Various Hard Headed Woman: A Celebration Of Wanda Jackson

When rock’n’roll first emerged, it was clearly too wild for any respectable female to participate in. But Wanda Jackson changed all that by daringly tapping into the same visceral vibe that the original rockabilly artists did, thereby providing an intriguing feminine counterpoint to Elvis’s groundbreaking sexuality. Her songs weren’t bad either, and that’s the point of this tribute featuring much of the Bloodshot stable. Those who most easily take to the material is the expected cast of characters — Carolyn Mark, Neko Case and Nora O’Connor all turn in outstanding high energy performances — but as with all tribute albums, it’s the new twists that makes Hard Headed Woman worthy of more than one listen. The charming kitschiness of Robbie Fulks’s version of "Tears At The Grand Ol’ Opry,” and the Asylum Street Spankers’ "Funnel Of Love,” is contrasted with the pure desolation of Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter’s "Weary Blues From Waiting.” And for just plain weirdness, there’s Trailer Bride’s gloomy take on Jackson’s most famous tune "Fujiama Mama.” But overall, Jackson’s rockabilly spirit dominates, and the album should serve as a timely lesson for every would-be teen pop queen what real rebellion is all about. (Bloodshot)