Release Date: Nov 26, 2013
Record label: Light in the Attic Records
Genre(s): Country, Pop/Rock, Progressive Country, Honky Tonk, Country-Pop, Swedish Pop/Rock, AM Pop, Sunshine Pop, Baroque Pop, Truck Driving Country, Girl Groups
First things first. Where did he get the energy? Even by the standards of the day our moustachioed Oklahoma-born friend was known to be the pre-eminent swordsman of his generation, the notches on the bedposts of Ol’ Zeus informing the title for the second disc of this glorious 4CD package: I Was Born Running Wild/The Victim Of A Woman Child. To hammer home the point of Very Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s drawing power, there are photos within the lavish accompanying 172-page book that make the sleeve of Electric Ladyland look like the cover of Bunty.
Lee Hazlewood fans have seen a bounty of reissues and compilations issued over the past decade with anthologies of his MGM and Reprise singles, and albums appearing with some regularity. Light in the Attic has always gone deeper. It has released comps and catalog items from his LHI label, his work with Duane Eddy, and more. But they've outdone themselves with There's a Dream I've Been Saving: 1966-1971, a box set seven years in the making documenting the complete history of LHI (Lee Hazlewood Industries).
This lavish multidisc set is as eccentric and compelling as its subject: producer-Svengali Lee Hazlewood's long reach through psych-pop, girl-group sugar and country rock on his LHI label. Best known for hits with Duane Eddy and Nancy Sinatra, Hazlewood was, at LHI, a Phil Spector with acid-age license and an ear for the future (a young Gram Parsons), kitsch (Ann-Margret) and vocal class (Honey Ltd.). His solo work is another country entirely, like Johnny Cash at a Pink Floyd session, with a baritone that goes down like cognac.
The word “sunshine” appears with clockwork regularity throughout There’s a Dream I’ve Been Saving: Lee Hazlewood Industries 1966-1971—as well it should. The four-disc box set chronicles the output of Hazlewood’s California-based LHI label during the prime of the hippie era, and it’s steeped in the bright, balmy Hollywood atmosphere from whence it came. The first two discs comprise Hazlewood’s own solo output for LHI, namely the albums Cowboy in Sweden, Forty, The Cowboy & the Lady (with Ann-Margaret), and Requiem for an Almost Lady; the last two discs collect songs by the label’s Hazlewood-picked roster of pop hopefuls, including obscure folk-rockers like Ray Chafin to Gram Parsons’ legendary country-rock pioneers, the International Submarine Band.
Various Artists — There’s A Dream I’ve Been Saving: Lee Hazlewood Industries 1966 - 1971 (Light in the Attic)The general public has a good bullshit detector, and American popular music has never had a bigger bullshitter than Lee Hazlewood. He didn’t ingratiate himself with the mainstream for long, but it was not for lack of trying. There’s a Dream I’ve Been Saving is an engrossing 107 song compilation of weird artistry that panders to all the trends of its era, that being 1966-1971.You get outlaw diaries, as closely drawn as Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” There are Greenwich Village sing-alongs, honky-tonk puns, Memphis soul with backing from the Wrecking Crew and biker flick fuzz rock.
In the minds of the uninitiated, Lee Hazlewood is the epitome of the American cowboy. A rough, travelling man, his booming vocals and evocative lyrics were the embodiment of the fast disappearing American frontier. His songs gave a sense of a great nostalgic yearning for the Wild West, but underneath lay a songwriter of remarkable intellect and scope.