- Shakin’ All Over (Johnny Kid & The Pirates/The Who)
- Rip It Up (Little Richard)
- Busted (Johnny Cash)
- Rum And Coca-Cola (Andrew Sisters)
- Thunder On The Mountain (Bob Dylan)
- You Know That I’m No Good (Amy Winehouse)
- Like A Baby (Elvis Preseley)
- Nervous Breakdown (Eddie Cochran)
- Dust On The Bible (Hank Williams)
- Teach Me Tonight (The DeCastro Sisters)
- Blue Yodel #6 (Jimmie Rodgers)
It’s an honor to review Wanda Jackson’s upcoming 31st studio release, The Party Ain’t Over, and the 2009 Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer doesn’t disappoint, more than living up to her title as the “Queen Of Rockabilly,” on this collection of 11 cover songs.
Release Date: 1/25/11
This record is a far cry from Jackson’s 2006 release, I Remember Elvis, thanks to the modern-day musical embodiment of King Midas, Jack White (White Stripes, The Raconteurs, Dead Weather). The bohemian bluesman not only entices the listener by winding his way through wicked licks on a black JB Hutto Montgomery Airline axe on every track, but also lets the soulful fires within flow from his finger tips in the production booth, showcasing his chops in that facet as well.
Although you’d be fooled by the direction this review is headed, The Party Ain’t Over is not the “Jack White Show,” and the producer/lead fret-sorcerer makes that clear throughout the record, in many cases opting to turn up the brass accompaniment over his guitar play. In fact, the only track in which White is completely let off his leash is on the cover of Bob Dylan’s “Thunder On The Mountain,” in the form of four, count ’em, four guitar solos, one more savage than the next.
“Thunder On The Mountain”
On an album full of great covers “Thunder On The Mountain” stands alone as the best, but not by far. The opening salvo is a swinging, Rockabillied rendition of Johnny Kid & The Pirates/The Who’s “Shakin’ All Over,” featuring Jackson’s vocal range that appears to be boundless, shifting her style of pipe-work from amber waves of lush Okie gold to thunderous, glass gurgling, roars resembling a mighty huntress jungle cat.
“Shakin’ All Over”
Jackson continues the party this album will undoubtedly induce on tracks like, “Rip It Up,” a little number made famous by Little Richard, that’ll have you swing dancing for the entirety of its 113-second duration, “Rum And Coca Cola,” a more explosive amalgamation of blues guitar, electric organ, muted trumpets, and other brass than the Andrews Sisters could ever fathom, and version of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” that stays rather true to form with just a hint a Black Keys-esque bluesmanship.
“Rip It Up”
More so than the vocals, and even White’s guitar play, maybe the most impressive aspect of The Party Ain’t Over is the brass section. You may be laughing while asking yourself “how insane is the reviewer who is more impressed by some horns than a Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Famer and one of the greatest guitar players to ever pluck a six-string?” and you wouldn’t be wrong for questioning him (me). But this horn section is explosive, the sound gets so big, so fast, that it commands your attention. It bridges the gaps between verses with an undeniable boom on Johnny Cash’s “Busted” and battles with Jackson for supremacy on the Hank Williams classic “Dust On The Bible,” among other tracks.
It goes against every fiber of my being to put so much stock into an album of cover songs. Streetlight Manifesto, my favorite band, was not allowed to rest within SIMGE’s Top 35 Albums Of 2010. But The Party Ain’t Over is to good to overlook and, dare I say it, sits atop the mountain as the early favorite for album of the year. Jack White is on a mission to single-handedly preserve Rock N’ Roll in mainstream music and with the recruitment of Wanda Jackson into his Third Man army and the production of this record, the ranks just got a lot stronger.
The Rating: 4.25/5