The Second Disc

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Lee Hazlewood Makes “A House Safe For Tigers”

with 6 comments

One of our favorite characters here at Second Disc HQ is the one and only Lee Hazlewood.  Whether singing psychedelic duets with the daughter of the Chairman of the Board, proving that Hollywood kids Dino, Desi and Billy were “Not the Lovin’ Kind” or going all twangy with Duane Eddy, Hazlewood made his mark wherever he went.  Light in the Attic kicked off a new Hazlewood reissue campaign in April with the release of the deliciously offbeat The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes and Backsides 1968-1971, promising further treasures would be liberated from the vaults of Hazlewood’s own LHI Records label.  That promise has materialized with the announcement of the August 21 reissue of A House Safe for Tigers.

A House Safe for Tigers is the soundtrack to one of seven TV movies Lee Hazlewood made with the director Torbjörn Axelman while 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. This period of Hazlewood’s career has been the stuff of collectors’ circles, as many of his recordings made in Sweden never made the commute back to his native America.  Originally only available in Sweden, the Light in the Attic reissue (to be available on CD, vinyl and special gold vinyl) marks the return of Tigers.  Hazlewood starred alongside Axelman in the documentary-style “buddy movie” that might be thought of as a precursor to reality television.  Hazlewood and Axelman reflected on their respective childhoods, sharing reminisces and encountering various people along the way.   “It’s strange, very strange,” Hazlewood said.  “But we meant it to be strange.”  Adding to the strangeness (at least for any potential American viewers!), much of the film is in Swedish, and some even in Latin.  The film’s title has been attributed by various sources to Buddhist prayer, or Asian or Swedish folklore, in which one’s home is blessed to be kept safe from metaphorical “tigers.”  One version states that the presence of flowers strewn in the home will keep the tigers at bay.

Hit the jump for more, including order links and track listing!

Much of the music on A House Safe for Tigers is bold, epic and lush, and some of it is quite touching.  Hazlewood even revisits his old group The Shacklefords for a new version of “Our Little Boy Blue.”    Light in the Attic points out that “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 label added, “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.’”

The further adventures of the Cowboy in Sweden, as chronicled on the soundtrack to A House Safe for Tigers, will be released by Light in the Attic on August 21 on both CD and vinyl.  Both formats include new liner notes penned by Wyndham Wallace drawing on an interview with director Torbjörn Axelman. The LP version also includes a fold-out replica of the original movie poster.  This first-time-ever reissue will also be pressed on a very limited edition gold vinyl, available from LITA’s online store for the same $16 as the standard vinyl edition.   Only 200 copies are being sold!  You can pre-order A House Safe for Tigers at the link below!

Lee Hazlewood, A House Safe for Tigers (LHI Records, 1975 – reissued Light in the Attic LITA087, 2012 – CD, Vinyl, Gold Vinyl)

  1. Souls Island
  2. A House Safe for Tigers
  3. Our Little Boy Blue
  4. Absent Friends – A House Safe for Tigers
  5. Sand Hill Anna and the Russian Mouse
  6. Lars Gunnar and Me
  7. Souls Island
  8. Las Vegas – A House Safe for Tigers
  9. The Nights
  10. A House Safe for Tigers – Choir

Written by Joe Marchese

July 20, 2012 at 10:01

6 Responses

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  1. Does this mean that the entire LH catalog is slated for a legitimate release? I trolled a lot of antique stores and eBay auctions to complete my collection. AHSFT is a fine album and I enjoy it quite a lot. it’ll be nice to have a version of it that wasn’t copied from vinyl and declicked.


    July 21, 2012 at 19:32

    • Hi Tim, Light in the Attic has indeed acquired the rights to the LHI label’s catalogue. Though all of LITA’s plans haven’t been revealed yet, I trust that the fine folks there will, indeed, bring much of Lee’s rarest music to light once again. I couldn’t be happier!

      Joe Marchese

      July 21, 2012 at 23:31

  2. That’s good to know. I noticed that “Movin’ On” was on Amazon as a mp3 download which really boggled me. I figured if someone was going to start reissuing Lee’s music that maybe they would start with the *cough* *cough* better stuff. You know, put your best foot forward and everything.

    Interesting note, on Amazon they have his name mis-spelled. Some items come up when the name is typed -le and some when typed -el. You’d think that their software would be smart enough to send HazELwood and HazLEwood to the same place.


    July 22, 2012 at 16:53

  3. So what’s the Light in the Attic LHI deal? First release a compilation, tell nothing, then release all the material individually, so you needn’t have bought the comp to begin with? Or am I being too suspicious, weary of other companies’ methods? Because this is not the LitA way, is it?

    Snaporaz d'Uzine

    July 23, 2012 at 09:11

    • The LHI compilation was (and is) the first of its kind and features a number of rare singles, plus an unreleased song. Even if those tracks are repeated over time, appended to individual albums, there still shouldn’t be any reason for dismay or uproar. Not every fan of Lee’s work is going to want every album in a comprehensive series, and the compilation is a fine album in its own right with unique packaging, notes and design. There’s nothing suspicious about the LitA deal…the label plans on reissuing LHI’s catalogue (I don’t believe LitA, or any other label, owes fans a massive and detailed game plan from the get-go…those plans would almost inevitably end up changing, anyway), and began that campaign with a fantastic sampler of the catalogue. I do hope LitA reissues and expands as many of the LHI albums as possible, and I have every reason to believe they will do so in a manner that’s worth the wait.

      Joe Marchese

      July 23, 2012 at 09:59

      • Thanks for the update and I’m sure they will, Joe. They’re one of today’s best reissue labels indeed and I salute them for it.

        Snaporaz d'Uzine

        July 24, 2012 at 01:10

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