Norma Deloris Egstrom—better known as Peggy Lee—was born May 26, 1920 and, in 1941, she launched a career as a popular music artist that lasted until her death in 2002. She began as the female singer with The Benny Goodman Band but within a couple of years had embarked upon a solo career. She recorded dozens of albums, selling millions of copies worldwide. Her sales dipped beginning in the 1970’s but she remained a popular club and concert attraction for the rest of her life. She received a Grammy Award in 1995 for Lifetime Achievement.
She may have produced a huge number of albums during her long career but none were so shrouded in mystery as 2 Shows Nightly-Live At The Copa, recorded over a three-night period at the famed New York City nightclub in April of 1968. The album was pressed and promotional copies were mailed to radio stations but at the last moment Lee decided she didn't like the mix and so the album wasn't issued. Only a few copies found their way into the hands of collectors and fans.
Now over four decades later this long-lost album is finally seeing the light of day. Collector’s Choice has remastered the original release’s twelve tracks, giving them a clearness which serves to enhance the quality of her vocals. It should be noted that some of the tracks were recreated in the studio and applause was later added in places. These original enhancements are maintained on this latest release.
Peggy Lee was a gifted pop vocalist who would cross over into a jazz sound at times. While she relied on standards and hits from her vast catalogue, she would also sing popular songs of the day, as her renditions here of “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Until Its Time For You To Go,” and “Something Stupid” demonstrate. The other tracks move effortlessly from Broadway through Tin Pan Alley to some older standards, all of which she delivers smoothly and with aplomb.
The pot is sweetened with the addition of twelve bonus tracks. Songs such as “The Lonesome Road,” “Stay With Me,” and “Happy Feet” make their stereo debuts. “Reason To Believe” and “Didn’t Want To Have To Do It” are presented in their single release versions. “I Wound It Up,” written by Lee (and originally sung by Cary Grant) and “Money” make their album debuts.
Peggy Lee may not have been a rock ‘n’ roller but she was a star of the highest magnitude. The reappearance of this long-lost album is a testament to that fact.