captured on tape, far less being kept for posterity. How valid this argument is in respect of the work undertaken on ''Great Balls Of Fire'' remains open to question, though it's easier to sustain in respect of ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On''; as we have seen, the master of the latter was, as both Jerry Lee Lewis and Jack Clement were always keen to emphasise, nailed in ''one take''. What is undeniable is that those who contributed to the making of this history would never have imagined that their work in the Sun studio, however formal or otherwise, would decades later be the subject of such intense interest and analysis.

Leaving the ''single-take'' fable aside, the accepted wisdom is that each and every cut of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' dated from a three day span, Sunday 6 to Tuesday 8, October 1957. There is, however, no firm testimony in support of this suggestion, which was published in the 1983 LP set and has been repeated unchallenged in most subsequent accounts. And while the discography in the 1989 bear Family set ''Classic'' did at least cast doubt on the belief that all fifteen takes originated in October, and pointed to a less intensive schedule, it fell short of providing any detail.

The premise that everything was recorded over the course of three days in October fails to pay regard to Sam Phillips' own declaration in later years that, having been pressed by Warner Brothers to supply a tape of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' for use in the film ''Jamboree'', he had submitted to the producers the best of what he already had to hand, while remaining determined to achieve still better results for the eventually single release. The idea that Sam would have sent to Warner Brothers an inferior cut for want of a day or two in early October doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. And the fact that the film was premiered on November 12, while not making an October date for the recording of the audio of Jerry Lee Lewis' contribution impossible, adds weight to the argument against the traditional explanation.

Contemporaneous published accounts also discredit the notion of an all-embracing October session and signify a different chain of events; these sources indicate that the recording of the so-called ''movie cut'' and its numerous sound-alike takes predated that of the finished master, as heard on Sun 281, not by just one or two days but quite possibly by an interval of at least two months. In all likelihood, the version heard on the soundtrack was actually taped before Jerry Lee's first live television appearance on ''The Steve Allen Show'', broadcast from New York City on Sunday July 28, 1957. This deduction is supported by a report in Billboard magazine of August 5, 1957 signposting that the lip-synched contribution to ''Jamboree'' was filmed during the same excursion to the north-east, which in turn points to the ''movie-take'' having been recorded before Jerry Lee Lewis left Memphis on July 25, 1957.

What seems most likely is that Jud Phillips, Sam's brother, having been made responsible for promoting Jerry Lee nationally and securing the TV dates, made his way to the New York office of music publishers Hill & Range well in advance of the July 28, commitment. Jud's assertion that he introduced the staff writers to ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On'' and invited them to devise a potential follow up is entirely persuasive. In response, a demo and/or the score for ''Great Balls Of Fire'' would have been dispatched to Memphis in time to allow tentative recordings to be made in advance of Jerry Lee's visit to New York both for the TV debut at the end of the month and, during the same venture, to film the movie cameo.

Let's also consider the aural evidence. The fifteen takes of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' readily fall into one or other of two detached groups; those which exhibit a relatively laboured guitar and bass rhythm, as heard in the frenetic ''movie'' take, and those that evince a more accomplished pattern, revealing enhanced tape echo, with the piano and the drums supposedly combining to form a wall of sound in the absence, according to some, of other instrumentation. Might this sea-change have been accomplished overnight? While it can't be ruled out absolutely, it is considered highly implausible; as a result, these recordings have now been split into the two groups and placed apart. The first session, at which the musicians were required to learn the song from scratch, culminated in the taping of the movie version. It's remembered by Jimmy Van Eaton as a chaotic exercise with a studio full of people, though clearly not everyone was impressed when it came to the dominant characters exchanging views on the subject of divine retribution.

On the second date, Jerry Lee Lewis is in an entirely secular frame of mind; exegesis has given way to excess. But, in his singing and playing, we can witness the steady progression from a relatively carefree, illdisciplined couple of run-throughs to the climactic ''master''; the sublime single release. At each stage a refinement of one sort or another is embodied, whether a change in emphasis or tone in part of the lyric, the stretching of a particular word or the intro-mission of an uncommon exclamation, or a new twist to the piano solo. Close analysis of this group also indicates that a bass guitarist is present throughout the session, up to and including the final take. This becomes readily identifiable during the second phase of the instrumental break, in which Jerry Lee's left hand drives the rhythm at eight to the bar and in so doing diverges from the walking bass line.

And there is even more substance to the issued master itself than has been generally acknowledge in the past. In combinning this song and Jerry Lee's talent, Sam Phillips knew that he was dealing with something extraordinary and he was painstaking in his search for the perfect rendition of ''Great Balls Of Fire''. This was to be Sun Records' magnum opus, its greatest hit to-date; the sound had to be both innovative and flawless. Jerry Lee had already had upwards of a dozen cracks at it but still something was missing, an extra component to complete the masterwork. Here's what appears to have happened next, based on the composition of separate tapes found in outtake boxes.

Having secured the sixth take at this second session, yet still unsatisfied, Sam decided to experiment and asked a percussionist to add a metronomic ''rim-shot'', hitting the edge of the snare drum, to accentuate the beat. Listen to the most conspicuous discrepancy between the master and all the preceding takes from this session; on the master alone one can hear a sharp, consistent strike on the edge of the drum. It might, of course, be thought that this was accomplished in real time, but a recent discovery in the Sun archives renders this proposition highly questionable; the reality seems to be that it wasn't recorded concurrently.

What we can now listen to, on a previously unreleased tape here presented on BCD 17254-18-1, is the cut that forms the basis of the ''master'' take lacking this ''rim-shot'' sound. This tape does, however, also feature an enhanced drum pattern compared to earlier takes, involving a supplementary layer of conventional ''skin shots'' on the snare drum. But the pronounced metronomic beat that helps define ''Great Balls Of Fire'', as known to the world, is absent. The distinction may appear subtle, but it is contended that this amounts to proof that the recording originally issued in November 1957 embodies an overdub of the defining ''rim-shot'' sound.

There is little reason to doubt that these less emphatic ''skin shots'' heard on this alternate are dubbed, rather then being representative of what was taped live and subsequently masked, either by the ''rim shot'' and/or other mastering techniques applied when the engineer prepared the track for release in 1957. Hence it is believed that what we have are two different overdubs adding extra percussion to the real time performance, one of which, featuring the ''rim shot'', was selected for release as Sun 281. It can be argued that the alternate presented on BCD 17254-18-1 sustains a closer relationship with the other recordings of the song, whereas the more obviously augmented ''rim shot'' version stands apart. Moreover, given the order in which the tapes were found in the outtake boxes, the balance of probability is weighted in favour of the rejected ''skin shot'' experiment being the first of two distinct overdubs, both having been made the fulfill Sam's ambition of lending additional muscle to the record. But being unable to present an underlying, undubbed, tape we have opted to include the master originally released on Sun 281 as part of the main sequence, rather than consign it to the collection of overdubs on BCD 17254-18-1.

Debates about the origin and the precise composition of this recording may well persist for as long as people continue to listen to popular music. One conclusion is undeniable. Promethean it assuredly is, yet evidently there were several pairs of hands at work in the genesis of the master take of ''Great Balls Of Fire'', the supposition that it represents nothing more than the inspired efforts of Jerry Lee Lewis and a drummer, supplemented by ''slapback echo'', is the myth.

by Andrew McRae, October 2015

ALL ABOUT THE JERRY LEE LEWIS SUN TAPES Jerry Lee Lewis At Sun Records: The Collected Works, gathers together every authentic, original recording that Bear Family Records has been able to find Jerry Lee at work, on his own account, in the Sun studios. It's as simple as that; a straightforward, sonic encyclopedia of every traceable note he sang and played at Sun, just as they were electronically etched onto magnetic tape between November 14, 1956 and August 28, 1963. Many of the recordings are interspersed with vignettes of studio chatter, preserved for posterity as the spools kept rolling between rehearsals and takes; from the mildest self-rebuke at a false start, to the legendary, emotional confrontation with Sam Phillips during which Lewis contemplates the dangers to his immortal soul having embarked upon the recording of ''Great Balls Of Fire''.

Thus CDs 1 to 15 (BCD 17254) comprise, in a chronological sequence, all extant recordings Jerry Lee made at Sun, including a small number of damaged and clipped tapes, exactly as cut in the studio. Any recording that proved to be available at source in stereo only have been down-mixed to mono to achieve the desired continuity in sound, thereby enabling the systematic delivery of everything concerned as a coherent body of work. It will be noted that this continuum includes eleven recordings which, in the accompanying discography, are designated ''undubbed masters'', a term that some readers may, with some justification, consider paradoxical. The expression merely reflects the fact that the basic tracks concerned are the original studio tapes of recordings that were subsequently reinforced with a vocal chorus and/or instrumentation prior to their initial release.

Complementing the main presentation, all the stereo mixes dating from 1960 to 1963 that have come to light in the Sun archives then follow, commencing on the latter part of CD 15 and continuing on CDs 16 and 17. Save only for minor repairs being applied to one or two damaged items, the tapes concerned have been reproduced faithfully; no stereo remixing has been undertaken by Bear Family. CD 18 then draws together the masters, as originally issued, of those recordings that were overdubbed, or otherwise re-engineered, for release during Lewis's tenure at Sun. These encompass not only the tracks from 1957 to 1960 that feature dubbed vocal choruses but also the spliced master of both ''High School Confidential'' and ''I've Been Twistin''', as released on the singles Sun 296 and Sun 374 respectively. All these records as first issued are, of course, rather better known than the unadorned performances featured in the main concatenation; although the accent in this set is on authenticity, the exclusion of these embellishments on a point of principle simply couldn't be justified. And those who do wish to be reminded of a rather less well judged application of the technique of splicing, when Sam Phillips and his fellow producer Jack Clement conspired in cobbling together snippets from Lewis's hit records to synthesise the novelty item ''The Return of Jerry Lee'' will find this at the very end of the set.

The eighteen CD also covers a selection of less familiar augmented recordings, where a vocal overdub or instrumentation was added to the original work on an experimental basis. Foremost amongst these is a tape of ''Settin' The Woods On Fire'' embellished shortly after Lewis had finished his work in the studio. This, and the other overdubs featured, pass muster on the grounds that these alterations were generated contemporaneously by the original studio personnel. In the case of ''Settin' The Woods On Fire'' the recording dubbed with guitar, bass and drums, was first released in 1971 amongst the series of albums issued by Sun International Corporation following Shelby Singleton's purchase of the Sun catalogue. A not insignificant number of such tapes were concocted, many burdened with unappealing supplements that add little of interest to the raw productions. IN one or two instances, the items in question have been published on latterday CD Sun compilations but, given that the underlying original recordings are made available within this set, the enhanced tapes have not necessarily been included here. Rather, it has been decided to select a representative sample of such overdubs simply to unveil the process.

It should be also noted that a number of other tapes corrupted with added instrumentation, when leased in the mid-1960s to the budget label Pickwick, have been left to gather dust on the obscure vinyl on which they emerged fifty years ago. Adhering to the same principle, any tarnished material that Shelby Singleton contrived to transform from the original without, it might be said, a great deal of subtlety, will not be found in this box set. The only duets accommodated here are entirely genuine. And for the avoidance of any doubt, this set does not, of course, incorporate anything of the so-called ''re-processed stereo'' effect exhibited on Sun International LPs released between 1969 and 1972.

There is a further qualification. We are not concerned here with Jerry Lee's several engagements at Sun as a session musician during late 1956 and early 1957, when he played piano on the recordings of Billy Riley, Carl Perkins and others. The observation both of this principle and, it has to be said, issues of copyright, explain why the celebrated ''Million Dollar Quartet'' tapes, dating December 4, 1956, likewise do not feature in the box set.

Since the discovery in the late 1980s of tapes from a 1960 session that revealed ''The Great Speckled Bird, ''Don't Drop It'' and ''Keep Your Hands Off Of It (Birthday Cake)'', no ''new'' distinct titles as such by Jerry Lee Lewis have been found in the Sun storeroom. Since that time, in terms of unreleased material, fans have had to be satisfied by the occasional unheralded first outing of an alternate take, such as those of ''It'll Be Me'' and ''How's My Ex Treating You'' which slipped out on obscure US CD issues in 1996 and 1999 respectively, or an extra few seconds of a recording prematurely faded out on earlier releases, cases in point being ''Ramblin' Rose'', ''Hong Kong Blues'' and ''Money''. The full-length tapes of the latter have, of course, been used in compiling this collection.

Rumours of undiscovered titles nonetheless persist. The first to be mentioned in this connection is invariably Lewis's interpretation of ''We Three'', a 1940 hit for The Ink Spots. When introducing the song at a live show in Memphis in June 1961, Lewis stated ''...we intend to have it coming out on record pretty soon'', but was it recorded at Sun? The indications are positive. The surviving performance, familiar to fans thanks to an audience tape made public on a bootleg LP in 1972, bears witness that ''We Three'' had been worked on diligently; Jerry Lee's arrangement and a memorable piano solo suggest that it was well practised. Were it to have been recorded professionally, it would certainly have been worthy of a release. Noticeably, it possesses the hallmarks of Lewis's reading of another 1940s pop song, ''My Blue Heaven'', recorded in the Sun studio at 369 Madison Avenue on June 14, 1961. Moreover, on the ''live'' tape, ''We Three'' immediately precedes a jaunty recital of ''Hello Josephine'' which mirrors the arrangement of the song as cut at the same June 14 session. So it's not inconceivable that ''We Three'' was recorded in the studio and that the tape was lost or, heaven forefend, re-cycled. Perhaps it lies forgotten in a box abandoned in someone's attic outhouse, having been purloined from the official repository decades ago.

However, leaving aside that enigma, what have we actually got here that's ''new''? More than one hundred items included in this set are being issued officially for the first time, albeit as many as forty of these have been circulating privately on home-copied CDs amongst a few of Lewis's hard-core fans over the last twenty years or so, having somehow slipped out of the archives. Even so, at least fifty of the recordings here presented have escaped prior detection and have remained unheard until now.

Listening to these ''new'' takes, it is hard to understand quite how and why such an eccentric cut of ''It'll Be Me'' (BCD 17254-2-22) remained unacknowledged and unreleased. Equally, there are some remarkable prototype cuts of ''High School Confidential'' that have, it seems, lain undiscovered or been ignored for more than half a century. The tape boxes involved were examined by at least one authority back in the 1970s but it appears that these alternates were overlooked. One might argue that these earliest readings of the song are representative of a different, experimental, version of the song rather than being simply ''alternate takes'', which makes their fate in remaining unreleased until now all the harder to explain.

It has also been possible to accommodate a number of previously unheard false starts, fragments of incomplete ''lost'' takes and snippets of conversation and banter in the studio. At the same time, published examples of the latter have, where necessary, been restored to their rightful places in the continuum; for whatever reasons a number were, on earlier releases, re-edited with a cavalier disregard for their true origins and placed ahead of recordings to which they were wholly unrelated.

A great debt is owed to the producers of the several progenitors of this collection, including the first box set of Lewis's Sun recordings, the twelve LP set ''The Sun Years'', released in 1983 by Charly Records in the UK. Charly's ambitious approach which, for fans of early rock music, took the idea of a retrospective of an artist's work at a single company to an unprecedented level, established a template that was later adopted for the even more extensive eight CD box set issued during 1989 both by Charly Records and by Bear Family. At last, the collector could find almost every Lewis Sun recording thought worth having in one, or another, convenient package, the painstaking assembly of a library of scores of LPs, involving the repeated purchase of the same recordings of familiar songs for want of a particular title or an alternate take, was made a redundant exercise.

On all three occasions the compliers decided to present everything in a simple chronological order insofar as the dates of origin could reasonably be ascertained, it having been stated in the notes accompanying the 1983 vinyl set that a number of assumptions had been made to fill in the extensive blanks where conclusive information was unavailable, i.e. for almost entire two year period from November 1956 to the end of 1958. Notwithstanding this and similar disclaimers upon the release in 1989 of the rival CD products, Charly's ''The Sun Years'' and Bear Family's ''Classic'', such assumptions have subsequently come to be regarded by many as facts.

Thus the prevailing wisdom surrounding the chronology of Lewis's work at Sun dates from the materialisation of Charly's twelve LP collection and the dispositions arrived at in 1983 which since that time, subject only to minor revision in 1989, have remained largely unchallenged. To be fair, those involved were at pains to quality the vast majority of the quoted recording dates during the period concerned with either of the words ''probably'' or ''possibly''. Furthermore they conceded that much of their understanding, not only in respect of the allocation of particular recordings to discrete sessions but also the attribution of the names of backing musicians to specific events, amounted to nothing more than guesswork.

In 1993, Charly withdrew from sale its 208-track 1989 set and averred that it had produced ''The Ultimate'' collection of Jerry Lee's work at Sun, spread over twelve CDs nominally containing 318 separate tracks. Although the size of the box was increased by some fifty per cent it was again a case of simply adding to the inventory numerous alternates of familiar songs, the vaults having been emptied of any new titles per se with the release of ''Don't Drop It'' and others some four years previously. However, rather than proffer six or seven consecutive takes of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' or ''Breathless'', in ''The Ultimate'' Charly adopted an atypical course compared to that taken in the compilation of the earlier sets. The modus operandi was the marshalling of songs by reference to express themes; a collection of rock titles here, ''country roots'' there, ''rhythm and blues covers'' on the next CD and so on and so forth. This neatly avoided the tricky question of the assumed chronology, serious doubts about which, with the benefit of hindsight, were already beginning to surface.

The problem with ''The Ultimate'', leaving aside the misidentification and repetition of several recordings and the inadvertent exclusion of two titles altogether, was that from a fan's perspective the concept just didn't produce the goods. Amongst the well intentioned jumble, with different takes of individual titles scattered at random across the twelve CDs, there was no opportunity to make sense of how a particular song had been worked on by the musicians in the studio and how it had evolved into a finished master, something which the earlier sets had selectively allowed; rather, both the listener and, as it had turned out, the compilers, could become all too easily confused in trying to assess the distinctions between take ''x'' and take ''y'' of a particular title.

And so, to the current set, ''The Collected Works''. It has already been pointed out that the filing of session details at Sun had been notoriously lax, or, for much of the time, had been subject to deliberate obfuscation on the part of Sam Phillips. The rules of the American Federation of Musicians specified that recording sessions might comprise up to three hours work, involving work on four titles, but no more than that. Sam was required to submit returns to the union demonstrating compliance with these rules and it would seem that he wasn't averse to producing paperwork that would somehow stand up to official scrutiny, no matter that it bore little relationship to what had actually gone in the studio. As Colin Escott put it in his 1989 essay accompanying the ''Classic'' box set, Sam's reports were, to all intents and purposes, ''largely a work of fiction''. So, during the years 1956 to 1959, a key discipline had effectively been disregarded at Sun. And this was, of course, the period in respect of which such information would have proved most useful to the archivist, given that it was when Jerry Lee was at his most prolific in the recording studio, working intensively and regularly on the development of his hit records.

To complicate matters further, Phillips habitually used up any remaining free space at the end of previously recorded tapes and sometimes re-cycled them completely; this is yet another of the underlying causes of confusion about how sessions evolved, given that certain recordings had a habit of ending up in tape boxes where they bore no obvious relationship to many of the other contents. This consideration also begs the question of just what was lost by the indiscriminate erasure of many rehearsals and outtakes. What price just one ''alternate'' of ''Mean Woman Blues''?

In the absence of any definitive indication about exactly when particular recordings had been made, it was felt that there was every justification in trying to reassemble the jigsaw puzzle of the hundreds of tapes that have survived. The intention was to examine and where appropriate re-evaluate, though certainly not to traduce, any earlier studies of the subject. For the greater part the work of the 1983 team of experts has been revalidated. But it is deemed appropriate to amend the nominal chronology at certain points, in view of some fairly obvious anomalies in the 1983 list and with the benefit of thirty years hindsight.

The starting point was a conspicuous misunderstanding about the recording of Frankie And Johnny''. Having analysed various aspects of the performance it was realised that this track could not, as had been supposed by those involved in the compilation of the 1980s box sets, date from March 1958 but that it was much more likely to be the product of a session some nine months later. Listen to the drums and guitar; the much fuller sound indicates that this tape is out of place when set amongst relatively unpolished jewels such as ''Hello Hello Baby'' and ''Your Cheatin' Heart'', whereas it does share many of the atttributes of ''Lovin' Up A Storm'' and ''Big Blon' Baby'', songs with which it has now been realigned.

Prompted by that reflection, what else might be amiss? This narrative will not explain every change to the chronology; listeners accustomed to the 1983 running order can make comparisons and assess for themselves the conclusions put forward here. Perhaps some cherished notions have been subjected to what may be regarded by some as inappropriate revisionism, but the team which worked on this project throughout much of 2013 and 2014 is confident of the outcome of its findings.

It's only fair to acknowledge that one facility the pioneering researchers lacked was the luxury of time, a benefit granted in rather greater measure to those reassessing their work some thirty years later. The compilers of this set have been listening to the antecedent publications countless times over the course of several decades, rather than being new to much of the material and then having to make appraisals in a period of just a few weeks. Moreover, the ease of communication afforded by the internet, with the ability to exchange sound files instantaneously across vast distances, fostered the creation of a ''virtual'' committee that could pore over the details of each track with relative ease.

Modern technical conveniences not available to original researchers in the comfort of their own homes in the 1980s have provided other advantages. For example, the comparison of tapes from different sources is made possibly by listening at the same time to two recordings, with appropriate adjustment of their respective speeds as separate channels, in one test stereo track. In this way an undetected minor variation between successive takes may suddenly be made very apparent. Conversely, the existence of a supposedly distinct recording may be disproven; the dismissal of the identification of a bogus third take of ''Ramblin' Rose'' being an example of this.

Equally, for all the sins ascribed to digitalised sound files there's no doubt that ''flac'' files and MP3s provide an immense convenience when it comes to analysing subtle distinctions between successive takes of the same song. The fact that we can now enjoy no fewer than nine takes of ''Little Green Valley'', rather than the three previously determined, may well be down simply to the six new additions having been overlooked by the 1983 team, due both to time pressures and to the remarkably analogous sound across the entire suite of recordings. Is it possible that some alternates were dismissed by those erstwhile investigators in the belief that the tracks in the ''newly found'' batch were merely copies of other tapes found in another box? The nine variants of ''Little Green Valley'' also give a lie to the maxim that Lewis never recorded a song the same way twice; eight of nine are superficially consonant and one can spend hours poring over the detailed differences to tell them apart. Similarly, the manifold examples of ''Great Balls Of Fire'', ''Milkshake Mademoiselle' and High School Confidential'', though usually more recognisable as distinct entities, still require analysis of the slightest detail, be it a glissando buried in the mix during a guitar solo, or the substitution of an endearment such as ''sugar'' in place of ''honey'' somewhere in the lyric, to tell them apart with complete confidence.

The underlying methodology employed to arrive at the new timeline is much the same as that used hitherto, with the few irrefutable facts, such as the release of Lewis' singles, being taken as pointers to the recording dates of specific titles. Although an attempt has been made to define a calender of events, it often remains necessary to qualify the supposed date with an appropriate reservation. Consequently the emphasis is very much on treating the period concerned ''in the round'', and on simply charting the evolution of the Lewis sound over periods of months and years rather than trying to reconstruct what, given the deficiency of source date, will inevitably be an imprecise diary.

In so doing, we chart progress not simply in respect of individual titles, for example across the more than twenty takes of ''High School Confidential'', but also from one song to the next, as in the cases of ''Ubangi Stomp'', ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby'' and ''So Long I'm Gone'', a trio which are obvious bed-fellows. This is an important principle to follow given that there are so many songs of which only one performance was recorded. In this way, we can accommodate everything into the story of the development of the Lewis sound and highlight, where appropriate, the significance of a notable aspect of one recording to other titles in a linked sequence.

The written analysis is purposely selective. A few of the songs that Lewis performed once only at Sun, or at least where only one take has endured, will not necessarily receive a mention here; the accompanying discography is the authoritative guide to the content. Nor does this text furnish comprehensive details of the origins of all the songs that Lewis recorded; it is reasoned that such facts will be known to many readers by virtue of earlier releases while in the twenty-first century online resources can easily be referred to for this information. A core function of this text is simply to emphasise the slight distinctions between separate takes of the same song where the listener might not be expected, without spending a disproportionate amount of time and effort, to be able to segregate recordings with confidence. But those who independently wish to analyse each track to establish their singularity may, of course, chose to leave this essay aside!

In providing this commentary it is hoped that the listener will become all the more cognisant of the often painstaking work undertaken, on the part of Lewis, the backing musicians and the recording technicians, in arriving at the finished product. This thought prompts a further word of explanation. The authors of the first detailed account of Jerry Lee's work at Sun, Martin Hawkins and Colin Escott, having invited Jerry Lee to help in trying to establish the facts, had been told ''I played on them, what the hell else do you need to know''? It remains difficult to offer definitive pointers to who else was actually involved on specific occasions, although some guidance is offered in the accompanying discography. The presence of Roland Janes as guitarist on most of the early sides is not in doubt, not least thanks to Jerry Lee habitually identifying him at the start of each guitar solo, while Jimmy Van Eaton is likewise an almost constant companion on the recordings made at 706 Union Avenue.

There is nonetheless cause to mistrust previously published session lists detailing the supposed involvement of certain personnel; and to be candid, good reason to be wary of some of the revisionism presented here! This work is not devoid of speculation. But much of that now postulated reflects the careful analysis of individual performance traits, while any obvious anomalies in earlier works have been addressed. For example although the Charly discographies stuck resolutely to the idea that Sidney Manker was the sole guitarist involved in the session which produced ''Ooby Dooby'', this suggestion openly disregards the fact that Jerry Lee is heard calling Roland to attention in the usual way before the delivery of his readily identifiable contribution.

It also needs to be said that the assertions of some of those directly involved have been treated with a degree of circumspection, given that all too frequently they contradict one another, and the statements volunteered sometimes don't tally with the few documented facts. In Rick Bragg's exposition' (''Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story'' - Rick Bragg: Harper Collins Publishers, 2014), Jerry Lee claims not to have known the name of the drummer on the ''historic recording'' of ''Great Balls Of Fire'', while his recollection of the bass player's identity, ''Sidney Stokes'', is at odds with that of Jay W. Brown, who suggests in his own book (''Whole Lotta Shakin''' - J.W. Brown with Rusty Brown: Continental Shelf Publishing 2010) , that it was Al Stanger. As Lewis also told Bragg, ''...people like to remember things in a certain way''. In this instance, though, they might both be right; the most positive lead we can follow out of the melee of memories is that these rival stories lend weight to the proposition that the recording of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' was by no means as straightforward as many would have us believe.

by Andrew McRae, 2015

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