10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2000
Lee Hazlewood's genius knows no measureable bounds. He is a producer, writer, arranger, singer and performer. He can and does do it all. Thankfully, his long-obscure albums are being re-released by SLR (Thanks!) and you are afforded this wonderful opportunity to listen to one of the finest musical apparitions of our times...\
"Cowboy in Sweden" follows Lee's trend of employing female vocalists to counteract his coal mine of a voice and create something positively eerie. It works to maximum effect here, as his voice rumbles alongside the happy-go-lucky lilt of Nina Lizzel and Suzi Jane Hokum's accented voices.
Hazlewood is best compared to Tom Waits in his imagery and content. He talks of prisons and trains and lost loves and leaving town. And through it all, you hear the faint tone of subversion, of against all odds, because, frankly, someone like Lee Hazlewood shouldn't have been allowed to make albums...they didn't fit anywhere and would never appeal to more than a few thousand people around the world.
It is time for you to join the army of Lee Hazlewood.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
As I develop a belated appreciation for the talents of Lee Hazlewood, I have been picking up CDs of his earlier work one at a time. Cowboy In Sweden is one such recent acquisition. It offers the listener a smorgasbord of country-pop songs written for a Swedish TV show of the same name as this CD. Several of them should have attained the status of classics.
The whole CD is listenable and enjoyable despite the cutesy lyrics of Hey Cowboy and the sort of out of place anti-war sentiments (in a cowboy show?) of No Train To Stockholm. And it might be seen as merely pleasant but ordinary except for the presence of three great songs, two of which were penned by Hazlewood.
One of the best is a very humorous and very country prison song, Pray Them Bars Away. Hazlewood's wry sense of humor really comes through again and again. The closing song, Vem Kan Segla, is a haunting love song featuring Nina Lizell's Swedish vocals swirling around Hazlewood's baritone spoken translation in English. The best song is The Night Before, a stunning and mournful tale of sad emptiness after a one-night stand, with Hazlewood's regret-filled vocals interspersed with background organ and a short, yet powerful brass interlude.
Cowboy In Sweden is one of the best Hazlewood CDs I've heard thus far. If you are already a confirmed fan or are merely Hazlewood-curious, you can't go wrong with this.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2007
This is another great album from the Hazlewood cannon. It was the soundtrack to a TV special that he did roughly around 1969 or so. I would love to see a remastered DVD of Cowboy in Sweden. Nowadays, it seems everything is coming out on DVD (including some of the worst stuff known to man), so it would be sweet if Cowboy was released. The album is very good, despite the remastering job. Like someone else had written, there are a lot of pops and hisses here, which means vinyl was used instead of the original master tapes. Still, the album is very good, with some of Hazlewood's most moving compositions ever (and with him, that's saying something). The song For a Day Like Today is so beautiful and heartbreaking. It's probably my favorite Hazlewood song. Every Lee album I've gotten has been magnificent, and this one is no exception.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2008
Even more bizarre than is frequently claimed, mostly because it is at times so close to pedestrian. You kind of feel that this could be second-rate Gordon Lightfoot or Neil Diamond, but then you realize that you are deep inside the music, or it is deep inside you, working its way into your gut, making you queasy, and strangely elated. Is it just slowed down? Artificially? Naturally? Supernaturally? Is it comedy? No, not quite that, although Leone style spaghetti westerns do spring to mind. It's just...odd, but you have to pay attention to notice. And then, over and over, you replay the line: "Hey Cowboy, where'd you get that horse?/ Hey Cowboy, From the man of course." Of course.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2004
On closer listening I realised this release of Cowboy In Sweden was mastered from very worn vinyl, which is a shame because the actual recording and mixing is very atmospheric. Still, the scratchy, muddy sound adds its own texture in an era of pristine digital reproduction...
This album was apparently hastily compiled from a number of different sources, which accounts for the number of different singers (where did Suzi Jane Hokom come from? and go to?) and Swedish/non-Swedish material. Whatever, it's classic stuff, but Smells Like Records could have done a better job with the sound and annotation. If there's no other way of getting this album it's an essential buy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2004
A classic album, slightly cheapened by the shoddy packaging and sound quality. The sound is very muddy and wobbly, as if mastered from very worn tapes. The booklet features several black and white snaps, some LARGE PRINT bios and recording details, and a weird preface by Lee. Essential.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2000
I never knew who Lee Hazelwood was beyond his work with Nancy Sinatra. My facination with him was dormant for over 30 years. Due to the advent of this "new" media, I simply did a search to find out "what ever happened to". When I located "Cowboy in Sweden" I simply listened to one selection, "Forget Marie" & bought the CD. As others have noted, Lee's style doesn't exactly fit a standard category. My defination would be "lush, haunting, country pop." But who cares what the genre - "Cowboy in Sweden" is simply one of the most unforgetable virtually unknown musical accomplishments that I've ever heard.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2001
this is my favorite record of the genius hazlewood,the melodies and the superb string arrangements...when i listen the cd i am in heaven,my favorite song is "easy & me". the only regret is the sound quality (no master tape,but the vinyl)...anyway this is a masterpiece you have to buy it....
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2003
the above title is what comes to mind when i first heard this gem of an album. lee is a great songwriter. this is maybe his best album (don't know haven't heard them all yet. but this would be hard to top). the production on here is tops. the sound is great. it's some great mellow stuff. What's More I Don't Need Her is a really beautiful track. everything on here is great. other favorites are forget marie & easy and me. the album is really lovely stuff.
on a very unusual side note: my main man beck (the loser guy) played some lee on a kcrw radio broadcast where he got pick out some songs he wanted to play. he played If It's Monday Morning. but really raved on about this album. now that i've heard it i can see why.