Riding the crest of successive hit-making for Duane Eddy, Sanford Clark, Dean Martin and Nancy Sinatra, the ever-industrious Lee Hazlewood still found time to release his excellent third solo album in 1965. His second solo recording for the Reprise label, Friday's Child indulges his signature country-pop flare and pioneering use of vocal reverb. With electric guitar leads, harp and female backup vocals, the album finds Hazlewood embellishing his arrangements, though some of its strongest moments draw their impact only from his rich timbre. Some artists develop their voice for years; Hazlewood's third album proves it was an innate and irrevocable gift.
Weepy guitar leads kick off the title track and Hazlewood takes up the story of twinkling sorrow and bad luck. He often speckles pain with humor, but ''Friday's Child'' is one of his most purely somber ballads. Elsewhere, with finger snaps, sparse backup vocals and Hazlewood's emotive intonation, the intro of ''Houston'' alone could carry on entirely a cappella and still endure as a classic. The composition made a hit for Dean Martin, but the Friday's Child version shows Hazlewood's inimitable skill as a vocal stylist. Mostly lacking the dada-esque humor of his first two albums, Friday's Child places Hazlewood in league with the era's greatest traditional songwriters, though one for whom pop conventions were to be bucked and cast aside.