Peggy Lee, Then Was Then-Now Is Now, Capitol ST-2388, 1965
Miss Peggy Lee. What else is there to say? By the time I became aware of her she was so past her prime, wearing Platinum wigs and sunglasses on the C-List variety shows she would occasionally turn up on. To be honest, I thought she was a laughing stock. And that is really wrong!
At their core, an artist is an original, someone who can stand out from their peers who are trying to do the same thing, and someone who preservers to attain perfection, even though they never reach it. Not everything they do moves the ball forward, but the end result is fantastic. That’s Miss Peggy Lee in a nutshell.
She recorded for Capitol for 25 years, and while they call their headquarters “The House That Nat Built” after Nat King Cole, I really think it was Peggy Lee that financed the place. She never really had many hit singles in the Rock Era beyond 1958’s Fever, and 1969’s Is That All There Is, but she sold millions of albums from the 40s into the 70s. Her Blues Across The Country (1962) is one of my favorite albums, and The Beatles covered her version of Till There was You from 1960’s Latin A La Lee.
This albums is still in it’s shrink wrap, with an early version of an IBM computer research card on it! May coffee maker now has a more powerful computer that the mainframe that took cards like this, so it’s a double mid century modern technology win! Unfortunately, this record falls into the Trying Too Hard category. Side one is pleasant, the kind of “Then” music you’d expect from her, but side two with it’s “Now” feeling that kind of takes my breath away. Johnny Rivers may have lit up the Sunset Strip with songs like Seventh Son, but they seem so odd from a middle aged jazz singer. But hey, kudos for trying Miss Lee. It always gives me Fever to find a mint Capitol album of yours!
Cost: $2, $920 Remaining