Well, before I begin... I would just like to say I am deeeee-lighted to be a contributor for ARAWA. Not to circle jerk too much, but I have been quite a fan for some time now and I can't wait to christen my new membership with a creeped out video of Nancy and Lee. When I first watched this video I was completely put off by Nancy and Lee's seemingly coked out performances. Of course, once I read the performance was in Vegas I began to "see the light." There is an air of pale, ghostly struggle in their somewhat serious performance of a touchingly campy song. Nancy looks stoned and lost as she visually peruses the darkness under her spotlight. Lee Hazlewood just looks like he is struggling to sit in the chair as he clenches the microphone.
Regardless, the solemn atmosphere of the track doesn't lose any of its attraction with this doped out rendition. In fact, it makes the lyrics of the song all the more surreal. The track is a haunting tribute to being in love with an individual you know will die from coal mining. Beyond the romantic, it also includes the perspective of being the children of a coal miner. The songs melodramatic description of the characters' decision to live their lives, despite the morbid outcome, is surprisingly touching. The contrast between the almost subdued, dialogue style verses and the orchestrated push of the chorus give make the song an intensely surreal roller coaster. Coming from one city-slicker and one highly unconventional country artist the song adds a rather trippy aura to a traditionally more earthy musical style.
Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - Arkansas Coal