Here's my description of "Mean Woman Blues," the opening track on the album:
Thank you, thank you very much ladies and gentleman. I’d like to say it’s a pleasure, a great honor, to be back at the fabulous, most beautiful, I mean really swingin’ Star-Club. Yeah!
“Mean Woman Blues,” the lead cut, is nothing short of a mini concert in and of itself. Loch chose well: Jerry Lee had released a version of Claude Demetrius’ song on an EP in 1957, a few months after Elvis Presley had issued his own take (on the Loving You film soundtrack). Elvis’ version was fun, swinging, and pretty dirty for the late-1950s, and he clearly has fun taking the risk. Jerry Lee’s version is typically perverse in that the subject of the song shifts from a woman who’s so mean that she fucks with an angry face, to…well, to the Killer himself, who pinches the spotlight in the first verse and never relinquishes it. Oh, the mean woman gets a nod or two, mostly in the form of lascivious ogling of ruby lips and shapely hips, but apparently more urgent for Jerry Lee is a discourse on his love for coffee and tea. As always, the lyrics take a back seat to their filthy delivery which takes a back seat to Jerry Lee’s piano playing which takes a back seat to nothing and no one. By the end, “Mean Woman Blues” is the Killer’s only (with help from the rock-steady trio of Roland Janes, J.W. Brown, and Jimmy Van Eaton, of course). And it’s become the standard bearer: when Roy Orbison released his version of the song in 1963 he assaulted welcoming charts with Jerry Lee’s arrangement, substituting his own name for Jerry Lee’s in a kind of a geeky, understudy eagerness that somehow works.
“Mean Woman Blues” smokes. Peter Harris’ bass is warmly recorded, providing ample road for Jerry Lee’s jalopy-joyride of a performance, and Jenkins and John Allen ably keep up, Jenkins punishing his ride cymbal in double-time and Allen battening down the hatches with a clipped rhythm, tossing out tentative licks at the ends of some lines—but for all intents and purposes the Nashville Teens sound astonished, as if they’ve awoken on a carnival ride at the crest of a steep hill. Jerry Lee’s left hand is bedrock: sure, cocky, clock-perfect. His right hand virtually stages a show itself: rooster-like in its swagger, proud, flashy. Thirty seconds into the song and you can feel the sense of wire-taut fun and abandon, and the palpable fear that the whole thing might fall apart soon if the players aren’t careful. The Nashville Teens pay close attention on the verses—remember, only thirty seconds before they didn’t know what song they were going to be playing—and hit the stops well, though the Killer rushes through them, impatient.
Soon the song arrives at the place everyone in the crowd is waiting for, the first solo—Jerry Lee lets loose a yeah-hah! and pistons his right hand in eighth notes while Jenkins and Harris squeeze shut their eyes and go along for the ride, borne aloft by a delirious whistle from the crowd. The glissandos are hysterical now. Jerry Lee tosses Allen his first guitar solo, which he plays well, raw and choppy, though it’s hard to hear in the mix and beneath his bandmates bashing around. Jerry Lee speeds up and barks Go! to the band—impatient to get back on mike? Testing the band’s endurance? By the time the Killer does butt back in to holler that he ain’t bragging but you know it’s understood that when he does something he does it mighty good, it sounds like redundant boasting.What language barrier? During the breakdown in “Mean Woman Blues” Jerry Lee’s yeah’s, oh’s, uh-huh’s, ooh’s, growls, and general vocal silliness elicit hoarse and happy cheers from the crowd. No translation necessary, vielen dank, for the universal poetry of Rock & Roll, Bluster, and Sex; the Killer’s strong hands, his arrogant wide-leg splay at the piano, the countless lagers paraphrase the song just fine. At one point in the show Jerry Lee joins in with the crowd as they chant Jerry, Jerry, Jerry…! It’s the only word they really need to understand.
If you do purchase and read Jerry Lee Lewis: Lost and Found, I advise that you do so in a controlled environment. There's some serious mayhem here. A clip of Lewis playing "High School Confidential" on U.K. television a few weeks before the Star-Club gig: