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OKIE DOKEY: Oklahoman Wanda Jackson began her singing career back in 1951, yodeling Jimmie Rodgers songs on a local radio station. In 1954, country singer Hank Thompson heard her over the airwaves and invited her to sing with his band, the Brazos Valley Boys. The following year, Jackson met a fellow named Elvis Presley while both were on a package tour. Presley pressed her to attempt the country/R&B/ rockabilly hybrid he was practicing, and by the end of the decade, Jackson, with her hard-hitting, sexy, empowered delivery, was one of the first female superstars of country and rockabilly. She's been called the queen of rockabilly, and there's little to dispute that title.

In 1971, Jackson became a born-again Christian and recorded a string of gospel albums, but in the mid-1980s, as a rockabilly revival was taking shape in Europe, Jackson was coaxed back into performing, and later, recording the secular music of her roots, which she's been doing since.

Last year, Jackson released Heart Trouble (CMH), a collection of ferocious rockabilly and heartbreaking country that includes collaborations with Rosie Flores, The Cramps, Dave Alvin, Elvis Costello and The Cadillac Angels (who will serve as her opening and backing band at this week's performance). The excellent Trouble demonstrates that, 50 years into her career, Jackson amazingly hasn't lost a step; her voice couldn't be in better form, and it's a gas to hear her collaborate with those who obviously worship at her altar. Specifically, her duet with Costello (her second Elvis) on the Buck Owens-penned "Crying Time" is absolutely gorgeous and alone justifies the purchase price of the album; it ranks as one of the greatest songs we've heard in ages.

The legendary Wanda Jackson performs with The Cadillac Angels at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Advance tickets are available for $10 at the club; they'll be $12 at the door. Questions? Call 798-1298.


A MODEST PROPOSAL: Scottish noiseniks Country Teasers (who currently call London home) are certainly not for everybody. The quartet specializes in a scraping, abrasive amalgam of off-kilter country, riff-happy rockabilly and sci-fi noise that goes out of its way to offend lyrically, if not sonically.

But irony is the name of the game here: With songs that exaggerate controversial themes of racism, sexism and general misanthropy to the point of absurdity, the enlightened are able to see that Country Teasers are social satirists, essentially the Jonathan Swift of sonically visceral rock and roll.

Country Teasers perform on Monday, Jan. 19, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. Tucson garage ravers The Okmoniks open the all-ages show at 9 p.m. Admission is $6. Call 884-0874 for more 411.


HIP-HOP HAPS: Under the banner of 12 OX'N Productions, local promoter Solomon Freed has quietly been quietly flying the underground hip-hop flag in Tucson, both by bringing national acts to town (recent performances by Raekwon, Jean Grae and 2Mex were 12 OX'N events) and holding shows dedicated to bringing attention to the local hip-hop scene. (If you didn't know there is one, you haven't been paying attention.) To the latter end, 12 OX'N has promoted a pair of shows dubbed Unification, and this week sees the third and final installment.

Unification III will spotlight a number of elements of local underground hip-hop culture, including DJs, emcees, spoken-word poetry, graffiti art, b-boys and political activism. As Freed writes in a press release, "Beyond the culture of hip hop, this will be a showcase of originality, artistic freedom and the power of art, and specifically hip hop, as a forum for expression, education and political activism." The lineup of performers at the event will include Influence, DJ Rich, The Greyz, Louis Mercury, James Ciphurphace, Stress, Landlord, and Swindoe.

Unification III kicks off at 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Cover is five bucks. For more information, call 622-8848.


OTEY DOKIE: Lisa Otey, whose TAMMIES award-collecting pretty much qualifies as a hobby by now, is gathering up a slew of her pals for another one of those semi-regular events she likes to call Desert Divas.

Expect to hear everything from jazz to country, blues to folk, hell, even a bit of disco, as Otey gathers the likes of Kathleen Williamson, Anna Warr, Liz McMahon and Hurricane Carla Brownlee, plus special guests Uvon, Regina Wills and the Asha Gopal & Company India folk dance troupe onto one stage for two special shows this weekend.

The Tucson Blues Society presents Lisa Otey and the Desert Divas hootenanny hits the stage at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd., at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 17. Advance tickets are available for $15 ($12 for members of KXCI, TJS, and TKMA; $10 for TBS members and students) at Hear's Music and Antigone Books, or online at www.dotucson.com. They'll be $18 at the door. For more info log onto www.lisaotey.com.


ALL YOU CAN BEAT: Comprising Jarrod Weeks (aka Lord Grunge, aka Matt Kukla) and Jackson O'Connell-Barlow (aka Grape-A-Don, aka Nate Kukla), Grand Buffet is a pair of white Pittsburgh--or, in their nomenclature, "Shittsburgh"--wiseass rappers who trade in humorous non sequiturs with patently lo-fi production. The duo self-released a pair of EPs last year, Cigarette Beach (whose liner notes read "STILL No Label. STILL No Fans. STILL no problem") and its follow-up, Pittsburgh Hearts ("STILL No Goddamned label. Finally SOME Goddamed Fans. STILL no problem"), which reveal what MC Paul Barman might have sounded like if he wasn't so nasal and obsessed with all things scatalogical, and if he was schooled on Mad magazine and National Lampoon instead of studying at Brown University. In other words, they're a hoot; or, as Weeks writes in the group's bio: "We've been to a lot of places, played in front of a lot of dudes and gals, and I've come to conclude that if you DON'T dig Grand Buffet, you're one of two things: Boring and/or Stupid."

The gentlemen of Grand Buffet strut their stuff at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., on Thursday, Jan. 15. The Bandeye open at 9 p.m., and admission to the all-ages show is $6. For further details call 884-0874.


IT'S CALLED GRATITUDE. AND THAT'S RIGHT! Finally, we'd like to extend a somewhat belated--but no less heartfelt--thank you to all who participated in and attended this year's Sixth Annual Great Cover-Up, held in November, at Club Congress. The take from the three-day event was roughly $4,400, bringing the total amount raised for The Brewster Center, a local domestic violence resource center, during the last six years to more than $20,000.

We'd specifically like to thank the following people: the bands, who slaved away to learn a set of songs they'll likely never perform again, and without whom we'd have no event; Curtis McCrary (a Weekly contributor who was one of the two primary organizers of the event) and the many fine folks at Club Congress; Chita from KLPX and liveandlocal.net; Don Jennings and Duncan Hudson from KXCI; Rainbow Guitars for the donation of their amps (and for their patience when we told them we needed bigger ones); Tapeworm from scratchingthesurface and Sticks 'n' Strings for allowing more than 30 bands to pummel his beautiful drum kit; and Sesaly Stamps from The Brewster Center.

We'd like to invite all who helped out to attend a check presentation ceremony and appreciation party, which will be held at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Jan. 22, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. It should be a fun, collective pat on the back, and we hope to have a nifty little keepsake ready to give to each band as a special thank-you gift.

We've said it before, and we'll probably say it a million more times: Thanks, Tucson. You rock.

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