Every Record I Own: Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood – Nancy & Lee
Nancy Sinatra is one of my all time faves. And this album is probably my favourite overall collection of hers. I also have a greatest hits record, but this is one of those perfect albums which is so much more than the songs that make it up.
My old flatmate Simon owned this record and when we stopped living together I missed it so much. I was really happy when I found this at a record shop in Christchurch when I was visiting for Christmas.
Nancy Sinatra’s greatest strength is how she sings with so much charisma. It never feels like she’s just singing, she’s always putting on a show. Her and Hazelwood have such great chemistry, the little laughs and adlibs make them feel like a vaudeville double act and like they genuinely had a great time making the record.
Underlying it all is a seedy undercurrent. Everything is a little slower than you remember it being. Lee Hazelwood’s reverbed soaked vocals always feel creepy. The lyrics, especially in Some Velvet Morning, feel like they’re referring to something unsavory. And Nancy Sinatra vocals never acknowledge this creepiness, she just laughs it off. This tension never really resolves, only sometimes gets interrupted by a swelling string section. It feels very cinematic.
And top of this the songs are just very very good. It’s pretty common for me to sing Summer Wine to myself for the rest of the day after listening to this. Every other song feels like it could be a James Bond theme, which kind of speaks to how influential this sound has been.
Like the Sinead O’Connor record I wrote about, I think this makes really good use of the pop music production of the time (swelling strings, horn stabs, layered instruments, the really 60s drum sound, intense use of stereo) into a off centre dark place without losing pop sensibilities. The bass also sounds so good.
fave tracks: you’ve lost that loving feeling, some velvet morning, summer wine, sand.