28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Two very different albums from Peggy,
This review is from: Black Coffee & Sea Shells (Audio CD)
The first album making up this twofer, Black coffee, is typical of Peggy's music – a jazz-pop collection featuring both famous and obscure songs from the Great American Songbook. The first eight tracks were originally released on an LP in 1953 and featured Peggy backed by trumpet, piano, bass and drums. Later, the LP was re-issued with four additional tracks – these are tracks 9 to 12 on this CD. Those four tracks were recorded at a later date and featured similar backing but with vibes and celeste instead of trumpet.
Among the songs on Black coffee, the title track remains one of Peggy's most famous songs despite never having been released as a single, while There's a small hotel i. Perhaps, the best of the other tracks on what can only be described as an outstanding collection – one of Peggy's finest albums. There are several classic songs here, usually associated with other singers, including I've got you under my skin, My heart belongs to Daddy, Love me or leave me, It ain't necessarily so and You're my thrill.
As a total contrast, the other album, Sea shells, is far removed from Peggy's normal style. A harp and a harpsichord provide the musical backing and most of the songs are folk songs. Furthermore, all the songs are slow – no upbeat songs to break the tempo. Some of the tracks are instrumental while the two tracks featuring Chinese love poems are narrated, not sung. The liner notes describe Sea shells as an intensely personal album.
I enjoy many different kinds of music including folk, but even I find that Sea shells is a difficult album to get into. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating album and if you can give it the dedicated attention that it demands, you may find it to be a very rewarding experience.
Even if you only want the Black coffee album, you will find that this is a worthwhile purchase - you can always stop after 12 tracks. For those who can appreciate both albums, this twofer shows just how versatile Peggy Lee was.