The Survivors Live - Rolling Stone
×
Home Music Album Reviews

The Survivors Live

As Johnny Cash’s slyly funny liner notes explain, this legendary trio’s impromptu show in Stuttgart, Germany, last April is a first-take, unrehearsed affair — the three all just happened to be playing at a European music festival. Each man sings at least one signature tune (e.g., Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes”) and they team up on several ready-at-hand chestnuts from country music’s public domain of warmhearted cornpone (“That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine”) and old-time religion (“I Saw the Light”).

The results are mixed. Cash, as always, sounds like a comfortable, potent icon. Stuttgart was his date, and he runs the show, cooing to his cronies and speaking to the crowd in knock-kneed German. Perkins huffs through his vocal turns, shaky though somehow compelling. But it’s when Cash brings on “das best” — Jerry Lee Lewis — that things really heat up. Lewis’ pumping piano invigorates the band and — just as when he vied to dominate Sun Records’ Million Dollar Quarter with Perkins, Cash and Elvis Presley twenty-six years ago — his self-involved hollering makes for some real excitement.

Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.