Unfinished Business

[Sugar Hill]

At 75, Wanda Jackson has nothing left to prove. Since emerging in the ’50s as a female Elvis, she’s weathered fallow periods, but the Queen of Rockabilly has never really disappeared. In 2009, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and two years later, Jack White stepped up to produce The Party Ain’t Over, a problematic album that said as much about White’s ambitions as it did Jackson’s endurance. Unfinished Business is the record she needed to make before calling it quits. Producer Justin Townes Earle has a more appropriate vision. His goal is more to remind than to revive. The girlish growl of Jackson’s early rave-ups is gone, replaced by a more world-weary approach, and the songs are age-appropriate. Fronting a small band devoid of Nashville gloss, Jackson proves she can still rock, wring emotion and get funky. She’s a national treasure. This album does her legend justice. –Jeff Tamarkin

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