Sunday, May 17, 2009

Peggy Lee

The first time I saw Peggy Lee was on Ed Sullivan, and, youTube aside, it was probably the last time. I hadn’t heard of her then, but the audience obviously had, judging by the reception.

This is a straightforward collection consisting of a series of 3 CDs, one after the other. Her Capital recordings (1945 – 1951) are on The Capital Collectors Series. The Decca recordings, (1952 – 1956) are on The Best Of The Decca Years, which has half of her Decca hits (1 out of 2). And the second set of Capital recordings are on Fever & Other Hits, which has 6 out of her 9 hits from that period.

Peggy Lee:

Waitin’ For The Train To Come In – Put your life on hold, waiting for your loved one. Doesn’t sound like a plan to me. But it’s a great record. From 1945.
I’m Glad I Waited For You – There you go. Worked out, didn’t it… From 1946.
I Don’t Know Enough About You – Echoes Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World a bit. An interesting idea, how much do we ever know about our partners anyway. From the spring of 1946.
Linger In My Arms A Little Longer, Baby – A goodnight kiss song. I think I would expect to hear this in a male voice; hearing it sung by a woman changes the perspective. This is from 1946.
It’s All Over Now – Also from 1946. Not The Stones song, and not the Dylan song (with Baby Blue). A song, predictably, about the end of the affair. She does not sound too sad though…
It’s A Good Day – A happy song. From 1947.
Everything Is Moving Too Fast – The Beat Goes On, sort of. From 1947.
Chi-BaBa, Chi-Baba (My Bambino, Go To Sleep) – Still in 1947. A lullaby of some kind.
Sugar (That Sugar Baby Of Mine) – The oft-used sugar analogy. The Pointer Sisters did a song called Sugar, and The Chordettes did Lollipop. There must be millions of songs like that.
Golden Earrings – Some kind of Gypsy superstition about wearing earrings and finding love. It was a straight line from this to The Impressions’ Gypsy Woman. From 1947. I don’t know if the Dutch group named themselves for this song.
I’ll Dance At Your Wedding – From 1947. It’s never made clear whose wedding she will dance at, but it’s fine.
Mañana (Is Soon Enough For Me) – It’s got that Latin thing going on, a bit of a novelty song. From 1948.
All Dressed Up With A Broken Heart – Trying to get over a romance is never easy is it… From 1948.
Talkin’ To Myself About You – From 1948.
Why Don’t You Do Right (Get Me Some Money Too)
‘Deed I Do
Don’t Smoke In Bed – Sultry. I like the way Julie London does this, too. From 1948.
Caramba! It’s The Samba! – From 1948.
There There Eyes – Q. Do you really fall in love with eyes? A. Yes
Baby, Don’t Be Mad At Me – That’s cute. Sometimes it just comes down to that, don’t be mad. From 1948.
Bali Ha’i – From 1949. A song about the islands.
Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair – This is from… um… South Pacific!
Ghost Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend) – She is a strange one to be doing this. A hit also for Vaughn Monroe, and the Sons Of The Pioneers. Later it was a hit for The Outlaws in an instrumental version, and Johnny Cash put in it on the charts much later. For what it’s worth, this version reached # 2. From 1949.
The Old Master Painter – Think of Picasso’s Last Words by Paul McCartney & Wings. Ok, don’t think of it. From 1950.
Show Me The Way To Get Out Of This World (‘Cause That’s Where Everything Is) – This isn’t a song about suicide; it’s just a comment on the expression “out of this world.” I think it’s supposed to funny, but the title kind of doesn’t let that happen. From 1950.
Lover – This is where the Decca years start. This is from 1952. From the movie Love Me Tonight
This Is A Very Special Day – She wrote this herself. From The Jazz Singer. An It's A Good Day redux.
Just One Of Those Things – From 1952 A Cole Porter song from Jubilee.
Be Anything (But Me Mine) – From 1952. Connie Francis put this back on the charts in 1964.
Black Coffee – Another great smoky bar room song. The Pointer Sisters did a great version of this on one of their Blue Thumb albums.
He’s A Tramp – From Lady And The Tramp.
It Must Be So – A duet with The Mills Brothers, another Peggy Lee original.
Where Can I Go Without You? – How heartbreak takes the meaning out of things. From 1954.
Somebody Loves Me – Pining for a guy…
Sans Souci
The Possibility’s There – A cutesy-poo song with Bing Crosby. They sing about sharing breakfast. I think listeners were supposed to get they were planning to get married, but they don’t say that.
I Hear Music Now – Newfound romance. Phil Spector rewrote this, sort of, called it I Can Hear Music, gave it to The Ronettes. And The Supremes did I Hear A Symphony. Another song from The Jazz Singer.
Johnny Guitar – The complications of dating a musician. Think of Superstar by Rita Cooldege / The Carpenters. This is from some move called Johnny Guitar.
The Siamese Cat Song – From Lady And The Tramp. Dumb.
He Needs Me
Mr. Wonderful – A song of unrepentant adulation. A hit in the spring of 1956.
Fever – Her piece de la resistance. If there’s been a better song about sexual passion I’ve never heard it. The original was by Little Willie John, and Elvis did a smokin’ version, but Miss Lee’s is best by far. The drums-bass-finger pops arrangement is brilliant. From the summer of 1958.
My Man – Similar musical idea to Fever, a little more fleshed out instrumentally. Lyrically it’s the opposite of Mr. Wonderful – he’s bad, he beats her etc. but she loves him. Sheesh. From the winter of 1959.
Alright, Okay, You Win – A declaration of romantic submission. From the winter of 1959, the other side of My Man.
Hallelujah, I Love Him So – A slight change of gender, but this is the Ray Charles song. Great version, plus there is a good one by Eddie Cochrane. From the spring of 1959.
(You Gotta Have) Heart – “Corazon” the guys sing in the background. Didn’t Carole King so something like that?
A Doodlin’ Song
I’m A Woman – Credited to Leiber & Stoller, but it’s really a variation of Bo Diddley’s I’m A Man. Not The Helen Reddy song. Same idea except with an acknowledgement of the erotic. From the winter of 1963.
Big Spender – She is singing, maybe, about Sean Connery playing James Bond. I don’t pop my cork, she says, for every guy I see. Indeed. From 1966.
The Alley Cat Song – As Alley Cat it was a hit for Bent Fabric. Here are the words.
Is That All There Is – An out of character Leiber & Stoller song. But by 1969 they were in the wilderness. This is a great record, a freak hit in the fall of 1969, and I remember it well, the only Peggy Lee song I remember hearing on the radio. I sing it to my kids when they complain that there aren’t enough food choices in the house…

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page