Requiem for an Almost Lady is the rarest of Lee Hazlewood's albums because it was released in 1971 exclusively in Sweden (where Hazlewood also completed his cult classic Cowboy in Sweden album) and the United Kingdom. The album is one of the most beautifully agonizing breakup records to ever hit wax, culled from a composite of Hazlewood's relationships gone wrong. Spoken word introductions precede each of the ten brief songs and reveal Hazlewood's poetic soul, while the songs themselves are full of longing and witty, clever cynicism coupled with a sad-eyed idealism that paints the music as even more visceral and grievous. Hazlewood spares none of his past loves. Requiem is often cutting, even harsh, as is evident with songs such as "I'd Rather Be Your Enemy" and "I'm Glad I Never..." (as in never owned a gun), but there is an underlying feeling of tenderness, as if Hazlewood is only talking tough to hide his own deep hurt. The album creates an impossibly cavernous warmth, with only acoustic guitar and electric bass backing provided by Jerry Cole, Donnie Owens, and Joe Cannon. Although there are hints of Hazlewood's cowboy sound on "L.A. Lady" and "Must Have Been Something I Loved," Requiem actually steers much closer to folky psychedelic pop territory, particularly the sound of California at the end of the '60s. The subject matter is sophisticated and somatic, but the tone of the music veers much more toward the mystical, existential, and hippie-ish. Hazlewood is meditative without seeming overly fragile. His perspective is world-weary, but it doesn't stop him from tossing in a campy sense of humor to leaven his obvious passionate disappointment, and it makes the album that much more lyrical, intelligent, and emotionally poignant.
AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart