TER­RELL’S TUNE-UP

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos - Steve Ter­rell

Party pooper Dag nab­bit! I’m about to write an al­bum re­view that’s go­ing to make me sound like a bor­ing old purist. And in gen­eral, I hate bor­ing old purists.

It’s like that joke told in mu­sic cir­cles: How many blue­grass fans does it take to change a light bulb? The an­swer: Four — one to screw in the bulb, three to sit around and talk about how the old bulb was bet­ter. But this bulb — Wanda Jack­son’s new Jack White-pro­duced al­bum, The Party Ain’t Over — has brought out my crotch­ety purist. ( And that’s a side of me I don’t like.)

Brief his­tory les­son: For those un­fa­mil­iar with Jack­son, she’s a rock­a­billy fire­ball from Ok­la­homa who started out as a coun­try singer — dis­cov­ered by the great Hank Thomp­son, no less. She wrote the coun­try clas­sic “Right or Wrong.” But she heard the call of the wild. Her high­charged “Let’s Have a Party,” orig­i­nally recorded by Elvis Pres­ley, was a rock ’n’ roll hit in the late ’ 50s. Oth­ers fol­lowed, in­clud­ing “Fu­jiyama Mama” (which ac­tu­ally be­came huge in Ja­pan) and my fa­vorite, “Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad.”

In the mid-’60s, when rock­a­billy be­came un­hip in the wake of the Bri­tish In­va­sion (which was stupid, be­cause The Bea­tles and other Brit rock­ers loved the ’bil­lies), Jack­son, like Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and oth­ers, turned back to the world of coun­try. But with the rock­a­billy re­vival of the ’80s and ’ 90s, Jack­son started rock­ing again. She ap­peared on Rosie Flores’ al­bum Rock­a­billy Filly in 1995 (along with fel­low early rock­a­billy gal Ja­nis Martin). And — hot dog! — she’s been rock­ing ever since.

Back to the Party: White Stripe Jack White must have a thing for older women. In 2004, he pro­duced an amaz­ing “come­back” al­bum, Van Lear Rose, for Loretta Lynn. I noted at the time in this col­umn that some of the tracks had “about 10 times the drum sound of any pre­vi­ous Loretta ef­fort” and de­scribed the song “Lit­tle Red Shoes” as “honky-tonk trip-hop.”

But Van Lear is a su­pe­rior ef­fort, be­cause White sti­fled him­self more on that al­bum. On Party, he fre­quently goes over­board, do­ing some­thing I pre­vi­ously as­sumed was im­pos­si­ble — over­whelm­ing Wanda Jack­son.

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