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As Tears Go By 7.5/10
This is a more boring version of the Rolling Stones classic (originally sung by Marianne Faithfull). The speed is slowed down considerably, and Faithful sings with reverb that sounds curiously dated. Nothing's more dated than the bossa nova style instrumentation, but it comes off nicely. I'd rather listen to the other versions, but you can hear this too.
At least it's played at the right tempo this time. Throw away those horns where you found them ... they're cheesy!!!! Nancy singing over the horn in certain sections couldn't have been worse. This is seriously misguided treatment of a classic Beatles song. Stop it! You're destroying the myth!!!
I Move Around 8/10
This is apparently an original song. I say that knowing the opening riff is exactly the same as The Searchers' "Needles and Pins." Besides that, this is an enjoyable song. Never mind the lyrics mention San Francisco. This isn't a flower power song!! The dated horns are kind of fun here.
It Ain't Me Babe 7/10
...The Rolling Stones, The Beatles ... who hasn't been pooped on yet? Hmm... let's see... Bob Dylan! But the go-go girl version of Dylan's folk classic was seriously misguided, but it probably isn't as bad as you'd think. I mean, it sucks, but ... it's mildly fun too. I'm beginning to think whoever arranged these horn sections should turn into one.
These Boots Are Made For Walkin' 9.5/10
This is basically Nancy Sinatra's claim to fame. This is a silly song that's fun to listen to thanks mostly to Sinatra's attitude-ridden vocal performance. The melody is good but not great. The instrumentation continues to be dated, but it's playful too. It's an iconic song, and I understand why. Most rock fans know this better for being the first song The Residents assaulted on their debut album.
In My Room 9/10
This is a good song. It has the dramatics of a spaghetti western. It's dated, but in the good way this time. It seems like they could have done more with the atmosphere, but since this is the mid '60s, I forgive them. This is a song that's unexpectedly good.
This isn't really a Beatles song, but they covered it. I don't really care about the song, so Nancy Sinatra can poop on it all she wants. They didn't do a bad job with it, but those piecing cries of "Lies" foreshadows the B-52s, and it's not as fun.
So Long Babe 8/10
This song also borrows the opening riff of "Needles and Pins" except it's not as obvious this time. Unfortunately, that also means the melody is rather trite. All in all, this is a fun song ... the instrumentation is pretty good overall, but ... still ...
Flowers on the Wall 7/10
A skiffle song with really horrible horn arrangements. You know, you don't need horns on EVERY SINGLE SONG. The horns try to lend the song a playful aura, but they just anchor it down. Just omit that nonsense. The bass-scale sequence that characterizes 'Boots' is also featured here, but ... I guess they can't repeat the same gimmick twice.
If He'd Love Me 6.5/10
The melody is utterly trite, and it's reminiscent of a bad nursery rhyme. The melody seems like it could have been worked to include some nice melodic hooks, but it wasn't worked on enough. The string arrangements do a little to save some of this downer track, but not enough.
Run For Your Life 8.5/10
The go-go dancer version of the fabulous Rubber Soul Beatles song. Fortunately, that song was pretty danceable to begin with, and they keep it at about the same tempo.They can't screw up the melody. They can still add ill conceived horn sections, but it's kept to a minimum here. Sorry, Nancy. The Beatles win.
The City Never Sleeps at Night 6/10
The chorus is all right, but the melody is a bad nursery rhyme again..... Oh, the melody ........................... The instrumentation is really spotty.
Leave My Dog Alone 7/10
This is an sort of "oom pah" jerky rocker and someone going nuts with a tubular bell in the background. This song took me awhile to appreciate ... it's kind of fun. But the melody really could have used a facelift.
In Our Time 8/10
A lot more tasteful this time. The jangly Byrdsian guitars work well enough, but this is another sea of boringness as far as instrumentation goes. At least there's no horns! The melody isn't laudable, but it's still pretty bland. Clearly, there's room for improvement.
These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
Once was enough.
How Does That Grab You? (1966)
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Not the Lovin' Kind 9.5/10
This is a jazzy blues song that's done right. The only accompaniment to Sinatra's voice is a bluesy guitar that is kept rather quiet (delivering a few good licks every once in awhile). This gives Sinatra's voice to dominate ... it's a great and interesting voice so it's great. I like the melody, so everything here is grand.
The Shadow of Your Smile 9.5/10
Here's a cover of the brilliant Johnny Mandel and Paul Francis Webber composition. It would be difficult to screw up such a composition and these guys pull all the right strings. It suits Sinatra's husky voice, and she delivers a remarkably relaxing performance.
Sorry 'Bout That 9/10
This is an upbeat and fun tune at an opportune time. Yes, it has horn arrangements, but they're reserved and proper. (And the horns aren't present on every freaking song.) This is a rock song with a nice rhythm and a good melody. Sinatra's attitude in her determined vocals give the experience just the right mood.
This has such a great chord progression. Actually, I'm a member of an amateur composition reviewing group, and a composition I judged used the same progression. Well, it worked then, and it works now. (You can't plagarize a chord progression by the way.) Anyway, more about the song. I like the melody and I think it's fitfully catchy. The song sounds a bit like an old cowboy song (with enough of a '60s vibe to give it the feeling of a Spaghetti Western). The big problem is that it's too samey from start to finish. It gets old after the two minute mark.
Composer Lee Hazlewood takes vocals here ... he's not a bad singer, but you can tell why he wanted to find a good singer to collaborate with. This is possibly the most interesting composition on the album ... Hazlewood takes quite a hint from what the Beach Boys were doing at the time (1966) with the heavy and jangly sound. (That drum is also very Beach Boys esque.) More interestingly, he inserts a rather distorted and ugly guitar solo, which isn't something the Beach Boys would ever do. Nicely done.
Cryin' Time 9/10
And now the return of the bluesy songs. It begins with Sinatra simply singing with a piano. This proves that minimalism is best when dealing with the soulful tracks. But, some vocal "oohs" and a drum soon pick up, and that's just fine with me. This is quite a tasteful song and it let's Sinatra's nice voice be the center of attention.
My Baby Cried All Night Long 8/10
Here is a Hazlewood composition, but it's probably one of the lesser ones on here. He is fond of those freaking horn arrangements, but instead of a full-blown arrangements that was strewn all throughout Boots, this is just one somewhat amused deep trumpet. The melody is fine but rather trite. Well, it's catchy at least. I do like that horn, though. For once.
Let it Be Me 8/10
This seems like it's been covered about eight billion times. Well, it's a good one. Again, this song is played slow, smooth and soulfully. Sinatra delivers another decent performance. The instrumentation is quiet and nice.
Call Me 8.5/10
Not the Blondie song! ... It was written by Tony Hatch and originally sung by Petula Clark. Nancy Sinatra is sure singing a lot of covers, but she's certainly been choosing good ones. I like this track, because it's melodic and upbeat. Who's not to like songs like that? The instrumentation is nice, organic and non-cheesy. Very important qualities if you ask me.
How Does That Grab You Darlin' 8/10
This is a Hazlewood composition, and it's alright. (Unlike the All Music Guide, apparently, I don't think he's the second coming of rock music...) This is an upbeat rock song and it's enjoyable. I do like it better when Sinatra's being soulful, which odd because I normally prefer the upbeat rock ditties compared to the slow contemplative ones. Well, I guess that's just the nature of Sinatra's voice. But this is a fun song, and I really like how it ends for some reason.
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) 9/10
This is credited to a songwriter called "Bono." I assume that's not the Irish singer from U2 but Sonny Bono? Who knows. This is certainly something he would write. This track was also apparently featured on the Kill Bill Vol. 1 soundtrack. I don't remember it! Well, this is a good song. It's just Sinatra singing with a rather distorted, quiet guitar. It again proves that Sinatra can hold her own without instrumentals and, in fact, she comes off better when she does.
The Last of the Secret Agents 9.5/10
This is a fun novelty number thrown in for good measure. Hazlewood wrote this song also, and I think he was having some fun with it. I think this is one of his better songs ... The thundering drums are pretty awesome and the horn arrangements (for once) are completely awesome. They mimick the famed James Bond score, and that's probably all it needed to do. It's an interesting song for people who like James Bond theme songs ... as you probably know, the only thing Nancy Sinatra ever did that was more famous than "These Boots Were Made For Walkin'" is sing a Bond theme.
Until It's Time to Go 10/10
This is a beautiful song! Wow! It's an original from Native American folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie who I have only listened to casually before at the moment, but now I'm thinking I should hear more. (Sainte-Marie does have a rather odd voice that I'll have to get used to.) The instrumentation is subtle and sweet (with a light violin) and the ballad style of the music suits Sinatra's voice perfectly. Absolutely gorgeous. This is the album's best.
Lightning's Girl 9.5/10
I can tell the Hazlewood compositions without even looking at the All-Music Guide now ... He has such a distinct style. "Lightning's Girl" starts out to be a another typically thundering song that we've come to expect! Then there's an orchestral section featuring some dissonance and crazy glissandos. This song is fun and a little bit crazy, too. Hazlewood seems to be at his best when he does this...
Feelin' Kinda Sunday 7.5/10
Nancy's father Frank is brought in to do a cutesy duet It's not too different from the kind of things Frank would be recording at the times. (That is, it's not a rock song.) This song is so cutesy that it doesn't seem to fit, but they have to prove to the world that the Sinatra family is happy and they like to sing together. It's happy and pleasant, but I think it's one of the weaker efforts.
Nancy in London (1966)
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Who's That Girl 7/10
On Broadway 9/10
An interesting cover of the famous tune begins this album. Although normally such a cover might phase me a little bit but at least this is pretty odd. Sinatra sings this as if she was too powerful for it. The instrumentation is pretty good although it's similar to the commercial rock from her previous albums. What I like about it is that it progresses and picks up in dynamics through its run. Hey, that's what you're supposed to do!
The End 9.5/10
This is not a cover of the Doors! Hah, this album was a year before the Doors were ever known. Anyway, this is a pretty ballad. Sinatra's vocals are mixed a little bit quietly, but the instrumentals were at least done well enough to warrant that. I like this tune --- it's catchy. The overly dramatic instrumentation gives it a nice texture!
Step Aside 8.5/10
Here is a cutesy pop song that plagued her debut album except this is done with a distinctly country tone. Although that's easier to take here in small dosages. For some reason, Sinatra is convincing when she sings country songs. The instrumentation is fine though it's too freaking cute.
I Can't Grow Peaches on a Cherry Tree 7/10
This is alright though even more cutesy and "sunshiney" than the previous track. The bad thing is that I don't like the melody that much. There's a lucid quality to it, but I'm more annoyed with it than anything else. Sorry.
Summer Wine 9.5/10
Nancy's famed collaborations with Lee Hazlewood finally surfaces here, and this is even a duet. Well, he is a good songwriter. I incorrectly evaluated him once based on the boring songs he contributed on Boots. He has the nice ability to make his songs much more dramatic than they ought to be. There's some kitsch quality there. This guy is absolutely obsessed with James Bond. Don't you hear the theme in here?
Wishin' and Hopin' 8/10
This is not surprisingly a Burt Bacharach composition! This is verging on the edge of total, unrelentless cutsiness that's really annoying coming from Sinatra. The quality of the songwriting is good enough to save the track, but --- just so you know! You've got to avoid that sort of thing! Seriously...
This Little Bird 8.5/10
This is a decent ballad although nothing spectacular. The instrumentation seems pretty genuine and gloriously overproduced with thick string sections, which certainly gives this a good quality. The melody is enjoyable, and I do like Sinatra's vocal performance.
This is the second Hazlewood-penned track although it's not that special to be honest. It's a straightforward country-tinged song. The horn and string sections are too busy here --- seriously, give the vocals the spotlight! The melody is fine though decidedly average. There are a few awkward passages here and there.
The More I See You 7/10
This is OK though it's so dated that it's almost uncomfortable. The drum line seems a bit misfired. It's way too busy. You almost didn't need those drums. I do like the xylophone in the introduction but even that was misfired. Again, the orchestration was just too much. Let Sinatra's vocals be king --- or queen.
Hutchinson Jail 7.5/10
This is another Hazlewood composition. It starts out strangely and not that appealing. I swear that guy must be a mental case .... yikes. Otherwise, this is just the generally straightforward country music (done with '60s instrumental standards) that sounds like it shouldn't have ever made it into the '60s. Yeesh. Despite the unforgivable cheesiness of this, it's enjoyable enough as long as you're not paying direct close attention to it.
Friday's Child 8.5/10
This is, yet, another Hazlewood song. This one's a blues song, which means that it's definitely better than country music! (I'm so biased, it's not even funny.) It's pretty generic for the genre apart from some aspects in the instrumentation. I do like the strings they add on here for once. It gives the song an epic quality that just a straight blues song wouldn't have had. I love Sinatra's lead vocals but her quick repetition of "Friday's Child" as background vocals would have been better left off... honestly...
100 Years 9.5/10
Hazlewood makes a nice contribution. I swear, that guy is such an inconsistent songwriter that it's dizzying. This is such a well-written song, and it's also slightly nutty! Hey, I like these kinds of songs the best. The production was done well --- no overbaked violin tracks? Sinatra's vocals are given the spotlight? Hooray!!!!
You Only Live Twice 9/10
My official stance on that I hate this song, but that's mostly because I used to work at a movie theater that wouldn't play anything else expect James Bond theme songs for a few months straight. Fortunately, the pain of working there had worn off significantly. Actually, this is a well written song. The melody is catchy! I'm sure you all know it. Sing along if you feel like it. (Do you know what my favorite James Bond theme song is? Yeah--- it's the Duran Duran one.)
Tony Rome 6/10
This is the final Hazlewood composition. This is really rather awful. Those horn arrangements are just as bad as they were in Boots. Really horrible.
Life's a Trippy Thing 5.5/10
I'm not joking. Frank Sinatra is singing "I'm glad to be a ding-a-ling." Well, who am I to argue against him? This song is almost difficult to listen to. It's another duet with her famous father. They don't sing it too well --- they're laughing through the end of it though Nancy does have a sexy laugh. (Frank thinks it's ridiculous that he has to sing "I'm a Ding-a-Ling" no matter how true that was.) This sounds like bad Broadway musical song from something that should have closed after one night --- only it didn't because everybody's an idiot. (Yeah! Everybody's an idiot! There! I said it!!!)
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Sweet Georgia Brown 8.5/10
The difficult thing about reviewing these tracks is that they're performed just like they should be --- if it were still the jazz era. The question is: Do you mind that it's recorded in the rock era? That's tough to guess... Well "Sweet Georgia" is a well-sung old timey song that seems to suit her attitude.
Vagabond Blues 8/10
This has a little more swing to it. The melody is solid, and the instrumentation is OK. It's a golden oldie... (sorry, I'm not a jazz reviewer).
Oh! You Beautiful Doll 7/10
A famous oldie (I probably heard this on an old Bugs Bunny cartoon or something). The instrumentation is rather sluggish this time, although it didn't seem that ill-conceived to me. I get the feeling that Sinatra is playing second fiddle to those trumpets, but whatever.
Hard Hearted Hannah 6/10
Yikes, this is a little strange. Those horns are invading my headphones and I can't even hear Sinatra's voice that much. The melody isn't so great, and Sinatra talks through most of this anyway. I don't want no play-acting, dangit.
All By Myself 8/10
An old Irving Berlin song. The melody is quite nice, and the instrumentation is merely OK though uninspired for such a track. The mixing his horrible. I can hardly hear that piano during the instrumental interlude --- somebody was falling asleep. Sinatra delivers a pretty performance even though she doesn't really have a sweet voice.
Now, out of place like a sore thumb is *ahem* some rock 'n' roll. Of course, it's a Lee Hazlewood original. This has a perfectly decent melody, but it's not one of his more inspired compositions. The instrumentation tries to mimic the big band styling of its surrounding tracks, but it might have been better off if it were to do more of what the track requires. (Get rid of those awfully arranged horns! By god!!) Most importantly, this track is not memorable.
Mama Goes Where Papa Goes 6.5/10
This is another old-timey track. She's not really picking great songs to cover. You'd think she would pick ones with more of a vocal melody instead of ones that require elaborate brass arrangements. She talks through half of this thing, again.
Let's Fall in Love 7/10
A good song only because they decide to arrange those annoying brass arrangements. The songwriting on this one was great although the instrumentation isn't that good. Sinatra's vocal performance is nice, but surely she's capable of more than simple karaoke. That stupidly cheesy ending cost this one some points.
What I'll Do 6.5/10
This is a slower track. Sinatra certainly gives a nice, solid performance although she doesn't do a great job transferring emotion. Well it runs in the family, I guess! The instrumentation is boringly middle-of-the-road.
Limehouse Blues 6.5/10
Some stereotypical Chinese instrumentals begin this for no real reason, and then it turns into a usual, upbeat jazz tune. The melody is catchy, and it's the sort of track that Sinatra seemed comfortable. Whoever was in charge of this album should know that I get sick of hearing the exact same type of horn arrangement in every single song. It's like some kid incessantly poking the exact same spot on my shoulder.
Sugar Town 8.5/10
And now Lee Hazelwood delivers his second original tune. This is much better than the jazz covers, because it's original and fresh sounding. The chord progression is very peculiar --- very very peculiar. The melody is pretty catchy, so it passes that requirement. Everyone who accuses Hazelwood of being a nut, I guess they have a point.
Button Up Your Overcoat 7/10
Again, it's pretty horrible when I can't tell that this is actually any different than so many of these other tracks. It has an upbeat melody, and the instrumentation (including those freaking horns) are exactly the same.
My Buddy 6/10
A slow jazzy tune. The melody is good, but I don't care about it. I want to give whoever was playing that muted trumpet a kick in the stomach. Maybe he'd play better!!!
Love Eyes 9.5/10
Here's something. This is a little more unique, and it's done in the style more similar to her previous, better albums. The instrumentation consists of a spirited drum player, violins, and vocal "aaahs." It actually has attitude, and that's exactly what Sinatra's voice was built for. It's written as a slow-paced blues song, and it's terribly inspired. Composer Hazlewood is so spotty, but when he has something he really has it.
Something Stupid 8/10
She does a duet with her robot father, Frank, (for the record, I don't hate Frank Sinatra --- he was a good actor). This is probably their best duet. Naturally, Frank's voice dominates her daughters, but I suppose he's the better singer. The instrumentation is smart --- Frank probably got better producers than his daughter who got the ragtag session musicians they randomly gathered from the back alley. Well--- this is a nice track. Not great. But nice.
Country, My Way (1967)
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It's Such a Pretty World Today 6/10
From the first moments of this, I know I'm in for a life-demeaning experience! I'll have you know that I originally had this song scored much lower than I have it now... but that doesn't mean I don't hate this song's guts. It's bad enough that Nancy's singing country music now (a genre that I basically hate) but the producers have to incorporate the most cheesiest imaginable back-up singers ever. Come on!!! And of course the slide guitar, piano and the shuffley rhythm are all in their stereotypical places... The melodic source material isn't bad (though also stereotypical), but they sure made something hair-taringly horrendous out of it.
Get While the Gettin's Good 8.5/10
This is from Grand Old Opry composer Bill Anderson, and it also manages to be one of the better songs from the effort. Every single member of that cheesy chorus can choke on arsenic, but the upbeat nature of the song is done quite well. The melody is great and this all suits Sinatra's voice perfectly. So, count this one in as a hit. They should have started with this track.
Walk Through This World With Me 7/10
This album is so spotty that it's not even funny. It has a nice melody, but its pacing is so slow and lethargic (without anything redeeming in the arrangements) that it makes me YAWN. Maybe this is the sort of country music you're supposed to hear while you're relaxing under a shady tree, but I don't feel much like bringing this computer outside. So... there you go. Luckily, Sinatra's voice is great for the song. (What the heck is with those awful back-up singers? I hate to bring that up every time, but that's how awful they sound.)
This is an old classic cover with her good friend Lee Hazlewood. The duet interchanges are too cutesy, and I get little pleasure listening to it. Though the melody is classic and this is kind of energetic and fun. The nice thing about this track is that it has a nice up-beat tempo. But they ruin it at the end when we hear Nancy chatting "Jackson" over and over again for no apparent reason. (Thank god they left out the back-up singers ... a decision that elevates this album to being one of the album's best tracks.)
When It's Over 6.5/10
I can't wait for this album to be over! A return to the mediocre produced and boring slow cowpoke ballads. The instrumentation here isn't necessarily misfired, but it gets so monotonous that I'm just going nuts... (The back-up singing is still stupid. Still an important point to repeat.)
Lay Some Happiness On Me 4/10
This makes me gasp in disgust every time it pops up. The melody is as corny and stupid as it gets. It's a shame they wasted one of their upbeat numbers on something this pedestrian. The instrumentation continues to be generic drivel, and AGAIN WITH THOSE BACK-UP SINGERS!!! The good news is that it doesn't get much worse than this.
Lonely Again 5.5/10
Damn all these slowly paced songs. I am absolutely bored, and I hate having to sit through this. This might have been a decent song in a different context, but my senses are shot. Everybody associated with this monotonous, generic piece of crap can all bite me. I'd rather be bleeding to death than listen to this song again... (OK, I exaggerated there, but ... I think you catch my drift.)
By the Way (I Still Love You) 7/10
Why is it that Lee Hazlewood only contributes one original composition to this album even though he's a country-western artist? ... I guess that just proves how messed up this album is. His song isn't that great anyway. Usually, the Hazlewood compositions seem to be better produced than this, but maybe he was sleeping or something. The melody is nice but the production is as bland as ever. (Dear back-up singers: Fargieutirr!!!!!)
Oh Lonesome Me 7/10
Surprise, surprise, here is a corny upbeat song, and a duet with Hazlewood (though he didn't write it). Who knows what they were thinking when they were arranging some of this (those "ohs" could not have been worse). But at least this is an upbeat tune, and I like that jazzy instrumental solo they come up with. Again, I don't like some of those interchanges in the duet... Why do they have to be so corny? This reminds me of a $20 Branson dinner-musical show that I once attended and wanted to gouge my eardrums out with the butter knife in front of me.
End of the World 8/10
This is a surprisingly pretty song that benefits from the lack of instrumentation. This started out so nicely with Sinatra delivering a sincere and pretty vocal performance, and then the idiot in charge of these arrangements attack it with rabies by (AGAIN) letting those crappy back-up singer to give their two cents.
Help Stamp Out Lonliness 6/10
They're not really picking horrible songs to cover. "Help Stamp Out Loneliness" is a workable enough of a melody and the verses bear an uncanny resemblance to Ringo Starr's "Don't Pass Me By" from The White Album released a year later. The chorus is awful and as corny as it gets thanks not just to a shoddy melody (which The Beatles wisely kept far, far away from their composition). Those singers should die a hundred deaths.
Highway Song 8/10
Talk about a change of pace. I'm halfway wondering if this is a bonus track because it's so out of place. I'm too lazy to find out for sure. This is more a tropicana clone, and the instrumentations seems rawer. The nice thing is the back-up singers are nowhere to be found (apart from some much more subdued vocalists that actually blend in well with the type of music they're singing). I don't think the actual song is well written --- it's pretty bland and hookless. But I do appreciate it when I don't have to listen to crappy country-western music.
Hello L.A., Bye-Bye Birmingham 9/10
This is an interesting song for Nancy to sing. It's a strange rendition of a folk song. The instrumentation consists of piddly guitars, full-scale glissando violins and a drummer doing whatever he feels like... In short, this is a pretty damn good song despite it all. For once, the strange forces came together and produced something unique and fun to hear. The backup singers are actually soulful and constructive (and far from those cheesy hacks I complained endlessly about). Oh yeah. This is the best song of the album by far!!
Are You Growing Tired of My Love? 7/10
This one isn't so great. The chorus is pretty horrible! The cheesy background singers return, but for some reason they're not grating on my nerves. Maybe my nerves are so shot that nothing's annoying me anymore! The production is a little murkier here compared to the previous tracks, which strongly suggests that these weren't included with the original album. Well that doesn't matter, 'cos they're definitely here and I'm hearing them! This isn't country-western either --- it's just a normal, middle-of-the-road pop song that doesn't go anywhere. That's vintage Nancy Sinatra for you.
Nancy & Lee (1968)
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You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' 8.5/10
A funny cover of a Phil Spector song. Usually I try to listen to the original versions, but I somehow lack the energy just now. It's pretty boring if you ask me, but I like the song anyway 'cos it's tuneful and sounds genuine. Sinatra delivers one mightily genuine performance, and that's complimented beautifully by Hazelwood's deep "experienced" voice. Most of all, I like the instrumentation. It's probably true to Phil Spector's original plan for it, because you have violins and such creating that "wall of sound." You hear some "oohs" in the background, but they don't conjure up an ounce of that horrid effect that I received from listening to Country, My Way. Holy freaking crap! A competent song producer??? A NON-KNOCK OFF!!!! Surely, the world is coming to an end...
Elusive Dreams 9/10
More of that elegant instrumentation graces this already excellent ballad. The melody is merely OK, but the instrumentation certainly made listening to it better than it deserved. Really, I'm shocked... Absolutely shocked... This is another great duet between these two... It's even good though Sinatra whispers through part of it...
Greenwich Village Folk Song Salesman 7/10
This track is more on the cutesy/novelty variety that reminds me of those songs that Sinatra would sing with her father on some of her previous numbers. It's throwaway, but the singers at least sound like they're having fun with it. Besides, this sort of thing is easier to take when it's the only song on the album trying to be cutesy. So, I hate this song, but I haven't generated enough hate to produce any long-lasting effects...
Summer Wine 9.5/10
Originally featured on Nancy in London and probably the highlight of it, this is a great ballad and a Hazelwood original. This is one of those great singles that only improves the more you listen to it. Normally, I'd probably be sore that I had to review a track twice, but I definitely don't mind here... especially when this just gives worldwide listeners the option to only hear one Nancy Sinatra album and get everything they needed to hear! The instrumentation is absolutely essential --- it gets more dramatic and pompous in a great push toward the end. There's a nice incorporation of the James Bond theme song as well...
Storybook Children 7.5/10
This song isn't bad but next to the previous track, it really fails to measure up. The melody isn't that interesting, and frankly it's rather boring. The instrumentation is OK and certainly a major step up from those country and jazz albums that I hated so dearly... But it's all just BORING. Tastefully boring? Sure...
Sundown, Sundown 8/10
This Hazlewood original wasn't already featured on another Sinatra album, and that's certainly a benefit. This is clearly not one of his greatest compositions... Of course, I find the thing to be rather tasteful, and I like those fanfare trumpets that we hear throughout. As always, he has a way of over-dramatizing everything, but I seem to be less willing to take the bait with this one...
This cover was one of the better songs featured on Country, My Way. I still have bad memories from listening to that album in great detail in my recent past. They didn't bother fixing any of the problems that I outlined in my track review of this ... Still here is Sinatra's horrible chanting of "Jackson, Jackson, Jackson," which doesn't add a single thing. I know that's being so nitpicky, but it really is pretty irritating.
Some Velvet Morning 10/10
Now this is definitely something. This song is also featured on Sinatra's solo album Movin' With Nancy, which according to my sources was released after Nancy & Lee. It's really hard to tell though, because there's not exactly a legion of Nancy Sinatra historians out there... Anyway, let's talk about this strange song. As usual, it's a duet between Sinatra and Hazlewood, but Sinatra sings with a 3/4 meter and Hazlewood sings in 4/4. They don't sing at the same time, of course, but there's sort of a battle between the two singers at the end, and it constantly switches back and forth between them. They sing completely different tunes as well... Hazlewood sounds more like a world-weary determined "cowboy," I guess, and Sinatra is stuck in some sort of fantasy world (which is complimented beautifully with wispy violins that sound like they're playing out of their register). As far as instrumentation goes, this is absolutely the best the album has to offer... and it exceeds most pop songs from the era. It reached #26 on the US pop charts... Unfortunately, today's pop charts aren't as interesting...
I loved hearing this song originally on How Does That Grab You, and I still remembered it from that occasion, which is definitely a good sign! The instrumentation and studio work is absolutely tops and it's certainly up there with The Beach Boys' efforts in Pet Sounds, which is a high compliment considering the Beach Boys were at the cutting edge. Yeah, this song is definitely worthwhile hearing again...
Lady Bird 9/10
This Hazelwood original is exclusive to this album! And it's pretty good! There's a bit of a pompous beginning as you'd expect filled with french horns, xylophones and string glissandos. Most importantly, the melody is pretty catchy! The duetting between our two heroes are fun to hear as always.
I've Been Down So Long (It Looks Like Up To Me) 8/10
This is also a Hazlewood original that didn't appear on another Sinatra album... and it's nothing too special. Much more cliched and less intricately prepared than the other songs. It's a nice conclusion to the album and seems to justify the "concept" that many reviewers seem to read into this album. Well, it's pretty good... don't expect it to move you.
Movin' With Nancy (1968)
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I Gotta Get Out of This Town A-
And the album starts with a two minute, incredibly spirited rendition of a Lee Hazlewood number. It's verrry '60s sounding, of course, with that raucous horn section and flooded drum sounds. (Don’t you wish that pop music sounded like that anymore?) It’s only two minutes long, but it makes a strong impression.
Who Will Buy A-
This is from the well-regarded Broadway musical Oliver!, which had just recently been released as a movie around this time. It starts out as a fairly straitlaced interpretation of the song. But they turn it into a '60s cheese-fest in the middle. The arrangements are really nice, though… Whoever did that obviously knew what he was doing, and created an ear-appealing “variation.” Plus, it’s a beautiful song!
Wait 'Till You See Him B+
Here’s another show tune, but I never heard it before! (It's from Rodgers' and Hart's By Jupiter, and they never made a movie out of that.) Though, I understand that it was a popular song in the '40s. …And Sinatra, who has a voice that suits this stuff, gives it a really nice go. It's not that memorable of a song though.
Younger Than Springtime B
Wow, Nancy must have started taking hormone pills… Oh wait, no, that's Frank Sinatra singing. Hey! I want the go-go boots girl back! This isn't even a duet; it's just Frank singing all by his lonesome. Man, I guess Frank wouldn't sing a tune if it didn't have that cheese ball orchestration that's trying to murder me with its ultra-smooth violin arrangements. It's a great tune, though… it's from South Pacific.
I’m being nice here. Nancy Sinatra and Dean Martin do a cutesy duet with this old Bobby Darin song. I can’t say that the source material is that good (sorry Bobby) and that play-acting fails to compare with the sheer camp value of that one "ding-a-ling" duet I remember Nancy doing with her father at one point.
Some Velvet Morning A+
If it wasn’t for the fact that I adore this song I would have something curt to say in all caps: HEY!! THIS WAS ALREADY IN ONE OF HER ALBUMS! JUST WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO??? But I won't, because this song is so great that I'll gladly listen to it anytime. In case you're weird and you haven't heard it, it's just about the weirdest duet ever. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood sing completely different songs (even with different time signatures), and they're sort of spliced back and forth from each other. How can you get cooler than that?
See the Children A-
You can tell this was another Lee Hazlewood composition just because it's so good, without sounding like a show tune. This is a very tuneful ballad, and the instrumentation smartly keeps its lush orchestration subtly in the background while an acoustic guitar plays on the foreground. It's no "Some Velvet Morning," but it's still nicely done!
Up, Up and Away B-
This is a Jimmy Webb composition originally recorded in 1967… That surprised me, really, because I thought it was another show tune at first! Well, Webb's composition sounds wonderful, but the overall presentation of it isn't as inspired as it should have been. The flat duet with a singer I can't identify doesn't do much for me… And it might take extra time to appreciate her squeals of "We can flyyyyyyyyyyyy!"
Friday's Child A
Wait a minute… WE HEARD THIS SONG BEFORE IN NANCY IN LONDON!!! … Oh wait, this is a different version of it… and it's a crap-load better, too. Instead of those nasty chants of "Fradachil" all over the place, we get those dark and graceful string arrangements. And, I can't stress this enough, such an electric guitar that's noodling throughout is much more awesome than a Nancy Sinatra album deserves. Plus, I really like the melody, and Nancy Sinatra's mean-girl voice has never been so effective
OK, here's an actual reason to complain. This song has appeared in this exact form in both Country, My Way and Nancy & Lee. Should I be expecting this to be in every single Nancy Sinatra album forever? …I really don't even like it a whole lot. I wish they would at least fix those annoying chants at the end of it.
This Town B
Not bad, but not particularly great, either. The orchestration is very lucid and wobbly… which I suppose didn't have to be terrible, but I think a bolder, punchier thing would have worked better. It's a good song, though, from Hazlewood… it just seems like a lost opportunity.
What I'd Say B
It was a strangely out-of-place idea for her to cover this raucous Ray Charles R&B tune… and I almost hate it. It starts out with a hyper saxophone solo… like the song was moving way too slow for it. It almost doesn't fit… but give it all the credit it deserves for not being cliché! Sinatra's voice doesn't suit the material at all, but she manages to give a fun performance anyway. …Gee, what a weird cover.
Drummer Man A-
MUCH cooler than anything Nancy Sinatra probably deserved. But hey! She had a few friends who liked her voice! Well, this is a very unusual song even considering I have "Some Velvet Morning" still fresh in my mind. The primary instrument of this is the bongo drums, which severely drowns out that spicy, danceable acoustic guitar and tango-esque piano. Yeah, this song is so cool that it doesn't know how cool it is. What's with that long-drawn out organ chord, though?
I Love Them All (The Boys in the Band) A-
This is Nancy Sinatra taking the role of a small girl who is obsessed with a boy band. Sinatra sings in a sweet, prepubescent way which is a complete 180-degree-turn from her usual image. But the performance is nice, and the melody is catchy, and the arrangements are wonderful. The instruments sound strange, but they sound wonderful. The violins sound like they're about to flicker out, somehow, and there's a nice quirky organ coming in for the interlude.
Good Time Girl B
This one's nicely done, though hardly as inspired as the previous two bonus tracks. It begins promisingly enough with some very broken organ chords, but what ensues is a fairly average old Motown-style girl group song. It's a fun tune to hear, but it doesn't make much of an impression on me.
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