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The Shacklefords

The Shacklefords were a short-lived folk-pop act led by two of the more interesting figures in the L.A.
music scene of the 1960s -- Lee Hazlewood, the idiosyncratic singer, songwriter, and producer best known for his collaborations with Nancy Sinatra, and Marty Cooper, who was a songwriter and producer worked with the likes of Bobby Day, Brian Hyland, Tommy Roe, Bobby Bare, the Marathons, and Chubby Checker. The Shacklefords' story begins in the mid-'40s, when Lee Hazlewood was a high-school senior in Huntsville, TX; he began dating a fellow student, Naomi Shackleford, and the two fell in love. After a few years in college, Hazlewood joined the Army, but he and Shackleford stayed together, and after he ended his hitch in the service, Lee and Naomi were married in 1953. Hazlewood was called up for further service during the Korean War, and he landed an assignment as a disc jockey for Armed Forces Radio in Japan and Korea. Hazlewood pursued a career in radio after returning to the United States, which took him to Arizona, where he soon made a name for himself as a songwriter and producer, cutting successful singles with Sanford Clark and Duane Eddy.
By 1963, Hazlewood had relocated to Los Angeles, and after releasing his first solo album he teamed up with Marty Cooper, a former pop singer who'd scored some hits as a songwriter and producer. Hazlewood and Cooper decided to put together a vocal group in the style of the popular folk acts of the day, such as the Kingston Trio and the Limelighters; Shackleford's maiden name was chosen as the combo's moniker. Later that year, Mercury Records released the group's first album, Until You've Heard the Shacklefords, You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet, which featured Gracia Nitzsche (then wife of noted arranger and producer Jack Nitzsche), Albert Stone, Cooper, and Hazlewood, accompanied by such L.A. session heavyweights as Hal Blaine and James Burton. The album wasn't a success, but in 1966 the Shacklefords were resurrected for a second LP, The Shacklefords Sing, released by Capitol Records, which didn't fare any better in the marketplace than the debut. Between 1966 and 1968, the Shacklefords released three singles on Lee Hazlewood's LHI Records label, but by this time Hazlewood was busy with his solo career and his work with Nancy Sinatra, and the Shacklefords were never heard from again. In 2008, the British Rev-Ola label reissued The Shacklefords Sing on CD, while the rest of their catalog remains out of print. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


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