Sunday, July 30, 2006

Wanda Jackson and Rosie Flores

There's a weird paragraph break in here--or maybe a weird edit; put a colon after "her voice" and it'll make more sense.

Washington Post, Monday, July 11, 2005; C05

Wanda Jackson and Rosie Flores

Sexist though the thought may have been, some of the crowd waiting -- and waiting, well past the announced starting time -- for Wanda Jackson and Rosie Flores's show at the Black Cat on Friday wondered which one was being a diva.

Neither, it turns out: Jackson was stuck in traffic. Finally, after about 45 minutes, the perky Flores and her band got into a high-octane rockabilly groove and kept it going for about an hour and a half. Her set was deliberately upbeat -- she even turned down a request for the slower "Bandera Highway," though as the set list ran down, she played it after all. Butch Hancock's "Boxcars," the highlight of her set, drew its eerie power from the sinister sounds she coaxed from her Epiphone guitar.

Finally, Jackson took the stage -- after an apology from her manager-husband for their tardiness. Resplendent in fringes, diamonds, eye shadow and comfy shoes, Elvis's ex-girlfriend -- not so much pushing 70 as ignoring it -- took over the room. Her stage-wise demeanor was matched by her voice.

It still comes out like silk, with an appealing little cling. Backed appropriately by Flores and her band, Jackson offered a sort of musical history, with her hits (the freakish country-rockabilly hybrid "I Gotta Know") mixed in with numbers including a slinky rendition of Jerry Lee Lewis's "It'll Be Me." What little discomfort there was during Jackson's tale of her salvation by Jesus was dissolved by a sing-along of "I Saw the Light" -- just three songs after the raucous "Riot in Cellblock #9."

-- Pamela Murray Winters

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