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Turn It Up

Turn It Up: November 21, 2012

Unfinished Business (Sugar Hill) is certainly what rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson has on her mind. Having already hit the comeback trail by way of last year’s Jack White-produced The Party Ain’t Over, her 30th album. For the follow-up, the 75-year-old Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Famer tapped Justin Townes Earle, son of Americana stalwart Steve, to produce. Using a more stripped-down and airier touch than White, Earle succeeds in the showcasing Jackson’s range and singular vocal talents whether she’s going to church on Townes Van Zandt’s gospel-inspired “Two Hands,” making Bobby Womack’s “It’s All Over Now” her own or matching up beautifully on a duet with her producer on the weepy countrypolitan gem “Am I Even a Memory.” The Oklahoma native also shines on the Earle-penned honky-tonk earworm “What Do You Do When You’re Lonesome” and a stellar reading of the Jeff Tweedy/Woody Guthrie nugget “California Stars.”