Wanda Jackson

The Party Ain't Over (Nonesuch)

Phases & Stages

Wanda Jackson

The Party Ain't Over (Nonesuch)

A post-Who Live at Leeds opening shudder through "Shakin' All Over" proves The Party Ain't Over. Produced by Jack "Of All Trades" White, Wanda Jackson's major-label close-up paves its first lady's two-stepping 1950s twang into a toll road – fast, smooth, roomy. White's bass and It Might Get Loud guitar solo on the disc's first rockabilly – also spooked by My Morning Jacket's Carl Broemel on pedal steel – leaves a crater. So does Jackson's voice, 73. Mirroring the Party's perfect portraiture, its sonic swaddling pinches the Okie mama's nose like plastic surgery. Loretta Lynn's Grammy-getting Van Lear Rose (2004), another Jack White spin-off, this Ain't. Sparks on "Rip It Up" belong to him, and Jackson fares better on "Nervous Breakdown," but she's most at home with the genre's more playful side. Hearing her warble about "der Bingle" on "Rum and Coca-Cola" constitutes the real fiesta here, along with taking Dylan's "Thunder on the Mountain" for a spin. Stripper brashness on "Like a Baby" outs Lucinda Williams' randy aunt, but Jackson's drowned out on "Dust on the Bible." The Party Ain't Over makes a great Jack White LP, but Wanda Jackson should've taken a page from Rosie Flores' Girl of the Century and roped in Jon Langford.


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