Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wanda Jackson - Hard Headed Woman (1957)

I love “discovering” new artists from 50 years ago. What’s not to like? They are playing the type of music which I enjoy; or can relate to; but which I have never heard before. Sometimes I have a brief familiarity with the name, or maybe one particular song; but this time I have made a true “discovery.” Her name is Wanda Jackson; though you all probably know that. Remember; I may have said I discovered her, but I didn't say that I was the first.

Wanda Jackson had a growl to her voice before it was considered “ladylike”. Maybe some of the blues greats; such as Bessie Smith, Willie Mae Thornton, and even Memphis Minnie, had already growled, but nice girls; and nice white girls in particular; did not growl at all. (Peggy Lee was one of the few exceptions to this.)

Wanda Jackson came by her growling sound at the behest of her father.  That’s the truth. One day she was singing but “holding back” when her Dad told her to just let it all out. So she did, and that was the birth of her sound.

And the way she walked and entranced the miners and factory workers wherever she played; sauntering on stage in everything from a simple dress to a full evening gown; or even slacks; she didn’t hide her figure, she used it.

The video above is from an early TV appearance and she sings; what for her is; a sort of ballad. But in the second video shown here she appears on Town Hall Party in 1957 singing a rockabilly version of Hard Headed Woman, which became kind of a signature song for her to perform; showing off her vocals and her figure.

With her short skirts, hoop earrings and shoes; all designed by her mother; she was one of the first female country stars to bring sex appeal and a sense of fashion to the country music scene. And did I mention that she could sing, too?

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