Wynonna – “I Hear You Knocking”
Songwriters: Dave Bartholomew and Pearl King (1955).
Hey, remember the mid 90s, way back when the current members of country music’s blondtourage were in elementary school and fat girls could still get radio airplay? Those were also the last years Wynonna Judd recorded anything worth listening to, including #1s “I Saw the Light,” “Tell Me Why,” and other fantastic contemporary country singles. The past decade-and-a-half has seen her wasting her incredible voice covering Foreigner, hosting Nashville Star with Cowboy Troy, and suffering from multiple personal issues including divorce and a stint in rehab for food addiction–not to mention appearing on NBC sitcom Kath & Kim in a horribly unfunny cameo/publicity stunt. Nevertheless, her seven studio albums have still sold extremely well, all of them hitting #5 or higher on the Billboard country charts.
The first single from her newest venture, Sing: Chapter One is “I Hear You Knocking”, an early Rock’n’Roll song made famous by New Orleans R&B musician Smiley Lewis in 1955. Due to racial attitudes at the time of its recording, however, it was seldom played on “white” radio until Brit rocker Dave Edmunds covered it (with massive success on both sides of the Atlantic) some twenty years later.
Wynonna stays faithful to Edmunds’ version of the song, which is more 70s rock anthem than juke-joint staple. But it’s such a good song that both arrangements are a lot of fun to hear—and Judd’s has the added benefit of having sassy, throaty vocals that are made for singing along. More importantly, it sounds like Wynonna is having fun herself, almost as though the past 15 years of personal and professional difficulties never happened. She sounds like she’s back in her comfort zone.
Fans of equally rockin’ and sassy “No One Else on Earth” will more likely than not be drawn to “I Hear You Knocking,” (which, considering its subject matter, might be considered something of a sequel song once the protagonist of “Earth” comes to her senses), and Judd might just get her foot back in the door of country radio.
Though the rest of the album is a tired collection of over-covered songs (save Judd’s one-woman version of Boswell Sisters’ “That’s How Rhythm Was Born”) with “I Hear You Knocking,” she done good.
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