Top Three Wanda Jackson Songs
Buck Slaughter's Top Three Songs!
Welcome to the inaugural "Top Three" list. Every edition will feature the main character of "Buck Slaughter's Book of Rock "N Roll Facts" three favorite songs by a particular artist or within a particular theme. (Watch for Buck's Top Three Songs about explosions!!!)
Buck got a copy of Wanda Jackson's new Auto-bio "Every Night Is Saturday Night" for Christmas, so he has the groundbreaking singer on the mind. (You should go grab that book. It's keen!)
Certainly it's not easy to pick just three songs from a catalog that spans 50 years and at least three genres (Country, rockabilly and gospel.)
Illustration by Ken Eppstein. Text by Buck Slaughter... Who is not so secretly also Ken Eppstein.
Funnel of Love:
The B-Side to ‘Right Or Wrong” is one of the most under appreciated tunes of its time, although in some ways its’ remarkable that the song got released at all. Many of Wanda Jackson’s Capitol Records releases had what could best be described as a naughty undertone, but Funnel of Love was the most overtly sexual. (I mean… She’s going down down down, deep into the Funnel of Love… I don’t think that’s just me having a dirty mind.)
Roy Clark had replaced Joe Maphis as Wanda’s regular guitarist at this point in her career. Both men were phenomenal guitar players, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard Maphis do anything on his guitar that sounds quite as exotic as Clark’s work on this song. Funnel of Love almost sounds like Brian Jones sitar work on Paint It Black.
Silver Threads and Golden Needles:
In 1956, when in many ways Wanda Jackson was still more of a country artist than a rocker, she released Silver Threads and Golden Needles as a single along with “Hot Dog That Made Him Mad.” While on the surface the song is another country song lamentation over a cheating spouse, it also adds an important element of social commentary. Silver Threads and Golden Needles is an indictment of the corrupting influence of wealth on the soul, with the same force and power of Porter Wagoner’s “Satisfied Mind.” It makes me a wonder why famous cover versions, like Linda Ronstadt’s, omit the second verse about growing up in faded gingham. Was it a little too much of a dig at people with money… like record and radio execs?
This Gun Don’t Care Who It Shoots:
Wanda Jackson career riding the line between country and rock shouldn’t be a surprise, seeing as her country music was always more of the west coast variety than Nashville sounding. In her autobiography: Every Night is Saturday night she even muses that her early work in California helped solidify the nascent Bakersfield sound. Seems like a big claim until you go back and listen to early Bakersfield sound records and then listen to early Wanda Jackson singles. Proof enough for me!
Anyways… “This Gun Don’t Care Who It Shoots” is perhaps the best example I can think of Wanda Jackson combining the elements of country music with roaring rock and roll guitars and dangerous sounding lyrics.