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CD review: Wanda Jackson ‘The Party Ain’t Over’

Wanda Jackson, The Paty Ain’t Over
Annie Zaleski

The Details

Wanda Jackson
The Party Ain't Over
Three and a half stars

Rockabilly queen and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson is the latest cult artist lovingly resurrected by music’s younger generation. The guiding force behind the 73-year-old’s current wave of popularity is Jack White, who produced, arranged and played guitar on The Party Ain’t Over. Horns, organ and piano embellish White’s contributions on the diverse collection, which touches on country waltzes, gospel celebrations, ’50s teen dreams and roadhouse blues. But it’s Jackson’s inimitable voice—think a nicotine-stained Betty Boop—that carries the day. As horns sizzle on a cover of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good,” she becomes a femme fatale warning off a suitor, and she’s a natural vocal fit for a version of Dylan’s “Thunder on the Mountain,” a highlight filled with boogie-woogie piano and blazing guitar. Not everything clicks; the Andrews Sisters-popularized “Rum and Coca-Cola” is plodding instead of kicky, and the reverent country-blues of “Dust on the Bible” feels a little wobbly. Still, Party makes a fine addition to Jackson’s storied career, or a decent starting point.


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