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We talk to biographer Scott B. Bomar, co-author of Every Night Is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey To The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, about what makes Wanda Jackson such a giant of the rockabilly scene

How do you view Wandas place in the pantheon of rocking greats? Successful female singers who could both rock and sing country were admittedly rare in her day but they did exist (notably Janis Martin from ‘56, to Brenda Lee slightly later).

How do you think Wandas unique in comparison?

I view Wanda as a pioneer, but that’s something she never actually consciously set out to be. It was while touring with Elvis that he encouraged her to try recording “his” kind of music, as opposed to the strictly country fare she’d recorded up to that point. What’s unique about Wanda’s story is that, once she signed with Capitol Records, she did the bulk of her recording on the West Coast, rather than in Nashville or Memphis. California’s brand of country music had always been a bit more adventurous thanks to acts like The Maddox Brothers and Rose. As the rest of the country began to draw sharper distinctions between “country” and “rock” it was never that big of a deal for Capitol Records’ legendary A&R man Ken Nelson. That meant Wanda pretty much had the freedom to record what she wanted to record, and the studio musicians backing her (Buck Owens among them) had the chops and the flexibility to follow her instincts. Wanda always recorded country music, even as she was recording rock material, so I don’t think she was really trying to either set or follow any trends. She was just doing what came naturally to her, and it’s only in retrospect that we realise it was groundbreaking.

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About Vintage Rock

In this issue of Vintage Rock we enter the riotous world of Wanda Jackson. She's finally just hung up her touring boots this year aged 81, so we decided it was time to honour the Queen Of Rockabilly's tenure at the top from her incredible rise to glory as both a country and rockabilly star to her greatest ever performances – "It's been a wild ride!" Little Miss Dynamite goes out with a bang! We got the exclusive on Brenda Jackson's retirement too! In our candid interview Brenda remembers her spectacular career, from rubbing shoulders with Elvis to surviving the British Invasion intact. It's been 60 years since the storming debut album that positioned Cliff Richard as the UK's own Elvis – with The Drifters in support – we remember a raw classic. It's also been 60 years since rock'n'roll was hit with it's first major scandal. Inside we get to the bottom of the infamous 'Payola Scandal', the real rock'n'roll swindle in which the scene's major players had to face the music. From villains to heroes, we talk to Memphis Mafia man Jerry Schilling about his days with Elvis and the upcoming 'Elvis In Concert' tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, plus we speak to instrumental hero Johnny Farina, one half of duo Santo & Johnny, about their timeless hit 'Sleepwalk'. Bringing things up to date, we chat with Darrel Higham about his new album Bop Machine, we met Nick Lowe, who tells about his new project with masked marauders Los Straitjackets, and we review Stray Cats long-awaited return to the London stage – and what a night it was! Plenty more besides from fresh talent and rockin' weekenders to news, reviews and more!