Seven Recent Albums By '60s Artists That Don't Suck
Age gets us all eventually. I'm only in my early twenties and already I'm having to do stupid things like eating healthier, quitting the smokes, and watching my blood pressure. So it really shouldn't come as any surprise that musicians start to slow down in their old age, especially if they've been plugging away at writing and recording since the 1960s.
Photo by Craig Hlavaty Wanda Jackson performing at SXSW 2010
Today, however, we'll look at five that started off in the era of free love and still produce records today that don't suck. In fact, these five are still producing amazing and relevant records that captivate audiences of all ages.
7. Wanda Jackson, Unfinished Business
We're cheating a little bit here to fit Wanda Jackson on the list. She actually hit in 1958 with her self-titled debut record, but it was her only album before the 1960s so we'll give her a pass. Throughout the '60s, Jackson became the "Queen of Rockabilly," pioneering the genre and bringing it to audiences worldwide. Her influence can still be heard today, including in the music of Texas' own the Reverend Horton Heat.
In 2011, Jackson relaunched her career with Jack White and his Third Man Records. The Party Ain't Over, featuring White, came out that year and hit No. 17 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart. More than that, it restored Jackson to the public eye for the first time in years. She followed it up with another well-received record for Third Man in 2012 called Unfinished Business, featuring production by Americana songwriter and devotee Justin Townes Earle.
6. Mavis Staples, You Are Not Alone
Mavis Staples began her career with the Staple Singers, a family band with her brothers and sisters, in 1948, when she was only 9 years old. She continued with them through the '50s and '60s, but she only launched her solo career in 1969.
Since then, she has experienced success as a singer and an actress, garnering recognition from artists as wide ranging as guitarist Ry Cooder, who produced her 2007 debut for Anti- Records, We'll Never Turn Back; Prince, who gave her a role in his 1990 movie Graffiti Bridge; and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, who produced her most recent record, 2010's You Are Not Alone. You Are Not Alone became a huge success for Staples, winning her first Grammy after all these years for Best Americana Album.
Staples has a follow-up with Tweedy titled One True Vine on the way in June and will be performing at this year's Free Press Summer Fest.