SHOW #43: Wanda Jackson at The Minnesota State Fair
So I’m on the road this weekend visiting some friends in the too humid state of Minnesota. One of the reasons I came out here was to see the much vaunted state fair. It was high time I experienced stick based foods (though actually none of what we ate came on a stick) and watched several thousand people look at live stock. No life is complete with out it. While I was at it I figured I’d better check out a show too, because I owe you guys that much. A random State Fair show. Sadly my favorite Minnesota based band Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps played the Fair a full week before I arrived. It was a bit of a stretch to find someone that I was willing to make a friend sit through then I came across Wanda Jackson who is, apparently, a living legend of sorts. Albeit one you may not have heard of.
When Wanda Jackson took the stage she exhibited energy that one would not expect from a woman in her seventies. She was decked out in a tassle filled shirt and pretty much immediately started rocking. Well, as much as she could. It’s very possible that she’s lost a bit of rock over the years but she still had a fair amount. She started the show by singing us all a song from 1958, which is kind of hard to even grasp. I mean, my parents were teenagers in 1958 (I think. Is it weird to admit that I don’t know my parent’s exact ages? Because I totally don’t.) Still yes, old old song.
She was singing Rockabilly which she was apparently one of the pioneers of being directly influenced and personally convinced by none other than Elvis to give it a shot. That’s how long this lady has been around. Elvis opened for her. Just consider that. That is old school. Really, really old school. She could still sing though. Maybe not as good as she once could have but she can still get it done. She sang rock, she sang country, she yodeled, she covered Amy Winehouse. It was very interesting and fun to watch.
She told us what seemed to be a hundred tales. Tales of people she knows, people she’d worked with. She told us of her being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, about her best selling album being produced by Jack White. About how he pushed her and made her better. It was great to hear all these little tales, even if they did mean we got fewer songs. It was just a fun little look into a career musician, someone who has never really know fame but kept at it and always loved it.
Of course there was an awkward moment when she sang us her a song which was apparently her only number one hit. Except that it was a number one hit in Japan, and it was awkward because it was a song in which she was comparing herself to an atomic bomb and the way that she leaves her lovers devastated the same way she devastated those two cities. How this ever got to be a big hit in Japan is beyond me but I have to assume it had something to do with being lost in translation.
Awkward racial insensitivity aside the show was fun and the stories were great so I’d say give her a shot, so long as you don’t have to pay too much to do so.
I’m on an unfamiliar computer that is confounding me with image loading so pictures will be uploaded later.