Lee Hazlewood – ‘A House Safe For Tigers’
2012 Reissue on LP/CD/DL
Light In The Attic Records
An original vinyl copy of A House Safe For Tigers is rare, changing hands for hundreds of pounds/dollars, if they ever come up for sale. I know – I’ve tried to buy one and been outbid. Three times.
The original recording was made in Sweden, where Hazlewood lived in the early 1970s, for a documentary-style film that he made with Torbjörn Axelman. I have never had the good fortune to see the film, but I have loved the songs (on a hissy old cassette) for a long, long time.
Originally only available in Sweden, this is the first time A House Safe For Tigers has been reissued and made available worldwide. It has been remastered from the original master tapes and is pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl.
As with all of Light In The Attic’s releases, it is beautifully and luxuriously packaged, with archive photos, an interview with Torbjörn Axelman and a faithful reproduction of the original film poster.
‘Little Boy Blue’, an old-fashioned lullaby, has a spoken intro that sounds like current Leonard Cohen, whereas ‘Sand Hill Anna & The Russian Mouse’ is a whimsical little tale that reminds me of ‘A Boy Named Sue’ by Johnny Cash (with strings) but reads like one of Grimm’s Fairytales.
Hazlewood’s famous baritone sounds perfect throughout, particularly on the Native American narrative of ‘The Nights’ . It is a relaxed, daydreamy record and the choir rendition of ‘A House Safe For Tigers’ is a really bizarre and fitting closer.
The stand-out track, for me, though, is ‘Souls Island’. Gorgeous, lush, panoramic orchestral arrangements and the longest, most majestic fade-out in musical history, give it an epic feel that few artists could even aspire to.
If you like Richard Hawley, Bill Callahan, Tindersticks or even Bonnie Prince Billy/Will Oldham/Palace, you will love this strange, fluttery album.
The album title comes from Swedish folklore, where it was believed that scattering flowers around the house kept it safe from tigers and other misfortunes.
These songs are the flowers.
Words: Copyright © 2012 William Henry Prince
Pictures: 1 LP Cover – Light In The Attic 2 Lee Hazlewood in Sweden – Mark Pickerel. All rights reserved.
Not a single mention of Nancy or ‘These Boots’. Yay.