Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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WANDA JACKSON
Heart Trouble
CMH

Some illustrious stars and friends work hard to make the rockabilly gal's comeback work

The first studio album in decades from 65-year-old rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson comes astutely produced by roots specialist John Wooler and shored up by a small host of well-wishers: Elvis Costello, Dave Alvin, Rosie Flores and the Cramps, who lend welcome oomph to her oldie "Funnel of Love." DCN's recent The Wanda Jackson Show: Live and Still Kickin' offers proof aplenty that she remains likable, lively and spunky. Additional oomph, however, is in short supply here. The material is choice, her voice full and healthy. But where unsung rocker Jackson was nearly feral and country chanteuse Jackson was soulful enough, here the only song that sounds felt rather than performed is "Walk With Me," about her personal savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blender, Nov. 2003