At long last it looks like rock’s first lady, Wanda Jackson, is finally getting her due. Yes, it helps that the 72-year-old was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the news that Jack White will be producing her next album makes an authentic comeback seem imminent.
When White produced Loretta Lynn’s 2004 album Van Lear Rose, the country singer went from “forgotten superstar” status to ubiquitous year-end list-topper. His indie cred brought her talent back into public consciousness, not to mention widespread acclaim: Van Lear Rose is still tied for the highest-rated album on metacritic.com.
For those who are kinda fonda Wanda, it’s a thrill that the first woman to holler her way into rock history may get the long-overdue popular reappraisal she deserves. Her ’50s singles never took off like those of her one-time boyfriend Elvis, but gutsy stompers like “Fujiyama Mama,” “Let’s Have a Party” and “Hard Headed Woman” (below) sound raw even today:
And don’t worry that her age will drag this upcoming album down—I saw her live a few years back, and she was still playing guitar and boppin’ the blues like a teenager. It will be fascinating to see how she and White mesh together, and it’s great to think that if all goes well creatively, Jackson could finally garner the mainstream acclaim that has so often eluded her.
Do you think the White Stripes/Raconteurs/Dead Weather frontman can pull a Rick Rubin a la Johnny Cash and bring Jackson back to the top of her game? And what other sadly neglected rock n’ roll originals would you love to hear given a fresh start in the studio?
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