If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then the ears of the inestimable Peggy Lee must be ringing. Kate Dimbleby's effort is at least the fourth tribute album honoring Ms Lee in the last few years. There was Jeanie Bryson's, followed by Connie Evingson's. Then Mosaic Records issued the complete Capitol Record transcriptions of Peggy Lee in a box set shared with June Christie. The idea for this latest "let's honor Peggy" CD was spawned by a one-act biographical play written by Lucy Powell, The Making of Miss Peggy Lee
, which opened in London in December of 1999 with Dimbleby playing the lead. A CD featuring the songs Peggy made popular seemed to be a natural follow on.
And why not?. Who better to honor than this icon of popular song for more than 40 years. Peggy Lee was so versatile, so uncommon in her patented off hand manner of delivering lyrics in a voice immediately recognizable after just a bar or two, that she can be "imitated" without being "copied". Dimbleby, ably assisted by Geoff Eales's trio, pulls this off admirably. There's a balanced selection of some of Lee's more famous tunes along with some that aren't heard that often. "Is That all There Is?", one of the most sardonic and irreverent laments ever put to music, is one of the highlights of the session. There's a couple lesser known Lee songs on the CD as well, "Sing a Rainbow" and "He's just My Kind". The CD is topped off with a wistful "I Don't Wanna Play in Your Yard" done A Capella. Dimbleby also uses Lee's gambit of opening some tunes with a narrative, which does get your attention. No one has used this device as successfully as Peggy Lee.
This album should attract not only fans of Peggy Lee, but those who appreciate hearing another singer bring her own special interpretation of Ms Lee's singing and music. Recommended.
Tracks:I Love Being Here with You; Black Coffee; Why Don't You Do Right; Manana; He's just My Kind; I'm a Woman; Hey, Look Me Over; These Foolish Things; So What's New?: Sing a Rainbow; Is That all There Is?: Fever; I Don't Wanna Play in Your Yard