CD: Lee Hazlewood, Cake or Death


After a lifetime of taking nothing too seriously, pop iconoclast Lee Hazlewood isn't about to make an exception for terminal cancer. He faces the reaper with a husky chuckle, a title taken from Eddie Izzard and a swansong as wayward and high-spirited as the rest of his 50-year career. There are duets with Swedish jazz singers and German actors, satirical pokes at rednecks and Republicans, a mothballed version of Nancy Sinatra's These Boots Are Made For Walkin', all smoke and twang, and a peculiarly moving reading of his classic Sinatra duet Some Velvet Morning, featuring his eight-year-old granddaughter Phaedra. Some of the jokes land with a thud - Hazlewood won't be remembered for the likes of Fred Freud - but then he bows out on a note of shattering poignancy. "Have you seen the old man?" asks the resonant, raconteurish voice we may never hear again. "He's ready to go."


Dorian Lynskey

The GuardianTramp

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