My quest to discover a new album every (full) week of this year starts with Nancy & Lee. I’ve always liked Nancy Sinatra’s voice but I was surprised how well Lee Hazelwood’s complemented it. The two seem to have real chemistry despite the story that this album came about after Frank Sinatra asked Hazelwood to do it to jump start his daughter’s career.
There’s a nice range of songs on the album, too, from ballads that plod along almost aimlessly to rowdy, barnstorming numbers that’ll make you want to push the tables and chairs aside and dance. But it’s the mid-tempo journeys into psychedelia where the album excels. Hazelwood is a master at writing songs that ooze sexiness and mystery yet wouldn’t alienate more straight-laced listeners. He has the sombre, slightly nasally baritone to pull it off, too – aided by a bit of added reverb in the studio for that ‘otherworldly’ feel. Then there’s Nancy, who seems able to flick between light and airy or sassy and powerful as she pleases. They work off each other to great effect, and the occasional dip in momentum doesn’t take away from what a lovely album this was to hear for the first time.
My top picks: “Some Velvet Morning”, “Lady Bird” and “Summer Wine”.