Monday, August 09, 2010
On another day I could just as likely pick any other of Nancy Sinatra's collaborations with Lee Hazlewood—"Sugar Town" or "Jackson" or "Some Velvet Morning"—which are arguably superior, and God knows I've had my infatuations with all of them. But there's something so downright iconic about this, so perfectly emblematic of the '60s at its most innocent and shallow, in regard particularly to sexuality and fetish and, yes, even celebrity (because, sure, it had to be Frank's little girl with the laughing face doing this, right) that it appears now almost quaint. Well, Nancy Sinatra never had much range, never even claimed to—Hazlewood was more the auteur between the two of them anyway—but she had the legs for the boots and the song was about the boots and that's what mattered. (Red Captain Marvel boots, according to the album cover, with white fishnet hose. How was a red-blooded American male of the '60s supposed to keep his mind on anything else?) Backed by the Wrecking Crew, a group of L.A. studio musicians who played with everybody from Bobby Vee to the Partridge Family to Simon and Garfunkel, it's country down at its bottom, with a groaning double bass, a lot of strumming on acoustic guitars, and a tambourine there just to make it wow nowsville for 1966. Nancy's responsibility is simply to step up and let the cornpone unreel nice and easy: "You keep lying, when you oughta be truthin' ... You keep samin' when you oughta be changin'," so on and so forth. Think it's not iconic? The song has been covered by the Supremes, Loretta Lynn, the Residents, Nick Cave, Megadeth, Crispin Glover, Jewel, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lisa Germano, LaToya Jackson, Boy George, Bad Manners, Delbert McClinton, KMFDM, Antonio Banderas—oh hell, go read the whole list for yourself. Are you ready boots? Start walkin'!