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Wanda Jackson "The Party Ain't Over"

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The Party Ain't Over-Wanda Jackson

January 16, 2011 Wanda Jackson is a rare and special icon of rock 'n' roll: Known as the Queen of Rockabilly, she's been a pioneer in carving out a place for women in rock.

The Party Ain't Over, Jackson's first studio album in eight years, features 12 cover songs produced by Jack White. It also showcases a generous smattering of guest artists, including Jackson Smith (Patti Smith's son), Karen Elson (White's wife) and Jack Lawrence (of The Raconteurs and The Greenhornes), among others. Most songs feature between eight and twelve musicians, and the result is a dense but impeccably crafted blanket of sound.

Even with the star-studded assistance, The Party Ain't Over still focuses on Jackson's distinct voice and style, which radiate femininity while maintaining a confident, rough, gritty edge. At 73, she still exudes a youthful sound and spirit, and decorates her unique voice with an effortlessly deep and gravelly swoop at the most unexpected times.

Courtesy of the artist Wanda Jackson and 'The Party Ain't Over' producer Jack White.

White takes Jackson's signature style and couples it with his sophisticated and nuanced understanding of sound, to create an updated, cleanly reinvented take on classic songs. Of White, Jackson says "he pushed me into the 21st century."

The Party Ain't Over is full of complementary contradictions and careful juxtapositions. For example, a cover of Amy Winehouse's "You Know I’m No Good," which deals with cheating, lying, substance abuse and failed relationships, is placed near "Dust on the Bible," which embraces piety and moral living. Other tracks, like "Busted" and "Rum and Coca-Cola," describe the desperate situations of the working class, yet set them to upbeat, even carnival-like melodies and horns.

Jackson's partnership with White proves to be exciting and imaginative, but also entirely appropriate. Both musicians are true innovators who set a new standard for cool. It's like hearing a collaboration between 1958 and 2011, and they get along great.

The Party Ain't Over will stream here in its entirety until Jan. 25. Please leave your thoughts on the album in the comments section below.

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Virginia: Thanks for posting this. Wanda performed live at the Grand Old Opry Saturday night, accompanied by Jack White and the Third Man House Band. The Ryman was packed, especially by January Opry standards. They performed three numbers, and other than Wanda briefly forgetting some lyrics (Jack immediately ran over and assisted) it was a brilliant performance. Vince Gill introduced the set, and he noted that Jack's presence in Nashville has raised the bar and enriched the music scene. I have not had time to check You Tube to see if any clips have been uploaded, but I saw several people taping so I am sure video is out there on the Interweb. It is not every night that you see Jack White playing lead guitar at the Grand Old Opry.

I would also like to add that a Bluegrass legend from my hometown, Bobby Osborne, had the formidable task of opening this set (essentially opening for Wanda and the Third Man band). Like the wise old pro that he is, he brought the house down with his signature version of "Rocky Top", then quickly left the stage. :)

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I saw her last year and it was absolutely kick ass. If she comes to your town by all means be sure to check her out. I first heard of her thanks to the Loud, Fast & Out of Control: The Wild Sounds of the '50s box set on Rhino Records which includes "Let's Have A Party" and "Fujiyama Mama". Outside of Chuck Berry she's the only performer I've seen from the 50s era of rock n' roll and she still knows how to bring it. She also shared a story or two about her time dating Elvis that had the audience in stitches.

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You see....just goes to show that ladies can rock as good as men.....sometimes EVEN BETTER than men:):):).....great to hear a woman singing the classic SAO:):)

Heck yeah! :) Funny that a year ago I hadn't even listened to any Jack White stuff yet, but thanks to It Might Get Loud I've discovered quite a few great new (to me) artists I wouldn't have otherwise.

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Live review: Wanda Jackson at the El Rey Theatre

and Rich Gilbert is on pedal steel! I love pedal steel. I brought up this guitar player when Buddy Miller fell ill, but before I knew who the hell Buddy Miller was. As usual, the LZ dot com was quick to catch me up. It's real nice to see the legendary Rich.G pop up with some people that appreciate roots. Jack White is bringing something back to life in these people. I wish Conway was still around.

and wouldn't it be a fine thing to see Jack work with Jimmy?

Edited by rokarolla
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