The Ultimate Collection
Universal Music/Capital Records
A Marvelous Career Spanning Collection To Brighten Up The World
As regular readers already know I was brought up in a ‘musical household’; not that any of us actually played an instrument but more as fans of recorded artists; with the age span involved meaning I have a deep appreciation of all kinds of eclectic genres.
Because of my Mother’s love of Big Bands and their associated vocalists I still enjoy occasional forays into what we now call Easy Listening; which brings me to this fabulous release.
I doubt we ever owned any of her records but I do remember my Mother getting excited whenever Peggy Lee made her occasional appearances on Saturday night TV; so listening again; after all these years has brought back loads of cosy memories of my childhood.
Released to celebrate what would have been Ms Lee’s 100th birthday; hence the title, this really does showcase one of musics most endearing; if now, under appreciated female vocalists.
In as much as the songs are generally Classics; there are few surprises in the selection; although choosing the swinging Big Band belter, I Love To Be Here With You is genius as Peggy just oozes not just charm, but a hint of sexiness in the way she purrs her way through something that has aged remarkably well.
That sentiment is also true of just about every track of the 22, which has been a very pleasant surprise; especially her renditions of Hallelujah I Love Him So, I’ve Got The World On a String and the song I most associate with Marilyn Monroe; Fever which simply sizzles in a way that must have been sensational when first played on the wireless.
Kicking back listening, as I am this sunny morning it’s funny to think that Peggy was born Norma Deloris Egstrom in Jamestown, North Dakota and christened Peggy Lee in 1937 by a local North Dakota deejay, NINETEEN THIRTY SEVEN!
Peggy’s most famous recordings are here of course; and they are a lot more complex than I’d ever have expected for their age; I’m a Woman certainly sounds like something I’d still expect to be a song Beth Hart would include in her concerts; so imagine what fans thought way back when; and I Don’t Know Enough About You simply simmers and threatens to boil over as she teases and tests ‘her man’.
Looking back now; I think it’s fair to say that Peggy Lee was way ahead of her time with her choice of song and the way she delivers them; with Black Coffee sounding like it should have been included in a nightclub scene from a Robert Mitchum movie; as does He’s a Tramp and You Deserve too.
Is That All There Is must be one of the five songs written by Peggy, as it’s so deeply personal; but my copy doesn’t make that clear ……. but it’s a fabulous inclusion, that’s for sure.
There a couple of songs that I already knew, but associate with Britain’s own Dame Shirley Bassey, Big Spender and Things are Swinging; but even without being a detective; I’d now guess Shirley took Peggy Lee’s originals and put her own spin on them, though today I think I like these two versions better.
Although Peggy Lee’s many fans are going to buy this collection anyways; there’s the addition of a ‘Never Before Released Track’ to close the collection; Try a Little Tenderness which is so sultry it sent a shiver down my back; and is still so contemporary in 2020 it is easily my Favourite Song here.
This has been a wonderful voyage of discovery for me, and I still can’t convincingly tell you if I prefer the bouncy and full on Big Band songs or the hazy, late night Jazz Diva songs best; but the way the songs are sequenced you won’t have to choose either ……. just kick back , enjoy and admire.
Released April 17th 2020