WALK RIGHT OVER YOU: Nancy Sinatra is about to mount a comeback of sorts. How well it will be received is but a gleam in Miss Cleo's prison-dwelling eye, but Sinatra's certainly making all the right moves.
The aging sexpot is best known--perhaps only known to the younger set--as the voice of the girl-power anthem "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'." But, teamed with rightfully celebrated bizarre-country songwriter/producer/singer Lee Hazlewood--one of the many important music figures to hail from Phoenix--she scored a string of winning solo pop hits in the mid to late '60s, including "Sugar Town" and "Love Eyes," as well as duets with Hazlewood--invariably categorized, due to his Leonard Cohen-esque delivery and her go-go girl reputation, as a beauty-and-the-beast collaboration--that included "Some Velvet Morning" and "Jackson."
She also hit gold with the breezy duet, "Somethin' Stupid," with her father, Francis Albert, aka Ol' Blue Eyes, aka The Chairman of the Board, aka, FRANK--a song that captures that stomach-dropping moment of realization that a crush has turned futile.
In recent years, Sinatra has become revered as a high-camp diva. In the past five years alone, "Boots" has been covered by artists from KMFDM to Candye Kane to Delbert McClinton to Sarge.
After a near-30-year vacation (one hopes her time off was pleasant enough to be categorized as such), Sinatra emerged in 2002 with the release of California Girl (Buena Vista), a collection of songs new and old, that all revolved around the album's titular state. Despite a few TV appearances, it went largely unnoticed, but a couple recent projects seem more promising.
For one, Sinatra has again teamed up with Hazlewood for an album of duets that is still in search of a label. (These days, Hazlewood is enjoying a resurgence of his own, due to Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley's Smells Like Records label reissuing long out-of-print Hazlewood titles, as well as last year's Hazlewood tribute album, Total Lee! The Songs of Lee Hazlewood, which included contributions from Lambchop, Evan Dando, Tindersticks and Tucson's Calexico.)
Sinatra, 63, recently said of the reunion with Hazlewood, 74, in a Magnet magazine article, "I told him, 'You've never (sung) on a chart album without me, buddy. You better get back together with me if you want to have another one.' A lot of the charm all those years ago was people not knowing if we were actually doin' it or not. Well, we might be senior citizens now, but we're not dead--we'll make 'em wonder that again and see if we can't get some of the old magic going."
And taking a cue from her father's last two albums, she's also been logging a series of duets with a varied cast that includes modern rock icons such as Morrissey, Jon Spencer and Bono (who also collaborated with her father on "I've Got You Under My Skin" on the first of his Duets albums). Like the Hazlewood collaboration, it's also a project in search of a record label.
Still, with her legacy well documented, it must be said that Sinatra has never possessed the finest set of pipes in town, and time is normally not kind to the human voice. But then again, she's spent nearly 40 years getting by on her charismatic charm, which seems to be intact. In other words, expect campy fun, not Celine Dion-esque vocal histrionics (thank God!), and you'll likely have a good time when she performs at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 17, at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. Tix are $25 at the door. For more information call 327-3340.
IF YOU LIKE PIÑA COLADAS: Rhythm & Roots' annual Courtyard Concert Series kicks off its sixth season this week with a visit from Willie and Lobo. The instrumental duo--violinist Willie Royal and guitarist Wolfgang Fink, whose name sounds like a character out of a Roald Dahl book--thankfully never cross the line into New Age territory, though they tiptoe close to it at times. Along the way they combine elements of myriad styles of music, including but not limited to Gypsy flamenco, Tex-Mex, classical, country and jazz in its many forms, to arrive at the perfect soundtrack to a poolside Piña Colada at a lush Mexican resort.
Hopefully, wussy alcoholic drinks will be available at the Courtyard Concert Series' new home at the Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave. That's where Willie and Lobo will perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 19. Advance tickets are available for $22 at Antigone Books, Brew & Vine, CD City, Enchanted Earthworks, the museum's gift shop or online at dotucson.com. They'll be $25 at the door. Call 297-9133 for further info.
SPICY GIRLS: Former L7 bassist Jennifer Finch brings her new, fresh-off-the-Warped Tour outfit, the Shocker, to town this week. Following L7, Finch spent time as one-quarter of Other Star People, who boasted a decidedly glam-rock slant, but the Shocker seems to mark a return to her snot-punk roots, if song titles from the band's first EP, Up Your Ass Tray (Little Pusher/Oglio) are any indication: "Bad Brain, Good Head," "Smoke Rings (Up Your Ass Tray)," "Good Head Again"--do I smell a rock opera?
Catch 'em at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., on Friday, July 18. Likeminded locals the 440s and Winelord open at 9 p.m. Call 622-3535 for answers to those itching, burning questions.
Fellow chick-punks, Los Angeles' the Sharp Ease have a similar ass obsession. Witness "Lick My Ass," from their debut 7-inch on Soft Spot Records, whose chorus is, "If you're gonna lick my pussy/lick my ass." While the first release delved headfirst into sleaze-rock territory ("Rock and Roll Detox" captures the jaded, faded glamour of excess like only an L.A. band can), from the sound of a pair of tracks from their upcoming full-length, producer Rod Cevera (Weezer, the Rentals) has suitably emphasized the glammy, new-wave side of the band's spiky pop-punk.
They'll take it to the stage of Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Sunday, July 20. The Okmoniks and Jet Fuel open at 9 p.m., and cover is five bucks. For more information call 622-8848.
BLOODY GOOD: On their new album, Put Here to Bleed (In Music We Trust), roots-rockers I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House take on everyone from Charlton Heston ("Dear Mr. Heston") to Dandy Warhols leader Courtney Taylor ("The Ballad of Courtney Taylor")--the former for his sociopathic love of guns (the song is actually the true story of frontman Mike Damron's younger brother being accidentally and fatally shot at age 12), the latter for his rock star attitude. The band's sound has been compared to the Black Crowes, Steve Earle and Exile-era Stones.
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House perform on Wednesday, July 23, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Creeping Time open at 9:30 p.m. Call 798-1298 for further details.