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Cowboy in Sweden
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel includes: Lee Hazelwood, Nina Lizell, Suzi Jane Hokom.
  • Includes liner notes by Lee Hazelwood, Nina Lizell and Torbjorn Axelman.
  • Hazelwood is a strange guy. A producer in the '50s and a singer-songwriter in the '60s and '70s, he has fashioned an utterly unique composite by combining cowboy themes, rockabilly, ballads, and richly orchestrated pop with his clever, honest, and sometimes oblique lyrics. In 1970, Hazelwood traveled to Sweden to collaborate with director Tobjorn Axelman. For one of these ventures, Hazelwood wrote and performed the music for the titular television program. His songs, which feature the sweetly naive vocals of Nina Lizell, are presented on this re-issue.
  • Despite the inclusion of loping cowboy ballads and thick orchestral arrangements, this is psychedelic music of the unlikeliest sort. The songs are often strikingly good, topped with Hazelwood's peculiar, unseasoned baritone. But it's difficult to ignore the feeling that everything--from the countrified spur-jangling lope of "No Train To Stockholm" to the spooky cabaret of "Vem Kan Segla"-has been drenched in irony. The album shifts moods radically. On one hand we find the dark, atmospheric swirl and half-ironic blues narrative of "The Night Before;" on the other is "Hey Cowboy," a garishly bright Broadway-esque duet between Hazelwood and Lizell. It is this very sense of never knowing just how seriously Hazelwood can/should be taken that makes him such an appealing and compelling artist.
Professional Reviews
Entertainment Weekly (4/23/99, p.63) - "...baroque C&W pop with a hint of Bergman, recommended to Nick Cave fans and Gainsbourg revivalists..."

- Rating: B+

CMJ (6/14/99, p.28) - "...combine the lyrics of a rugged, poetic spirit with the lush innovative recording techniques and arrangements of a suave songsmith. Imagine Willie Nelson, Burt Bacharach and Nico together in one studio, and you're almost there..."

Melody Maker (5/1/99, p.38) - 4 stars (out of 5) - "...Quite a find....With the pathos of Johnny Cash and the soul-baring storytelling of Scott Walker, Lee's tales of empty whisky bottles and lost loves are refreshing..."

No Depression (3-4/00, pp.101-3) - "...Lyrically a dark and eerie album, COWBOY homogenized all of Hazelwood's musical styles: rockabilly, country, and contemporary pop, complete with strings and light horn arrangements..."

Mojo (Publisher) (5/99, p.113) - "...sweetening Hazlewood's creepy, weatherbeaten baritone with swathes of sentimental, muzaky strings, as he offers cold comfort for life's hardships..."

Uncut (magazine) - "One of the three songs with Lizell, 'Hey Cowboy' has much goofy charm thanks to Hazlewood's laconic hipster-on-a-horse routine..."
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