Monday, May 08, 2006

Swedish Haze

OK. I’ve been postponing this one in hopes of finding my Dino, Desi and Billy record to add to the mix. But, after rummaging through two boxes of neglected vinyl stored away in the guest room, I’ve decided that I must have tossed it or lost it. The theme is Lee Hazlewood. Mustache man. Producer. Music scout. Song-writer. Singer. Hazlewood produced Dino, Desi and Billy, but we can do without it. There are enough other doozies to cook through without Hazelwood’s foray into the world of the proto boy band.

He wrote “These Boots Are Made For Walking.” LH also signed and produced Gram Parson’s pre-country project The International Submarine Band. He had big success with the twang-irrific sounds of Duane Eddy, the Guitar Man. And LH also put out the music of the mysterious Arthur, whose full name was Arthur Lee Harper (not to be confused with the Love frontman). The Haze Master also penned a book about his relations with the Sinatra Family. You can buy it on his web site.

There’s plenty of kitsch value on many of these recordings, but LH is a brilliant producer and songwriter. There’s backwards guitar to rival the Beatles and Hendrix on “Sand,” one of many duets with Nancy. After parting ways with Nancy, Hazlewood moved, where else?, to Sweden. Hence the record Swedish Cowboy which includes the so-silly-it’s-almost-creepy free-love comedown of “Easy and Me.” Hazlewood’s croaky bottomless baritone has an accidental chocolaty quality to it. Some people mention James Earl Jones, but there's also a bit of Fred Flintstone in there too. Understanding Lee Hazlewood is difficult. He's part hokey huckster, and part hipster, sort of like if they had cast Jack Klugman to play in the hippie/cop/detectiveTV series based on Easy Rider.

He was never afraid of overdoing it with production. Or with liner notes, as I've mentioned in the earlier post on Arthur, where Hazlewood gets all oxymoronic and synesthesiac -- "a mind that listens to pictures ... a man who will someday be a child again."

LH has plenty of people championing him. On a 2002 tour of England, Jarvis Cocker and Friends were the openers. A tribute album includes Lambchop and Evan Dando.

Nancy Sinatra - "The City Never Sleeps At Night"

Lee Hazlewood - "Easy and Me"

Lee Hazlewood -- "Run, Boy, Run"

The International Submarine Band -- "Sum Up Broke"

Arthur - To come, perhaps.


Django West said...

YES! I've been waiting for this. Thank you! I spent a summer demanding that my friends call me Sand, but I can't hold a candle to The Haze.

Sons of Dean said...

My uncle still got all the original LP´s. He´s a master.
OSKO the pope