Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Listening to “Jerry Lee Lewis 25 All-Time Greatest Sun Recordings,” I discovered “Lewis Boogie” for the first time.

What I found so unusual is hearing someone giving a singing introduction of them self in the lyrics. “Lewis Boogie” begins with: “My name is Jerry Lee Lewis from Looosiana.”

When I played this for a friend, he said Jerry Lee is famous for third person references to himself in his music, and “Lewis Boogie” may be what started him using that gimmick.

What are some of those songs that include Jerry mentioning himself by name?
—Cedric Bailey, Anderson, Ind.

DEAR CEDRIC: Recorded in 1957, but not issued until the summer of '58, “Lewis Boogie” set in motion the self-mention tactic that became a trademark. Your friend is right.

“Lewis Boogie” (Sun 301) is the second of about 20 of his original compositions, the first being the extraordinary “End of the Road” (Sun 259), his debut single. Most folks know very little about his songwriting proficiency.

Among Jerry's many memorable tracks, including all his Pop and Country chart hits, some immediately come to mind wherein Jerry mentions either “Jerry,” “Jerry Lee,” or “Jerry Lee Lewis.” Not included here are tunes in which Jerry refers to himself only as “The Killer”:

“Lewis Boogie” (1956); “I Believe in You” (1965); “Once More with Feeling” (1970); “Sweet Georgia Brown” (1971); “Coming Back for More” (1971); “Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone” (1971); “Chantilly Lace” (1972); “Think About It Darlin'” (1972); “Who's Gonna Play This Old Piano” (1972); “Turn on Your Love Light” (1972); “No More Hanging On” (1973); “He Can't Fill My Shoes” (1974); “I Can Still Hear the Music in the Restroom” (1975); “Rockin' My Life Away” (1979); “Over the Rainbow” (1980); “When Two Worlds Collide” (1980); “Honky Tonk Stuff” (1980); “My Fingers Do the Talkin'” (1982); and “My Life Would Make a Damn Good Country Song” (1992). Others definitely exist, tucked away on about five dozen LPs and CDs, but finding them would require listening to hundreds of cuts.

Noteworthy too is Jerry's numerous live albums. Many contain concert versions of his hits with mentions of himself on tracks where that is not the case with the original recordings.

Now 74, Jerry Lee Lewis still maintains a very active work schedule. Having recently returned home from Brazil, he then flew to Europe for performances this month in France; Norway; the Czech Republic; Germany; and Sweden.

His latest single, written by Kris Kristofferson, is titled “Mean Old Man,” though I doubt Jerry is that. Shockingly, it is not on our list of ones with his name in the lyrics.

DEAR JERRY: Though I have been a record collector since the '50s, I have just recently become curious about the meaning of “C.C. Rider.”

What or who is “C.C. Rider”?
—Sam Cortright, Candor, N.Y.

DEAR SAM: “See See Rider Blues,” written and recorded in 1924 by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, is generally regarded as simply a blues song about an “easy rider” — meaning a mooch of a boyfriend, an unfaithful one, or both.

Rainey's 78 rpm single (Paramount 12252), with accompaniment by Louis Armstrong, sold quite well for its time.

Of the approximate 150 versions inspired by Ma's original, the lyrics and their meaning varies widely as artistic license is often taken — even with the title.

Most recordings are shown only as “See See Rider,” though some use “C.C. Rider” for a title.

Of the five subsequent versions that became hit singles, it is coincidental how the titles alternate evenly: (1942) “See See Rider Blues” (Wee Bea Booze); (1957) “C.C. Rider” (Chuck Willis); (1963) “See See Rider” (LaVern Baker); (1965) “C.C. Rider” (Bobby Powell); and (1966) “See See Rider” (Eric Burdon and the Animals).

One interesting use of this song came along in the 1966 Top 10 medley, “Jenny Take a Ride,” by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.

While there is no mention of this portion of the medley in the title, they could easily have shown it as “See See Ryder.”

IZ ZAT SO? Though “See See Rider” was not a stateside hit single after 1966, by using it to open his live shows in the '70s, Elvis Presley made the song, and its sales, bigger than ever.

“See See Rider” is the title on all of the U.S. Elvis records; however, when issued on a single in the UK the label reads “C.C. Rider.”

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