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Sinatra, Hazlewood Walk On

Sixties hitmakers pair up again for new album

More than thirty years after their last collaboration, Nancy
Sinatra and songwriter Lee Hazlewood have teamed up for an album of
new material.

“I was teasing Lee,” Sinatra says. “‘The only chart hits you
ever had were with me.’ I was really driving him crazy.”

Her playful goading worked. Recorded in Nashville this past
winter with the help of arranger Billy Strange, the as-yet-untitled
set reunites a team that produced a string of Top Forty hits in the
mid- and late Sixties that made Sinatra an icon. “It is still
definitely Nancy and Lee,” she says. “We don’t sound like anyone
else.”

Sinatra had success overseas with her early-Sixties records, but
didn’t score any hits at home until she joined with Hazlewood and
Strange in 1966. Their first release, “These Boots Are Made for
Walking,” went to Number One that year and was followed by
chartbusters including Sinatra’s solo performances on “Lightning’s
Girl” and “Sugar Town,” as well as her duets with Hazlewood on
“Summer Wine” and “Some Velvet Morning.”

The key to those records’ success, Sinatra says, was the
juxtaposition of her persona as a tough ingenue and Hazlewood’s
sexy, enigmatic lyrics. Though both are considerably older now —
Sinatra is sixty-two and Hazlewood is seventy-three — they were
still able to generate some of the original heat.

“In the old days people used to wonder, ‘Are they doing
it?'” Sinatra says. “Now I doubt that that would enter their minds,
but on the other hand the material still lends itself to that kind
of thinking. You can close your eyes and listen to a song and paint
your own vivid picture of what’s going on.”

Since they parted ways, both Sinatra and Hazlewood have enjoyed
enthusiastic cult followings. After a twenty-year layoff during
which she was a full-time mom, Sinatra re-emerged in 1995 with the
album One More Time and a controversial pictorial in
Playboy. Since then, she has released a series of
compilation albums featuring rare tracks and had her entire Sixties
catalog reissued on Sundazed Records.

Hazlewood has also seen a renewed interest in his work. A few
years back, Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley reissued a series of albums
Hazlewood recorded in the Seventies while living in Sweden, as well
as a new album, Farmisht, Flatulence, Origami, ARF!!! and
Me
on his Smells Like Records. Last year saw the three albums
Hazlewood recorded for MGM in the Sixties re-released on a double
CD.

Sinatra’s reunion with Hazlewood isn’t the only new work she’s
got in the can. She also lends her vocals to a track called “Boss
Man” by the British electronic act Reno. “They’re fans of mine and
they sampled a couple of songs from the Woman album,” she
says. “Of anything I’ve been working on, that has the best chance
of doing something, particularly because it’s the U.K., and it’s
got a sound I’ve never done before.”

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