I’m A Woman (60th Anniversary Edition)
In 1963, Peggy Lee had a surprise hit with the song “I’m A Woman”. She had not been on the charts since 1958 with her classic “Fever”. Rock ‘n’ roll had a firm grip on the charts, and America was mere months away from Beatlemania and The British Invasion Due of the success of that single, Capitol Records requested an album, which was also a success. That album, I’m A Woman is turning 60 this year and it is a good time to not only reintroduce the album to the public but celebrate its beauty.
The album is full of classics, and songs from The Great American Songbook, but it is the title track that gets and deserves the attention. Written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller who wrote countless rock ‘n’ roll hits for the likes of Elvis Presley, The Drifters, Ben E. King, to name just three. Here, however, they have come up with a feminist song demonstrating the ‘superwoman’. In Lee’s hands, however, there is a sense of threat, and a little danger.
It is also intriguing what Cavanaugh has Lee sing, such as “Mack The Knife” and “One Note Samba”. “You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You” and “A Taste Of Honey”. These are all safe songs, but again, it is Lee’s voice that raises the above the average. This is ‘pop’ music in the traditional sense of the word. It is not jazz, although the songs have a definite jazz feel and vibe. She takes a stab at rock ‘n’ roll with a cover of Fats Domino’s “I’m Walking”, which works on a few levels. It is that voice, Lee just sells the song regardless of the genre and the arrangement. But Lee was smart and did not want to venture into an area in which she was not entirely comfortable.
Even more interesting is all the bonus material included with this version. “Try A Little Tenderness” is absolutely beautiful and one can only wonder why it was not on the original album. The same with “Little Boat” and the stunning “Close Your Eyes”. These songs are absolute gems. Also included are early versions and alternate takes of the album cuts. Fans of Lee will thoroughly enjoy the peak behind the curtain. The bonus tracks add to the album and are a joy to hear. The quality is excellent and their releases are welcome.
This album is from a different era and a time when singers like Peggy Lee were trying to figure out where they fit in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. The album was released when female bands were making it high in the charts and women singers were popular. Peggy Lee was recording the music that she wanted to record while at the same time wanting to compete on the charts. This album proved she was right in trusting her instincts and doing the music with which she felt the most comfortable. I’m A Woman was an album of its time, and yet has gone on to become a classic and timeless.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: PEGGY LEE – I’M A WOMAN (60th ANNIVERSARY EDITION)