Fujiyama Mama – Wanda Jackson

How do you even try to follow a week of Jimi Hendrix and a going out of business sign?

You change direction. I’m posting Fujiyama Mama by the powerhouse that is Wanda Jackson because there’s so little from the 1950’s on SteveForTheDeaf despite it being the well from which all this rock and roll did spring.

The attitude that rips out from the grooves of this 1957 seven inch single is as punk and rebellious as any record you care to name. The lyrical content would not pass as acceptable in polite society today. It would probably cause many a spiky logo’d metal band to think twice before committing it to record. Even the most Gangsta of rappers would consider;

“I’ve been to Nagasaki, Hiroshima too! The things I did to them baby, I can do to you!”

As a beef worthy opening gambit. I’m not even going to make the ‘times were different then’ excuse for Wanda. This was considered rough, brazen and abrasive in most circles in the era of it’s release too.

“I drank a quart of sake, smoked on a pipe! I chased it with tobbacy and then shoot out the lights!”

Jackson was considered the Queen of Rockabilly and within her scene is as iconic a leader as Iggy, Joan Jett or Strummer were in punk. Acts as diverse as The Fall, Social Distortion and Cyndi Lauper have covered Wanda’s music. This particular track has the distinction of reportedly being a hit in the singles chart in Japan despite (and because) of it’s lyrics referencing the atom bombs dropped which brought the second world war to an end.

“Well you can say I’m crazy, so deaf and dumb! But I can cause destruction just like the atom bomb! ‘Cause I’m a Fujiyama Mama and I’m just about to blow my top!”

This amazing bit of rock and roll folklore goes to show you can’t tell others what they do and don’t want to feel, to say, to hear and to dance to. As American as Apple Pie and as brazen as singing a lyric which compares your temperament to that of a weapon of mass destruction. It’d be easy to be offended it it wasn’t so rock and roll. Amazing to think the hip young things of Tokyo and Texas were all ‘Rockin’ With Wanda’ at the some time.

Wanda went on to record tracks specifically for her Japanese market along side shifting genres in to the 70’s and recording in German and Dutch. She made Gospel records, Pop, Soul and Country diversions followed.

Wanda is still with us and has outlived and paid tribute to 21st century stars Sharon Jones and Amy Winehouse while they were still with us and in the wake of their passing.

How many people can say they dated Elvis, covered Amy, had hits in German, Japanese and English and are still kicking arse?

Wanda Jackson Ladies and Gentlemen a true queen of the rock and roll world.

14 thoughts on “Fujiyama Mama – Wanda Jackson

  1. I read that she was once told sometime like ‘girls don’t do music’. She basically told them to ‘stick it’ making her more determined than ever to make a career out of music. And what a career she had becoming the ‘Queen of Rockabilly’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “You can call me mean but I’ll blow your head off with nitroglycerin “. 😀This song kicks ass. Thanks for the history lesson – has heard her name but didn’t know anything about her

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Talking of Nagasaki, have you ever heard “Nagasaki” by Billy Costello – the bloke who did the original voice for Popeye The Sailor Man? It’s probably the best song ever recorded.
    Sample lyric:
    “Hot ginger and dynamite
    There’s nothing but that at night
    Back in Nagasaki
    Where the fellers chew tobaccy
    And the women wicky-wacky Woo”

    There’s various versions of the song (including one by Fry and Laurie from their Jeeves and Wooster TV series) but I love Billy Costello’s version – you can hear it on this SoundCloud link:

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Now that’s how you follow Jimi Hendrix week and that going out of business bombshell. Wanda was a real live wire… and I remember seeing her on Jools Holland a few years ago (that same one where she covered Amy) thinking “she still is a live wire!”. All gravel and spit. What a lady.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to watch it religiously, but fell away from it. I think Jools started inserting himself into performances a bit too much, too… some songs just don’t need boogie woogie piano.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wanda Jackson is an icon. She’s rightfully had a late resurgence but the first time I heard this, it was 1980 and I didn’t yet know about Wanda Jackson. I first heard Pearl Harbour’s excellent cover on her “Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost Too” album of rockabilly wonder and delight.

    Liked by 1 person

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