I just need to spit a little about this record. You'll see a reviews here complaining about Jack White's production, and I'll go as far to say that there's a touch of "horn porn" going on on this record. The arrangements on the horns are a little raucous, regardless of the songs vibe. But, as far as hearing complaints about the mix of Wanda's vocals- they're recorded within the spirit of the songs. But what really got my goat was reading some reviews ripped off from Sound Opinions comparing the production to Jack White pretending to be Phil Spector. You know who you are. Really? Isn't it bad enough Jim Derogatis doesn't know what he's talking about, now I see folks emulating his ignorance on Amazon reviews? Maybe it's just coincidence, and if it is and TWO people in the world think this record sounds anything like Phil Spector's work, I apologize for comparing an innocent bystander to the "frozen-in-pubescence-holier-than-thou-fatboy-snobbery of Derogatis.... *ahem* I digress.
This album is an attempt to catch the spirit of a woman's music who had been out of the limelight for years. I think it's absolutely great a 73 year old woman can make an Amy Winehouse song feel sexier. When I first heard "Shakin' all Over" on the radio, I was literally fired up! I had no idea who Wanda Jackson was, I had no idea she was in her golden years, and I had no idea Jack White had anything to do with it, and you know what? I wanted to see the dirty pin-up girl screaming out those vocals. I was thinking something like the girl from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hot; grungy, unhinged, all-woman kind of hot. And she actually looks like an elderly waitress from Houston! I mean, that alone is enough to listen to this record! This lady still has it!
Instead of making the record anybody else would have made, with guest appearances from old timers and taking her greatest hits from her storied career and making a nostalgic piece for all of those who listened to Wanda Jackson back in the day, Mr White made an album from scratch. Something that has energy and spitfire and the spark of creativity. It's a record the whole band could go on the road with and have a blast playing out every night. Isn't that what it's all about? This record is different, sure, but it's really a lot of fun! Most importantly, it has brought Wanda Jackson to my attention, a thirty-something guy who would have never heard of her otherwise, and the first thing I did after listening to this record was go and look at Wanda's back catalogue.
So now, when I hear complaining about Jack White not being a good producer, I want to scream. You think Rick Rubin could have done this job? Joe Chicarelli? Phil Spector?!? Who? Maybe if someone had laid some nice electro-pop synth back there it would be "cutting edge"? Maybe if it was just microphone and her singing her old ballads mournfully it would be safer than a septuagenarian shaking her pelvis to some raunchy backbeats and champagne-room horn blasts. This record is good. Buy it now and listen to it loud in the car when summer finally comes. It'll be perfect. Promise.