Wanda Jackson: “Riot In Cell Block #9″
KUT’s Studio 1A has seen its share of legends over the years, and a couple Saturdays back we got add one more to the list. Wanda Jackson, a country music legend and Queen of Rockabilly, stopped by ahead of her recent show at Antone’s.
Jackson’s career stretches way back to the days before hillbilly country mixed with rhythm and blues to make rock ‘n’ roll. Jackson grew up in California and Oklahoma. In 1952, a talent show victory earned her a 15-minute show on Oklama City station KLPR. While still in high school, country singer Hank Thompson heard her on the radio and took the young Jackson under his wing. She recorded with Thompson’s band The Brazos Valley Boys. It wasn’t long before the King himself discovered Jackson, and encouraged her to try her hand at rock ‘n’ roll. Her versions of “Fujiyama Mama” and “Let’s Have a Party” became classics of the first age of rockabilly.
In the years that followed Jackson continued to tour and record rockabilly, country and gospel (she recorded exclusively gospel for most of the 70s to early 80s). Jack White lent his producer’s hand to Jackson’s 2011 record The Party Ain’t Over. Her most recent album, Unfinished Business, was produced by Justin Townes Earle, and features Jackson’s signature take on tunes by Earle, Townes Van Zandt, Bobby Womack, and more. Today’s song is a live, Studio 1A performance of the rock ‘n’ roll classic “Riot In Cell Block #9.” Even at age 75, Jackson is sassy as ever, and her backing band is killer. Almost six decades into her career, there’s no stopping Wanda Jackson.