This show report was published exclusively in issue #2 of my magazine 'The Bop Cat', May/June 1967, filed by our U.S. reporter Dee Snoble.
Jerry Lee Lewis at the 'Arcaro' show bar in Erlanger, Ky, Friday - March/31/67. By Screamin' Dee Snoble.
It was FANTASTIC! You just
wouldn't believe how great! Man, last nite this place 'Arcaro's' in Erlanger had its first big name act with Jerry Lee and man, the joint was PACKED! We got there early tho' and
got a pretty good table. I had bought the King a fifth of Canadian Whisky and asked the manager if I could see the King awhile after his first (10.30pm) show. The guy was
reluctant and replied he'd have to ask JLL first and all that garbage. I got sorta scared, coz I didn't know if I'd get in to talk to him or not.
Well anyway we got in there
at about 8pm and the Memphis Beats statred to play at 9.30. In the interval between I talked with some of the folk there. They all dug the King and some claimed to be avid fans,
but they weren't 100% ravers. At 9.15 or so the Memphis Beats were warming up and I decided to go talk to 'Tarp' (Morris Tarrant) the GREAT JLL drummer. I went up on the stage and
said: 'Hi Tarp, do you think I can get in to talk to "The King"?'
'What's yer name?' he yelled at me (he's a REAL character, believe me) and I said 'Screamin' Dee'.
'Oh, well hi!' How have YOU
been; we've not seen you for so long' he went on. 'Sure you can see Jerry, we're back in the "kitchen" behind the bar.' I asked him if we were gonna get a new LP and he
said not real soon, but they are cutting a single around April 12 - a new sorta thing with NO piano!
We talked for a bit and then
they started playin'. He's got a real good group now - Tarp is one of the best drummers I've heard, and the cats on guitar (and even the organist!) were real great. They had some
other singer with them. J. Frank Wilson, who's had a bunch of squaries out. However, seems like the JLL gang have taken him in, tryin' to make a half decent rocker of him and J.
Frank seemed to be doin' some better - but still didn't grab me much. (The Raymond Blondell of 1967 perhaps? - Tony)
Anyway I turned around and
THE KING walked by! MAN, I flipped! Sure looking mighty great these days; he was dressed in his usual immaculate way, in a black suit and boots. Really sharp. The Memphis Beats
were doin' the intro they do on 'BY REQUEST' and the King was in front of the stage LEADIN' 'em like the symphony maestro!! It was great, everyone was clappin' and yellin' like
crazy and gathered round the little stage to watch the 'Great Ball of Fire' and King of Rock'n'Roll himself. As he began, a fight broke out between a drunk guy and a bouncer. JLL
stopped and told them to quit: 'There's already enough fighting over in Vietnam' he said.
Well I got in pretty close
and after JLL said a few opening words he broke all Hell loose with 'Down The Line'. Halfway thru he looked at me and in the middle of a verse says 'See ol' Screamin' Dee's here!'
and fits it into the song almost! I waved at him and laughed as I bopped away madly. All the WILD people were in front of that stage dancin', yellin' and all - it was beautiful.
Then the King did 'You Win Again', 'Don't Be Cruel', the Merle Haggard C&W hit 'Closin' Time' (swingin' doors, a jukebox and a barstool) ('Swingin' Doors' obviously, before he cut the track for Mercury - Tony),
'Memphis', 'City Lites' and 'Johnny B. Goode' - this was frantic, with a long wild bit of go-go-go-go-go at 'machine gun' speed' By now I'd worked my way up and was no more than
three feet away from the King. I was stil boppin'; and the wild crowd aroun me was tryin' to encourage me more yet! Then Jerry said to me: 'How you bin, Dee?' I shook my head in
effect 'fine'. Then he says, pointing at me:' Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Screamin' Dee and she's one heck of a wild fan - you can't beat her with a stick. Fans like her are the
finest people in the world. Dee, I dedicate the next song to you. I don't do this one very often but I just feel like doin it now.' With that he sang 'Breathless' - the GREATEST
EVER version and the first time I ever heard it live. I was so totally KO'd over him sayin' all that I was GONE, baby, GONE, GONE GONE! All those kids kept haingin' on me sayin':
'Do you KNOW him?' (etc.). 'Leeme alone!' I screamed back and bopped away like MAD. Then he kidded us: 'Next show I'll do this one' and started into 'Great Balls of Fire' and
quit. We all yelled: 'Do it!' so he said: 'Just to show you my heart's in the right place I'll do it'. Man, the rafters SHOOK! He pounded the '88' to pieces, and some of that
fantastic foot-on-the-keyboard, if-ya-can't-bust-it-one-way-kick-it-to-death stuff. Man! Wot a SHOWMAN! That dive was a good 110 degress by then - no foolin'. JLL combed his hair
and all that bit and said: 'Let's hear it for my boys.' Cheers away. Then he said they'd traveled 600 miles that day and he was two days without sleep - he didn't act tired tho'!!
But he said he'd do us another song and said next show 'I'll do this' and began 'Shakin'. 'Keep it up!' we yelled. He stopped. 'Well wot will I do in the second show?' 'Sing it
again!' we sez, so he said 'OK Babies' and A Whole Lotta Shakin' we had!!! MAN ALIVE he put down such sounds to send us round the bend!! Then he sprang up like a wildman and sent
the bench flyin' - I was so close I could see it splinter when it hit an amp! Man, he shook! Then the quiet bit with the waggin' finger, 'shake it one time'. On and on it went,
then he pounced on piano and went mad. He then let the group do a verse alone while he puts his hands in his pockets and strolls around! Then he looks at the distance between the
ceiling and the piano top, obviousLEE deliberating whether or not to get on it. We were all but ON stage screamin' 'Get on it, Get on it'. I pounded the keyboard and all - I was
GONE! Well, he had about three and a half feet from ceiling to piano top but yep, he got ON it crouching down real low and SHOOK! Oh Baby it was fantastic; we were climbin' the
walls it was so good! Then he stands partly up and puts his head against one of the ceiling panels. They were loose and swung up, so he's there shakin' WITH HIS HEAD IN THE ATTIC!
Wot a sight, then he jumped off, sat on the keyboard, jumped up and pounded out the ending from down on his knees!! Christ, it was beautiful! Morris was up on the drum kit jumpin'
up and down to the beat and Jerry Lee on his knees shakin' one hand to Tarp in time to the beat and choppin' away with his other!! Man you should have heard the crowd yell! The
King said 'Thanks' and all, looking rather happy as the yelling and noise carried on for a good five mintues. Jerry managed to get off stage, shaking hands as he went, and some of
us got on stage and bopped to Jerry Lee's theme.
WHAT a show! By far the best I ever saw him do, and the longest too - he was on a good 45 mintues. (Take
note of this - 45 minutes, and no-one moaned about it being a short show! - Tony)
I managed to calm a bit,
told my friend to sit tight and wait for me and proceeded to the 'kitchen', bottle of booze in hand. I walked thru the swingin' doors and I was there - kitchen Hell! It looked
like someone's uncleaned water-leaking basement - but there in the rubble sat the King, who said: 'Hi Dee!' as I walked in and shook hands and all. 'Happy New Year' I said and
gave him the bottle. 'Is this for me? Oh thanks, but you shouldn't have.' By now I spotted a portable TV, 'Kin I sit on your television?'
'Sure, wanna drink - get Dee
a drink', and so we settled down to talk. it was great for about two minutes then droves of people started coming in and it was autographs, autographs, autographs, and this very
pen got a real work-out. In between I talked to Cecil and The King. This Cecil is one really great cat and I said: 'Cec, I want your autograph'.
'Why, ain't worth nothin''
'Yes it is, you're Jerry's
friend and so you're my friend too', so he signed 'Yours CJH' on my right wrist, then Jerry Lee got in the act and signed: 'To Dee with love Jerry Lee L.' on my other wrist, so
today I'm a regular tatooed lady! (I refused to wash them off!)
Well some of the kids comin'
back were OK, but the majority were rude dolts all the while askin' him stoopid questions like 'Where do you live' and 'What was your first record'. I don't see how Jerry was so
patient, he was really tired and no one would leave him alone. The second show was at 1 a.m. and he was so tired he said he wished he didn't have to do it. I really felt sorry for
him with that mob in there and all; I wanted to round them all up and say OK kids, he works hard enough for us, let's give him some rest! But finally they all cleared out.
Jerry told me that there will be no LP in the near future, but a single with no piano is due ('Turn On Your Lovelight'? - Tony).
He said the European tour was off due to promoter problems. On the subject of Tom Jones, Jerry says for us NOT to be mad at him as he did those songs as a tribute to Jerry. ('Green Green Grass Of Home' and 'Detroit City' from Jerry's 'Country Songs For City Foks' album - Tony).
'Natch!' he said, he'd NEVER
quit shakin' and would be the world's oldest rocker - a 'Jimmy Durante of the Rock'n'Roll type'. He said the play (Catch My Soul) might be in December, but he NO LONGER PLANS TO
MOVE OUT OF MEMPHIS and he has NOT moved to New York City as rumor has it - in fact he shuddered at the thought. I gave Cecil a copy of 'The Bop Cat' as he wanted to see it after
I told them about it. Jerry said he wanted to 'read it tomorrow when I kin see'.
Then we got to singin'
Jimmie Rodgers songs. Jerry did 'The Women Make A Fool Outa Me' and he sings GREAT with no accompaniment. Then we got on the subject of who was great. 'Elvis' came up - 'Elvis
Presley is a tired old man!' I sez, and Jerry laughed: 'She's hit it. He's got all kinds of talent, but he hides himself up, ignores his fans and never uses it'. We got on to
C&W artists, then he said: 'The greatest artist is the one that can get up and keep an audience entertained for an hour or so.' 'You', I kept sayin'. Someone asked me what I
believe in, and I replied: 'I believe in THIS man!' and Lee Lewis smiled saying 'You better keep believin' in me coz I'm goin' places, you better believe it. Frank Sinatra better
look out coz here I come!' It was wild - I reckon he never really gets off stage; he's great to watch and listen to even when he's not singing'! He told me all about how Lee
Dorsey and the mod groups got pelted with fruit and eggs on that past UK tour and how wild the shows were. (See what I mean - Blondell got off lightly with just a few heckles,
not rotten cabbages! One mod group's drummer got hit with an empty beer bottle thrown by a Teddy boy at a rock'n'roll gig - Tony). He really digs you cats from the UK and
again praised your club and all.
He shaved off his mustache
coz it got 'crooked' and he couldn't fix it. All his boys and Cecil have them tho'. Then they put his coat and tie back on him and made him go do the 1.00 show.
One of the things Jerry said while on stage during the earlier show, when I shouted; 'You're the King!':
'Well I don't know, they got all kinda kings these days. But I reckon when I'm sittin' here at this piana, I am THE King!'