An homage to Peggy the actress and songwriter.
Mary Whipple | New England | 07/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Peggy Lee was seventy years old and wheelchair-bound when she made this album in late 1989, but she was still a creative and versatile songwriter, and a consummate actress with lyrics, as we see here. Nine new and three old songs, including "Fever," the only song in this collection that she did not write, show Peggy's ability to "manage" and interpret the new songs she has written for her voice and range at the end of her career. Though three of the songs, "Fever," "I'll Give It All to You," and "Things Are Swingin'" are up-tempo swing songs in major keys, the remainder of the collection is slow, minor-keyed, and melancholy, the theme of loss prevailing throughout.Ballads such as "There'll Be Another Spring" and "Where Can I Go Without You" are songs lacking in any sign of hopefulness, with reluctant resignation the dominant mood. Two waltzes, "I Just Want to Dance All Night" and "Over the Wheel" include lyrics such as "You belong to someone else" and "We were not meant to be." Peggy makes these songs so lugubrious that listeners cannot fail to be moved. Her voice now lacks the range and ability to modulate and hold a long note, which were once her hallmarks, and occasionally her accompanists provide subtle "help," as in "Sans Souci," where the bass volume increases when she has to hit the lowest notes. In "Johnny Guitar," Peggy cedes the song to John Chiodini, whose Spanish-style guitar dominates, her voice seeming to accompany him, rather than the reverse.Collectors of Peggy Lee will find that she is still the genius at interpretation that she always was, and her swing and blues styles are as good as ever. The overall mood of this album is painfully sad, however--not the album to choose if you are looking for an upbeat change of pace in your own life. Mary Whipple"
Still strong and brown
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 08/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"[Note: All Music Guide mistakenly has this recording listed as a "compilation." Don't be misled (and disappointed). It's not a "Best of--" collection, but the penultimate recording session by Peggy, who is admittedly a far cry from the singer who first recorded these songs.]
Peggy reprises my favorite of all her songs (give Johnny Mandel credit for the music), "The Shining Sea," and still sings "his strong brown hands." Whether due to squeamishness, color phobia, or anti-sunbathing sentiments, several succeeding singers of the same tune have changed the lyric to "I love those hands." Give Peggy all the credit in the world for taking on life, mortality, the human condition, and letting it come out in her music. Her performance on this late recording is admittedly elegiac and melancholy (see the preceding excellent review by Mary Whipple). On some tunes, the tiredness rings true to the song (the title song); on others, it's admittedly a trifle pathetic ("I Just Want to Dance All Night"). What I miss most about Peggy's vocal quality during this late period is the magical cushion of air that customarily enveloped each of her tones. Deflation is definitely in evidence on this recording, which is nevertheless a worthwhile addition for true fans of this great American original. Just be sure to pick up the earlier version of "The Shining Sea," which no singer has equaled (Jackie Cain comes closest)."