WHATEVER HAPPENED TO . . . NANCY SINATRA? : Her Roots Are Still Made for Talkin'

Chuck Crisafulli is a frequent contributor to Calendar.

Nancy Sinatra's miniskirts and pink bikinis have given way to a pair of jeans, but at 54, the singer looks remarkably unchanged from her days as pop music's first ultra-mod sex kitten, who inflamed teen passions and aroused incipient foot fetishists when "These Boots Are Made For Walkin' " hit No. 1 in 1966.

She's still got her boots on. "They're my good luck charms," Sinatra says during a break at a Los Angeles recording studio. "I'm too superstitious to come in here without them."

Sinatra has just put the finishing touches on "One More Time," her first solo album in 15 years. She's also preparing for a return to live performance, beginning with a House of Blues show this spring.

Her mid-'60s hits--"Boots," "Sugar Town," "Some Velvet Morning" and her duet with her dad Frank, "Somethin' Stupid"--have been available on Rhino Records compilations, but this month she will be re-releasing all eight of her albums on CD through the small reissue label Sundazed, with original artwork and bonus tracks.

Sinatra drifted away from show business to spend more time with her two daughters after the death of her husband, Hugh Lambert, in 1985. Her return to the music world was initiated when producer Ray Ruff approached her at a local jazz club with an album proposal.

The record, released on the Cougar label and distributed by Quality Records, revives Sinatra's "sweet bad-girl" image as she purrs through the Elvis-style rave-up "Roadblock," the country chug of "Right Track, Wrong Train" and the club closing-time title track.

There's no "Boots II" on the record, but Sinatra hasn't ever tired of her pre-feminist anthem.

"That one was a gift," she says. "I ran straight into a song that had a wonderful life of its own. Lee (Hazlewood) had written it for himself, but I thought it was a lot better for me. 'These boots are gonna walk all over you' from a guy to a girl was just mean. It wasn't funny. But for a little shrimp like me to sing it--it worked."

Those boots are still walkin'--they'll be featured prominently in a Sinatra pictorial of "tasteful nudes" in the May Playboy.

"I wanted to strike a blow for middle-aged women," she says. "I consider myself a feminist, but I don't think that means you can't be sexy as well. It's not a contradiction in terms. A lot of people don't think 50 is sexy, and that's too bad, because there are a lot of baby boomers coming up right behind me."

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