I'm just back from a great trip to Oklahoma City to see Wanda Jackson. Wanda and her husband Wendell invited me down to her homecoming concert at the ACM@UCO. It was a great celebration of her fantastic new album, The Party Ain't Over, produced by Jack White. The album is exploding everywhere. It’s wonderful to see Wanda getting so much attention—she’s appeared on The Conan O’Brien Show, The David Letterman Show, and was the subject of a wonderful New York Times profile last week. Since being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, she’s hasn’t rested on her laurels—she’s out there breaking new ground under Jack White’s guidance as a producer. Wanda told me how much she enjoyed working with Jack (she calls him the “velvet brick”)--she was especially happy with the band and the horn section that he put together for her.
I had the great privilege of introducing Wanda at the show, which gave me a chance to talk about how much she’s meant to me since I first heard “Fujiyama Mama.” It was a high energy show--Wanda looked and sounded fabulous. The audience was multigenerational, and it was truly special to see Wanda performing this new material in front of family and friends. “Shakin’ All Over,” “Rip It Up,” and “I Know I’m No Good” were the highlights. She now has a whole new repertoire of songs that you just have to hear and see live.
Wanda has been a great friend to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum—she’s helped us put together some of our key programs. In 2009, she did a Hall of Fame Series interview as part of our 50 Winters Later program at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa’a celebration of the music of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. Check out what she had to say here. (You can also see clips of her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction speech and performance.) We’re thrilled that Wanda will be one of our spokeswomen for our upcoming Women in Rock exhibit, so Clevelanders will get to see her again soon.
Good luck in Europe, Wanda, and thanks for the invitation!