Let's Have a Party! Wanda Jackson tonight at Cain's

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Wanda Jackson, a native of Maud, Okla., and a resident of the Oklahoma City area, will be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland next month, but tonight she's playing Cain's Ballroom here in Tulsa. Deeply rooted in the western swing music of Bob Wills, Spade Cooley, and Tex Williams, she started out as a country singer, working with Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys. In 1955 and 1956 she toured with Elvis Presley and made the transition to rockabilly.

The show starts at 8 p.m. If you love old-time rock 'n' roll, you'll want to hear one of the originals.

Charles G. Hill nominated Wanda's "Funnel of Love" for our state rock 'n' roll song for its multiple ties to Oklahoma:

1. Wanda's from Maud, and today lives in Moore.
2. The tasty guitar licks are provided by latter-day Tulsan Roy Clark.
3. What could be more Oklahoman than Tornado as Metaphor? I mean, really.

More clips after the jump -- "Hard Headed Woman," and two excerpts from a 2008 Smithsonian Channel documentary about Wanda.

UPDATE: It was a great show with an appreciative audience of all ages. Wanda sounds as great as ever, backed by a terrific rockabilly band, Bill Holden and the Nighthawks. When she introduced "Funnel of Love," she mentioned that it was largely overlooked when it was first issued, because it was the B side of her hit, "Right or Wrong." Young rockabilly aficionados rediscovered and embraced the song a few years ago, and she had to go back and re-learn it. It was great to hear it live. She introduced a set of Elvis songs (including "Heartbreak Hotel") with reminiscences of her years touring with him, and how he introduced her to rockabilly.


Shortly before the end of her set, Wanda took a moment to tell us about her coming to faith in Jesus, "the Savior of my soul and the Lord of my life," in 1971, and she followed her words with a rousing rendition of the gospel classic, "I Saw the Light."

Wanda also thanked Jennifer Chancellor, Barrelhouse Beat music columnist for the Tulsa World; there's a huge archive of stories, audio clips, and links to YouTube videos featuring Wanda Jackson here on tulsaworld.com.

At the end of the show, Cain's owners Jim and Alice Rodgers presented Wanda with a huge bouquet of roses and read a proclamation from Mayor Kathy Taylor declaring today as Wanda Jackson Day in Tulsa.

Now back to the clips....

Here's a clip from a Smithsonian Channel documentary about Wanda -- "The Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice."

And more -- Wanda explains how to learn to yodel. Her method requires a horse.

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Sidney said:

Wanda Jackson put on a wonderful show last night. At 72 she still has an amazing amount of energy. For anybody that missed Wanda her keyboard player said that she'll be in Sperry June 13th.

I didne't know you were there or I would have said "hi". From the looks of your photo I was seated on the other side (Wanda's left, your right and in the second row).

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 13, 2009 2:09 PM.

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