“We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper’s sprout,” rings the opening line from the song sung by the sexy blonde and the straight old guy.
Who would’ve known that line would play a role in assigning Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood to pop music immortality. The song, Jackson, written in 1963 by Billy Edd Wheeler and Jerry Leiber, reached No 14 on the Billboard charts in July 1967. It will forever be associated with this unlikely duo, often in confusion with the other couple who made a hit out of it – Johnny Cash and June Carter, on the country charts.
A music show paying tribute to this musical odd couple plays Newcastle on Sunday, October 1 (yes, up against the NRL grand final) at The Black Malabar (formerly known as the Unorthodox Church of Groove) in Newcastle West. The Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood Experience stars Zoe Carides and Scott Holmes in the lead roles, backed by their own band which includes former Wiggles star Murray Cook (the red Wiggle) on bass.
Nancy Sinatra was the oldest daughter of Frank and Nancy Sinatra. She is still living, age 77. Her signature hit was These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ in 1966. But she had plenty, including Sugar Town and Somethin’ Stupid (with her father). The Sinatra/Hazlewood duo’s version of Summer Wine was used in a major ad campaign this year.
Sinatra has kept her name and music alive, with guest appearances with everybody from Morrissey to Wilco.
Cook, who plays in about six bands, calls supporting the Sinatra show “a guilty pleasure”. It’s a long way from his first gig as a rocker in 1979 at the Regent Hotel in Kingsford, or is it . . .
“It’s always fun,” he says of the Sinatra shows, “doing things like These Boots Are Made For Walkin’. People get up and dance and enjoy themselves.”
“It’s a little tongue-in-cheek, having Zoe is good. She plays it in a tongue-in-cheek way, but in character, in a playful way.”
Carides is a busy working actor, with constant roles in Australian movie and television productions including Rake, Doctor Doctor, Top of the Lake, and Janet King.
Holmes, former frontman of the Same and Scattered Order, takes on the droll Hazewood role, complementing the wild Sinatra figure.
The show runs through two sets, playing all the hits by both stars. Yes, there are some covers, but only songs that the duo recorded at some point in their careers.
Black Malabar appears to be the perfect venue for this show; it has a built-in intimacy with a low stage close to the audience.