Sunday, February 17, 2008

Unwholesome, Unhealthy, Unknowable

Wanda Jackson inspires thoughts in me that verge on the Unwholesome... The Unhealthy... The Unknowable...



I've always found myself unable to resist a woman who can rock as hard as a fella. Patti Smith scared the shit out of me in 1976 -- a raging succubus who had no qualms about demanding Just Where She Wanted to Be Touched. I fell hard for Allison Robertson of the Donnas when I saw her wielding a Les Paul with all the panache of a Jimmy Page. Joan Jett, despite my lack of chances with her, gets me seriously hot and bothered.

But this Wanda Jackson... Wow. That beaded skirt, which she doesn't hesitate to make move in all kinds of disturbing shimmery ways. That hardened, raspy voice, singing Biblical parables about Sampson and Delilah, about Ahab and Jezebel, with a lustiness and abandon that suggest so much more than they say overtly...

I don't know who that guitar-flogger is who comes in halfway through, playing that weird two-necked instrument -- half Telecaster, half Gibson mandolin -- but man he's good! Contrastingly, I'd like to gently remind that trumpeter that the trumpet is not a rock-n-roll instrument, and would you please go peddle that shit elsewhere...

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

The interloping guitarist is Joe Maphis, "King of the Strings"

An Upstep or a Downstep said...

Joe Maphis website:
http://pagesperso-orange.fr/rockin.paul/maphis.htm

Neddie said...

Thanks, Anon. Here's more about him.

"Influence on Merle Travis..." Hmm. Kinda doubt it. Travis peaked in the mid-Forties, while Maphis' first hit, "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (and Loud, Loud Music)" came in 1952. I'd reverse that chain of influence...

Interesting that that double-necked guitar is an early Mosrite. Does have that tone, doesn't it!

Wow... Check this shit out...

bernard purdie said...

Don't reckon y'all saw who's on th' drum kit back there?

Anonymous said...

"...they don't go for any trumpet playing band... it ain't what they call rock-n-roll..."

Will Divide said...

Joan Jett used my bathroom once 20 years ago. Any further details are neither interesting nor salacious, just sayin'. . .

giggles said...

Can't see in this video who's on the drums..... but I'm wonderin'... could it be.... why I'd lay money on it..... Please tell me it's you, MR. Purdie!!!!!

JC said...

RE: "Check this shit out."
Yeah, that little Larry Collins can really play. Unfortunately, he also wrote the song "Delta Dawn."

Anonymous said...
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Akatabi said...

I didn't want to derail the Django thread, but saying the trumpet isn't a rock 'n roll instrument reinforced my conviction that chops though Grappelli may have had, the violin just isn't a jazz instrument. The timbre's just wrong. Thanks for spotlighting the Queen of the Rockabilly Fillies- and that Maphis cat ain't bad either.

Neddie said...

In most cases, I'd tend to agree with you, Akatabi. Grapelli's fiddle. though, is perfect in a string-band.

Gray Lensman said...

Down in Texas in the 50's Wanda Jackson was the female Elvis only sexier. Way too sexy for those Grand 'ol Opry clowns she had to play with. When she sang the rockers with that big 'ol Martin, little boys got real itchy.

She got a lot tamer later when she got religion.

billy pilgrim said...

This oughta rock your Joan Jett fixation, Neddie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHAVy7EJhsU

A song by Westerberg, and a cameo by Doe?

classic.

Buck Batard said...

Hey Neddie,

Remember that post of yours from Thanksgiving 2005 - I consider it one of your finest pieces of work? It might be time to do an update. Check out this article outlining what is becoming the "new slums".

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/subprime

Joel Rutstein said...

Your mentioning being scared of Patti Smith in '76 made me want to share my Patti Smith story from what must have been around that same time. Because my mother was with me, it had to have been before I was of driving age. We were at my favorite record store, Record City, in Skokie, IL. She must have been there for some kind of appearance in Chicago, and I had no idea who she was, but there she was, just walking around wearing a t-shirt with jagged gaping holes in it that read "Sinbad's Shit Shirt." I actually recall cowering behind my mom, but continuing to sneak glances at this fascinating person who made eye contact with me and smiled. Not long after that I first saw her perform on Saturday Night Live. Riveting.

Mr. Natural said...

Racin' with the devil,
thought the devil had won,
here come the devil,
doin' a hundred and one - HOT ROD

DAMN, SON, WANDA JACKSON IS BAD-ASS MUSIC! LOVE THAT ROCK-N-ROLL!

Anonymous said...

loved this Neddie!! thanks for turning me on to her...now check out "Rock Your Baby" and be afraid, be very afraid!!!

Mike said...

Wanda is the real thing, and lives quietly in Oklahoma City, where she is treated with the reverence and respect that such a rock 'n' roll goddess deserves.

And, ya know, that trumpet wasn't half bad. When you're Wanda Jackson, it's your responsibility to push the envelope a bit.