“Rockin’ with Wanda” Album Review

Rockin' with Wanda

Album: Rockin’ with Wanda

Artist: Wanda Jackson

Year: 1960

Genre: Rock and Roll

Grade: A-

Wanda Jackson was one of the first woman rock ‘n’ rollers, and the 1960 LP Rockin’ with Wanda compiles several of her biggest late-‘50s hit singles. In a music industry filled with songs about ‘the guy who gets the girl,’ Jackson was the first artist to invert the formula. Songs like “Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad” and “Fujiyama Mama” (which somehow became a major hit in Japan despite comparing sexuality to the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) simply had never been done before.

Jackson’s early singles somewhat resemble the music of Elvis Presley (whom she briefly dated) and Buddy Holly (especially in her hiccupping vocals), but that doesn’t make the songs any less explosive. Likewise, her ability to seamlessly integrate elements of country — as she does on the wonderful “I Gotta Know” — was second to none.

Jackson’s long career would take her down several avenues (among them country and gospel), but Rockin’ with Wanda catches her at her most energetic and unadulterated.

“Rockin’ with Wanda” Album Review

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