Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Art of the Cover - Nancy Sinatra's "Boots" (1966)

Nancy Sinatra sings the facts of love ...

Are you ready, boots?

A hot shot of sprawled sweater-gal Nancy (who looks great even in wool!) wearing those titular boots, adorns Sinatra's debut LP, released on Frank's Reprise Records a few weeks after her worldwide smash single  "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" in March 1966.

The cover was shot and designed by Ed Thrasher.


This one's a real pop classic that is totally evocative of its era; one that could only have been recorded in 1966!

A wondrous mishmash of musical styles; loungy bossa nova, bright Memphis horns, David Rose-style bump-and-grind, easy listening choruses, catchy bumblegum pop and big Vegas showstoppers.

The great Lee Hazlewood, who produced the album and wrote three of the songs, was a maestro who had a finely tuned ear for commercial music. He helped Nancy's image overhaul into tough street chick and crafted her low vocal style which meshed perfectly with - and counterpointed - his bubblegum pop and brilliant arrangements. 

Sinatra was signed to Reprise Records mainly because pop owned the record label. After a whopping eleven flop singles, Nancy was given "one more chance", with the understanding that she would be dropped by the label if her next record didn't sell.

Having nothing to lose, she hooked up with maverick producer/songwriter Lee Hazlewood at her next recording session. The resulting record, "So Long, Babe", wasn't a major hit, but it sold enough copies to save Nancy's job.

Then the next record that Lee cooked up for Nancy, "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'", was a major smash and turned her career around.

What comes next after a Number One hit single? An album, of course! An album centered around that massive hit. A mix of originals and cover versions.

Lee must've been a little short on new material because over half the album consisted of covers of artists like The Rolling Stones/ Marianne Faithfull, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Knickerbockers and The Statler Brothers.

The cover versions though are actually damn good, thanks in no small part to the interesting Hazlewood arrangements.

The remastered CD version of the album includes four bonus tracks. "The City Never Sleeps at Night" was the B-side of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'". "In Our Time" was a relatively unsuccessful single, and "Leave My Dog Alone" was it's B-side. The mono single version of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" closes out the album.


    As Tears Go By     2:50   
    Day Tripper     3:01   
    I Move Around     2:46   
    It Ain't Me Babe     1:55   
    These Boots Are Made For Walkin'     2:40   
    In My Room     2:35   
    Lies     2:46   
    So Long, Babe     3:04   
    Flowers On The Wall     2:37   
    If He'd Love Me     2:45   
    Run For Your Life     2:25    

Bonus Tracks
The City Never Sleeps at Night
Leave My Dog Alone
In Our Time"
These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" [Mono Single Version]

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