Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #52: "Shakin' All Over" -- Wanda Jackson

Jack White has had his hand in the musical careers of plenty in the last few years, and 2011 was no different. He featured on Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi's Rome project, was named the 'Nashville Music City Ambassador' by its mayor, and collaborated with Insane Clown Posse. It was a strange year.

But to talk about White's other big accomplishment in 2011, we must first rewind to seven years ago. In 2004, Loretta Lynn released Van Lear Rose, which resurrected her semi-dormant career. The album's producer? Jack White.

In 2011, White pulled another resurrection act, this time with rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson.

The Party Ain't Over (referencing Jackson's biggest hit, 1960's "Let's Have a Party") featured White on a number of songs as a musician, but the focus was on Jackson, who enjoyed her first major success with a released album in a few decades. The album featured a number of covers of songs by artists including Bob Dylan and Amy Winehouse.

But perhaps her best came with a version of "Shakin' All Over," English rockers Johnny Kidd & the Pirates' biggest claim to fame. Featuring White on wailing guitar, Jackson warbles through the song with a commanding grace unseen by most women of her age (she's 74).

Listen to her voice shake throughout the entire song, most particularly on the chorus. She has total power over what she's doing, and a masterful understanding of the music itself. And despite her age, there's a raspy edge to Jackson's voice that was present even 50 years ago.

Boosted by a solo from White and a raucous horn section, Jackson explodes into the 21st century and ensures that we're not going to be forgetting about the Queen of Rockabilly again anytime soon. This party ain't over, it's just getting started.

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