“Big Red Balloon”

Their second full-length collaboration

I bought this album from a shop in Chester-le-Street called ‘Sound And Vision’ – I’ve mentioned this establishment several times before. If you’re in the area, call in. I guarantee that you will find something of interest.

This was Nancy and Lee’s second and last? album together but it’s not that great despite the hype of some online reviews I’ve read. It’s no where near as strong as their first collaboration with only a few stand-out songs.

The production, mixing and instrumentation is as good as it gets but without memorable or distinctive material I’m sure this would have been left unsold on record racks, finally hitting the $1 bargain bins a few months after it’s release.

The music can be described as soft country rock, some of the tracks made huge with orchestral arrangements. The song structures are playful with those alternating vocals / narrations between the pair, most notable on the loungy “Tippy Toes” – Lee growling like a freaky Johnny Cash and Nancy sounding as pensive as ever.

Most interesting number for me is the slow and meandering “Arkansas Coal (Suite)” which, as the title suggests, is a suite with different song segments and shifts in tempo. There is flute and background shimmer on this, don’t know what it is but it’s a strange sound that I dig. I’ve heard it before on “Amoeba Trip” by H.P. Lovecraft.

Over on Side two the closing couple tracks are perhaps my favourite with the mid-tempo country tambourine bash of “Big Red Balloon” quite a humourous story-song. The made-up-on-the-spot closer “Got It Together Again” is great fun.

Nancy, are we through?
Can I go back to Sweden?

Lee Hazlewood

My copy is the Germany issue with an altered track list and title. The album is perhaps better known as “Again” – curiously the record label number is the same – LSP 4645

The album was recorded at Poppi Recording Studios, Hollywood.

purchase price £6

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