Collectors’ Choice, US
Released: June 24, 2002 (see ordering link below)
Available in stores beginning November 12, 2002
Miss Peggy Lee — Live in New York
For over forty years, listeners have appreciated Basin Street East Proudly Presents Miss Peggy Lee as one of the singer’s most spirited and captivating recordings. The original Capitol album, released in May, 1961 (just three months after her smash four-week engagement at the New York club concluded), spent 22 weeks on Billboard’s charts and was nominated for a Best Solo Vocal Performance Grammy.
Despite the album’s brevity — just over 30 minutes — it provided a fascinating souvenir of Peggy in a most natural habitat: the nightclub stage. But souvenirs aren’t always authentic, and the original release, purporting to be a “live” album, was largely made in a recording studio and later “enhanced” with applause — a not-uncommon practice at the time. The same is the case with Basin Street CD reissues released over the past decade in Japan, the U.S. and Australia.
Now Collectors’ Choice Music, through special arrangement with EMI-Capitol, presents a recent, remarkable discovery in the Capitol vaults: the first-ever, all-live, complete closing night performance from February 8, 1961, entitled Peggy at Basin Street East: The Unreleased Show. As producer Cy Godfrey’s production notes explain, “it is the only album to present a show as Peggy actually created and performed it, without additions or deletions. From the moment the band starts to play, to Peggy’s final note, this is the real thing.”
Because none of this night’s recordings were used on the original 1961 album, listeners who contrast the two versions will notice subtle and fresh variations in Peggy’s interpretations of such songs as “The Second Time Around,” “Fever” and “I Love Being Here With You.” Better still, the new CD offers twelve songs not found on the original: “Call Me Darling,” “The Most Beautiful Man in the World,” a ferociously performed “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’,” “By Myself,” “Heart,” the breathtaking ballad “I’ve Never Left Your Arms,” “Hallelujah, I Love Him So,” “I Don’t Know Enough About You,” “Mañana,” “Why Don’t You Do Right,” “Lover” and “It’s a Good Day.” Peggy’s affectionate four-song tribute to Ray Charles is presented in its entirety for the first time, and is followed by a rousing medley of her biggest hits dating back to 1943.
Included within the CD booklet are newly-written liner notes by the distinguished jazz critic and regular Village Voice commentator Nat Hentoff, as well as a number of rarely-seen photos. Remastering was handled by Ron McMaster, whose careful, unobtrusive work on previous EMI-Capitol releases has presented Peggy’s warm, vibrant tones with true clarity.
A “Collectors’ Choice Exclusive” release, Peggy at Basin Street East is available directly from Collectors’ Choice beginning June 24, and will become available in stores and other online sources in late 2002. See the above link to order via the Collectors’ Choice website, or call (800) 993-6344 and reference item number HWCCM02942 (for CD) or WCCM02944 (for cassette).
In early January, 1961, when Peggy opened at Basin Street (her third of several wildly received engagements there between 1960 and 1963), critic Sam Chase offered some very good advice. “If ever a performer ‘owned’ a club and its audience, it’s Peggy Lee at Basin Street East,” he wrote in Billboard. “Since such atmosphere brings out the best in a performer, Capitol could well consider cutting an album on location here, where the electrically charged air should readily be transmitted through wax to the home listener.”
Fortunately, thanks to Peggy’s longtime producer Dave Cavanaugh, tapes were rolling within a few weeks, and the results are now ours to savor. Although the immediate results on “wax” in 1961 were satisfying enough, it’s only now that the “electrically charged air” is finally, and authentically, transmitted. As Peggy sings: love is lovelier the second time around.
Day In, Day Out
Call Me Darling
One Kiss / My Romance / The Most Beautiful Man in the World
But Beautiful / The Second Time Around
I’m Gonna Go Fishin’
I Love Being Here With You
I’ve Never Left Your Arms
Hallelujah, I Love Him So / I Got a Man / Just for a Thrill / Yes Indeed!
I Don’t Know Enough About You / Mañana / Why Don’t You Do Right? / Lover / It’s a Good Day