Selecting material from a pool of 50 songs and collaborating with famous admirers "wasn't difficult for me," Lewis told USA Today in an interview published Tuesday. "They're all good."
Lewis tackled Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" with CCR's John Fogerty, "Sweet Virginia" with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and "Roll Over Beethoven" with ex-Beatle Ringo Starr and John Mayer on "Mean Old Man," pressed as a 10-track CD and an 18-song deluxe version and dropped Tuesday.
"I could have retired a long time ago," Lewis said in the interview conducted at his home in Nesbit, Miss. "I keep rockin'!"
The lakefront property he's called home since 1972 is both Lewis's manor and museum-in-waiting, filled with gold records, historic photos, awards, memorabilia and pianos, including the upright model his parents bought him after mortgaging their farm, USA Today said.
Lewis, who stirred criticism for marrying the 13-year-old daughter of his cousin, battled the Internal Revenue Service before filing for bankruptcy, married six times and nearly died from a bleeding ulcer, said he now focuses on music.
"He's one of few who can do rock 'n' roll, country or soul, and every song is authentic," said Kris Kristofferson, who contributes vocals to "Sweet Virginia" and wrote the CD's title track. "He's one of the best American voices ever, and I'm not sure people recognize what a great singer he is. It was always his rambunctious activities that made the headlines. The fact that he's singing as strong as ever is incredible. We're the lucky ones, because he could have quit a long time ago."
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