sound check

June 9, 2011 |

By Michael Swanger


Paul Thorn

"Pimps and Preachers"

Perpetual Obscurity Records


I like singers who can walk the line between heaven and hell, light and dark, because they're more in tune with the contrasting circumstances of everyday life. Paul Thorn is one of those singers. What's more, he's able to traverse a range of music genres (blues, country, swamp rock) with the kind of ease and authenticity, as heard on "Pimps and Preachers," that must drive music industry folks crazy... I like that. Perhaps the greatest example of this point is the album's mesmerizing title track in which Thorn sings deeply from his soul: "My daddy had a Cadillac/My uncle drove a Ford. One was Satan's angel/And one worked for the Lord... They both became my teachers/I was a young disciple of pimps and preachers." CV

(Paul Thorn performs Wednesday, June 15 at 8 p.m. at People's Court. $15-$25.)


Wanda Jackson

"The Party Ain't Over"

Third Man/Nonesuch Records


Can Jack White (The White Stripes) do for the undisputed Queen of Rockabilly what he did for the Coal Miner's Daughter? That question remains to be answered, but judging by the hip sound of Wanda Jackson's new album (I recommend the vinyl version) produced by White, "The Party Ain't Over," you can't help but admire his ability to reignite the artistry of yet another iconic female singer. The spunky 73-year-old Jackson, revered for classics like "Let's Have a Party" and "Fujiyama Mama," opens the affair with the powerful rocker "Shakin' All Over" before seducing listeners with her kitten-like vocals on "Busted" and "Teach Me Tonight." With the help of White's deft production and guitar playing, Jackson delivers captivating covers of the Andrew Sisters' "Rum and Coca-Cola," Bob Dylan's "Thunder on the Mountain" and Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good." CV