My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Wynonna – ‘Women Be Wise’

wynonna1For her new album, Sing: Chapter 1, Wynonna has teamed up with long-time collaborators – and the two most important men to the career of The Judds – Brent Maher and Don Potter.  And the end result is awesome – a strong set of covers sung to Wynonna perfection.  But that’s another review.  We’re going to talk about ‘Women Be Wise’, which is presumably the album’s first radio single.  

Listening to the song, I can visualize Wynonna singing in a smoky blues club – right out of a private eye movie.  The song itself dates back to the 1930s and was written by the ‘Texas Nightingale’ Sippie Wallace & John Beach.  (Wynonna considers this a Bonnie Raitt cover, as most will.)  Sippy Wallace was a blues singer who gained popularity in the ’20s, and whose music dated as far back as Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters.  But, as the legend goes, Wallace was re-discovered in the 1960s by Bonnie Raitt (when Wallace re-recorded the song in 1966), who then subsequently covered ‘Women Be Wise’ causing a resurgence in Wallace’s popularity, that lasted until her death.  Confusing, huh?

The song speaks for itself, so I am only going to comment on the vocal.  I’ve always considered Wynonna one of music’s finest vocalists, and highly underrated.  Here, she shows she’s still at the top of her game, even though her influences are not all country.  Wynonna stays very true to the Raitt recording of the song, growling and trilling in just the right places while remaining crystal clear all the while.  A jazzy piano intro sets the mood, and allows the singer to take over.  She clearly has a grasp on these elements of popular music, as she masters this torch song like few could.  Brilliant.


Listen to ‘Women Be Wise’ and other songs in the Jukebox section of Wynonna’s official site.

8 responses to “Single Review: Wynonna – ‘Women Be Wise’

  1. Razor X January 31, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    She does a decent job on “Women Be Wise” but I’ll never forgive her for the butcher jobs she did on Hank and Merle.

  2. Chris D. January 31, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    I haven’t heard this one, I’m planning on listening to the entire album on Monday. My two Trisha Yearwood albums finally arrived today (Hearts In Armor and Inside Out), so they’re keeping me busy.

    I liked the first track though, “That’s How Rhythm Was Born”. Nice groove to it! It should prove to be an interesting album…

  3. J.R. Journey January 31, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    I will agree about the Haggard cover, I think it’s keyed way too low. Plus, the song doesn’t fit her anyway. But, I thought ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ was pretty good. I am eagerly awaiting this album.

  4. Razor X February 1, 2009 at 12:16 am

    “I’m So Lonesome” was better than the Haggard song, but it really should NOT be done with a pop arrangement like Wy has done here. She has strayed so far from country music; I don’t understand why. Nor do I understand why she is never criticized for it, when so many others have been skewered for going too pop.

  5. Leeann Ward February 2, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Razor, I’m thinking the same people who complain about artists going pop also complain about Wy doing it too. I love Wy, but I’d much prefer her to stay more country and those are the songs that draw me to her in the end. With that said, her voice is well suited to music beyond country music, so I enjoy that stuff as well. The only thing I can’t quite forgive her for is having the bad taste to cover “I Wanna Know What Love Is.” That’s a song that didn’t deserve resurrection.:)

    Anyway, for me (an admitted traditionalist at heart), if an artist is going to stray from country, as even Vince Gill and Randy travis have done, I’m okay with it if it’s well executed.

  6. Rainbow February 2, 2009 at 11:03 am

    This is J.R’s review, Leeann. The other guys are experimenting with the theme for the blog, so it’s a little messy right now.

  7. Pingback: Album Review: Wynonna - ‘Sing: Chapter 1′ « My Kind Of Country

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