269) Lee Hazlewood — “The Night Before”
I’ve never understood France’s love affair with Jerry Lewis. Sweden’s affair with Lee Hazlewood — that I understand. This is my second selection from my favorite album of Lee’s — his ‘70 soundtrack to his Swedish TV film Cowboy in Sweden (see #48). Light in the Attic rightly calls the song a “stone cold Hazlewood classic.” And as Song Bar describes:
[It] certainly captures the groggy feeling of regret that comes with the discovery of whiskey bottles and presumably a woman walking out after his night of bad behaviour. Hazlewood’s drunken hellraising, womanising reputation being well known. Still, the delivery and feel of this song (written by Len Moseley) captures the mood perfectly, slowly and dryly emanating that feeling of fuzzy-headed realisation and guilt.https://www.song-bar.com/song-of-the-day/lee-hazlewood-the-night-before
As to the movie, Dangerous Minds describes it as:
Presented as a series of dreams, the movie alternates between absurdist skits and songs given totally incongruous visual settings. While much of Cowboy in Sweden is exactly what you’d picture—Hazlewood on horseback, cigarette dangling from his lips, alone with his doleful thoughts—there’s a whole lot in here you’d be unlikely to imagine on your own. . . . Punning on the song’s title, Hazlewood sings his lonesome prisoner ballad “Pray Them Bars Away” to a group of polar bears swimming in the blinding Scandinavian sun.https://dangerousminds.net/comments/cowboy_in_sweden_watch_lee_hazlewoods_insane_swedish_tv_special_1970
Far out! For a fascinating discussion of the album, the film, and this era in Hazlewood’s life, see https://dereksmusicblog.com/2020/04/18/cult-classic-lee-hazlewood-cowboy-in-sweden/.
The lyrics, stunning:
“I wake up Sunday morning with my mind all in a haze. Tear stains on my pillow and make-up on my face. I see those empty whiskey bottles and records scattered on the floor. And from the next room, I hear crying. Then I remember the night before. I saw her dancing at the party. So young with laughter in her face. And when the others had departed, convincing words and she stayed late. And now those empty whiskey bottles they stand accusing from the floor that I hear footsteps as she’s leaving. Yes, she remembers the night before. If I could turn back the clock, turn it back to yesterday, there are things I wouldn’t do and things I wouldn’t say. But now those empty whiskey bottles within my mind forevermore and in the silence, I hear crying. Yes, I remember the night before.”