Thanks to Calle from Sweden, who sent me a compilation in a trade, I’ve been listening to some great 80s pop music that I had never heard before. Interesting – all this stuff (Pale Fountains, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Prefab Sprout) was out when I was growing up, but I guess I was about 2 years too young. Or, more likely, too close-minded.
Lee Hazlewood: '13' (CD; Smells like records; 1971)
13 is a funny little album, recorded in a style that's completely different to all of Lee's other material. 'Bouncy' is the best way to describe the sound; it's a funky blues-soul-pop hybrid with prominent horns, bass and drums.
There are just 9 tracks, with a total playing time of just over 25 minutes. I recognize a couple of the songs from Lee's earlier albums, although they're completely recast here in bouncy style: 'She comes running' and 'I move around' (the latter was also sung by Nancy Sinatra. The arrangements are pretty incredible, transforming these moody pop songs into party-sound foot-tappers. There are some entertaining words, for example in 'Ten or 11 towns ago' when Lee describes 'One week in San Francisco/existing on Nabisco'
Perhaps it's the short length and fast pace of the songs, but I come away feeling that most of the music on this record is pretty throwaway. This isn't to say it isn't effective, because it is, and I guess most of Lee's appeal lies in his lyrics and delivery in any case. The style is almost ridiculously peppy and bouncy sometimes, but this is still quite a compelling release.