"It's an exciting time to be Wanda Jackson," Austin's American-Statesman declared in October on the eve of Jackson's 73rd birthday bash at the Continental Club there. The undisputed Queen of Rockabilly - a touring powerhouse for more than 50 years - is releasing her debut disc for Third Man/Nonesuch Records, the aptly titled The Party Ain't Over.
This collection of vintage and contemporary covers was produced by fan and new-found friend Jack White at his Nashville studio and recorded with a late-night honky-tonk feel by members of My Morning Jacket, the Raconteurs, and Dead Weather, among others. The White-curated lineup of tunes, says Jackson, showcases "all the various types of music that I've done through the years-some country, some gospel, some rockabilly, some rock n' roll. It's got all of that, and we threw in a Bob Dylan song 'Thunder On the Mountain,' just to be safe."
The spirited Jackson, revered for such classic singles as "Let's Have a Party" and "Fujiyama Mama," proves that brash rock and roll attitude need not have an age limit. Her trademark growl remains intact on rockers like "Rip It Up" and "Nervous Breakdown"; she opens the set with an echo-laden sneer on a rollicking version of "Shakin' All Over" and ends it 10 songs later with a plaintive take on Jimmie Rodgers' "Yodel #6." Along the way she tackles the Andrew Sisters kitschy "Rum and Coca Cola" and a big-band rendition of the DeCastro Sisters' "Teach Me Tonight," and she out-sasses-and out-classes-Amy Winehouse on a cover of the British bad girl's "You Know I'm No Good," which has already been released as a single.