26 May 2012

Lee Hazlewood - The L.H.I Years (Singles, Nudes & Backsides 1968-71)

Reviewed By The Active Listener

Lee Hazlewood is most well known for his duets with Nancy Sinatra, and while they're undeniably great there's a whole lot more to his legacy. He's also responsible for bringing not just Nancy, but Duane Eddy and Gram Parsons to the public's attention.
But the original psychedelic cowboy's biggest strengths were as a producer and songwriter.
At the end of the sixties, Hazlewood was back on the fringes and moving to Amsterdam kept him there, commercially at least.
During the next three years he set up LHI ( Lee Hazlewood Industries ) and produced a string of albums and singles that up until now have remained more obscure than they deserve to be.
Now, thanks to the impeccably tasteful Light In The Attic label we have this remarkable collection to show that Hazlewood was just as prolific, adventurous and witty during these lost years as at any point in his past. Where Light In The Attic generally reissue albums rather than putting together compilations, they've certainly made the right choices in this case, cherrypicking from a number of albums and singles to create a great compilation which although covering only three years, has a depth that results in a collection that most artists would be proud to have as a career retrospective.
Hazlewood's wry wit combines with a deep sense of melancholy on If It's Monday Morning's opening couplet " There were times when being together was fun, and there were times when being apart was even more fun. "
Everything that made Hazlewood great can be found here. There are dramatic mariachi duets ( "Chico"), carefully orchestrated pop gems ( "What's More I Don't Need Her"), psychedelic pop rave-ups ( "Nobody Like You") and most importantly, Hazlewood's expressive Johnny Cash meets Leonard Cohen baritone is everywhere and has never sounded better.
If you're not familiar with the man you could do a lot worse than starting here.

You Can Buy The LHI Years on CD Here.

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