Friday, June 13, 2008

The Very Special World of Lee Hazlewood (1966)

This is hands down my favorite LP. Somehow i found this on ebay and didn't pay any more than $15 total. i almost shat myself. Its got everything i need in an album:

1. This album is punk-as-fuck.

Listen to Lee's voice. It sounds like the dude chillin in the alley you hate walking by on the way home at 3am some Wednesday morning. You know that dude--he's got an 8th of whiskey under his arm, a cigarette hanging out his mouth and hits on your girlfriend while she's clearly got her arm around you. Now imagine if somehow this guy could hit every note right on and for some reason your girlfriend decides she wants to stay with him for the night.

You're used to the Nancy Sinatra version of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'". It's all sexy because it's Nancy singing. But when Lee sings it, it takes new form. He's no joke. He's actually going to walk all over you. It's a fighting song for real. "My Baby Cried All Night Long" does the same thing. And "I Move Around" is about just going wherever and doing whatever you want to do.

2. The production rules.

I'm pretty sure there's nothing better. Phil Spector for sure ripped this dude off for his "wall of sound". On this album, everything is huge. Huge voice. Huge string/horn arrangements. And it's all layered with reverb you can only find back when they built reverb chambers--before shitty-ass digital reverb pedals.

3. Lee sings the blues.

Lee's punk-as-fuck attitude collides with the hardships of everyday working-class life. You get the feeling that he is fighting a losing battle. Many songs feel like he is fishing for any bit of relief: a cigarette, a glass of whiskey at a farmiliar bar, the memory of a past love...etc. My favorite example--"My Autumn's Done Come" Lee tells us that he's "tired of holding [his] stomach in". Who isn't. You wanna meet someone cute. But you don't. So you keep drinkin. Before you know it, you got yrself a pinch-full of beer blub. You try to play it off as cute, but come on--you know that shit's gross.

4. Tounge in cheek

Throughout the album--and characteristic of all Lee's albums (i've heard), he's got these great spoken word lines woven into some of the most serious songs (like "My Baby Cried All Night Long") that just crack me up. Perhaps it's just my sense of humor but i love when someone can step back and pull some ridiculous shit out of a serious situation. It's not cool every time. But when it is, it's the best. It's almost like Lee in the end returns to his punk attitude by making fun of himself after realizing how stupid it is to get so down.

5. The Moon Seeds

Since .kelley. left for NYC and Ghostharm broke up, i've needed some kinda somethin to do musically. So i started The Moon Seeds. In my eyes, it's a blatant ripoff of Lee Hazlewood mixed with a bit of The Velvets. But no one knows what the fuck is going on because no one listens to Lee Hazlewood.

So get this album and know whats up, in more ways than one.


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