Over the past few years, a younger generation of musicians has embraced Lee Hazlewood's playfully sophisticated music.
Over the past few years, a younger generation of musicians has embraced Lee Hazlewood's playfully sophisticated music. It started in 1999, when Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley began reissuing classic Hazlewood LPs on his Smells Like Records label. Now Astralwerks' Total Lee! pays tribute to the man who launched the careers of Duane Eddy and Nancy Sinatra. Participants range from the expected (Lambchop, Calexico, Johnny Dowd) to the surprising (Kid Loco, Saint Etienne). Though nobody had the guts to tackle the classic Hazlewood/Sinatra "These Boots Are Made for Walking," the album sports several fruitful pairings. Evan Dando and Sabrina Brooke get drunk on "Summer Wine," while Pulp's Jarvis Cocker pairs with Richard Hawley to wrap a sinister veil around "The Cheat." Calvin Johnson's dusty baritone gives Hazlewood a run for his money on "Sand," and the Webb Brothers put a psychedelic spin on "Some Velvet Morning." Worth the price alone are Hazlewood's liner notes responding to the songs as he hears them again, for the first time.—JDF