In 1956, Jerry Lee Lewis made his first ever recordings at Memphis’ Sun Studio, the home of the legendary label founded by Sam Phillips. Some three decades later, across town, he began recording with Sam’s son Knox, playing songs like Chuck Berry‘s “Johnny B. Goode,” gospel standard “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior” and pop classic Harbor Lights” in sessions that would usually begin some time after midnight.
Now, after nearly 40 years locked away, those songs are finally being released, compiled on the new The Knox Phillips Sessions LP and out September 23rd on Saguaro Road (available for pre-order here). Below, stream the album’s opener, an extended jam on Jim Croce’s “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” that ends with Lewis ad-libbing lyrics that at times resemble those of Hank Williams‘ “I’ve Been Down That Road Before.” “I have struck again with a 14 million-seller underground record,” he shouts as the music ends.
“I remember Jerry Lee Lewis had thunder in his left hand and lightning in his right hand,” Phillips recently said of these sessions. “It was like a rhythm trip.”