Unfinished Business, the most recent album from legendary singer and “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” inductee Wanda Jackson, was released last year on Sugar Hill Records. It was Jackson’s 31st studio album and marks the producing debut of fellow renowned musician and songwriter Justin Townes Earle. Of working with Earle, Jackson comments, “From day one I really liked Justin’s idea to take me back to my roots and make a record of country, blues, and rockabilly songs. The band was extra tight and great to work with during the whole process. The record just sounds terrific and I’m hoping that my fans enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it.”
Unfinished Business continues Jackson’s unparalleled five-and-a-half decades of influential and groundbreaking music making. The new album follows Jackson’s 2011 Jack White-produced The Party Ain’t Over, which received both widespread critical and commercial acclaim. Of the record, NPR Music raved “At 73, she still exudes a youthful sound and spirit, and decorates her unique voice with an effortlessly deep and gravelly swoop at the most unexpected times,” while The New York Times noted Jackson “still sounds fantastic, and her gnarled, feisty vocals are a good fit with Mr. White’s scrappy production.” Moreover, the album found Jackson enjoying her first ever charting on the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at #58. Jack White declared “[Jackson is] influential to every modern female singer, whether they know about her or not. She broke down those walls in the beginning, when it was the hardest to do.”
Widely known and respected as “The Queen of Rockabilly,” Jackson is credited with being the first woman to ever record a rock and roll song—“Let’s Have a Party” in 1958. In 2009, Jackson was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” and, in 2010, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Americana Music Awards.
Coming out of Baltimore, MD (via Cleveland, TN) the rock n’ roll band has hit the road with such regularity that its recorded work can almost seem like an afterthought. But the artifact J Roddy Walston and The Business created is among the most collection-worthy albums of the past decade. The widely praised LP Hail Mega Boys although fine in its own right, can now be seen as a rough precursor to the ten tracks on their selftitled, first full-length album and label debut that was released on July 27, 2010 (Fairfax Recordings/Vagrant).
Recorded in less than two weeks at Los Angeles’ Sound City Studios and Fairfax Recordings with producer Kevin Augunas (Cold War Kids, The Vandals), the album features the band as close to live as possible with minimal overdubs and tweaking. No modern studio computer gadgetry was used or harmed in the process, either. Instead, the recordings were captured by a 16-track, twoinch Scully tape machine. In a time of racking up studio costs by spending too much time with alterations, this will arguably be seen as the best and most cost efficient, true rock n’ roll album in years.