Monday, April 05, 2010

Lee Hazlewood and Arthur Lee in New Cross

I am always looking for new musical/historical threads to weave into the tapestry of the Transpontine mythology. But I must admit I was very surprised to be able to add Lee Hazlewood to the list of personages who have walked the streets of SE14, as he was such a quintessentially American musician. Thanks to comments at an earlier post however, I gather that he rehearsed a couple of times in New Cross - to be precise in the Music Room studio based in the Old Library building at 116-118 New Cross Road.

What's more someone has sent a couple of photos taken there. One of Hazlewood himself:

... and one of his guitarist Al Casey (1936-2006), who also played with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash among many others.

Hazlewood played some of his last major gigs at the Royal Festival Hall in 1999, 2002 and 2004. Hazelwood seems to have rehearsed at the Music Room for both of the last two of these, with my informant stating that he liked drinking in The Five Bells. These photos were taken in 2002, with the person who sent them stating that 'He was an utter gentleman to work for, completely charismatic, his unique talents undimmed'.

I love Hazelwood's work, especially the stuff he did with Nancy Sinatra - Some Velvet Morning and Summer Wine are two of my favourite songs of all time. He also wrote and produced These Boots are Made for Walking for her, with Al Casey on guitar.
The same source states that another great American musician, Arthur Lee (1945-2006) of Love, rehearsed in the Monson Road annex to the Music Room in about about 1998 and drank in the pub opposite. That would be the Duke of Albany of Shaun of the Dead fame, now closed and converted to flats. Evidently he regaled the pub's patrons with his own take on personal safety to the effect of "Jimi liked to box. I prefer to stab or shoot".

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