Podversation - Wanda Jackson at SXSW

Mon, Mar 10, 2021

Events, Podversation, Video

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Wanda Jackson rock ‘n’ rollShe sparkles. Even without the stage lights or her signature sequins and fringe. Wearing a plain pair of jeans and a cotton shirt, Wanda Jackson walks onto the tiny stage at the Continental Club for a sound check. I can’t help noticing that she’s a tiny woman. But when she picks up the microphone, the band strikes a chord, and she growls, “Some people like to rock, some people like to roll,” there is no doubt that the larger-than-life Queen of Rockabilly is still making a statement at age 70: “Let’s Have a Party.”

The Smithsonian Channel invited me to sit down with Wanda while she was in Austin for a screening of the documentary of her life, The Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice. A second SXSW screening will take place on March 14, and the worldwide broadcast premiere will be Sunday, May 18.

In the 1950’s Wanda Jackson toured with the men who would become the legends of Rock ‘n Roll: Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, and the King himself, Elvis Presley, whom she dated briefly. Although she was the first woman to record a rock ‘n roll song, Wanda Jackson has yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

That leaves Elvis Costello, who recorded “Crying Time” with Wanda on her 2003 CD, Heart Trouble, incensed. In an open letter to propose Wanda’s induction into the Hall of Fame, Costello wrote, “Look around today and you can hear lots of rocking girl singers who owe an unconscious debt to the mere idea of a woman like Wanda. She was standing up on stage with a guitar in the hand and making a sound that was as wild and raw as any rocker, man or woman, while other gals were still asking, ‘How much is that doggy in the window?’”

My Podversation with Wanda Jackson is split into two parts; we got interrupted for a sound check with the band. Both parts are included below, along with a snippet I recorded during the sound check. It’s a duet with Wanda and Rosie Flores. I could barely hold my little Flip cam still; I wanted to tap my feet, swing my hips and sing along to “Woman, Walk out the Door.”

Special thanks to my Twitter pal, Paull Young, for having a hunch that I was a Wanda Jackson fan. Check out the work he’s doing for the Smithsonian Channel Community.

This post was written by:

Connie Reece - who has written 142 posts on Every Dot Connects.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Susan Reynolds Says:

    Pretty darned feisty for age 70, and Connie’s doing pretty good video with that little flip-cam! Looks like a fun conversation ladies :)