This is not a re-recording of Peggy Lee's greatest hits, though it features some of her famous songs, nor is it a straight covers album, because Stacy and her musicians have re-interpreted the songs to a greater or lesser extent, as they have often done when covering oldies on earlier albums. For example, Stacy's debut album At The Beginning includes a version of I know a place, which is very different from Petula Clark`s sixties hit. (That track was actually the means by which I discovered Stacy's music in the first place, way back in the year 2000, when I was looking for covers of Petula`s hits.)
Peggy Lee was herself noted for re-interpreting other people's songs whenever it suited her, never more so than on her most famous song, Fever, which isn`t featured here apart from a brief line at the end of Cheek to cheek. So if Peggy had lived to hear this album, I suspect she would have loved it.
The Peggy Lee influence runs through the album, and not just in the song selection. For example, the finger snapping that Peggy Lee used on Fever is here used on That old black magic, which is the first part of a two-song medley with Lover.
Stacy found one song that Peggy co-wrote but never recorded (or at least never released her own version of), that being The folks back home. It is an outstanding song that looks back to a bygone childhood in North Dakota. I've seen the song described as nostalgic, but while I also remember snow blizzards from my childhood. I don't feel nostalgic about them.
Even though I have a substantial collection of Peggy's music from the forties to the early seventies, Stacy found some other songs that I am not familiar with. Although I haven't heard Peggy's version of Angels on your pillow (it was one of her later songs from the eighties), I am very familiar with it because Stacy originally recorded the song for her Christmas album Cold Enough To Snow, and that version is included here as the final track. It is different in style from the other tracks, but I'm glad it was included here.
One song that I do have Peggy's version of, but which is among her less famous recordings, is Where did they go? It was the title track of her 1971 album Where Did They Go, and was also an unsuccessful single release. Peggy's music was not fashionable at the time, so it seems, and she only recorded one more Capitol album before her contract expired. Another song that I have Peggy's version of, but which isn't often heard apart from on her album Beauty and the Beat (with George Shearing), is Nobody's heart belongs to me. Of the three songs that make up the first medley, Peggy recorded I got rhythm as a duet with Bing Crosby but I'm not aware of a solo recording by her. I'm fairly sure I don't have Peggy's versions of the other two songs, although I have several other versions of My romance.
Most of the other songs featured here should be much more familiar to Peggy's fans. Among them. The Beatles were inspired to record Till there was you, after Paul McCartney heard Peggy's version, which was itself a cover of a song written for Hollywood. Their version can be found on With The Beatles.
Stacy must have listened to a lot of Peggy's music in deciding what to record, and what not to record. I'll admit that most of my favorite Peggy Lee songs are missing, but I'm happy with that. Stacy has chosen songs that work well for her and the musicians, and it shows in the results.
Review copy supplied by publisher.