If you haven't already heard Funnel Of Love, Wanda Jackson's rhythmically hypnotic 1961 exercise in country / psychedelia, you can check it out below.
Strange but true: I recently learned that this positively irresistible 45 rpm recording sounds equally enchanting when slowed down to 33 rpm!
Sounds impossible, I know, but listen in as Wanda's beguiling wildcat voice is converted into the vaguely blurred rasp of a smitten young man. The ear (well, my ear) detects that the recording sounds artificially slowed down for only the first few seconds, after which it sounds completely normal, though it definitely retains an authentically exotic flair. Big points go to Roy Clark whose guitar playing layers atmospheric appeal onto the proceedings on both the standard and the slowed down version.
The credit for this fascinating audio discovery goes to Todd Butler, who stumbled upon it while conducting audio experiments back in high school, a decade or two before I met him. He shared the information with his pal Arthur Johnson, who just recently clued me in.
Sadly, Todd passed away at age 40 in 2004.
Billed as "Georgia Todd Butler," he made many contributions to the WFMU program The Audio Kitchen. Hosted by The Professor, The Audio Kitchen was, according to Station Manager Ken, "the greatest found sound radio program ever." Todd would often head into Atlanta's thrift stores armed with a Walkman and patiently plow through the cassettes on display in search of homemade audio ephemera to share with fellow enthusiasts. Samples of Todd's discoveries that made it onto the WFMU airwaves can be heard here, here, and here.
As great as it was, Funnel Of Love wasn't a hit. In fact, it was the b-side of Right Or Wrong, a tune which found success on both the Country and the Pop charts (#9 and #29 respectively). Just one year later, in 1962, she recorded the topically and stylistically similar Whirlpool, though it too was inexplicably relegated to life as a b-side.
Wanda Jackson - Whirlpool (2:16)
In the better late than never department, Wanda Jackson was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last week. To be sure most music snobs, and I include myself here, feel a little bit of an obligation to sneer at the very concept of "the rock & roll hall of fame" and its way of doing things.
For those who get the nod, though, it's an understandably big honor so congratulations to Wanda Jackson on all her accomplishments. In 2002, Wanda Jackson was interviewed by Rex on Fool's Paradise. That program can be accessed here. And in 2008, Michael Shelley interviewed her for his show. Go here to listen to that interview.