Peggy Lee On Record (1941-1995)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Ridin'High, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. wildroot indigo

    wildroot indigo Forum Resident

    At a record shop recently, I found 1991 Vintage Jazz Classics CD "Roll 'Em!" by Benny Goodman and Sid Catlett, one of my favorite jazz drummers, live at various locations in 1941. Peggy sings on just one track, very lovely and perhaps a sort of collector's item:

    When The Sun Comes Out (Ted Koehler and Harold Arlen; arr. Sauter) (3:52)
    Meadowbrook Country Club, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, September 11, 1941

    Benny Goodman And Sid Catlett - Roll 'Em
     
  2. Paul Dray

    Paul Dray Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    Yep I bought that disc for the Peggy track too :)
    The studio track from Benny Goodman orchestra of that time had Helen Forrest on vocals. Very nice too.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2022
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  3. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    I agree: a very nice CD for Benny and Sid collectors to own. Vinyl collectors might also be interested in knowing that the CD’s contents had originally been released in this gatefold album:


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    A 2-LP set, it contains a few additional live numbers from the same period (by additional, I mean, not on the CD). A second Peggy Lee vocal is among those.


    It is one of her earliest extant vocals, and thus, as you already pointed out, something of a collectors’ item.

    She had joined Benny in the middle of the previous month, in Chicago. Her four earliest extant vocals date from that second half of August. Three are studio recordings and the other is a live performance of “Daddy” that exists only in the form of an incomplete radio transmission.

    At the end of August, Benny and company left Chicago and traveled to Canada, for an appearance at a Toronto fair. Then they came back to the USA, moving to New Jersey for a month-long engagement. Peggy's performance of “When the Sun Comes Out” comes from that engagement -- preserved in part because it was transmitted over the radio airwaves.


    This was indeed a Helen Forrest number. The arrangement had been conceived with Forrest’s voice in mind, before Lee joined the band. As a result, Peggy’s involvement was reduced to having to sing the vocal in Helen's range and manner, without being able to place any personal input into it. So, it could be argued that we are not really, fully listening to Peggy here. (Band arrangements did not begin to be tailored for her voice until a bit later on.)

    After she went on her own as a solo artist, Peggy did return to this song -- eventually. In 1962, she asked Billy May to do an arrangement based on her own preferences and specifications:


     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2022
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  4. Paul Dray

    Paul Dray Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    ..yeah you’d almost believe it was two different singers when you compare the ‘canary’ Forrest key vocal to the ‘62 Sugar ‘n’ Spice version even taking in to account the 21 years between them.
     
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  5. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    I’ll concentrate on the last word of your question: first should be her autobiography, for obvious reasons.

    It’s worth pointing out that, unlike so many autobiographies out there, hers had no ghostwriter. She authored the entire text, putting it together in the late 1980s.

    In the last three decades, there have been several editions of this book, each with its own front cover. What’s more, the text of the original American and original British editions is not identical.


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    But the edition to obtain is the one pictured above. That’s because it’s a brand new, just released and improved text (2022). In addition to the autobiography itself, it contains several sections that are not in previous editions: an entire book of poetic thoughts or epigrams that Peggy published privately in 1953, an updated epilogue from jazz critic Will Friedwald (discussing the status of her legacy up to the present 2022 year), a detailed discography, an updated Recommended Listening, and a majorly expanded, freshly created, annotated index (substituting for the woefully minimal, awfully incomplete index of previous editions).

    While we are talking about her legacy, let me also mention that a celebratory Peggy Lee concert is happening tomorrow in New York City’s Carnegie Hall (tickets and such at “I Like Men” - Celebrating 102 Years of Miss Peggy Lee | Jun 3, 2022 at 7 PM ):


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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2022
  6. Paul Dray

    Paul Dray Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    That’s great, thanks for that info! I’ll order this ‘22 version soon :righton:
     
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  7. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    Is the new discography a proper thorough discography, in the style of many jazz discographies, or is it simply a list of records (as in most biography appendices)?

    How many pages are devoted to the discography?
     
  8. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Good news: “Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet,” which is the rare of the two Lee vocals, is now available on YouTube.


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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2022
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  9. Paul Dray

    Paul Dray Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    Ah the ever elusive ‘Canadian compilation: Various - Hold On To Your Hat!’ I’m still trying to find a copy of that :)
    Good to see the ‘Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet’ on YouTube now :righton:
     
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  10. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Just sharing the audio clip below, upon which I chanced yesterday. The clip provides us with a good opportunity to celebrate not only the singing of Peggy Lee but also the talent of one of the great lyricists in the American Songbook annals.





    To add to what we her in the clip, here are a few more Johnny Burke songs that Peggy sang at one time or another:
    Swinging On A Star
    It Could Happen To You
    Like Someone in Love
    Here's That Rainy Day
    What's New?
    Misty
    It's Anybody's Spring
    Life Is So Peculiar
    When Is Sometime?
    Once And For Always
    Moonflowers
    The Moon Came Up With A Great Idea Last Night
    If You Stub Your Toe On The Moon
    The Possibility's There
    Merry-Go-Runaround
    Sunshine Cake
    These Lush Moments
    What Does It Take (To Make You Take To Me)?
    You Don't Have To Know The Language
    You Are In Love With Someone
    Country Style
    Don't Give Me A Ring On The Telephone (Until You Give Me A Ring On My Hand)
    Kinda Peculiar Brown


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  11. Paul Dray

    Paul Dray Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    I like that 2nd track on that clip ‘As long as I’m dreaming’. I can imagine Billie Holiday singing it in my head too. Pretty sure she didn’t though.
     
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  12. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    Imagination is a great thing, especially when listening to music.

    The better the performer and the performance, the more different interpretations a listener can imagine.

    The great performers open up the imaginations of listeners.
     
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  13. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    I like that song a lot, too -- especially in another version sung by Peggy. It’s a heartfelt ballad, with an enticing lyric. Appealing as well is the melody (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlbBSCGoXkc).

    “As Long as I’m Dreaming" was originally a Bing Crosby tune. He introduced it in the 1947 flick Welcome Stranger, whose soundtrack consisted entirely of Burke and & Van Heusen songs. The other two songs from that soundtrack to achieve some measure of popularity were “My Heart Is a Hobo” and “Country Style.” (But neither those nor “As Long as I’m Dreaming” achieved hit status.)

    The above-heard Peggy Lee version of “As Long as I’m Dreaming” is a 1949 Capitol transcription recording, but she had actually sung the number back when it was new, in 1947, on her Summer Electric Hour show. I like both of her versions, but prefer the one from 1947, as it is freer and more wailing. On another radio show that she hosted that same summer, she also sang one of the other movie numbers, “Country Style,” as a duet with her co-host and Capitol mate, the nowadays-obscure actor-crooner Johnny Johnston.


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    In theory, Billie could have recorded it, since this was a Decca-affiliated song, and she was with Decca around this point in time. But, yeah, as far as we know, she didn’t sing it.

    Among the several other versions in existence, curious listeners might want to give “a spin” to the following one, from singer-pianist Joe Derise’s Van Heusen songbooks. It’s worth checking not so much for singing quality but because Joe does the short, otherwise unheard verse:


     
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  14. Paul Dray

    Paul Dray Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    Thanks for the info @Ridin'High. Always an education :righton:
     
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  15. OnTheRoad

    OnTheRoad Not of this world

    Wow....just amazing. I never knew....how much Peggy Lee there was. What an archive !

    I was ' turned into her' by diggin' Elvis's Fever, of which it took decades for me to hear and know Peggy's version. Sure there are more, even earlier versions, but once I heard Peggy's....that was where I heard Elvis's.

    Since then I've acquired several compilatons of Peggy Lee and enjoy them muchly !

    This thread is a treasure trove.
     
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  16. Paul Dray

    Paul Dray Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
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  17. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Here's hoping that you’ll enjoy it -- or, at least, find it okay. The sound quality might perhaps come off as a bit processed (especially if you listen at a loud volume) but to my ears it is still pleasant -- a noble attempt at giving aural uniformity to a collection of radio tracks from multiple, disparate sources.


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    The track selection itself is, in my opinion, pretty good -- geared toward tasteful ballads, though there is a fair share of upbeat tracks in the mix, too. I appreciate the CD producer’s inclusion of some nice spoken intros (mostly from Bing), and the choice of a version of “I Don’t Know Enough About You” with the not-too-often heard verse. (Also, this CD does have that other version of “As Long As I’m Dreaming” that I mentioned in a previous post.)


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    One last little thing for which I would commend this (relatively humble) Public Domain release: the liner notes are complemented by a full-size pic of Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour at work. That pic might perhaps be easier to find elsewhere nowadays (2022), but it was not a common sight back when this CD was originally issued (1996).
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2022
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  18. Paul Dray

    Paul Dray Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    I’ll have to wait to return from southern France in a couple of weeks to listen to it. Hoping it will sound ok. The PL Discography site seemed to indicate it had slightly better sound quality than some of the other cd’s covering this radio material.

    Yes I wanted to hear and have this earlier version of “As Long As I’m Dreaming” :)
     
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  19. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Another bloody Yank down under...

    I always thought $23.94 sounded awfully expensive for a hat in 1954. I finally looked it up online, and in 2022 dollars it's $260! Yeah, I know, poetic license.
     
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  20. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Mister Paul Simon might be able to offer you “50 Ways to Leave your Lover"
    but
    Miss Peggy Lee will give you one thousand and one ways to “Love the One You’re With" ...
    Or so I was left feeling, after playing this curious video:





    Kudos to the video's creator (Professor Suzie Silver, from Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh) for all the time and effort that it must have taken ... (I feel like I should have saved it and waited until Valentine’s Day to post it, but that would be a long wait, as I am writing in June ...)
     
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  21. Paul Dray

    Paul Dray Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    Curious indeed. The video gave me a bit of a headache actually :sigh:
    To be fair I do have Covid at the moment :cry:
     
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  22. Patanoia

    Patanoia Third Ear Centre

    Location:
    Grapevine, TX
    Wishing you a speedy recovery!

    I enjoyed the video apart from the background, which reminds me too much of a colonoscopy.
     
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  23. Paul Dray

    Paul Dray Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    Many thanks. That’s so funny I thought of that too, having had 3 or 4 colonoscopy’s myself for my IBD Ulcerative Colitis
     
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  24. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter


    From me too, Paul, best wishes for a speedy recovery. Same wishes from Peggy as well, of course:





    And here's hoping that, health situation aside, your stay in France has been otherwise enjoyable.
     
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  25. Paul Dray

    Paul Dray Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    Ah..feeling better already from the dulcet tones of our dear Peg.
    Fortunately I’m staying at my fathers place here so just slopping about by the poolside in the warmth of the French sun. Only disappointment is covid made me lose my sense of taste and smell so no decent wine being opened.
     
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