Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home

Various Artists

The Wanda Jackson Connection

Review by Gary Hill

This is a unique set of songs. It's made up of originals of songs Wanda Jackson covered, and covers of her songs by other artists. There are some real winners here, and nothing that completely misses the mark. The mix of rock and roll, rockabilly and more generally works pretty well. As you pretty much always know with Bear Family, it's also a nice package with an extensive booklet included as part of the digipack.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2023  Volume 5 More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Joyce Hahn - I Gotta Know
I love the nearly acapella introduction on this song. The mellower sections also work really well. I'm not as crazy bout the more rocking parts. Still, this is old school tune is fairly effective, and it has some cool guitar work.
Ray Campi & His Rockabilly Rebels - Honey Bop
This is a bouncy and fun romp. I like this one more than the previous tune.
Betty Hutton - Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad
Jazzy and bluesy, this is another winner.
Sunny Gale - Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad
While this version still has plenty of jazz in the mix, it also has a lot of rock and roll. The horn section seems a little over the top for me, but the tune works well.
Terry White - Cool Love
This is an energetic rock and roller. I really love the piano soloing on the tune, and the whole thing grooves with style.  
Annisteen Allen - Fujiyama Mama
There is a lot of bluesy rock and roll at the heart of this tune. It's a fun one.         
Eileen Barton - Fujiyama Mama
This one doesn't work as well for me as the other version. It's got a good energy, but the backing vocals don't do it  There is a bit of silliness to it that I don't think is all the effective.
Lydia & Her Melody Strings - Just A Queen For A Day
There are plenty of country music angles to this thing. The cut is pretty cool and effective.
The Collins Kids (Larry & Lorrie) - Party
A fun rock and roller, I like this one a lot.    
Rikki Henderson - Let's Have A Party
A different version of the previous tune, this isn't as good as that one, but it does rock. It really does feel like there is a party going on.
Thelma Blackburn - I Wanta Waltz
There is a lot of down-home country in the mix here along some jazz and rock and roll. I'm not a big fan of this tune, but it is reasonably effective.
Shirley Jean Wiley - Long Tall Sally
This energetic rock  and roller is a lot of fun. It's one of my favorites on this disc.
Terry White - Mean Mean Man
Another classy rocker, this is again a standout tune here. It has plenty of Little Richard in the mix.
Brenda Lee - Kansas City
The arrangement on this is a little over the top at times. The vocal performance just rocks so well, though, that it doesn't matter. This bluesy groove is another highlight of the disc. The saxophone solo is all class, too.
Shane Fenton & The Fentones - Sparkling Brown Eyes
While this rock and roller is entertaining and energetic, it's not that special. I do like the guitar sound, though. The solo is on fire, too.
Vicky Young - Riot In Cell Block No. 9
Jazz, blues and rock and roll all merge on this tune. It's another fun one.
Skeeter Davis - Right Or Wrong (I'll Be With You)
A mellower rock and roller, this is solid, but nothing special.          
Velvetone - Funnel Of Love
I love this hard rocking guitar based tune. It is very much more of a 1960s styled garage band thing. It's another favorite here for me.
Betty McQuade - Tongue Tied
I love the hard rocking raw groove on this song. This is another standout.
Fabian - Tongue Tied
A bit more polished than the previous version, this is still on fire.
Connie Francis - Fallin'
I really love the guitar sound on this song. The track is a cool rocker that's another standout.
Jenny Luna - Stupid Cupid
More of a doo-wop pop rock and roller, I'm not crazy about this one. It has its charms, but it's just more of an "also ran," as far as I'm concerned.
Chuck Berry & His Combo - Brown Eyed Handsome Man
You can't really go wrong with Chuck Berry. This rocker is no exception.
Bobby Bare - So Soon
This mellower, country groove just doesn't do much for me. It's over-produced and underperforms as far as I'm concerned.     
Roy Orbison - Candy Man
Harmonica starts this. The cut has a cool bluesy rock and roll groove to it. It's a fun one.           
Ria Valk - Santo Domingo (Fernando, Alfredo En José)
With lyrics in German and Spanish, this has an over-the-top string arrangement. It's a number that just doesn't work for me.
Bix Bryant & The Raiders - Let's Have A Party
This high energy rock and roller works so well. While we've heard two versions of this earlier, I think this is the best of the three, by a long shot.
Lou Ann Barton - Mean Mean Man
With a bit of a rockabilly edge, this also has plenty of killer guitar rock and roll at its heart. The guitar work really sells it.           
Rosie Flores with Rumble On The Beach - I Gotta Know (unissued live recording)
This is quite a fun version of the song we heard earlier. It has a Stray Cats meets Lone Justice vibe to me.
The Ladybirds - Man We Had A Party
The closer is from 2007. It has both modern and retro sounds in the mix. It's a lot of fun. Again, I think this is my favorite version of this track here. It's also one of my favorite songs on the whole disc.
Return to the
Various Artists Artist Page
Return to the
Roy Orbison Artist Page
Artists Directory

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./