Wanda Jackson: Jack White Brings Back A Legend Jackson's latest album is a collaboration with Jack White, similar to his 2004 record with Loretta Lynn. A set of well-chosen covers, The Party Ain't Over takes Jackson in unexpected directions, with satisfying results.


Music Reviews

Wanda Jackson: Jack White Brings Back A Legend

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In the 1950s, Rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson was called the female Elvis. She even dated The King, who became her mentor in the music business. Well, the name of her latest CD says it all, "The Party Ain't Over."

It's a collaboration with Jack White of the White Strips, and reviewer Meredith Ochs says the album secures Jackson's place as a 21st-century entertainer.

(Soundbite of music)

MEREDITH OCHS: "The Party Ain't Over" is credited to Wanda Jackson, but it's just as much a Jack White album, defined not only by his garage-rocking, Led Zeppelin-worshipping guitar work, but also by his approach as a producer.

White cleverly matches Jackson's infamous vocal growl with huge arrangements, creating an instant party on the first track.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. WANDA JACKSON (Musician): (Unintelligible).

OCHS: Before collaborating with Wanda Jackson, Jack White drew country legend Loretta Lynn into stripped-down rock 'n' roll with their "Van Lear Rose" project, winning two Grammys in the process.

But White has even more surprises on this album, taking Jackson in unexpected directions with R&B horns, B3 organ and mandolin. The steel-guitar tinged soul of songs like this one honors Jackson's country roots and her love of gospel, pushing the music far beyond the somewhat limited scope of rockabilly.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. JACKSON: (Singing) (Unintelligible).

OCHS: The songs on here are well-chosen covers, from Bob Dylan to Jimmie Rodgers. But perhaps the most daring is a naughty Amy Winehouse tune that Wanda Jackson had her doubts about singing. After all, she's 73 now, and a grandma, and a born-again Christian. But Jack White insisted.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. JACKSON: (Singing) (Unintelligible).

OCHS: Part musical partner, part Svengali, Jack White coaxes a performance from Jackson that fits her as well today as it did in 1958. She's still the good girl whose voice and demeanor coyly suggest a bad girl lurking within.

Jackson still wears Elvis' ring around her neck, and although the king of rock 'n' roll didn't make it into the 21st century, this album makes me glad that the queen did.

SIEGEL: The new album from Wanda Jackson is called "The Party Ain't Over." Reviewer Meredith Ochs is a DJ and talk-show host on Sirius XM satellite radio.

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