Jack's Pick's Vol. 7
This week's pick's are all about the 60s and 70s, baby. We're dialing it back and slowing things down a bit this week, so if you're feeling snappier, more upbeat tunes, hop on over to last week's record selections.
Lee Hazlewood - The Very Special World of Lee Hazlewood
Shout-out to our Art Director for introducing me to the very special world of Lee Hazlewood's music, if not this particular album. Lee Hazlewood is perhaps best overlooked as the producer / songwriter behind Nancy Sinatra's 1966 megahit "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'." The song actually catapulted Lee Hazlewood's own solo career, having convinced MGM that Hazlewood had some pretty solid chops on his own.
There's a very cool trend going on in the publishing world right now. A bunch of smaller labels are pressing relatively unknown artists from all throughout the twentieth century. "The Artists that Time Forgot" (not really called that...). We wrote about Wiliam Onyeabor a few weeks back, another musician that's recently been resurrected by independent world label Luaka Bop. Similarly, Light in the Attic Records has reissued a whole collection of Lee Hazlewood albums on brand new, heavyweight LPs: The Lee Hazlewood Archive Series. This particular LP is Volume No. 9.
Volume No. 9 is a re-issue of Hazlewood's first solo album for MGM, The Very Special World of Lee Hazlewood (1966). Some of the more well-known tracks are "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", "Not The Lovin' Kind," and "Summer Wine" (a bonus track exclusive to the re-issue). Though Nancy Sinatra pretty much immortalized "These Boots...", Lee's take is a fun listen for fresh perspective. A couple of the songs featured here are also on Nancy & Lee (1968), the first collaborative album by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood.
Two of those songs, "Sand" and "Summer Wine," don't sound quite as good as they do on Nancy & Lee. They're a little more vanilla on The Very Special World of Lee Hazlewood, and were definitely enhanced by both Nancy Sinatra and a more intricate mix.
I'd say, if you're curious, check out one of these re-issues. They have a whole spread of Lee Hazlewood albums over on Light in the Attic's website. I picked up my copy at Reckless Records in Chicago, so you may be able to find it at your local record store as well.
Donovan - Open Road
If you're not having any of this psychedelic folk and country music, just turn back now. Yet another overlooked artist from the 1960s and 70s, Donovan has a bunch of hits you've probably heard in one place or another. The track that used to pop up on my Pandora all the time is "Sunshine Superman." A lot of that stuff though, in my opinion, is pretty overtly psychedelic and super sixties. I'm sure a lot of his more popular songs sound a lot like anything else you would have heard on the radio at that time.
But Open Road is different! The album is Donovan's eighth studio album. To give you an idea of how long he'd been around at that point, the album came out in 1970. True to the dude's roots, the album is labeled as Celtic and Psychedelic Rock.
My favorite tracks on this album are "Changes," "Celtic Rock," "Roots of Oak," and "Season of Farewell." The sixth track, "Celtic Rock," is actually kind of funny—it reminds me way too much of Spinal Tap's "Stonehenge." They don't really sound that similar at all, but both are thematically heavy on "praising the ancients" and chanting.
I'm not really sure about this one. I bounce between being actually into the music and being a passive/judgmental listener. If you like Donovan's music, definitely give it a spin. But if you're on the fence, maybe pass this one up. I purchased my copy for $9.99 at the local record store.
The Flying Burrito Brothers - Flying Again
Not the best Flying Burrito Brothers album. I'm going to take a small departure from actually reviewing this album and just take this opportunity to tell you all about The Flying Burrito Brothers.
This is a great band and I have little to no understanding of their history. I believe their best work took place on their debut album, The Gilded Palace of Sin, and shortly thereafter in the early 1970s. Unfortunately, Flying Again came out in 1975—after the golden age of their career and the death of Gram Parsons, one of the band's most influential founding members.
I bought this album because the last track is "Hot Burrito #3." Both "Hot Burrito #1" and "Hot Burrito #2" have both been featured on Spotify playlists of mine in the past, and they are amazing. I actually thought The Flying Burrito Brothers were a new band until very recently. Between their song lyrics and the band's name, I honestly just assumed they were an authentic reincarnation of 70s AM radio.
I don't know where I'm going with this, just don't buy this particular album. Listen to the embed above for a more accurate representation of the band's music.
And that wraps up this week's picks. If you have any comments, lay it down in the comments below and let’s start talkin’. I’d also be curious to see what you picked up this weekend, or what you’re planning on playing first on your Floating Record when it arrives. Until next time.