Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson

The Best of The Classic Capitol Singles

Omnivore Recordings

Wanda Jackson looks about ready to take a guy’s head off on the cover shot for The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles, and a quick listen to the contents only reinforces that image. “Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad” or “Mean Mean Man” relate the tale of a no-holds barred straight shooter, which Jackson surely is. An early record producer turned down a shot at working with her, saying “girls don’t sell records,” a claim she went on to laugh at when she became known as “The Queen of Rockabilly.” She toured with Elvis after graduating high school, and during the 1950s she was hitting the charts with numbers such as “Half As Good A Girl” and “Just a Queen For a Day,” and her sound, which she patterned on Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps, sounds remarkably fresh 50 years later.

This compilation collects 29 of her early singles, from the wacky “Fujiyama Mama” to the pointed “You Bug Me Bad,” and it’s easy to see why she’s such an inspiration. You can’t really imagine a Joan Jett or Madonna without the struggles and ultimate success that Wanda Jackson lived through, and she’s still going strong. The Party Ain’t Over, a 2011 release produced by Jack White, and her 31st release, Unfinished Business (produced by Justin Townes Earle) show the 75-year-old still isn’t finished rocking. The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles shows the sheer talent of the smoldering beauty, who made a name for herself in a time and an industry that was generally a boy’s club. Jackson helped change that, and made some great music to boot. “Let’s Have a Party” indeed!

Omnivore Recordings: www.omnivorerecordings.com

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