May 26th 2020 marks the centenary of the birth of the great jazz and pop singer Peggy Lee, and Acrobat is celebrating the occasion with two special releases, this singles collection and an anthology of selected titles from twenty-five of the albums “The Centenary Albums Collection 1948-62” (ACQCD7147).
Peggy Lee was one of the finest interpreters of popular songs, whether performing in the big band idiom, in small group jazz environments or with solo piano accompaniment, or in the sophisticated pop style which brought her many chart hits. Her repertoire ranged effortlessly from Great American Songbook classics to the latest pop songs, and included many of her own fine compositions. This great-value101-track 4-CD set comprises selected A and B sides from her single releases on the Capitol and Decca labels from the early years of her solo career through to 1962 (her recordings with the Benny Goodman Orchestra can be found on the Acrobat release “Peggy Lee With The Benny Goodman Orchestra 1941-47” (ADDCD3216).
It features more than 40 US & UK chart hits, including the No. 1 “Manana” and the Top 10 classics “Fever”, “Mr. Wonderful”, “Golden Earrings”, “Waitin' for the Train to Come In”, “Riders In The Sky”, “I Don't Know Enough About You”, “It's All Over Now” and “Chi-Baba Chi-Baba”. It’s a substantial and hugely entertaining tribute to one of the most illustrious singers of her era and a marvellous showcase for her unique style and versatility.
“While there is plenty of justified criticism for the lack of any real attempt across the Atlantic to celebrate the centenary of her birth with a suitably prestigious commemorative issue at least the occasion has been very worthily marked in the UK by Acrobat in the form of these two excellent sets, which provide a total of more than 200 recordings of Peggy Lee, spread over eight CDs. This collection serves as a reminder of just how many fine LPs she recorded and if her career had halted after the cut off of 1962 it would still have been an impressive catalogue. Difficult to argue with the choices made here, a great many of which are automatic so there are not so many unfamiliar items in this set as in the singles. The quality is top notch throughout of course - I can't think of a single track she recorded that showed her at less than her best and this is the creme de la creme from her LP output during this period. Hats off to Acrobat and long may they flourish.” – Gerry Stonestreet (In Tune Issue 341)