|Produced by John Wooler (Buena Vista Social Club’s Eliades Ochoa, Hadda Brooks, Pops Staples, Willie Nelson) Heart Trouble is an adventurous and eclectic mix of new songs and old favorites, showing that Jackson has lost none of the spirit that made her such a groundbreaking artist. The title track is a thoroughly modern Americana gem by Paul Kennerly featuring Wanda’s tart and sweet delivery, bass by the legendary Larry Taylor (Tom Waits, Canned Heat), drums from Stephen Hodges (Tom Waits, The Fabulous Thunderbirds) and guitar, mandolin and banjo by Smokey Hormel (Beck, Johnny Cash, Smokey & Miho). Other new songs include country-flavored numbers “It Happens Every Time,” “Lonely for You,” “Any Time You Wanna Fool Around,” (by Allan Miller and the Mavericks’ Jaime Hanna) and a soulful Elvis-style gospel song written for Ms. Jackson by James Intveld called “Walk With Me.”
“Crying Time” with legendary British rocker Elvis Costello shows that Wanda Jackson can still wrap her gorgeous voice around a country weeper with the best of them. The duet was recorded live in the studio with original Attractions members Peter Thomas on drums and John McFee on pedal steel.
Rosie Flores and Wanda Jackson meet again on Flores’ “Woman Walk Out The Door,” a country anthem featuring rock-solid bass by former Stray Cat Lee Rocker. Psychobilly superstars The Cramps (Poison Ivy and Lux Interior) turn up with guitar and backing vocals on “Mean Mean Man,” “Riot In Cellblock #9” and “Funnel of Love,” updating the rockabilly chestnuts with just the right amount of anarchic fun. California roots-rock legend Dave Alvin lends his searing lead guitar work to “It’ll Be Me,” “Rockabilly Fever” and more. Wanda's West Coast touring band, The Cadillac Angels, joined in on “Let’s Have a Party” and “Hard Headed Woman.”
Heart Trouble’s bracing mix of fresh and classic songs that swing from traditional and alternative country to rockabilly and gospel makes the album a fitting coda to her iconoclastic body of work, and one hell of a fun ride. Just five decades into her career, 65 year-old Wanda Jackson is still standing on the cutting edge.
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Wanda Jackson was only halfway through high school when, in 1954, country singer Hank Thompson heard her on an Oklahoma City radio show and asked her to record with his band, the Brazos Valley Boys. By the end of the decade, Jackson had become one of America's first major female country and rockabilly singers.
Jackson was born in Oklahoma, but her father Tom -- himself a country singer who quit because of the Depression -- moved the family to California in 1941. He bought Wanda her first guitar two years later, gave her lessons, and encouraged her to play piano as well. In addition, he took her to see such acts as Tex Williams, Spade Cooley, and Bob Wills, which left a lasting impression on her young mind. Tom moved the family back to Oklahoma City when his daughter was 12 years old. In 1952, she got won a local talent contest and was given a 15-minute daily show on KLPR. The program, soon upped to 30 minutes, lasted throughout Jackson's high school years. It's here that Thompson heard her sing. Jackson recorded several songs with the Brazos Valley Boys, including "You Can't Have My Love," a duet with Thompson's bandleader, Billy Gray. The song, on the Decca label, became a national hit, and Jackson's career was off and running. She had wanted to sign with Capitol, Thompson's label, but was turned down so she signed with Decca instead.
Jackson insisted on finishing high school before hitting the road. When she did, her father came with her. Her mother made and helped design Wanda's stage outfits. "I was the first one to put some glamour in the