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Music Review: Peggy Lee – All Aglow Again!

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The compilation All Aglow Again! was originally released on Capitol Records' discount-priced Starline label in May of 1960. At the time, the goal was probably to get Lee's 1958 mega-hit "Fever" on LP for the first time. Previously, the song had only been released as a single, so Capitol Records executives likely saw a way to cash in on Peggy Lee's popularity.

On May 27, 2008, Collector's Choice Music will release a newly remastered version of All Aglow Again! which will also include six bonus tracks, three of which have never been on CD. The album starts out with the brilliantly smoldering "Fever." The opening snaps of that song has to be one of the best known openings in music history. The single's equally sultry but bluesy B-side, "You Don't Know" is also on the album. The song was recorded at the same recording session as "Fever" and was one of Peggy's favorite songs. She recorded "You Don't Know" on two more occasions; once in the 1960s and again in the 1980s.

peggy60.jpgAll Aglow Again! features five tracks that Peggy Lee released in 1959. Lee's version of the old Fanny Brice signature song, "My Man" has all the sass and sexiness you might expect. There is also a tectonic drum beat that makes it hard not to drum along with it. Lee's cover of the Ray Charles hit, "Hallelujah, I Love Him So" is a surprisingly mellow reading of the soul classic. Hallelujah's B-side, "I'm Lookin' Out the Window" is an Appalachian folk ballad that shows an intimate side of Peggy that is rarely revealed in her recordings. With "You Deserve," Lee returns to the sultry vocal style that gave "Fever" such a unique sound. According to the liner notes for All Aglow Again, after the success of "Fever" Capitol was "anxious to follow it with similarly-themed singles of a seductive, torch song flavor."

"You Deserve(s)" B-side, "Where Do I Go from Here," is a real departure for Lee. Surprisingly sweet and tender, the song was taken from the Broadway musical Fiorello! The 1959 musical was about New York City mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, and the song written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, is a glowing example of Lee's versatility.

While this newly remastered version of All Aglow Again! includes a nice version of Lee's 1947 million-seller, "Manana," most Lee fans will want to purchase this CD for the rare and bonus tracks this set has to offer. The rarest track is the Charles Singleton/Larry Coleman composition, "It Keeps You Young." Arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle, the big band arrangement behind Lee, sounds wonderful and it's obvious she was enjoying herself. Oddly, "It Keeps You Young" has never been reissued until now.

"Listen to the Rockin' Bird," recorded in 1957, features another Nelson Riddle arrangement. This song just allows Peggy to swing with the band, which seems to be a style she was very comfortable with."Uninvited Dream" is an early composition by Burt Bacharach and Sammy Gallop. The song also features a rather mellow arrangement by Nelson Riddle.

"Baby, Baby Wait for Me" finds Peggy swinging with a big band beat again. Collector's has included the single mono version of the song on this release. Nelson Riddle returns again, to arrange and conduct, "Every Night," which presents Peggy swinging with a doo-wop beat. "Sweetheart" is a 1958 scorcher in the vein of "Fever" or "You Deserve." The final bonus track, "Light of Love" has a gospel feel and ends All Aglow Again! on an uplifting note.

It's hard to believe that Peggy Lee's version of "Fever" is fifty years old in 2008. For me, "Fever" is one of those songs that never gets old. It sounds fresh and new every time I play it. Frank Sinatra always maintained that Peggy Lee was one of his favorite singers. If you're not familiar with her work, All Aglow Again! is a great place to start. If you're a fan, Collector's Choice has done such a great job remastering and including rare and bonus tracks, this re-release of All Aglow Again! is a must have.

Complete Track List
Originally released as Capitol T-1366 (1960)

1. Fever
2. Where Do I Go from Here? – previously unreleased stereo version
3. Whee, Baby
4. My Man
5. You Deserve – previously unreleased stereo version
6. Manana
7. Hallelujah, I Love Him So
8. You Don't Know – previously unreleased stereo version
9. Louisville Lou
10. I'm Lookin' Out the Window
11. It Keeps You Young
12. Let's Call It a Day

Bonus Tracks

13. Listen to the Rockin' Bird – Capitol single 3811 (1957)
14. Uninvited Dream – Capitol single 3811 (1957)
15. Baby, Baby Wait for Me – Capitol single 3722 (1957)
16. Every Night – Capitol single 3722 (1957)
17. Sweetheart – Capitol single 4071 (1958) – previously unreleased stereo version
18. The Light of Love – Capitol single 4071 (1958)

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