Blurring the edges between psychedelia, country and R&B, Lee Hazelwood remains only known as the mustachioed mainman behind Nancy Sinatra's hit single, "These Boots Are Made For Walking." That is, unless Light In The Attic Records has anything to do with it. Attempting to take Lee Hazelwood from being a music history footnote to a reformed legend, the Seattle reissue label is walking the same trail they've blazed when releasing records from Donnie & Joe Emerson and Detroit's own Rodriguez.
Lee Hazelwood lived a life before his passing in 2007. He fought in Korea, worked as a radio DJ, owned his own label, worked at other labels, taught Phil Spector about producing, loved lots of women and created a timeless string of music that has been largely forgotten. His work on Nancy Sinatra's discography, their collaborative Nancy and Lee albums and his own incredible solo work are amongst some of the best country rock records this side of legends like Bob Dylan, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Doug Sahm.
As a part of their effort to bring Lee Hazelwood's music back to the greater public, Light In The Attic began their series by releasing a compilation of tracks from his record label Lee Hazelwood Industries called The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes and Backsides (1968-1971). Bringing together this collection of songs from his solo work, it kicked off a series of reissues including Lee's full-length records A House Safe For Tigers and Trouble is a Lonesome Town. Next on the docket from Light In The Attic is Honey Ltd. The Complete LHI Years, a group of recordings from a Detroit girl group from the late 1960s. Check out a few of the newly released tracks below and find out why Lee Hazelwood is worthy of your undivided attention:
Lee Hazelwood "Long Black Train"
Released on Mercury Records in 1963, Trouble is a Lonesome Town shows Hazelwood putting his new bohemian spin on the classic tales of the old west. "Long Black Train" opens the album and details the story of an actual town called Trouble, which is "a little town, but [they've] got some big people." With moving imagery and Lee's trademark booming baritone pipes, this debut record captured everything the singer/songwriter/producer would become known for... Except his trademark mustache.
Lee Hazelwood "Las Vegas"
After moving to Sweden in the 1970s, Lee Hazelwood continued his exploration of music and began to create soundtracks for TV movies with director Torbjörn Axelman. Creating seven works in all, A House Safe For Tigers has rarely been seen outside of Sweden, making the film and soundtrack both an extremely rare commodity. Reissued by Light In The Attic last year, the album portion shows Hazelwood at the top of his craft, especially on supremely funky instrumentals like "Las Vegas."
Honey Ltd. "Come Down"
Four teenage girls from Detroit (who could easily be your mother or aunt), teamed with Lee to create a new sound for the girl-group that meshed psych rock, folk and pop together. Dubbed Honey Ltd., the girls' serene voices teamed together to create an interesting sound that was part-Josie and the Pussycats and part-Pentangle. With over-the-top cartoonish colors emblazoned on the record sleeve of their debut LP, Psychedelic Folk Essentials, the group and Lee failed to capture the attention of anyone, except for modern day record collectors who would pay thousands of dollars for copies of the original pressing.