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The Wanda Jackson Show

Live and Still Kickin' – 2003 (DCN)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by The Wanda Jackson Show

The First Lady of Rockabilly Music, Wanda Jackson, rocks out a solid set of her cult boppers and classic country hits. Aided by a crack New York version of The Party Timers, the 65-year-old Oklahoma legend transforms her live nightclub set into an entertaining mini-history lesson.

Recorded at the Village Underground and Arlene's Grocery in December 2002, Jackson shows she understands her new audience by opening with the rather obscure Carl Perkins song "Rockabilly Fever." Embracing a blend of roots styles, the comebacking pioneer employs some top-notch yodeling with bluesy covers of Jimmie Rodgers' "Blue Yodel #6" and the Hank Williams hit "Lovesick Blues."

In between songs, Jackson provides chatty, historical information on her influences, songs, her religious conversion, Elvis Presley's stylistic impact and her plans for that ring he gave her.

Although her voice sounds wobbly on slower numbers, the set is totally redeemed when she growls out her best-loved Capitol Records-era rockabilly numbers. Raucous and raw, "Fujiyama Mama," "Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad," "Riot In Cell Block #9," and the "Whole Lotta Shakin'/Rip It Up/Let's Have A Party" medley burn with timeless salacious rebellion. A lively document, this 18-song set is heartily recommended to early rock and country buffs alike. DCN.