Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wanda Jackson

As a kid in the mid to late fifties I don't remember hearing Wanda like I do Elvis and Carl. When this project started a rockabilly historian pal told me Wanda was so influential to the beginnings of Rock and Roll she could not be ignored.

Pretty Miss Wanda Jackson
I went to the internet and listened to a few of her old recordings.  After hearing her sing and play it started to come back to me. She wasn't played on our local radio station because they didn't do rock. I didn't remember her from the Memphis stations like wmps or whbq. 

            Mo' Info           Video link           Web site

But I remember a "girl" singer being on some of the local cafe juke boxes. That was when we had local cafes and juke boxes. I remember Wanda Jackson singing her rockabilly in those little home grown Ozark cafes. Apparently, she didn't have a Jud Phillips to help her get the kind of exposure the Sun artists were getting. But the country fans liked her enough to get her into the jukes and spread her fame the hard way.

Wanda Jackson Rockabilly Queen

She didn't get the Ed Sullivan level attention of her male counterparts. The Nashville producers and labels thought little of "girl" singers so they were probably were not a lot of help. It appears I wasn't the only rockabilly fan who missed out on her music. She had to do it the hard way.

She toured with Elvis, Gene Vincent and lots of others. She did everything the guys did but apparently didn't get the backing of the recording industry-radio playing machine.  If she had we would all have been big fans from 56 or at least 57 on.

Wanda Jackson in her Shimmy dress

Wanda never left her country music roots. Some of her records were rockin on one side and hard core hillbilly on the other. Later, as the rockabilly thing cooled down she was able to go right back into country music and bring her fan base with her.

I know Wanda will probably never read this but I want to send her a message in case she does.  

"Hey Lady !  I love your music ! But I love your courage and pioneering spirit even more. Sorry I missed out on your music all these years. That was my fault. I am now a fan. Hope you are well. And keep on rockin ! We love it."

Wanda Jackson, first country female to really dress up !


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