Masterminded by fellow Louisiana wildman Huey P. Meaux
, Southern Roots
wasn't a hit but it turned into a legend, roundly acknowledged as the Killer's last great stand, which is why it's been reissued many times over the years. Bear Family, which included the album as part of its massive 2000 box Mercury Smashes…And Rockin' Sessions
, assembled the deepest excavation of the Southern Roots
sessions in 2013 with their double-disc set Southern Roots: The Original Sessions
, which contains the original ten-track LP and nine further completed outtakes from the sessions, plus an additional CD of studio chatter and alternate takes. Almost all of this second disc consists of Jerry Lee
alone at the piano, running through songs then either bitching about them or finding some other manner of distraction. Some of the asides are funny and it's enjoyable to hear him so stripped down, but it's also a bit of a slog; then again, it's quite clearly not meant for general consumption -- you're eavesdropping on a session, which is appealing enough for diehards to hear once. For the rest of us, the real treasure on Southern Roots: The Original Sessions
are those nine extra cuts on disc one, all but one a song not present on the finished album (there's also a fast version of "Hold On I'm Coming," taken at a slower speed on the finished product). A couple of these have trickled out elsewhere but most have not, and they're all of considerably high quality, capable of slipping onto the finished album without anybody being the wiser. Perhaps it's not a revolutionary revelation, but it is more of the Killer surfing a latter-day prime, and that is enough to warrant either a listen or a purchase from the devoted.