Miss Springfield meets Mr Hazlewood
What I have for you this week is one of those magical intersections of pop culture threads.
Though I only came into possession of this 45 this year, the movie from which it hails has long been a favorite of mine, since I first stole a viewing of it on the Late Show as a kid.
‘The Sweet Ride’ (1968) is one of those perfect (if perfectly artificial) pictures of time and place that manage to conjure up a sense that you’re getting a real dose of the time, even if you’re not (if you know what I mean).
The film concerns the intersecting lives of a group of characters in Southern California, with enough finely rendered archetypes – the louche swinger (Tony Franciosa) , Hollywood starlet (Jacqueline Bisset) , beatnik/hippie (a post-Gilligan Bob Denver) , sinister biker (Charles Dierkop) – to keep your head spinning for 90 minutes.
I picked up the title song in passing when I was seeking out Dusty Springfield’s hanting cover of Norma Tanega’s ‘No Stranger Am I’, which happens to be the B-side of today’s selection.
The contrast between the two songs couldn’t be starker, with ‘The Sweet Ride’ – which just so happens to have been written and produced by no less a light than Lee Hazlewood – coming on with a swinging, upbeat pop feel, sounding in every way like the movie looks (if you get my drift).
Dusty’s vocal is spot on, and the backing by the Blossoms is typically excellent.
Sadly, the movie seems to be out of circulation these days, available only as a burn-on-demand disc from 20th Century Fox and Amazon.
It’s a groovy tune, and I hope you dig it as much as I do.
See you next week.