16.6.13

LEE HAZLEWOOD : I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Viking, 1973).

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By 1973, Lee Hazlewood had been living in self-imposed Swedish exile for several years, & the commonly held consensus was that he was long past his sell-by date, a clapped-out rock'n'roll relic whose psych-drenched '60s masterpieces were already far behind him - why, he'd even shaved off his near-iconic moustache, for pity's sake! Lazy misconceptions like that one would've endured were it not for the internet, of course. With a modicum of online research, it quickly becomes apparent that Lee's sonorous baritone continued to grace at least one decent album a year right up until his retirement from music industry in the late '70s.

Recorded for Sweden's Viking record label, I'll Be Your Baby Tonight is a characteristically brief & uneven selection of old songs, new songs &, naturally, cover songs - Lee having realised very early on that a long player's optimum length was a brisk 33 minutes (or thereabouts), of course. Highlights include a slick, Las Vegas-friendly restyling of "She Comes Running" (similar to the version on his long unavailable live album, The Stockholm Kid), wry interpretations of compositions by Joni Mitchell ("Urge For Going"), Harry Chapin ("Taxi") & Bob Dylan ("That's the last time I'll ever sing in Swedish...") &, in the climatic 8 minute epic "A Better Place To Be" (another Chapin cover), what must surely be the longest track in the Hazlewood oeuvre...

Though it may not scale the psychedelic cowboy zenith of his duets with Nancy Sinatra, or quite match the droll bonhomie of classic solo LPs such as Trouble is a Lonesome Town, or Love & Other Crimes, I'll Be Your Baby Tonight is a definite grower, in fact it's a surprisingly cogent collection. Think, perhaps, of Scott Walker's "wilderness era" albums, but with a less saccharine song selection? As of June 2013, I'll Be Your Baby Tonight has been out of print for 40 years, & an original copy will cost you somewhere in the region of £70 - j√§vla skit!!

5 comments:

  1. A tenuous link, but by some curious coincidence:

    http://fruitierthanthou.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/big-flame-john-peel-session-17th.html

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  2. Anonymous23.6.13

    Thank you for posting this lovely elpee - more rare Lee soon please!

    - Sarah x

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  3. Anonymous22.3.14

    Great post! Check out this Lee Hazlewood cover in Hebrew by the Israeli band Lili Franko:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmUNQXgYR-g

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  4. Anonymous8.8.14

    nice big thank you from downunder Aussie

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  5. Glad to see it's still working! Updated links + new posts to follow v. shortly... :)

    ReplyDelete