Home A House Safe For Tigers
A House Safe For Tigers
- First ever reissue
- Re-mastered from original master tapes
- CD/LP include new liner notes by Wyndham Wallace, interviewing director Torbjörn Axelman
- Unseen archive photos
- 180-gram LP includes 18"x24" fold-out reproduction of original film poster (see above image)
Light In The Attic’s Lee Hazlewood Archive Series continues with the first time reissue of one of Hazlewood’s greatest yet largely unknown albums, A House Safe For Tigers. Never before available outside of an ultra-limited Swedish pressing in 1975, Tigers is part reality, part fantasy and perhaps the most revealing portrait ever made by Lee Hazlewood. From the sweeping orchestrations of ‘Souls Island’ – arguably the
most dramatic recording of his career, a memorable, bucolic counterpart to the psychedelic
showmanship of ‘Some Velvet Morning’ to the country-funk vibe of ‘Sand Hill Anna and the Russian Mouse,’ A House Safe For Tigers is a true masterwork in the same league as Cowboy In Sweden.
A House Safe For Tigers is the soundtrack to one of the seven TV movies Lee Hazlewood made with the director Torbjörn Axelman during his period living in Sweden in the early 1970s. Hazlewood had moved there to lay low and to help his son avoid the draft, but wound up finding happiness and creative freedom. Many of the albums recorded in Sweden made their way no further than Scandinavia, but of them all, A House Safe For Tigers is the holy grail for collectors, often changing hands for hundreds of dollars.
Originally only available in Sweden, this marks the first time Tigers has been reissued and available the world over. The movie was a “semi-documentary” featuring Hazlewood and his friend Axelman, looking back to childhood and contemplating the meaning of life. In it, Hazlewood runs a marathon, tells anecdotes about a bum who cured his stutter and convinces a group of Swedish children to take sides against Richard Nixon. “It’s strange, very strange,” Hazlewood said, “But we meant it to be strange.”
It’s not necessary to see A House Safe For Tigers to enjoy the soundtrack, of course. Despite the fact that it was never released outside of Sweden, the music’s hallowed reputation – cultivated in the intervening decades by the privileged few who were able to hear it – is testament to the strength of its material.
The album finds Hazlewood contentedly immersing himself in Swedish life, serenading Gotland, the island Hazlewood fell in love with during the shooting of the television movie Cowboy in Sweden and where he spent time filming Tigers. Highlights include “The Nights,” in which Lee conjures up an epic tale of love and genocide that draws on his Native American blood running, “Our Little Boy Blue,” a magical, sleepy lullaby, and the two versions of the stirring, cinematic “Souls Island” frame the album; within them is held the blueprint for Richard Hawley’s solo career.
Before he died, Hazlewood and Axelman talked about the soundtrack A House Safe For Tigers, and whether it would ever be released again. “I don’t know if anybody would be interested,” Lee said. “Maybe perhaps they are. Sometimes we have to wait 30 years to be discovered.”
Though he’s perhaps best known for his work with Nancy Sinatra (including writing mega-hit These Boots Are Made For Walking), Hazlewood did stunning work away from that particular glamour queen, and found latter day champions in Beck, Sonic Youth, Jarvis Cocker and Spiritualized. Now, Light In The Attic Records have compiled the best of his classic-era output for LHI Records on the compilation Singles, Nudes & Backsides.
A songwriter and producer by trade, Hazlewood sang the songs that no one else wanted to take from him, never quite achieving the success that others had with his compositions and drawing few royalties from them in comparison. These were the tracks released on his own LHI label: Lee Hazlewood Industries.
A natural wanderer, Lee lived a big life, fighting in the Korean War, working as a radio DJ in Phoenix, Arizona, setting up Viv Records in the ‘50s, working as a big-shot LA producer in the ‘60s, signing Phil Spector to his Trey Records label and prematurely announcing retirement in the wake of the mid-‘60s British invasion. He didn’t: Nancy Sinatra came along, the hits started flowing and he continued producing characterful solo albums into the ‘70s, which saw his move to Sweden. By 2007, Hazlewood was living in Vegas, and begrudgingly enjoying that flurry of latter-day interest in his work. This landmark compilation promises to create many more converts. More gems from the Hazlewood vaults to follow…