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Some Velvet Morning

Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood

Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood – “Some Velvet Morning”
(from Fairy Tales & Fantasies: The Best of Nancy & Lee)

Primal Scream – “Some Velvet Morning”
(from Evil Heat)

Sorry for the lack of regular posting as of late, kiddos. As some of you may know, I’ve been mired in the paper work and physical labor demanded of a first-time home buyer. Just this past weekend, as a matter of fact, instead of blogging I was living out my worst HGTV nightmares: painting nearly every damn room in the house. The living room, it was decided, was to be a shade of blue the marketing geniuses at the Behr company had dubbed “Velvet Morning.” Because I’m a dork, and because painting is tedious work, I kept myself entertained by singing, “Some velvet morning when I’m straight, I’m gonna open up your gate,” etcetera. Now, coming out of my choppy Midwestern monotone mouth, these nonsensical phrases sounded about as idiotic and fruity as any number of “songs” I like to make up and sing to myself when I’m bored. But, coming out of the deep, echo-rich mouth of Lee Hazelwood and his stunning mustache, the words take on a new meaning. They become determined, driven, heroic. Maybe it was the fumes I was inhaling, or maybe it was the mysterious Morricone-inspired strings, but all of a sudden it was like my painting had taken on a new sense of purpose.

“Some Velvet Morning,” the Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood duet, is a powerful song, even if it makes no fucking sense whatsoever. Something about dragonflies and daffodils, a story that may or may not be told depending on the narrator’s mood, and some elusive chick named Phaedra whose presence is signified by a sudden switch to carnival-like rhythms. Yeah. It was an unexpected B-side hit in the late ’60s. I guess you could call it a psychedelic parable about… I dunno, love?

The vague, stoned moodiness of the song have garnered it something of a cult following and a bevy of covers, including attempts by Lydia Lunch and Slowdive. One of my favorite versions of this song, however, was done by Primal Scream, who take the song from its fantasy/mythology roots and plant it firmly in sci-fi territory. All of Evil Heat has a post-apocalyptic electro-garage vibe to it, like Blade Runner on ecstasy, but somehow listening to Bobby Gillespie’s vocodered voice on “Some Velvet Morning” feels surprisingly natural. And Kate Moss absolutely kills filling in for the Sinatra role. “Look at us but do not touch,” she coos, in what might as well be the official motto of supermodels everywhere. If I didn’t know this was a cover I would totally believe that this was a Scream Team original.

Okay, I realize this is quite possibly the lamest excuse for a blog post evah, but before I embarass myself any further and toss around phrases like “technophobic sexpot” to describes Moss’s reimagining of Phaedra I’ll try and bring this to a quick and tidy close. After all, I’ve only just reestablished my internet connection and I still have tons of boxes to unpack. But, keep your eyes on the P-R and I’ll plan on sneaking in some more exciting home-related music posts. You lucky dog.

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