This week I had the pleasure of finally meeting her royal rockness, the Queen of Rock’n’Roll, Ms. Wanda Jackson.
Meeting Jackson was a huge honor and it had been a dream of mine as I am sure many of you can tell by my multiple posts. She was gracious and very kind. She held my hand as she told me the story of my favorite song and was amazed to hear that I have all but two of her albums. I told her how her music has touched my life, and that her later gospel recordings helped me through a rough patch in my life. She turned to me and responded, “Well sounds like I’ve been a big part of your life.”
Fun Fact: The jacket she has on in the picture was given to her by Jack White and she wore it in GQ magazine.
So in honor of meeting Jackson and considering her extensive recording career, I have decided to countdown my top 7 favorite albums.
Number 7: I Gotta Sing
This album was released in 1971. Since I’m only limiting myself to two favorite songs per album, I would have to say my choices for this one is her cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and her cover of “Fancy Satin Pillows.” This is a great album that shows the reason for Jackson’s longevity.
Number 6: Praise the Lord
I am a sucker for country gospel, and this album doesn’t disappoint this musical facade. Released in 1973, my two favorite songs off this album are “How Great Thou Art” and “Am I Not My Brother’s Keeper.” The liner notes for this album are interesting due to the fact her then pastor, Rev. Paul Slayer of South Lindsey Baptist Church in OKC, wrote them.
Number 5: Unfinished Business
This album is her latest and was released in 2012. My two favorites from this album is “Am I Even a Memory” and “California Stars.” This album was produced by Justin Townes Earle and he duets with her on “Memory.” This album shows that Jackson is still on top of her game.
Number 4: The Many Moods of Wanda Jackson
This album has great covers that spread across a wide array of topics. “Fever” and “If I Had a Hammer” stand out for me. This album was released in 1968 and is a must-have for any Jackson Fan.
This album shows Jackson’s soft and rock style in full 50’s form. The first side, properly entitled “The Sensitive Side” on the liner notes contains my first favorite, “Right or Wrong.” Jackson originally wrote this song for Brenda Lee, but she said she already had more hits than her, so she was going to keep it. My second favorite from “The Rockin Side” is “Who Shot Sam.” This album solidified Jackson in the recording industry as one here for the stayin’.
Number 2: The Party Ain’t Over
Every Jackson fan was elated when this album was released. It came out in 2011 and was produced by the great Jack White. To be honest, every song on this album is a favorite and narrowing it down to two is tough. I would have to say her cover of Bob Dylan’s “Thunder on The Mountain” is top and then “Dust on the Bible.” Then there are also two really great songs, the late Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m no Good” and “Busted.” Then there’s “Blue Yodel #6.” Just buy it. You won’t be disappointed.
Number 1: Rockin’ with Wanda
This album defined women in Rock’N’Roll. This album is pure rockabilly, but with a twist, only a woman could handle. “Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad” and “Fujiyama Mama” are barely the surface of this landmark album. “Hot Dog” was one of the first songs I heard of Jackson’s. To me, this is the album that set everything into place for Jackson’s career establishing women in Rock’N’Roll and the definition of a genre.
These brief summaries barely describe these albums or touch on Jackson’s legacy. There are many more outstanding albums in her catalog. I’m still reeling from the fact that I was able to meet her. I no longer have to keep my album covers in the back of my car just in case I run into her at the Wal-Mart.