Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood: The Hits of Nancy & Lee (1968) LP

Nancy Sinatra &Lee Hazlewood
The Hits of Nancy & Lee
Reprise 6273

Produced by Lee Hazlewood

Rating:**** (Recommended)

Nancy strutted on the scene in 1966, but after two sets from that year, the albums were quite lacking.  Hazlewood continued to provide the production, but it looked as if the best albums were behind them.  This offering starts out like it’s not going to remedy the situation.  Either the music is just not that convincing or I just don’t care about the things they have to say.  (Or maybe I’m bitter because she’s not singing about me.)

“Summer Wine” (the first Hazlewood original of the album) finally grabs your attention, and things improve considerably on side two.  “Jackson” jumpstarts the preceedings, the tempo getting things rolling and the theme setting Nancy free so she can hop right into my arms where she belongs.  From there, she can holler in my ear, tell me how she’s going to be “dancing on a pony keg.”  If that image doesn’t get your heart skipping along like a schoolgirl’s sneakers down the sidewalk, you better check your pulse and make sure you’re still living.  The version might not match Cash & Carter’s, but it’s certainly in the running.  This is followed by “Some Velvet Morning,” a Hazlewood original that fits like a pair of silk stockings.  It makes me happy that I could be alive during a time that created such a song.  The strength of that could have ruined the rest of the album, but it actually just pulls you into the experience and three more Hazlewood originals are more than enough to keep the listener engaged until the end of the set.  While I’d love to switch the placements of “Summer Wine” and “Sundown Sundown” to create an classic side, this is still an essential set for fans.

— winch

(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)


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