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Califia: The Songs Of Lee Hazlewood

Various Artists Audio CD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 12.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 Aug 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ace Records
  • ASIN: B003V8XE9C
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,646 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. LADY BIRD - Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood
2. NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET - Suzi Jane Hokom
3. SWEET RIDE - Dusty Springfield
4. THE REBEL KIND - Dino, Desi & Billy
5. THE FOOL - Sanford Clark With Al Casey
6. HAVE LOVE, WILL TRAVEL - The Sharps
7. SNAKE EYED MAMA - Don Cole
8. THE GIRL ON DEATH ROW - Lee Hazlewood with Duane Eddy
9. THE DIP - Hal Blaine & The Young Cougars
10. HOUSTON - Sanford Clark
11. YOU TURNED MY HEAD AROUND - Ann-Margret
12. THE CITY NEVER SLEEPS AT NIGHT - The Shacklefords
13. GUITAR ON MY MIND - Duane & Miriam Eddy
14. CALIFIA (STONE RIDER) - Lee Hazlewood & Suzi Jane Hokom
15. MY BABY PLAYS THAT SAME OLD SONG ON HIS GUITAR ALL NIGHT LONG - Duane Eddy & The Rebelettes
16. TWELVE FEET HIGH - The Hondas
17. (I'M AFRAID) YOU'LL HURT ME - The Darlenes
18. THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKIN' - Rose & The Heavenly Tones
19. WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO IN '64? - The Wildcats
20. YOU CAN'T STAY HERE - The Barker Brothers
See all 25 tracks on this disc

Product Description

CD Description

"Califia: The Songs Of Lee Hazlewood" is the latest addition to Ace Records' high-profile Songwriter series. Comprising fan favourites and obscure collectables in equal measure, the set spans Sanford Clark's Top 10 hit of 1956 `The Fool' (built on a memorable contribution from guitar wizard Al Casey) to 1970's German language interpretation of `And I Loved You Then' by transcontinental pop princess Peggy March (a song from Hazlewood's "13" LP).

Hazlewood enjoys a strong cult following, lauded by hipsters such as Primal Scream, Nick Cave, Beck, the Jesus & Mary Chain, Pulp and Sonic Youth. His performance at London's Meltdown Festival in 1999 found him backed by members of Stereolab and the High Llamas, while the "Total Lee!" tribute album of 2002 had the indie cognoscenti tripping over each other to record his compositions.

One of pop's genuine originals, Hazlewood was a brilliant and endlessly versatile songwriter, equally at home with twangin' rock'n'roll (dig Don Cole's wild `Snake Eyed Mama'), country, psychedelia, R&B, folk, easy listening, burlesque or blues. His songs are truly beyond categorisation. He was also a pioneer in the mysterious art of record production and taught a thing or two to the young Phil Spector, who hung around paying close attention while Hazlewood crafted magnificent guitar instrumentals for Duane Eddy. Of the 25 tracks on "Califia", Hazlewood wrote each one and produced all but four.

As a performer, he possessed an instantly recognisable bass drawl perfectly suited to his lyrical tales of low-rent heartache, self-deprecating comedy, picturesque nostalgia and mystical cowboy psychedelia. He sings on four cuts on this collection, including the folksy Shacklefords' recording of `The City Never Sleeps At Night', a song written for Nancy Sinatra. As Dionne Warwick was to Burt Bacharach, Petula Clark to Tony Hatch and the Shangri-Las to Shadow Morton, Nancy was Lee Hazlewood's perfect muse. The lushly orchestrated opening duet `Lady Bird' - one of the dozens of pop masterpieces that resulted from their partnership - was personally selected for this compilation by the lady herself.

A companion volume of Hazlewood-penned instrumentals is also in the Ace pipeline, so watch this space. Meanwhile, check out the rest of Ace's Songwriter series, which includes compilations based on the works of Randy Newman, Jackie DeShannon, Neil Diamond, Goffin & King, Burt Bacharach and many others.


Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By CP50
Yes, it is for completists but who cares? This CD contains such a great mix of music written and, at times, performed by Lee and associates it's a must for any Lee fan. I've been a fan/admirer of Lee for as long as I can remember and was lucky enough to see him live twice. This CD gives a great overview of the sort of music he was making for himself and others in the late 50's and 60's and is the sort of thing that cannot fail to raise a smile. Ok some of the songs are twee and simple, by today's standards, but they are what they are, perfect examples of brilliant rock and roll/pop of their era, Lee was a one-off and I cannot recommend this CD enough for anyone who is a fan of music of that time.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
As a Lee Hazlewood devotee and a big fan of the superb Ace label (and in particular their ongoing Songwriter series) I had been eagerly awaiting this release but unfortunately it is somewhat of a disappointment. I would especially dispute the claim on the reverse of the CD that it includes 'fan favourites and rarities'. Rarities certainly - and one previously unreleased track - but favourites most definitely not! Or rather with one exception, the teaser opening-track 'Lady Bird', one of the most charming 45s of the sixties and arguably Nancy Sinatra's greatest-ever vocal performance. But most of the remainder of these tracks are nothing like 'Lady Bird'. They could just as well be from another planet, let alone another songwriter. Do not expect to find any undiscovered Summer Wines or Some Velvet Mornings here...

In fact there are only a couple of further highlights. One is track 2, an upbeat recording by another Lee protégé and his girlfriend at the time, Suzi Jane Hokom. The other is the title track 'Califia' (also featuring Hokom) which hasn't surfaced on a Lee compilation for many years. But the remaining 22 tracks are a mixture of the plain average and the downright horrible - of interest only as a chronicle of how Lee developed his songwriting craft. There are five of his earliest songs from 1956-58, all wholly unremarkable, lots of syrupy strings and a couple of tunes featuring twangy guitarist collaborator Duane Eddy. Only with a few songs from the mid-sixties do signs of Lee's unique and brilliant writing style begin to emerge. And as for the previously unreleased track (18), it is immediately apparent why it was never released: it is three minutes of unspeakable cack - a truly atrocious version of 'These Boots'.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A corrective 6 Nov 2010
By Jack
The previous review is unjustly harsh. I purchased Califia on release and was pleased with the entire package: there's plenty of diversity, there are several genuinely pleasing surprises, the mastering is fine, and the liner notes and photos are extensive and informative.
Many of the songs are pop and r'n'b in search of a winning commercial formula; some are winners, some are Hazlewood-crazy, and Ann-Margret's You Turned My Head Around - for example - is both. Generally, though, this is a good compilation of obscure 50s and 60s pop I'd happily play repeatedly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Didja ever 2 April 2011
By Richard
The name of Lee Hazelwood first seemed to loom in the U K with the first Duane Eddy records.This was in the days when info about American writers was thin on the ground and it was not until the mid 60s that he was in the news again via Nancy Sinatra and probably the first time he was heard as a singer.
Hazelwood may have been the first to badmouth Phil Spector and desevedly so if the books are right but somewhere along the way his partner Lester Sills jumped ship and he became the LES of the Philles label.
In 1956 Lee Hazelwood was connected with Sanford Clark and his hit The Fool was credited to Naomi Ford along with Hazelwood's-this was his first wife.Years later Clark would cut the original of the song Houston
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Compendium of Songs 25 Sep 2010
By Robert Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
I'm not convinced that this is just for completists. It is different from a Lee Hazlewood album proper because it uses multiple artists (Including Hazlewood himself) to demonstrate the breadth of Hazlewood's songwriting talent, which is what this Ace songwriter series is about, as I understand. It was fun listening to these recordings. It sets off with the sardonic delivery of Hazlewood and Sinatra in partnership and then segues into 60s power pop, into rockabilly and then country strands and back again, and shows brilliantly just how great (and malleable) Hazlewood's songwriting really is. I for one love Hazlewood as a maverick and a rogue, and someone who cannot be ably pidgeon-holed, and this lovingly compiled CD cannot better represent the perception that I have. Thanks Ace !
13 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Strictly for Lee Hazlewood completists only.... 7 Sep 2010
By Mr. P. S. Rapaport - Published on Amazon.com
As a Lee Hazlewood devotee and a big fan of the UK's superb Ace label (and in particular their ongoing Songwriter series) I had been eagerly awaiting this release, but unfortunately it is somewhat of a disappointment. I would especially dispute the claim on the reverse of the CD that it includes 'fan favorites and rarities'. Rarities certainly - and one previously unreleased track - but favorites most definitely not! Or rather with one exception, the opening-track teaser, 'Lady Bird', one of the most charming 45s of the sixties and arguably Nancy Sinatra's greatest-ever vocal performance. But most of the remainder of these tracks are nothing like 'Lady Bird'. They could just as well be from another planet let alone another songwriter. Do not expect to find any undiscovered Summer Wines or Some Velvet Mornings here......

In fact there are no more than a couple of further highlights. One is track 2, an upbeat recording by Lee's protégé and girlfriend at the time, Suzi Jane Hokom. The other is the title track 'Califia' (also featuring Hokom) which hasn't surfaced on a Lee compilation for many years. But the remaining 22 tracks are a mixture of the plain average and the downright horrible - of interest only as a chronicle of how Lee developed his songwriting craft. There are five of his earliest songs from 1956-58, all wholly unremarkable, lots of syrupy strings and a couple of tunes with collaborator Duane Eddy. Only with a few tracks from the mid sixties do signs of Lee's unique and brilliant songwriting style begin to emerge. And as for the previously unreleased track (18) - it is immediately apparent why it was never released: it is three minutes of unspeakable cack, a truly atrocious version of 'These Boots'.

The best thing about this CD is the accompanying 24-page booklet, thoroughly researched, imaginatively illustrated and well-written. But as for the music, forget it. You will probably play most of the tracks just once and never again. If you don't have 'Lady Bird' in your collection you would do better to dig it out on another compilation or, better yet, on the all-time classic LP 'Nancy & Lee' (1968, Reprise) if you can find a copy. But my advice is to give this CD a swerve. Definitely for Lee completists only.
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