Peggy Lee's Bio-Discography:
The Decca Years (1952-1956)

by Iván Santiago-Mercado

Page generated on Nov 26, 2017


PRELIMINARY NOTES




The Peggy Lee Look

Images above: a photographic showcase of Peggy Lee during the years that are covered in this page.  All four pictures are publicity shots, with the following dates attached to them: January 2, 1952 (first image), February 13, 1953 (second), November 3, 1953 (third), and 1955 (fourth). No shot from the year 1954 has been included, but the third image may make for the omission. Lee is known to have sported that photo's look not only in late 1953 but also in early 1954. On a more general note, I should remind viewers that the dates found on any publicity photo is not necessarily indicative of the day, month or year in which it was actually taken. Hence the above-given dates should be considered tentative or, at best, approximate.


Peggy Lee's Recording Career, 1952-1957

For general commentary about Peggy Lee's five-year contract with Decca Records, see this page's final note (once the full page re-opens for viewing). The following topics are discussed therein:  Lee's Switch From Capitol To Decca, Producer Milt Gabler's Assessment Of The Decca Artist, the recording artist's Unissued Decca Recordings and 136 Decca Masters And Alternate Takes, her Placement In Downbeat's Polls and, finally, her Departure From Decca


Suggestions, Recommendations And Technicalities

Viewers looking for CD recommendations should pay attention to items whose titles are typed in uppercase and boldface.  For instance, my choice of font and case for the following title is meant to indicate its desirability over other comparable options:  CLASSICS & COLLECTIBLES.  My recommendations are based mainly on two factors:  comprehensiveness (i.e., greatest numbers of Decca tracks) and sound quality (a satisfactory or higher rate).  For a further look into recommended Decca compilations, viewers may also want to consult the first section in this page.

Blue arrowheads are periodically visible through the present page. Click on them if you want to look at a full list of issues (i.e., LPs, CDs, etc.) containing any given master or number sung by Peggy Lee.  (On the matter of issues, the page aims at listing every single relevant one in existence, except for the following three categories:  various-artists compilations, foreign editions of domestic issues, and MP3 files. The first two categories are actually covered separately, within the Miscellanea division of this bio-discography.  As for the MP3 category, I have chosen to make very limited mention of such a format in my work; I consider it a non-physical configuration of inherently poor sound quality and ephemeral issue production.)


Date: April 3, 1952
Location: Decca Studios, 50 West 57 Street, New York
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Gordon Jenkins (con), Gordon Jenkins And His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Unknown (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 82613Master Take (Decca) Forgive Me - 2:47(Milton Ager, Jack Yellen)
DECCA 78 & 4528142 & 9 28142 — {Be Anything (But Be Mine) / Forgive Me}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2385 - P 2386 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
DECCA©MCA Victor LP(Japan) Mca 10016 — Peggy Lee ("Super Deluxe" MCA Series)   (1973)
b. 82614Master Take (Decca) Be Anything (But Be Mine) - 3:14(Irving Gordon)
DECCA 78 & 4528142 & 9 28142 — {Be Anything (But Be Mine) / Forgive Me}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2385 - P 2386 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
DECCA©MCA CS/LP/CD(United Kingdom) Mclc/Mcl/Dmcl 1794 [CD rel. in 1989] — Perfect-Lee   (1984)
c. 82615Master Take (Decca) I'm Glad There Is You - 3:01(Jimmy Dorsey, Paul Madeira Mertz)
DECCA 78 & 4528313 & 9 28313 — {Just One Of Those Things / I'm Glad There Is You}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2503 - P 2504 — Basic Music Library [2 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(Germany) Lpbm 87056 — title unknown   (1956)
d. 82616Master Take (Decca) You Go To My Head - 3:11(John Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie)
DECCA 78 & 4528215 & 9 28215 — {Lover / You Go To My Head}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2385 - P 2386 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
DECCA©Festival EP(Australia) Fx 10 5097 {Reissued as Fx 10 038} — Miss Wonderful - A Festival Little Album   (1959)
All titles on: DECCA LPDl 4458 [mono] / Dl 7 4458 [stereo enhanced] — Lover   (1964)
DECCA©MCA CS/CDCs/Cd 2 11122 — BLACK COFFEE AND OTHER DELIGHTS; THE DECCA ANTHOLOGY   (1994)
Jazz Heritage Society/Amerco CS/CD524865 /M — Black Coffee And Other Delights; The Decca Anthology    (1997)





The Lover Album Sessions (Cross-references)

Peggy Lee's earliest Decca sessions took place in April and early May of 1952. Besides the four masters that resulted from the present date, this inaugural two-month period included two more masters, one generated on April 28 ("Just One Of Those Things") and the other on May 1 ("Lover").

All six "inaugural" masters enjoyed their commercial debut between mid-May and mid-July of 1952. They were issued in the form of singles. To wit:

28142 — Be Anything / Forgive Me
28215 — Lover / You Go To My Head (a sample photo of its 78-rpm label can be viewed above)
28313 — Just One Of Those Things / I'm Glad There Is You (a sample photo of its 45-rpm label can be viewed above)

Decca then waited twelve years to collect this half dozen tracks onto a LP titled Lover. (A photo of this LP's front cover has been supplied above.) The 1964 collection also made room for six other tracks, five of which had originally been released on singles as well. To be more specific:

28565 — I Hear The Music Now / This Is A Very Special Day
28395 — River, River / Sans Souci
29003 — Go You Where You Go
00000 — That's Him Over There [previously released on EP & 10"LP, but not on a single]

All six above-listed singles were monophonic releases. (Naturally so: stereo was not yet a commercially available option.) Decca issued each of them on 78-rpm as well as 45-rpm discs. Visual samples have been provided in the row of pictures above. (Decca used the same catalogue number for both the 78-rpm disc and its 45-rpm counterpart, though the latter featured an additional numerical prefix: the number nine, followed by a dash. See, for instance, the scan of the 45-rpm disc supplied above. Its catalogue number is 9-28313; the catalogue number of its 78-rpm counterpart disc is 28313.) As for the Lover LP, Decca offered it in both mono and "hi-fi stereophonic" sound, the latter being the company's name for its brand of simulated stereo.

Although prepared for release long after Lee's contract with Decca had expired (ca. January 1956), the 1964 LP Lover is by no means a thoughtlessly assembled compilation. Lending cohesiveness to the project is the work of conductor-arranger Gordon Jenkins on each and all chosen masters. Unity also stems from the fact that, chronologically, the album's tracks are not too far apart. These twelve tracks come from six Lee-Jenkins sessions, all of them carried out within the same year: April 3, April 28, May 1, July 31, November 28, and December 16, 1952. Moreover, almost none of the LP's dozen numbers had appeared on 12" vinyl before 1964, and few had made previous appearances on any 10" LP or EP. (As already established, nearly all of these masters had come out on single disc only.)

Lover can also be touted as a complete gathering of Lee's masters from her own 1952 sessions. The only 1952 Lee numbers left out from the album are those which she made in a guest capacity, for several Bing Crosby sessions. None involved contributions from Gordon Jenkins. (Those Crosby-related tracks belong to what we might call the second phase of Peggy Lee's Decca contract, which will certainly be itemized in this page as well.)





Photo

The image seen directly above captures Peggy Lee and Gordon Jenkins at a Decca recording session. This photo appeared on an August 28, 1954 publication. Further details, including the exact date on which it was taken, are unknown. It is clear, however, that we are looking at a shot from one of the 1952 Lover sessions (April 3, April 28, May 1, July 31, November 28, December 16), because Jenkins did not conduct any other pre-August-1954 dates for Lee. The present session (April 3, 1952) stands a great chance of being the one captured. Because it was Lee's very first one for Decca, it is likely to have been photographed for posterity. The next two dates are also strong contenders, due to the fact that both were dedicated to a number that would become a big hit for Decca, Jenkins, and Lee.


Songs

1. "Be Anything (But Be Mine)" In The Music Charts
Peggy Lee's very first single on Decca Records (#28142) garnered favorable reviews and enjoyed a fair amount of airplay. It consisted of two numbers from the present date, one of them being "Forgive Me." The other, "Be Anything," was marked as the single's primary side. According to Joel Whitburn's estimates in his book Pop Memories, 1890-1954, it debuted in the Billboard charts during the week of May 24, 1952 and peaked at #21.

Peggy Lee's interpretation was one out of four competing renditions to make the Billboard charts. Versions by Champ Butler and Helen O'Connell placed lower than Lee's, at #26 and #27, respectively. It was, however, Mercury's Eddy Howard, with His Orchestra and Chorus, that placed the highest, at #7. One major reason for Howard's advantage over the other three versions was its timing. By the time that Decca enlisted Lee to record a version of the song, Howard's single had already made its debut in the Billboard charts.

Howard's hit also peaked at #13 in the Bestseller Chart, according to another publication by Whitburn. The publication in question is Top Pop Records 1940-1955, which this discographer has not been able to consult on his own. I have been informed, however, that the text shows Butler peaking at #30, O'Connell at #26, and Lee matching the #21 placement found in the book that I did consult, Pop Memories, 1890-1954. (The latter is the most recent of the two, published in 1986. The former dates from 1973. There is also a third book titled Pop Hits 1940-1954, which might be an update and expansion of the 1973 text. This third book has undergone at least two editions, one in 1955 and the other in 2002. I have not consulted either edition.)

In any case, "Be Anything" became Peggy Lee's 27th solo hit in Billboard's song charts. Were we to add to the count the ten chart hits that she scored while working as a canary with The Benny Goodman Orchestra, then this 1952 hit would rank as her 37th entry in the Billboard charts.

The Cash Box charts also show that "Be Anything" was a 1952 hit. Since that magazine's main charts polled songs instead of artist's recordings, we can only ascertain that Peggy Lee's version was one out of a dozen that were active at the time. Collectively, they shared a #6 peak in the periodical's Disc-Hits Box Score and a #7 peak in The Nation's Top 10 Juke Box Tunes (both attained during the week ending June 28, 1952). In addition to Eddy Howard, Peggy Lee, Helen O'Connell and Champ Butler, the other competing versions were by Wini Brown (Mercury), Dolly Dawn (Jubilee), Alan Dean (MGM), Don Estes (Victor), Ralph Flanagan (Victor), Jack Haskell (Coral), Bobby Smith (Apollo), and Buddy Stark (Decca).

A look into Cash Box's regional airplay charts reveals that Peggy Lee's version of "Be Anything" was fairly popular -- seemingly second only to Eddy Howard's. Over a month-long period, several stations reported it in its top ten: WMBG in Richmond, Virginia (#1, week ending June 14, 1952), WSB in Atlanta, Georgia (#6, June 21), WWSW in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia (#9, June 21), WNOE in New Orleans, Louisiana (#4, June 28), WTMA in Charleston, South Carolina (#2, on both June 28 and July 12), and WBNL in Boonville, Indiana (#6, July 19). Two additional #7 rankings came in August, one on the 2nd (KRMG in Tulsa, Oklahoma) and the other one on the 16th (WAVZ in New Haven, Connecticut).

I must emphasize the fact that "Be Anything" was Lee's very first hit on Decca Records. Her subsequent single ("Lover") has been frequently misidentified as her earliest Decca chart entry. The source from which the error stemmed might have been Lee herself, who made comments to that effect in various oral interviews. Those interviews took place three and four decades after her tenure with Decca. Given the large lapse in time, she could have simply forgotten all about "Be Anything." Alternatively, she might have never been well-informed on this particular matter. (Back in the early 1950s, artists probably were highly dependent on managers and labels to provide them with hard numbers, chart data, and the like.)

2. "Forgive Me" In The Regional Music Charts
Although not a national hit, Peggy Lee's version of "Forgive Me" did find favor at two regional stations: WSTC in Stamford, Connecticut (#3 for the week ending June 28; #2 for the week ending July 19) and WFOR in Hattiesburg, Mississippi (#7 for the week ending June 28).

3. "You Go To My Head" In The Regional Music Charts
Similarly, two other radio stations reported favorable listener response for Peggy Lee's recording of "You Got To My Head." The week ending June 28 found it in the #6 slot at WOV in New York City. It did even better in Charleston, South Carolina, reaching the #2 spot for the week ending July 26.

4. "I'm Glad There Is You" In The Regional Music Charts
This Peggy Lee interpretation was by no means ignored over the airwaves, either. It was placing #3 at WNOR (Norfolk, Virginia) for the week ending August 9, and it became that station #1 recording for the next two weeks. On the final week of the same month, it was still in the station's chart (#2), along with the Decca single's flip side, "Just One Of Those Things" (#5). Another station where it found favor was WREV in Riedsville, North Carolina (#5, August 23).


Arrangements

1. Gordon Jenkins
According to the notes in the back cover of the Decca LP Lover, Gordon Jenkins arranged the album. The credit thus implies that he was the arranger of all twelve performances in the album. Nevertheless, I have generally abstained from trusting collective credits such as this one, unless I have some additional evidence. Collective credits often turn out to be inflated or partially false. As for this particular claim, it actually strikes me as likely to be correct. But the lack of more specific, track-by-track confirmation prevents me from fully trusting it.


Date: April 28, 1952
Location: Liederkranz Hall, 115 East 58th Street, New York
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Milt Gabler, Morty Palitz (pdr), Gordon Jenkins (con), Gordon Jenkins And His Orchestra (acc), Art Drellinger, Jack Greenberg, Tom Parshley, Milt Yaner (sax), Art Ryerson (g), Jack Lesberg (b), Bernie Leighton (p), Unknown (d), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 82780Master Take (Decca) Just One Of Those Things - 2:55(Cole Porter) / arr: Gordon Jenkins
DECCA 78 & 4528313 & 9 28313 — {Just One Of Those Things / I'm Glad There Is You}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2503 - P 2504 — Basic Music Library [2 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
DECCA EPEd 2003 — Selections Featured In The Warner Bros. Motion Picture The Jazz Singer    (1953)
b. 82781-rejectedMaster Take (Decca) Lover(Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) / arr: Gordon Jenkins, Peggy Lee
unissued





Photos

Two musical minds at work. The arrangement and conception of Peggy Lee and Gordon Jenkins' million-selling hit "Lover" resulted from their collaboration. "It was absolutely her idea," Jenkins once said. "She laid it out for me -- not literally the music notes but the tempo and the Latin drummers, the whole pseudo-sexy feel of this thing, changing keys a couple of times, the whole thing was dictated by her." Similarly, Lee gave credit where credit was due: "I just had an idea for the rhythm section, nothing to do with the whole orchestration, and he brought my concept to life. I had no idea that he could embellish so beautifully." (I do not have the exact dates for these shots, but I would esteem all three of them to date from the 1950s. In Lee's case, 1951 or 1952 for the first, 1955 or 1956 for the last.)


At The Recording Session

A large portion of this session's time was dedicated to the recording of "Lover." The concerted effort proved of no avail. According to Peggy Lee, the attempt at recording her voice in unison with eight percussionists failed because the quality of the acoustics at Liederkranz Hall was "a bit live." Hence this session's master of "Lover" ended up being rejected, and additional attempts were undertaken during the next date. For additional comments about the experience, consult this supplementary page.


Personnel

In his notes for The Best Of Peggy Lee (Decca LP Dxsb 7164), Leonard Feather reports that over 36 musicians participated in this recording session, not including the unidentified voices in charge of the background vocals.


Songs And Cross-references

1. Peggy Lee's Fight On Behalf Of Her "Lover"
A primary reason for Peggy Lee's switch of labels in 1952 was a desire to record the standard "Lover," and the disappointment that she felt when Capitol refused to let her do so. Extended commentary of the situation can be found in one of this discography's supplementary pages.

2. "Lover" In The Charts And In Peggy Lee's Discography
Peggy Lee's recording of "Lover" became her second chart hit on Decca. For specifics, including chart peak position, read notes under this page's next date (May 1, 1952).

3. "Just One Of Those Things" In The Music Charts
"Just One Of Those Things" was Peggy Lee's fourth Billboard hit while on Decca Records. (For her second and third chart hits, see next two sessions, dated May 1 and May 16, 1952.)

The song actually appeared in both Cash Box's and Billboard's charts, but its peak position differed from one periodical to the other. According to data computed by Joel Whitburn primarily from the Billboard charts, Lee's take on ""Just One Of Those Things" had peaked at #14 by the week of August 2, 1952. That was the standard's second time in the Billboard charts, following a top 10 version which dated back to 1935, by Richard Himber And His Orchestra. Lee's and Himber's versions are the only ones to ever hit that magazine's charts.

According to Cash Box's Disc-Hits Box Score chart, "Just One Of Those Things" peaked at #23. The chart applied this ranking to all the single versions of the song that were available to the public at the time. In addition to Lee, the acts were Jan August (Mercury), Russ Morgan (Decca), and Bud Powell (Mercury).

The regional charts point to Peggy Lee's version as the one that was receiving airplay. It ranked #7 at WGY in Schenectady, New York (week ending August 2), #3 at WNOR in Norfolk, Virginia (August 9), #9 at WJBK in Detroit, Michigan (also August 9), and #6 at KOLO, in Reno, Nevada (October 4). It was particularly successful at WNOR, staying in that station's top ten for four consecutive weeks.


The Lover Album Sessions (Cross-references)

Dates: April 3 and 28, May 1, July 31, November 28, and December 16, 1952. For further commentary about the album, see notes under April 3, 1952 session.


Date: May 1, 1952
Location: Liederkranz Hall, 115 East 58th Street, New York
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Milt Gabler, Morty Palitz (pdr), Gordon Jenkins (con), Gordon Jenkins And His Orchestra (acc), Art Drellinger, Jack Greenberg, Tom Parshley, Milt Yaner (sax), Art Ryerson (g), Jack Lesberg (b), Bernie Leighton (p), Harry Jaeger (d), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 82813Master Take (Decca) Lover - 3:20(Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) / arr: Gordon Jenkins, Peggy Lee
DECCA 78 & 4528215 & 9 28215 — {Lover / You Go To My Head}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2385 - P 2386 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
DECCA EPEd 2003 — Selections Featured In The Warner Bros. Motion Picture The Jazz Singer    (1953)





Photos

The second image is an ad that Decca Records placed on music trade magazines, in support of the master that resulted from the present session. The first image is from the Japanese edition of the above-listed single.


Arrangements And Cross-references (Film)

1. "Lover" [Song]
2. La Bandera [Film]
3. Peggy Lee And Gordon Jenkins
The original arrangement of "Lover" was conceived by Peggy Lee herself. Gordon Jenkins did the orchestration of the studio recording. Lee's inspiration for the arrangement came from watching a French film. (The name of the film had been lost until -- I am proud to say - my research efforts succeeded at uncovering it. Extant interviews show that Lee simply could not remember the film's title. For years, some sources also misidentified it, citing a different movie. More recently, biographers and other writers have followed my attempt at rectifying this matter, fortunately. You can read more about Lee's conception of "Lover," and about the song's connection to the movie, in one of this discography's supplementary pages.


Songwriters And Cross-references (Film)

1. "Lover" [Song]
2. Love Me Tonight [Film]
3. Richard Rodgers
Not surprisingly, Peggy Lee's radical re-thinking of the melody of "Lover" met with the displeasure of the original composer, Richard Rodgers, who had written the number as a waltz. However, Peggy Lee has claimed that Rodgers' public displays of displeasure did not last forever. In later years, he voiced appreciation for the art of re-conceiving tunes, even using Lee's version to make a point, in lectures, about the need to keep songs current rather than risking having them fall into oblivion. For specifics on the situation, and for comments about an early movie (Love Me Tonight) that featured the song in its original waltz conception, check the aforementioned supplementary "Lover" page.


At The Recording Session

Lee's first attempt at recording "Lover" (April 28, 1952) had failed, to her great disappointment. Amidst a 36-piece orchestra that included eight percussionists, the microphones had not picked up the vocal to anyone's satisfaction. During this May 1 session's renewed attempt at recording "Lover," Lee was placed inside an isolation booth. It was Lee's very first time using one such booth. Thanks to this strategy, the recording process proved successful on this second occasion. See also comments below, under Personnel.


Songs

1. "Lover" In The Music Charts
"Lover" was Peggy Lee's second hit for Decca Records. According to Joel Whitburn's estimates in his book Pop Memories, 1890-1954, Lee's recording peaked at #3 after its debut on the week of June 7, 1952.

This was the standard's fourth time in Billboard's music charts. Back when the song was brand new (1933), two versions had run their course. The third popular version had been an innovative multi-track recording by Les Paul, which peaked at #21 in 1948.

Similarly, Cash Box showed that "Lover" was a hit: on its fifth week, it reached the #10 spot of the magazine Disc-Hits Box Score chart, where it stayed for 16 weeks. The peak was even better in the same magazine's poll of The Nation's Top Ten Juke Box Tunes: #8 for the week ending July 19, 1952.

As usual, the rankings of Cash Box's charts were applied collectively, to all commercially available versions of the given song. In the case of "Lover," the listed versions are Peggy Lee and the old Les Paul & Mary Ford hit, which had been recently reissued on a Capitol single. The regional airplays charts shows that Lee's recording was the one playing pretty much everywhere. In both radio stations and jukebox networks, the recording placed all over the top ten. For instance, on the week ending June 28, Lee's "Lover" was tops at both WJBK (Detroit, Michigan) and WJMO (Cleveland, Ohio). It was also the #2 most airplayed record for WOV in New York, NY., bested only by Louis Armstrong's "Kiss Of Fire." Another example: in St. Louis, Missouri, the Lee recording had a #3 jukebox ranking for the week ending June 14, 1952. Competitors Paul & Ford were at #2 with another tune, "I'm Confessin'," and Kay Starr was at #1 with "I Waited A Little Too Long."

For a while, Cash Box had also been publishing a new chart feature called The Ten Records Disc Jockeys Played Most This Week; A Summary Of Reports Received From The Nation's Disk Jockeys. (Unlike Disc-Hits Box Score, this feature calculated the radio success of singles, rather than songs.) Therein, "Lover" had a #7 peak during the week ending June 28, 1952.


2. "Lover" As A Bestseller
Peggy Lee's rendition of "Lover" is said to have sold a quarter of a million in its first two weeks, eventually reaching the million mark. "Lover" thus became Lee's third million seller, following her 1948 Capitol hit "Mañana" and the 1942 Benny Goodman version of "Why Don't You Do Right?"

3. "Lover" As Part Of Peggy Lee's Canon
Naturally, Lee reprised "Lover" in concerts, on television, and also in the recording studio. It should be noted that she did not stick to the same exact arrangement over the decades, but kept on dressing the song anew through her commission of new arrangements in more contemporary styles. Worth noting is a fresh, rock-oriented arrangement heard on a January 3, 1967 TV show called Something Special With Peggy Lee. For further details, see notes under sessions dated February 9, 1961 and March 8, 1977.




Personnel

1. Milt Gabler
2. Morty Palitz
Milt Gabler and Sonny Burke were the two Decca A&R men who, after seeing Lee perform "Lover" at The Copacabana, enthusiastically offered her a contract with Decca Records. Both men would remain closely tied to her session work at Decca.

In the case of the "Lover" sessions, there is some discrepancy as to the identity of the A&R man who presided over them. Several writings credit Milt Gabler. On the other hand, Lee's autobiography makes passing reference to Morty Palitz, and other texts have followed suit. Serving at the time as the label's head A&R man in the pop field, Palitz was active on Decca from the mid-1940s to sometime between 1952 and 1955, when he left for another label. He had worked with Lee back in the early 1940s, when she was a canary with The Benny Goodman Orchestra and he was becoming increasingly renowned for his keen concern with sound quality and recording venues. (At Columbia, he was responsible for making Leiderkranz Hall a regular recording venue.)

It seems that both Gabler and Palitz were present at these New York sessions (April 28 & May 1, 1952), sharing duties for the production of the number. Corroboration comes from Lee's mention of the two names during a 1977 discussion of the Lover sessions. "Gabler said to me that he couldn't pick me up," she told the interviewer in 1977, thereby suggesting that Gabler had been in charge of the April 28 date. Lee then proceeded to recount how, after leaving the date in tears and going to bed, she received a call from Palitz in the middle of the night. Palitz wanted to let her know that he and the session's chief engineer had kept working on finding a solution, eventually coming up with the idea of an isolation booth. The news made Lee ecstatic.

(Photos above: a pensive Morty Palitz and a staring Milt Gabler. The captured occasion was the debut session of jazz musician Joe Mooney, at Decca Studios in New York, on November 20, 1946. Mooney's accordion is the object in sight. In what could well have been typical of their professional relationship, Gabler seems to be patiently awaiting for a technically-oriented verdict from Palitz. A Peggy Lee photo dating from the first half of 1952, and thus dating from the same period as the session under discussion. The shot was taken from an unflattering angle, thus making Lee look pouty and puffy under the eyes. Her countenance might have not been too different at the end of her April 28, 1952 session, when Decca's defeat at producing a satisfactory master of "Lover" momentarily sent her into despondency.)

At the April 28, 1952 session, Lee's tears had stemmed from a feeling of deep disappointment. As already explained, her desire to record this version of "Lover" had largely driven Lee to leave her former label and sign with Decca. For months before actually leaving Capitol, she had been performing the number onstage to widely enthusiastic audience response, but Capitol had not been receptive to her proposal to make a studio recording. Having now arrived at Decca, she had been eager to finally turn her concept into a record, aided and abetted by an elaborate arrangement commissioned from Gordon Jenkins. Hence her disappointment at the earlier date's lack of success. In addition to the disappointment of a seemingly failed attempt, there probably were financial losses for her to bear, too. Lee might have been expected to pay out of her own pocket for these expensive dates. Old-time music labels generally operated under the notion that any compensation for their signed artists would come out of the sales attained by the artists' releases.


The Lover Album Sessions (Cross-references)

Dates: April 3 and 28, May 1, July 31, November 28, and December 16, 1952. For further commentary about the album, see notes under April 3, 1952 session.


Date: May 16, 1952 (11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.)
Location: Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Vic Schoen And His Orchestra (acc), Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 6768Master Take (Decca) The Moon Came Up With A Great Idea Last Night - 2:52(Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen) / arr: Vic Schoen
Music Club Licensed CD(United Kingdom) Mccd 089 — [Bing Crosby] Bing Crosby & Friends   (1992)
[unknown label] CDFmc 009 — [Bing Crosby] Duets And More   (1997)
DECCA©MCA CD(Japan) Fvcp 40015 — Johnny Guitar ("The CD Club")   (1998)
b. L 6769Master Take (Decca) Watermelon Weather - 3:01(Paul Francis Webster, Hoagy Carmichael) / arr: Vic Schoen
DECCA©MCA CS/LP(United Kingdom) Mcc/Mcl 1848 — [Bing Crosby] Give Me The Simple Life   (1987)
DECCA©MCA CS/CDC4/D4 10887 — [Bing Crosby] Bing; His Legendary Years   (1994)
Blue Moon Licensed/Public Domain CD(Spain) Bmcd 3014 — [Bing Crosby] Duets With Friends   (1994)
Both titles on: DECCA 78 & 4528238 / 9 28238 — {Watermelon Weather / The Moon Came Up With A Great Idea Last Night}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2441 - P 2442 — Basic Music Library [6 Bing Crosby vocals, 2 of them with Peggy Lee]   (1952)
Rajon ?Public Domain CD(Australia) 774460 — [Bing Crosby] Bing Crosby And Friends Collection ("Black And White" Series)   (2005)
Sepia Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 1139 — [Bing Crosby] Through The Years, Volume 4, 1952-1953   (2009)





Songs

1. "Watermelon Weather" In The Music Charts
The duet "Watermelon Weather" became Peggy Lee's third hit Billboard on Decca Records. The recording made its chart entrance during the week of July 26, 1952 and, according to Joel Whitburn's chart tabulations in Pop Memories, 1890-1954, peaked at #28. Competing against this duet version by Crosby and Lee was another duet pairing: Perry Como and the then-popular Eddie Fisher, on RCA Victor. The chart battle was won by RCA, whose manpower peaked at #19.

Meanwhile, Cash Box reported a #16 peak for the song, attained during the week ending July 19, 1952. Found in that magazine's Disc-Hits Box Score, the peak position was collectively awarded to both aforementioned recordings, along with a latecomer into the race, an MGM single by The DeMarco Sisters..


Cross-references (Radio As Source)

About a month after this recording session, the pair of Crosby and Lee gave a promotional boost to both sides of Decca single #28238. They did so during the June 18, 1952 episode of Chesterfield Presents The Bing Crosby Show, as they sang the duet "Watermelon Weather." Then, for the following episode (June 25, 1952), they were heard tackling this record date's other number, "The Moon Came Up With A Great Idea Last Night."

It is worth noting that Crosby's Chesterfield radio broadcasts were usually pre-taped (not broadcast live). Occasionally, songs taken from those radio tapings were edited, remastered, and commercially released on Decca singles. Such was indeed the case with another duet by Lee and Crosby ("Little Jack Frost"), which will be further discussed in another session from this page (November 17, 1952).

The duets from the present session do not follow that pattern, however. Both "Watermelon Weather" and "The Moon Came Up With A Great Idea Last Night" were first recorded for Decca, at the present session, and only later reprised on the radio.

Differences between studio and radio versions are especially noticeable in the case of "The Moon Came Up With A Great Idea Last Night." The broadcast version has additional lyrics and a different instrumental solo. "Watermelon Weather" evinces very little variance.

For more Decca studio recordings associated with Crosby's radio shows, see also notes under sessions dated November 17, 1952 and November 22, 1955. For this discography's full listing of Peggy Lee's contribution to Crosby radio programming, see this page.

As for the above-shown photos of Crosby and Lee, I should clarify that they were taken during the late 1940s -- i.e., earlier that the period under discussion. The photos have included herein primarily to mark the beginning of the Crosby-associated sessions in Lee's Decca discography. (They also serve aesthetic purposes, of course.)


Date: June 20, 1952
Location: Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Axel Stordahl (con), Axel Stordahl And His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 6818Master Take (Decca) Moon Flowers - 3:16(Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2651 - 2652 — Basic Music Library [6 songs from the album Road To Bali, 2 of them Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
DECCA 78-rpm album/EP/(10")LPA 926 (28514-28515) / 9 375 / Dl 5444 — Selections From The Paramount Picture Road To Bali {Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Peggy Lee}   (1953)
DECCA LPDl 4263 — [Bing Crosby] Zing A Little Zong ("Bing's Hollywood" Series)    (1962)





The Road To Bali Sessions (Cross-references: Film)

1. Peggy Lee At The Movies
During the first half of the 1950s, Peggy Lee actively cultivated an association with the world of film. Two of her most notable movie credits
were dramatic roles which drew critical praise and even one Academy award nomination. Several other credits were circumscribed to soundtrack work, which she carried out in her capacity of songwriter. One additional credit combined voiceovers with soundtrack writing.

Peggy Lee's then-ongoing incursions into the realm of cinema were reflected in her concurrent recording activity. While under Decca contract, Lee recorded versions of many of the songs that she wrote for (and/or performed on) the aforementioned movie soundtracks. Decca issued most of them in the form of singles and albums that were typically billed as "inspired" by the films. In a few cases, rather than releasing music "inspired" by the films, the record label issued the actual, original soundtrack versions, too.

So closely did Lee become associated with the world of film that Decca picked her to cover movie themes with which she otherwise had no association. Most likely, Decca did not have to resort to any bending of arms, however. Lee herself must have been willing and game to tackle such themes in the studio -- or so it would appear, judging from the fact that she went on to include some of them in her nightclub concerts.

The present session and the next one find Lee waxing two songs from the film Road To Bali, whose star was Bing Crosby. Lee's friendship with the film's star doubtlessly factored into her agreement to record both numbers. Their friendly rapport dated back to the second half of the 1940s, when she had spent some seasons working on his radio show, billed at one point as a recurrent guest, at another point as the show's semi-regular girl singer. The songstress also had the crooner to thank for a cameo in his 1950 vehicle Mr. Music.

The Road To Bali dates were not the only film sessions for which Peggy Lee was recruited by Bing Crosby and Decca Records. There were also the dates featuring Songs From Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, which Crosby and the label carried out in 1954. (Those will naturally be discussed further done below. The rest of this note will pertain only to the Road To Bali sessions and their chief participants.)

2. Peggy Lee And The Road to Bali Dates
Three of Bing Crosby's 1952 Decca sessions were dedicated to the recording of an album of songs from the Paramount movie Road To Bali. The stars of that movie were Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. All three actors sang in the film's actual soundtrack, but only one of them was under a long-term Decca contract.

Bob Hope was not a Decca artist. According to a Variety article published on December 10, 1952, Hope was "freelance[ing] on wax" at this point in time. That claim might or might have not been correct. According to an earlier report from the same periodical (July 2, 1952), he was actually under Capitol contract, and Decca had been granted permission to borrow him just for the album sessions. (For what is worth, albums and singles by Hope were periodically released on Capitol Records between 1944 and 1952. To give just one example, that last year saw Capitol's release of "Wing Ding Tonight," his duet with Jane Russell, from their Paramount picture Son Of Paleface.) Whichever arrangement with Capitol he might have had, Hope's active participation in any session featuring tracks from his Road films must have been deemed essential.

That same sense of essential urgency does not seem to have extended to Dorothy Lamour's presence. Although readily available for recording, the onscreen siren was left out of this Decca album project. Variety commented on the matter as follows: "Decca made no effort to get ... Lamour, [who] costarred in film, since it's building Miss Lee. Chirp switched from Capitol recently and now has Lover riding high." Hidden behind this typically facile explanation (perhaps passed along by scorned individuals, or maybe inferred by the reporter) are the wheelings and dealings which were taking place behind closed doors. According to a report from a professional associate of Lamour, the reason for the star's exclusion from the album was her asking fee, which was deemed too high. Lamour’s very own take on the matter is quoted by Richard Zoglin in his 2014 biography of Bob Hope. As one of the three principals of the Road movie series, she felt that she deserved remuneration comparable to Crosby’s and Hope’s. Hence, explains Zoglin, “[w]hen she was asked to join Hope and Crosby in recording an album of songs from the film, she refused. I didn't think it fair that I get less for the album than they did, and told them so, she said. It was never mentioned again.” Since the matter was never brought up to the actress again, it was left out to Lamour to eventually find out, on her own, that Lee had been asked to do her numbers.

Lee participated in two of the Road To Bali sessions, dated June 20 and 24, 1952. There were three. The remaining one (June 23, 1952) featured Crosby solos only. As for the film, it would not be released until the following year (1953).

Rather than the result of any favoritism on account of her status as a music hitmaker, Lee was probably asked to step in because of her long history, over the airwaves, as one of Crosby's musical partners. The fact that the two artists were now under the same label was too convenient to let pass. For other instances in which Peggy Lee fulfilled a similar role at Crosby dates, see sessions dated April 10 and May 24, 1954, both of which features songs from the movie Irving Berlin's White Christmas.


Session's Masters

1. Non-Lee Masters
Also recorded during this session was master L6817 ("To See You Is To Love You"), sung by Bing Crosby sans Peggy Lee. The date was thus shared by -- or split between -- Crosby and Lee.


Date: June 24, 1952
Location: Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Bing Crosby (ldr), Sonny Burke And His Orchestra (acc), Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 6822Master Take (Decca) Merry-Go-Runaround - 2:28(Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2651 - 2652 — Basic Music Library [6 songs from the album Road To Bali, 2 of them Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
DECCA 78-rpm album/EP/(10")LPA 926 (28514-28515) / 9 375 / Dl 5444 — Selections From The Paramount Picture Road To Bali {Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Peggy Lee}   (1953)
DECCA LPDl 4263 — [Bing Crosby] Zing A Little Zong ("Bing's Hollywood" Series)    (1962)




The Road To Bali Sessions (Cross-references: Film)

For details about the Road To Bali dates, see preceding date (June 20, 1952).


Session's Masters

1. Non-Lee Masters
Also recorded during this session was master #6821 ("The Road To Bali"), a vocal duet by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, sans Lee.


Date: July 31, 1952
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Gordon Jenkins And His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), The Gordon Jenkins Chorus (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 6848Master Take (Decca) Sans Souci - 3:17(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee) / arr: Gordon Jenkins
DECCA 78 & 4528395 & 9 28395 — {River, River / Sans Souci}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2577 - P 2578 — Basic Music Library [2 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) 0e 9282 — Presenting Peggy Lee   (1957)
b. L 6849Master Take (Decca) River, River - 3:10(Ben Oakland, Bob Russell)
DECCA 78 & 4528395 & 9 28395 — {River, River / Sans Souci}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2577 - P 2578 — Basic Music Library [2 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) 0e 9282 — Presenting Peggy Lee   (1957)
c. L 6850Master Take (Decca) Go You Where You Go - 3:00(Ralph Care, Al Frisch)
DECCA 78 & 4529003 & 9 29003 — {Where Can I Go Without You? / Go You Where You Go}   (1954)
DECCA©Universal Music Group CD(United Kingdom) 1130342 — CLASSICS & COLLECTIBLES   (2003)
All titles on: DECCA LPDl 4458 [mono] / Dl 7 4458 [stereo enhanced] — Lover   (1964)
DECCA©MCA CD(Japan) Fvcp 40015 — Johnny Guitar ("The CD Club")   (1998)
Proper Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Box 108 — Miss Wonderful    (2006)


The Lover Album Sessions (Cross-references)

Dates: April 3 and 28, May 1, July 31, November 28, and December 16, 1952. For further commentary about the album, see notes under April 3, 1952 session.


Songs

1. "Sans Souci"
2. "Cyprus"
Mysteriously, the song "Sans Souci" receives the alternate title "Cyprus" in some sources, including ASCAP. It's worth noting that the lyrics of this song seem to allude to a specific story -- the story of an individual who may be an illegal alien, or otherwise an exile. I am left with the suspicion that the song, co-written by Lee, was originally intended for a specific project (a Hollywood movie or a Broadway show). Nonetheless, I have yet to find any evidence that such was the case.

Similarly worthy of note is the fact that Peggy Lee & Sonny Burke were not the only American songwriters to use the title "Sans Souci" for one of their compositions. So did Count Basie, among others. Then there is the case of Johnny Mercer, whose "Sans Souci" was actually contemporaneous with Lee's. He wrote it for the musical Top Banana, which debuted on November 1, 1951.

3. "Sans Souci" In The Regional Music Charts
This Peggy Lee tune favor among listeners of KLAC (Hollywood, California) and WJTM (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). KLAC's disc jockey Peter Potter reported the following positions: #6 (seeking ending October 25, 1952), #4 (November 15 & 29), and #7 (January 3, 1953). WJTM's Bill Reynolds indicated a #10 position for the Lee recordings on November 8, 1952, and #2 on January 3, 1953. For the last date, the station's chart topper was Jimmy Boyd's holiday smash "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."

4. "River, River" In The Music Charts
This song was Peggy Lee's fifth hit on Decca Records. According to Billboard tabulator Joel Whitburn, "River, River" made its debut on that magazine's chart during the week of November 22, 1952. It peaked at #23.

Regionally, five radio stations reported that this recording had reached the respective top ten weekly charts: KQV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (#7 for the week ending November 8, 1952), WSAV in Savannah, Georgia (#4 for November 29, #6 for December 6), WNOR in Norfolk, Virginia (#10 for December 13), KWCA (#10 for December 20), and WFBL in Syracuse, New York (#10 for February 14).


Arrangements

1. Gordon Jenkins
Generally, my main sources do not identify arrangers. Hence the arranging credits throughout this discography often come from other sources. In the specific case of "Sans Souci," my source is a rather indirect or oblique one: Peggy Lee's 1990 album There'll Be Another Spring: The Peggy Lee Songbook, whose new version of the song uses the arrangement from this date. (The arranger of "River River" is also presumed to have been Jenkins, but no factual corroboration has come forth so far.)


Masters And Issues

1. "Sans Souci" [Song]
2. Peggy Lee [1991 MCA CD]
A male chorus is prominently featured in the above-listed master take of "Sans Souci." The chorus is missing from at least one Japanese CD transfer (the 1991 MCA release Peggy Lee, catalogue number Uicy 1534). Presumably, an edited version of the master was prepared at some point, perhaps especially for the Japanese market.





Date: November 17, 1952
Location: Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Bing Crosby (ldr), Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires {Conlon, Mack McLean, Loulie "Lily" Jean Norman, Charles Parlato, Gloria Wood}, John Scott Trotter And His Orchestra (acc), Warren Baker, Henry J. "Heinie" Beau, Larry Binyon, Dave Harris, Julian "Matty" Matlock, Phil Shuken, Lawrence "Larry" Wright (r), Joe Rushton (bsx), Frank Beach, Ziggy Elman, Robert "Bobby" Guy, Rubin "Zeke" Zarchy (t), Walter Benson, Victor Hamann, Wendell "Gus" Mayhew, Elmer Smithers (tb), Loring "Red" Nichols (c), Perry Botkin, Sr. (g), Don Whitaker (b), Edwin "Buddy" Cole, Mel Henke, Paul Smith (p), Nick Fatool, Alvin Stoller (d), Harry Bluestone aka Blostein, Samuel "Sam" Freed, Jr, Jacques Gasselin, Henry Hill, Murray Kellner, Mayer Oberman, Anthony Olson, Raoul Poliakin, Lou Raderman (vn), Dave Sterkin, Milton Thomas (vl), Cy Bernard (vc), Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee (v)

a. L 6897-AMaster Take (Decca) Little Jack Frost, Get Lost - 2:00(Seger Ellis, Al Stillman)
DECCA 78 & 4528463 & 9 28463 — {Sleigh Ride [Bing Crosby solo] / Little Jack Frost Get Lost [Duet With Peggy Lee] }   (1952)
Hallmark Licensed CS/LP/CD(United Kingdom) Hsc392 / Shm 3292 / Pwks 561 & Pwkm 4012 — [Bing Crosby] Christmas With Bing   (1989)
Castle Communications Licensed CD(Australasia) Pcd 10016 — Very Special ("Premium Masters" Series)   (1994)


Masters And Issues

1. Non-Lee Masters
Decca's log sheets list a total of five Bing Crosby masters under the date November 17, 1952. "Little Jack Frost Get Lost" is the only one that features Peggy Lee. For the record, the other four are "Fatherly Advice" (a duet with son Gary Crosby, numbered 6894), "Sleigh Ride" (#6895), "I Love My Baby" (#6896), and "That's A-Plenty" (a duet with Connee Boswell, numbered 6897).


Cross-references (Radio As Source)

Bing Crosby discographer Timothy A. Morgereth asserts that all the titles from this so-called session were actually mastered from test pressings, which had been in turn transcribed from radio broadcasts. In further support of his assertion, Morgereth rightly notes that the matrical numbers for this Decca session do not follow the numerical sequence to which Decca "religiously adhered." Hence Morgereth posits that November 17, 1952 was the date on which the test pressings were transcribed by Decca. Other Crosby experts have voice their agreement with Morgereth's perspective.

Bing Crosby and Peggy Lee sang "Little Jack Frost Get Lost" on a January 11, 1950 broadcast of Chesterfield Presents The Bing Crosby Show. According to Crosby's premier radio discographer, Lionel Pairpoint, "[i]t is generally acknowledged that the commercial version of this duet originates from a radio broadcast." Indeed, aural comparison of the radio show's rendition and the Decca version leave little doubt: they are thoroughly similar. "The only difference between [the radio] rendition and the Decca master is" according to Pairpoint, "that the latter closes with the Rhythmaires singing the single word, lost. The broadcast version, however, does not end at this point but includes a coda by the orchestra, over which, applause can be heard." (As for the above mentioned non-Lee masters, some of them leave room for a bit of doubt. For instance, Pairpoint noticed that one interjection is missing from the mastered version of "That's A-Plenty.")

To locate issues which contain the performance of "Little Jack Frost Get Lost" exactly as it was heard on Crosby's radio show (i.e., with audience applause, and without the higher audio fidelity brought on by the mastering of the test pressing), consult the page that this discography dedicates to Lee's appearances on Crosby's radio show, under the date January 11, 1950. See also related notes in the present page, under Decca sessions dated May 16, 1952 and November 22, 1955. There is also the option of listening to both versions on YouTube. At the time of this writing, the 1952 commercial record could be heard here, and the 1950 radio original here.


Personnel

1. A Collective Personnel
My main sources (i.e, log sheets and other record label documentation) rarely list full personnel for Decca's sessions. The source for the above-listed personnel is instead The Red Nichols Story: After Intermission, 1942-1965, a book written by Philip R. Evans, Stanley Hester, Stephen Hester, and Linda Evans. Although the authors do not clarify the matter, it is apparent that musicians present at five different broadcasts are lumped together in the personnel compiled by authors. Hence you will notice, for instance, that three pianists are listed. (Readers of the preceding paragraphs should understand that the situation stems from the special nature of this Decca session. The session contains numbers grabbed from five different radio broadcasts.) Although very hesitant to include such a sprawling personnel, doing so has ultimately struck me as a better option than listing no personnel at all. It is fortunate, then, that I can clarify the matter to readers of the discography, thanks to BRIAN's ability to produce notes such as the present one. (BRIAN is the discographical program with which the Peggy Lee Bio-Discography was created.)


Date: November 28, 1952
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Gordon Jenkins And His Orchestra, The Gordon Jenkins Chorus (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 6946Master Take (Decca) That's Him Over There - 3:16(Marilyn Keith aka Marilyn Bergman, Lew Spence)
DECCA double EP/(10") LPEd 684 (91302-91303) / Dl 5539 — Songs In An Intimate Style    (1954)
DECCA©Festival (10") LP(Australia) Cfr 10 589 — Songs In An Intimate Style ("Red Ribbon" Series)   (1955)
DECCA LPDl 4458 [mono] / Dl 7 4458 [stereo enhanced] — Lover   (1964)


The Lover Album Sessions (Cross-references)

Dates: April 3 and 28, May 1, July 31, November 28, and December 16, 1952. For further commentary about the album, see notes under April 3, 1952 session.


Date: December 16, 1952
Location: Decca Studios, 50 West 57 Street, New York
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Gordon Jenkins And His Orchestra, The Gordon Jenkins Chorus (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 83739Master Take (Decca) I Hear The Music Now - 2:50(Sammy Fain, Jerry Seelen, Ambroise Charles Thomas)
DECCA EP(Japan) Dep 126 — Peggy Lee Sings ("Movie Parade" Series, Volume 5)   (1957)
DECCA©MCA Victor LP(Japan) Mca 10016 — Peggy Lee ("Super Deluxe" MCA Series)   (1973)
DECCA©MCA LP(Japan) Vim 10013 — Peggy Lee ("Golden Disc" Series)   (1973)
b. 83740Master Take (Decca) This Is A Very Special Day - 2:34(Peggy Lee)
DECCA©Columbia 78(Australia) Do 70055 — {Just One Of Those Things / This Is A Very Special Day} [Different pairing than in USA & UK singles]    (1953)
DECCA©Festival EP(Australia) Fx 10 5003 — Lover   (1958)
DECCA©Festival EP(Australia) Fx 10 536 — Black Coffee   (1962)
Both titles on: DECCA 78 & 4528565 / 9 28565 — {I Hear The Music Now / This Is A Very Special Day}   (1953)
DECCA 78 & 45(Japan) unknown — {I Hear The Music Now / This Is A Very Special Day}   (1953)
DECCA EPEd 2003 — Selections Featured In The Warner Bros. Motion Picture The Jazz Singer    (1953)





The Jazz Singer Session (Cross-references: Film)

Peggy Lee co-wrote the songs "I Hear The Music Now" and "This Is A Very Special Day" for the 1953 Warner Brothers movie The Jazz Singer. She also recorded both numbers for the soundtrack of that film, in which she co-starred with Danny Thomas. The masters waxed at the present session are not the soundtrack recordings, but versions intended for commercial release as a Decca single. (Further information about the actual soundtrack versions will be provided in this discography's film page, once it opens for viewing; it's currently under construction. Photos above: an Israeli movie poster and a piece of sheet music that will be discussed below.)


Songs

1. "I Hear The Music Now"
The melody of "I Hear The Music Now" is based on a theme from the overture to the 1851 opera Raymond, ou le secret de la reine. Its author was the composer Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896), better remembered nowadays for another opera of his, Mignon. My thanks to Michael J. White for first alerting me to the connection. See also notes about the song "Once In A Lifetime," under Capitol session dated September 14, 1950.

The sheet music of "I Hear The Music Now" does a poor job of crediting the French composer, merely inserting a parenthetical phrase (Based on theme by Thomas) under the song's title. Since this sheet also features a photo of Peggy Lee and Danny Thomas on its front cover, viewers may naturally but wrongly assume that the "Thomas" in question was Danny.

2. "I Hear The Music Now" In The Regional Music Charts
Reporting to Cash Box for the week ending March 7, 1953, disc Jockey Art Tacker indicated that Peggy Lee's self-penned recording was in the #7 position at his station, WCRB in Waltham, Massachusettes. During the week ending April 4, it claimed the #2 slot, being deprived of the top slot by Perry Como's hit version of "Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes."




Issues

1. Songs From The Jazz Singer [RCA EP & 10" LP]
2. Selections Featured In The Warner Bros. Motion Picture The Jazz Singer [Decca EP]
3. Danny Thomas & Peggy Lee Sing Songs From ... The Jazz Singer [Sepia CD]
The film The Jazz Singer was filmed in late 1952 and sent to theaters across the nation in early 1953. Both co-stars had record contracts at the time, but not on the same label. Danny Thomas was on RCA Victor, Peggy Lee on Decca Records. Naturally, each label tried to capitalize on the attention accorded to the film stars by having them record music from the movies, and issuing the resulting masters on the win formats of the time (single, EP, 10" LP).

RCA released an album titled Songs From The Jazz Singer on both EP (pictured above) and 10" LP. (Release date: February 20, 1953.) In it, Danny Thomas does versions of nearly all the songs that are heard in the movie, including the Peggy Lee numbers. He sings solo; Lee has no involvement in the RCA album. (In addition to RCA's release of the 10" LP and the EP in 1953, the custom branch of RCA put together a 12" LP edition of the album in 1958 or a little bit later. That edition still featured the same eight tracks found in the earlier configurations. Probably commissioned by Thomas, all proceeds from its sales were slated to be placed into his fund for the foundation of St. Jude Hospital, in Memphis, Tennessee.)

For its part, Decca came up with an EP titled Selections Featured In The Warner Bros. Motion Picture The Jazz Singer (also pictured above). The EP showcases Peggy Lee's Decca versions of the four numbers that she sings solo in the movie. To maximize sales potential, Decca also makes a point of showcasing the conductor on all four numbers. Jenkins had no involvement in the movie, but his name had become strongly attached to Lee's million-selling hit "Lover," which was reprised on the film and included in the EP.

The exact release date of this Peggy Lee EP is unknown to me. I believe it to fall around the nationwide release of the film (February 14, 1953). It is thus Lee's first album on Decca. (All previous issues had been 78-rpm and 45-rpm singles. A few month after this EP, her first 12" LP on Decca, Black Coffee would show up as well.)

In 2005, the reissue label Sepia Records combined the contents of the two EPs under discussion, and released them on a CD titled Danny Thomas & Peggy Lee Sing Songs From ... The Jazz Singer (pictured below). As bonus tracks, Sepia also included non-movie singles from both artists -- in Lee's case, from her Capitol rather than her Decca tenure.

4. Perfect-Lee [LP]
5. The Best Of The Decca Years [CD]
These two issues made a minor dating mistake. Both incorrectly give the recording date of "I Hear The Music Now" as November 16, 1952.






The Lover Album Sessions (Cross-references)

The present session is among those whose songs were included in the above-pictured Decca LP Lover, which is essentially an anthology of Peggy Lee's work with Gordon Jenkins. The other LP-related dates: April 3 and 28, May 1, July 31, and November 28, 1952. For commentary about the LP itself, see notes under April 3, 1952 session. While the tracks were thus recorded in 1952 and released as singles around that time, the LP came out a dozen years later (1964).


Date: February 13, 1953
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Victor Young (con), Victor Young And His Singing Strings (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Unknown (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 7052Master Take (Decca) How Strange - 2:54(Peggy Lee, Victor Popular Young)
DECCA©Festival 45(Australia) Dj 1 — {Apples, Peaches, And Cherries / How Strange} [different pairing than in USA singles]   (1955)
DECCA©Festival 45(Australia) Sp 45 750 — {Baubles, Bangles And Beads / Apples, Peaches And Cherries} [different pairing than in USA singles]   (1955)
Delta's LaserLight Digital Licensed CD12641 — Miss Peggy Lee ("Some Of The Best" Series)   (1996)
b. L 7053Master Take (Decca) Where Can I Go Without You? - 3:17(Peggy Lee, Victor Popular Young) / arr: Harold "Hal" Mooney
DECCA 78 & 4529003 & 9 29003 — {Where Can I Go Without You? / Go You Where You Go}   (1954)
DECCA LPDxb 164 (4024-4025)/ Dxsb 7 164 [enhanced stereo] / 2 4049 [MCA] — The Best Of Peggy Lee [Reissued in 1966 and 1980]   (1960)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8355 — The Best Of Peggy Lee, Volume 1   (1961)
Both titles on: DECCA double EP/(10") LPEd 684 (91302-91303) / Dl 5539 — Songs In An Intimate Style    (1954)
DECCA©Festival (10") LP(Australia) Cfr 10 589 — Songs In An Intimate Style ("Red Ribbon" Series)   (1955)
DECCA©Universal Music Group CD(Japan) Icd 273 — Songs In An Intimate Style [Bonus disc from the 20-CD set "Universal Female Vocal Collection"]   (1999)
DECCA©Universal Music Group CD(United Kingdom) 1130342 — CLASSICS & COLLECTIBLES   (2003)
Rev-Ola©Cherry Red Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Cr Rev 212 — Moon Flowers; The Collection, 1952-1954   (2007)




Songs, Songwriters And Cross-references (Film)

1. The Bullfighter And The Lady [Film]
2. "How Strange" [Song]
3. The Woman Thy Almost Lynched [Film]
"How Strange" was the love theme of not one but two movies. One of them was The Bullfighter And The Lady, a Republic film starring Robert Stack. Its score was written by Victor Young. An instrumental version of "How Strange" is heard throughout the movie.

A vocal version in Spanish is also heard during a very early scene. The scene in question takes place at a Mexican night club, in which the protagonists meet. In the background, a female vocalist is barely audible, singing Spanish lyrics that seem to concentrate on sorrow and romantic longing ("me hablas de tu dolor ... el dolor de tu amor ... quisiera tenerte en mis brazos"). The melody is definitely that of "How Strange," but the Spanish lyrics bear no connection to the ones penned by Peggy Lee.

Clearly a native Spanish speaker, the singer heard in the aforementioned scene is not Lee, either. In a later scene, a female vocalist is in fact seen, dressed in full traditional Mexican regalia and singing another song, again in Spanish. Sorrow and unrequited love are the themes of the second performance, too. Presumably, this is the same vocalist that had been only heard earlier. She is not identified in the movie's credits.

The Bullfighter And The Lady was released in 1951. The present studio session took place two years later. Lee is likely to have written her lyric in late 1952 at the suggestion of Victor Young himself, with whom she was collaborating in other projects. For his part, Young might have been motivated by the fact that the song had been scheduled for re-use in the movie The Woman They Almost Lynched, to be released in early 1953.

Indeed, the song is heard in full in the movie, around the 1:08 mark. Fans of the number should appreciate learning that even the song's verse is featured. (Lee's Decca master of "How Strange" does not reprise this verse.)

Played by film noir actress Audrey Totter, the character who sings "How Strange" is Kate Kuantrill, the movie's villainess, and a saloon singer. I do not know if Totter was overdubbed, or if her own singing voice is the one being heard, but I can confidently assert that it is not Peggy Lee's voice. (The same voice sings the character's other number, "All My Life," heard earlier in the movie. Young and Lee had no involvement with that other song, which is credited to Sydney Mitchell and Sam Stept.)

For commentary about films whose themes are actually sung by Peggy Lee in the movie soundtrack, see sessions dated March 1, 1954 and January 19, 1955. My thanks to George McGhee for his very kind assistance during the labor of researching this movie.



3. "Where Can I Go Without You?" In The Music Charts
Unissued and left to collect dust in the vaults, this recording might have been rescued from obscurity as a result of Lee's critical and chart success with the ballad "Baubles, Bangles And Beads." The latter hit the charts in January of 1954. Decca probably endeavored to further capitalize on the sales and accolades by releasing another suitably romantic rendition from Lee. A song about longing and unrequited love, the hitherto neglected "Where Can I Go Without You?" certainly suited such an endeavor.

"Where Can I Go Without You?" became Peggy Lee's eighth Decca hit. Joel Whitburn's tabulations show that her version of this song peaked at #28 after making its Billboard debut during the week of March 13, 1954.

For its part, Cash Box reported favorable regional activity at four radio stations: KMPC in Los Angeles, California (#2 for the week ending March 20, 1954), WHAT in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (also #2 for the same week), WTIX in New Orleans, Louisiana (#9, March 27). It enjoyed a second week at WHAT (#10, April 24) and, best of all, at KMPC, where it reached the #1 position (April 10).

4. Peggy Lee, As Songwriter, In The Music Charts
"Where Can I Go Without You?" was the eighth self-penned chart entry of Peggy Lee's career. For her seventh entry, which was recorded later but released before this one, see next session. During the next 13 years, none of her other self-written performances made the charts. It was not for lack of them: Lee actually recorded a steady number of self-penned songs from 1953 to 1966. What's more, some of them would prove popular enough to be recorded by many other artists (e.g., "I Love Being Here With You," "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'," "Things Are Swingin'," etc.) The reason why none of those potential hits made even a dent in the charts lies not with Lee or with the songs themselves, but with contemporaneous standards in the music industry. The songs were adversely affected by Billboard's lack of interest in tabulating, at that point in time, airplay from adult contemporary radio stations. Hence Lee's compositions did not make any chart appearances until 1966, by which time Billboard had created a chart for adult contemporary music. (See Capitol session dated February 1, 1966. Consider also the hit "Fever," which featured uncredited lyric work by Lee, and which was recorded for Capitol on August 19, 1958.)




Personnel

1. Dave Barbour
My discographical sources give conflicting information about this session's accompaniment. Dave Barbour & His Orchestra are listed in Decca's files. On the other hand, the Decca EP Songs In An Intimate Style identifies Victor Young & His Singing Strings as the accompaniment, and so do later issues of these two numbers. Close listening strongly suggests the presence of Young, who was also the numbers' composer. Since I hear no indication of Barbour's presence, I have tentatively chosen to give credit to Victor Young alone.

2. Background Voices
Unknown "vapor voices" on "How Strange" only.


Arrangements

1. Hal Mooney
Peggy Lee kept two arrangements of "Where Can I Go Without You?" in her music library. One of them is by Hal Mooney, with whom she is known to have worked during these Decca years -- specifically, in some of the 1955 dates below. I have tentatively credited him with this session's arrangement.


Issues

1. Classics And Collectibles [CD]
2. Miss Peggy Lee ("Some Of The Best" Series) [CD]
3. "How Strange" [Song]
Three or four tracks in the otherwise superior CD set Classics And Collectibles fail to live to expectations. "How Strange" is one of them. Apparently, the performance was newly remixed for this release. Or, otherwise, a previously unreleased mix was used. The vibrant audio fidelity heard in the version from the original vinyl issue (Songs In An Intimate Style) is clearly missing from this inferior mix. Lee sounds remote, as if she were at considerable distance from the mike.

Some of the vibrancy of the original LP version can be heard in another digital release: Miss Peggy Lee from Laserlight's "Some Of The Best" series. Nevertheless, despite its vibrant quality, that CD's transfer is also unsatisfactory. It suffers from background noise, and from a general wobbliness in its sound quality. (I am left to wonder if such defects stem not from the transfer but from the original master. Problems with the quality and preservation of the master would also explain why a new or different mix may have been used for Classics And Collectibles.)


Date: February 18, 1953
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 7056Master Take (Decca) (Sorry, Baby) You Let My Love Get [Grow] Cold - 2:50(Jessie Mae Robinson)
DECCA 78 & 4528631 & 9 28631 — {(Sorry) Baby, You Let My Love Get Cold / Who's Gonna Pay The Check?}    (1953)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2871 - P 2872 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1953)
DECCA LPDxb 164 (4024-4025)/ Dxsb 7 164 [enhanced stereo] / 2 4049 [MCA] — The Best Of Peggy Lee [Reissued in 1966 and 1980]   (1960)
b. L 7057Master Take (Decca) Summer Vacation - 2:45(John M. "Jack" Elliot, Ben Oakland)
DECCA 78 & 4529164 & 9 29164 — {Summer Vacation / That's What A Woman Is For}   (1954)
DECCA©Brunswick 78 & 45(United Kingdom) 05421 — {Baubles, Bangles And Beads / Summer Vacation} [different pairing than in USA singles]   (1955)
DECCA©Universal Music Group CD(United Kingdom) 1130342 — CLASSICS & COLLECTIBLES   (2003)
Rev-Ola©Cherry Red Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Cr Rev 212 — Moon Flowers; The Collection, 1952-1954   (2007)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 3849 - P 3850 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   
c. L 7058Master Take (Decca) Who's Gonna Pay The Check? - 2:49(Peggy Lee) / arr: Joe Lippman
DECCA 78 & 4528631 & 9 28631 — {(Sorry) Baby, You Let My Love Get Cold / Who's Gonna Pay The Check?}    (1953)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2871 - P 2872 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1953)
DECCA©MCA CS/LP/CD(United Kingdom) Mclc/Mcl/Dmcl 1794 [CD rel. in 1989] — Perfect-Lee   (1984)




Songs

1. "Who's Gonna Pay The Check?" In The Music Charts
Peggy Lee had her sixth hit on Decca Records with "Who's Gonna Pay The Check?," a tongue-in-cheek novelty sung in a mock, pseudo-Italian accent. According to Joel Whitburn's Billboard-based calculations, the song peaked at #22 in that magazine's charts, after debuting during the week of May 22, 1953.

In Cash Box 's Disc-Hits Box Score (Nation's Top 50) chart, it reached #26 and spent five non-consecutive weeks in the chart. One regional disc jockey reported Lee's "Check" as non-bouncing in the #10 slot (Bob Larsen, WEMP, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, week ending May 2, 1953). For the following week, it had reached #4 at that same station, and #9 at WNOE in New Orleans, Louisiana. Between May 23 and June 13, five additional stations reported activity: WROL in Boston, Massachusetts (#10), WVNJ in Newark, New Jersey (#7), WJMR in New Orleans, Louisiana (#5), WRBV in Reidsville, North Carolina (#6) and, most notably, WWEZ in New Orleans, Louisiana (#9 on week ending May 23, #7 on May 30, #6 on June 6). The number thus seems to have met with mass appeal among radio listeners, particularly in New Orleans.

With "Who's Gonna Pay The Check?," Lee was enjoying her seventh time climbing the Billboard charts as a songwriter. (Her other self-penned chart entries are from her earlier years as a Capitol artist.) On this seventh occasion, she was responsible not only for the lyrics, but also for the music. Lee's next self-penned charting had actually been recorded in the session that precedes this one; consult that session's notes.

2. "You Let My Love Get Cold" In The Regional Charts
Listeners of WJLB in Detroit, Michigan's favored the flip side of the Decca single that featured "Who's Gonna Pay The Check?" According to Cash Box's regional music reports, it was a #8 position for "You Let My Love Get Cold" during the week ending April 25, and a #7 peak for the week ending May 9, 1953.


Photos

These two photos have been incorporated to this page primarily for aesthetic purposes. One of them evokes the song title "Summer Vacation" and
the other suits the tongue-in-cheek scenario of "Who's Gonna Pay The Check?" The first, showing Lee leaving LA on a plane, was actually taken in 1950. The date and occasion of the second picture are unknown -- probably a party event in the mid-1950s. (Attire and other details bring to mind the possibility of a celebrity dinner at the premiere of a western cowboy movie.)


Personnel

1. Dave Barbour And His Orchestra
This session's personnel is likely to have consisted of musicians who were playing with either Dave Barbour or Peggy Lee at this point in time, and which Decca cursorily labeled as Barbour's orchestra. For an engagement at LA's Ambassador Hotel in early March of 1953, the musicians accompanying Peggy Lee were Pete Candoli (t), Irv Cotler (d), Joe Mondragon (b), Mike Pacheco (bongos), and Jimmy Rowles (p).


Arrangements

1. Joe Lippman
Peggy Lee kept a Joe Lippman arrangement of "Who's Gonna Pay The Check?" in her music library. Even so, the above-shown credit to him should be considered tentative: it is not known if the extant Lippman arrangement is the same one that was written for this session's performance. (The library arrangement could be a different one, written for, say, one of Lee's live shows.)


Date: April 30, 1953
Location: Decca Studios, 50 West 57 Street, New York
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Milt Gabler (pdr), Walter "Pete" Candoli (t), Max Wayne (b), James "Jimmy" Rowles (p), Ed Shaughnessy (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 84409Master Take (Decca) I've Got You Under My Skin - 2:30(Cole Porter) / arr: James "Jimmy" Rowles
DECCA 78 & 4528737 & 9 28737 — {My Heart Belongs To Daddy / I've Got You Under My Skin}   (1953)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 3213 - P 3214 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1953)
US Government's Treasury Department Service 16" Transcription DiscPrograms No. 359 & 360 — Guest Star [Lionel Barrymore / Peggy Lee]   (1954)
b. 84410Master Take (Decca) I Didn't Know What Time It Was - 2:18(Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) / arr: James "Jimmy" Rowles
DECCA©Brunswick 78 & 45(United Kingdom) 05286 — {I Didn't Know What Time It Was [not released as a single in the USA] / Johnny Guitar}   (1954)
DECCA EP(Denmark/Sweden) Bme 9344 — Presenting Peggy Lee   (1957)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8356 — The Best Of Peggy Lee, Volume 2   (1961)
c. 84411Master Take (Decca) Love Me Or Leave Me - 2:08(Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn) / arr: James "Jimmy" Rowles
DECCA©Brunswick EP(France/Germany) 10 120 Epb — Miss Peggy Lee   (1957)
DECCA LPDxb 164 (4024-4025)/ Dxsb 7 164 [enhanced stereo] / 2 4049 [MCA] — The Best Of Peggy Lee [Reissued in 1966 and 1980]   (1960)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8355 — The Best Of Peggy Lee, Volume 1   (1961)
All titles on: DECCA EP/(10") LPEd 533 (91060-91061) / Dl 5482 — Black Coffee With Peggy Lee   (1953)
DECCA©Brunswick (10") LP(United Kingdom) La 8629 — Black Coffee With Peggy Lee   (1953)
DECCA©Festival (10") LP(Australia) Cfr 10 510 — Black Coffee   (1954)





The Black Coffee Album Sessions (Cross-references)

This is the first of four sessions dedicated to the jazz-oriented LP Black Coffee. For a full tour of the album's sessions, make stops at the next two dates (May 1, May 4) and then scroll down to the last portion of the present page, in order to locate a session dated April 3, 1956.


Genesis Of The Black Coffee Album Project

Little is known about the genesis of Peggy Lee's most acclaimed album. There are no extant accounts touching on the topic -- neither from the personnel nor from the record company. My own thesis: Black Coffee With Peggy Lee must have been conceived as a representation of her nightclub work, for which Lee had been receiving ecstatic reviews. To wit: "Peggy gave the greatest performance we have seen delivered by any singer in a Manhattan club in the last five years." "... [A]n electric singer with a driving beat on some songs and a sensual appeal on torcheroos ... one of those shows that happen rarely. Only a top-flight act could follow her ..." "She rides, slides and glides over a flock of songs that run out the string, encasing her versatility, pace and handling." "Peggy Lee ... proved that you can entertain an audience without falling back on either this week's Hit Parade or special material."

These and many other accolades from press and clubgoers probably compelled Lee to go into the recording studio with her current crop of musicians. She might have not needed any further motivation, but we should still consider Decca executive demands as well -- with Milt Gabler serving as the label's voice. Gabler was one of the two A&R men who, after watching her at an earlier nightclub smash, had lured her away from Capitol and into Decca. After Lee's first successful year on the label (and with the aforementioned accolades continuing o pour in), Gabler and Decca might have been keen on having Lee record a full album drawing on her nightclub act. It is worth adding that Gabler became the producer of Black Coffee with Peggy Lee.

My thesis on the album's genesis has circumstantial support. For starters, there is the fact that all of Lee's club musicians were hired for the dates (including Candoli, who had an exclusive record contract with another label, and who was thus technically forbidden to play in the sessions). Further establishing a connection between nightclub club and recording studio is the fact that at least half of the songs picked for the album were part of Lee's current concert repertoire: "A Woman Alone with the Blues," "I've Got You Under my Skin," "Easy Living," "My Heart Belongs To Daddy." (Most of the other half could have been part of her repertoire as well. We currently have only fragmentary lists of her song programs.)


Personnel

1. Milt Gabler
The producer of these album sessions was Milt Gabler. While he must have naturally been present and ready to dictate any necessary directives, his involvement in the album's creative process appears to have been minimal at best. Or so I gather from a comment that Pete Candoli made during an interview with Lee's biographer. Candoli characterized Decca's head of A&R as a "nice guy" whose only comment to Lee and her musicians was: " '[y]ou guys do what you want. It's your show.' " In short, the album's artistic direction (including its mood & repertoire) must have been dictated by Peggy Lee and her musicians, with little or no bureaucratic interference.


Arrangements

1. Jimmy Rowles
2. Head Arrangements,
This session featured head arrangements. They were set to paper by Jimmy Rowles, with input from Peggy Lee and, presumably, the session's other musicians.

3. "I've Got You Under My Skin"
4. Dick Hazard
In addition to this date's arrangement of "I've Got You Under My Skin," a second one, credited to Dick Hazard, has been located in Peggy Lee's own sheet music library. Perhaps Hazard's arrangement was used at Lee's concert performances from a later period -- anywhere between the late 1950s and the late 1970s.


Songs & Issues

1. Dream Street [LP, Festival Edition]
2. "I've Got You Under My Skin" [Song]
Dream Street is the title of a LP recorded by Peggy Lee in 1956 and released by Decca & its foreign branches in 1957. While getting ready to press copies of the album, the foreign branches faced an obstacle. Legal restrictions temporarily forbade the release abroad of one of the album's tracks ("I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face"). The problem was solved by simply dropping the track. To fill a twelve-track quota, Festival also added this session's master of "I've Got You Under My Skin" to its edition of the LP.

3. "I've Got You Under My Skin" In The Regional Charts
Cash Box magazine reported a #10 rank for Peggy Lee's version of "I've Got You Under My Skin" at two radio stations: WIND in Chicago, Illinois (for the week ending July 25) and KFRE in Fresno, California (for the week ending August 1, 1953).


Date: May 1, 1953
Location: Decca Studios, 50 West 57 Street, New York
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Milt Gabler (pdr), Walter "Pete" Candoli (t), Max Wayne (b), James "Jimmy" Rowles (p), Ed Shaughnessy (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 84417Master Take (Decca) Easy Living - 2:45(Ralph Rainger, Leo Robin) / arr: James "Jimmy" Rowles
DECCA©MCA's Vocalion LPVl 7 3903 [simulated stereo] — Crazy In The Heart   (1970)
DECCA©MCA CS/LP/CD(UK) Mclc/Mcml 1632 [Reissue Mclc/Mcm 5010 "Golden Greats," 1985; CD Mcld 19123 rel. 1991]) — The Best Of Peggy Lee   (1981)
DECCA©MCA's Special Products cassetteMcac 20251 — Black Coffee   (1985)
b. 84418Master Take (Decca) A Woman Alone With The Blues - 3:16(Willard Robison) / arr: James "Jimmy" Rowles
Castle Communications Licensed CD(Australasia) Pcd 10016 — Very Special ("Premium Masters" Series)   (1994)
Blue Moon Licensed/Public Domain CD(Spain) Bmcd 3034 — A WOMAN ALONE WITH THE BLUES   (1997)
Tim International Public Domain CD(Germany) 220838 [220839-220843] — A Nightingale Can Sing The Blues ("Document" Series)   (2004)
c. 84419Master Take (Decca) My Heart Belongs To Daddy - 2:09(Cole Porter) / arr: James "Jimmy" Rowles
DECCA 78 & 4528737 & 9 28737 — {My Heart Belongs To Daddy / I've Got You Under My Skin}   (1953)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 3213 - P 3214 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1953)
US Government's Treasury Department Service 16" Transcription DiscPrograms No. 359 & 360 — Guest Star [Lionel Barrymore / Peggy Lee]   (1954)
All titles on: DECCA EP/(10") LPEd 533 (91060-91061) / Dl 5482 — Black Coffee With Peggy Lee   (1953)
DECCA©Brunswick (10") LP(United Kingdom) La 8629 — Black Coffee With Peggy Lee   (1953)
DECCA©Festival (10") LP(Australia) Cfr 10 510 — Black Coffee   (1954)


The Black Coffee Album Sessions (Cross-references)

Dates: April 30, 1953. May 1 and 4, 1953. April 3, 1956.


Arrangements

1. Jimmy Rowles
2. Marty Paich
As pointed out in the notes under the preceding session, several of the songs that Peggy Lee recorded for her Black Coffee 10" LP are known to have been numbers which she had been performing in her nightclub act. At the time, Lee's featured Jimmy Rowles on piano. In all likelihood, the original live performances used head arrangements which the pianist had put together, with substantial input from Lee and the rest of her rhythm section. For the album, Rowles probably refined them a bit further. Tacit confirmation on the matter can be gathered from an assertion made by Lee during an interview that Goldmine magazine published on May 26, 1995: "Jimmy Rowles did all those arrangements. The figures in there are all Jimmy's ..."

Rowles was actually one of Peggy Lee's two main arranger-pianists during her tenure at Decca Records. The other one was the made who succeeded him in the job, Marty Paich. Seldom credited by Decca on the record releases, their excellent labor was acknowledged by Peggy Lee in print. For an article published on July 14, 1954, she told a Downbeat reporter that, "though we work out a lot of head things," Rowles had indeed written many of her arrangements. Another pertinent comment can be found in her autobiography. Apparently referring to her Decca years, Lee wrote that "Jimmy Rowles and Marty Paich did a lot of arranging for me -- and Jimmy! He's a champ."


2. "A Woman Alone With The Blues"
Peggy Lee's sheet music library holds two arrangements of this song, one by Dave Grusin, the other by Bob Ross. Both arrangements are presumed to have been written many years after the taping of the present session, from which no written arrangement is known to have been preserved.


Personnel And Cross-references

1. Pete Candoli
2. Cootie Chesterfield
The back cover of the album Black Coffee album lists Pete Candoli under the pseudonym Cootie Chesterfield. He could not be properly credited because, at the time, he was under contract with another record label (Capitol).

3. Joe Mondragon
In the biography Fever: The Life And Music Of Peggy Lee, Pete Candoli is quoted as having casually said that Joe Mondragon was the bassist of the album Black Coffee. Unfortunately, that erroneous comment was left uncorrected in the text. The bassist listed in the album's back cover (and elsewhere) is not Joe Mondragon but Max Wayne. Candoli's confusion probably stemmed from the fact that Mondragon had been Peggy Lee's regular bassist during much of the 1950s. Some fifty years after the making of the Black Coffee sessions, Candoli's memory might have automatically pictured Lee's regular bassist next to her, in the studio.

4. Jimmy Rowles, Vocalist
For a vocal duet sung by Peggy Lee and Jimmy Rowles, see session dated May 24, 1954.


Songs

1. "My Heart Belong To Daddy" In The Regional Charts
The July 11, 1953 issue of Cash Box magazine reported that, for the past week, Peggy Lee's version of "My Heart Belong To Daddy" had ranked #9 among the most played jukebox numbers in Los Angeles, California.


Date: May 4, 1953
Location: Decca Studios, 50 West 57 Street, New York
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Milt Gabler (pdr), Walter "Pete" Candoli (t), Max Wayne (b), James "Jimmy" Rowles (p), Ed Shaughnessy (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 84433Master Take (Decca) Black Coffee - 3:07(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Paul Francis Webster) / arr: James "Jimmy" Rowles
DECCA LPDxb 164 (4024-4025)/ Dxsb 7 164 [enhanced stereo] / 2 4049 [MCA] — The Best Of Peggy Lee [Reissued in 1966 and 1980]   (1960)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8355 — The Best Of Peggy Lee, Volume 1   (1961)
DECCA©Festival EP(Australia) Fx 10 536 — Black Coffee   (1962)
b. 84434Master Take (Decca) When The World Was Young (Ah, The Apple Trees) - 3:18(Gerard Philippe Bloch, Johnny Mercer, Marie T. Angele Vannier) / arr: James "Jimmy" Rowles
DECCA©MCA's Vocalion LPVl 7 3903 [simulated stereo] — Crazy In The Heart   (1970)
DECCA©MCA CS/LP/CD(United Kingdom) Mclc/Mcl/Dmcl 1794 [CD rel. in 1989] — Perfect-Lee   (1984)
Tim International Public Domain CD(Germany) 220838 [220839-220843] — A Nightingale Can Sing The Blues ("Document" Series)   (2004)
Both titles on: DECCA EP/(10") LPEd 533 (91060-91061) / Dl 5482 — Black Coffee With Peggy Lee   (1953)
DECCA©Brunswick (10") LP(United Kingdom) La 8629 — Black Coffee With Peggy Lee   (1953)
DECCA©Festival (10") LP(Australia) Cfr 10 510 — Black Coffee   (1954)


The Black Coffee Album Sessions (Cross-references)

Dates: April 30, 1953. May 1 and 4, 1953. April 3, 1956.


At The Recording Session

1. "When The World Was Young"
2. Pete Candoli
During an interview conducted decades after the Black Coffee sessions, Peggy Lee made appreciative mention of various musicians at the dates. While taking about trumpet player Pete Candoli, Lee also recalled that she had asked him to position himself against the wall at the very end of the studio, "because I was trying to make him sound like a French horn." That particular comment of hers could very well be a recollection of their recording of "When the World Was Young," which opens with Candoli quoting the French national anthem.


Songs And Songwriters

1. "Black Coffee"
2. Sonny Burke
3. Mary Lou Williams
4. W. C. Handy
The song "Black Coffee" (1948) was composed by Sonny Burke, who had to settle a minor dispute over its authorship. Mary Lou Williams argued that the tune was musically similar to "What's The Story, Morning Glory?," a notable number which she had composed back in the 1930s. Although Burke allegedly ended up paying a fee to Williams, neither composer might have deserved original credit. The musical phrase at the center of the dispute seems to date farther back in time. In the 1920s, it was heard as part of the song "Aunt Hagar's Blues," co-written and published by W. C. Handy. Known nowadays as the father of the blues, Handy was in turn heavily inspired by the Southern black oral tradition of blues and spirituals. The melodies of all three aforementioned songs ("Aunt Hagar's Blues," "What's Your Story, Morning Glory?," "Black Coffee") might thus contain variations on a traditional blues riff.


Issues

1. The Album Black Coffee In The Music Charts
2. Billboard's Early Music Charts
Contrary to assertions made in most sources (including Peggy Lee biographies), the LP Black Coffee did make the music charts. Pop Album Recent Release Sellers was the name of a Billboard chart dedicated to ten-inch LPs, and active before 1954. In the magazine's December 19, 1953 issue (page 47), Black Coffee is ranked at #8. Somewhat curiously (or tellingly), this eight-slot chart was almost exclusively populated by albums from the Capitol and Columbia labels. The only other record company managing to sneak into the list was Decca, thanks solely to Peggy Lee's album.

To qualify for inclusion in this list, 10" LPs could not be more than five months older. Once they reached that age, the albums were transferred to another chart, called Pop Album Catalogue Sellers. Curious music fans might appreciate learning that, on the week in question, Nat King Cole topped both of these charts; his Unforgettable was living up to its title in the Pop Album Catalogue Sellers chart, while Two In Love was receiving top approval in the Pop Album Recent Release Sellers chart.

Black Coffee With Peggy Lee is presumed to have peaked at #8. We cannot be absolutely certain because the chart on which it appeared was no longer published after that week. Apparently aiming at consolidating its various album lists, the periodical's December 26, 1953 issue introduced two brand new ones (Best Selling Popular LPs, Best Selling Popular EPs) and implied that the charts mentioned above had been phased out. The acts who took over that week's new lists were Arthur Godfrey, Jackie Gleason, and Liberace (all personalities who benefitted from their regular appearances on the emerging medium of television). Lee and Cole are not featured on either list. (No Decca albums are, either.) Vocalists who did make the week's list included Bing Crosby (on account of the season), Doris Day (due to her movie work, specifically Calamity Jane), and two then-fresh female faces, RCA's Eartha Kitt and MGM's Joni James.

Showing a lack of consistency, the January 2 and 9 issues of Billboard feature none of the lists mentioned above, opting intend for more specialized album lists. In the case of the January 9 issue, the specialties are jazz (nine slots), dance (two slots) and children's records (also two slots). The earlier issue includes as well charts for instrumentals (three slots) and vocals (five slots, mixing EPs and 10" LPs, with Johnnie Ray on top).


Collectors' Corner And Cross-references

1. The 10" and 12" LP Covers Of Black Coffee
The 1953 and 1956 versions of the album Black Coffee feature different covers which for many decades were highly priced by record collectors. The cover of the 10" LP and its EP counterpart can be seen above; the cover of the 12" LP will be found further down in this page, under a session dated April 3, 1956. For a far more extensive exploration of album front covers, take a look at the discography's gallery of Decca albums.


Date: September 14, 1953
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Sy Oliver (con), Unknown (acc, str), Marty Paich (p), Stella Castellucci (hrp), Peggy Lee (v), Walter "Pete" Candoli, Session Musicians (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 7356Master Take (Decca) The Tavern - 3:07(Bernice Gooden)
DECCA double EP/(10") LPEd 684 (91302-91303) / Dl 5539 — Songs In An Intimate Style    (1954)
DECCA©Festival (10") LP(Australia) Cfr 10 589 — Songs In An Intimate Style ("Red Ribbon" Series)   (1955)
DECCA LPDl 4461 / Dl 7 4461 [stereo enhanced] — The Fabulous Peggy Lee    (1964)
b. L 7357Master Take (Decca) Apples, Peaches, And Cherries - 3:24(Lewis Allan aka Abe Meeropol) / arr: Marty Paich
DECCA 78 & 4528889 & 9 28889 — {The Night Holds No Fear (For The Lover) / Apples, Peaches, And Cherries}   (1953)
DECCA double EP/(10") LPEd 684 (91302-91303) / Dl 5539 — Songs In An Intimate Style    (1954)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 3541 - P 3542 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1954)
c. L 7358Master Take (Decca) The Night Holds No Fear (For The Lover) - 3:08(Harry Green, Alan E. Brandt)
DECCA 78 & 4528889 & 9 28889 — {The Night Holds No Fear (For The Lover) / Apples, Peaches, And Cherries}   (1953)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 3541 - P 3542 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1954)
DECCA©MCA's Vocalion LPVl 3776 / 7 3776 [simulated stereo] — So Blue   (1966)
DECCA©MCA's Coral CS/LPCrc/Cr 20187 — Peggy Lee   (1984)
DECCA©Universal Music Group CD0881131002 — LOVE SONGS   (2003)
DECCA©Universal Music Group CD(United Kingdom) 1130342 — CLASSICS & COLLECTIBLES   (2003)
d. L 7359Master Take (Decca) Love You So - 3:00(Bill Walker)
DECCA 78 & 4528890 & 9 28890 — {Baubles, Bangles And Beads / Love You So}   (1953)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 3213 - P 3214 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1953)
DECCA double EP/(10") LPEd 684 (91302-91303) / Dl 5539 — Songs In An Intimate Style    (1954)





The Album Songs In An Intimate Style (Cross-references)

1. Genesis
Songs In An Intimate Style (1954) was the successor to the 10" vinyl version of Black Coffee With Peggy Lee (1953). The promotional note in the back cover of this 1954 LP states that "Peggy's preceding album, Black Coffee, was acclaimed by her fans and was immediately followed by demands for a new group of Peggy Lee songs. This collection is the answer to that demand."

The details leading to the conception of Songs In An Intimate Style are unknown. Naturally, Decca would have wanted to capitalize on the critical success of Lee's previous album, and also on the commercial success of a recent chart single, "Baubles, Bangles And Beads." The album's mood of romance and lyricism was probably determined by that number, which was picked as the opening track.

When it came to song selection, it is certainly possible that Lee's input was taken into consideration. But, judging from the fact that the tracks come from a variety of sessions -(months apart from one another), I am inclined to believe that Songs In An Intimate Style was conceived and constructed by a Decca producer, without extensive input from Lee. (For additional specifics on this subject matter, see point #2 below.)

The album was also part of Decca's commemoration of its 20th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, the label simultaneously released over 50 EPs and LPs, including this one. (Among the others: Louis Armstrong And Gordon Jenkins, Ella Fitzgerald's Songs In A Mellow Mood, The Mills Brothers' Four Boys And A Guitar, An Evening With Andrés Segovia and, leading the pack, the 89-song musical-autobiographical anthology Bing.)

2. Classification And Contents
The word "collection" describes Songs In An Intimate Style fairly well. Unlike Black Coffee, this album is not comprised of masters conceived for one single project and recorded back to back. Instead, Intimate's eight tracks come from sessions which were not only led by three different conductors (Victor Young, Sy Oliver, Gordon Jenkins) but also held months apart (November 28, 1952; February 13, 1953; September 14 and 16, 1953).

And yet, thanks to its uniformly romantic mood, Songs In An Intimate Style still manages to come off as a cohesive collection of beautifully sung numbers. Of the eight tracks, no less than seven are ballads which Peggy Lee renders with a deep sense of intimacy. Only the charming "Apples, Peaches And Cherries" would seem to break the mold. On first listening, this particular number might seem lacking in the wistful, slow and mellow feel which the word 'ballad' conveys in modern times. But, after careful consideration (or after a second listening), it becomes evident that "Apples, Peaches And Cherries" is also a ballad -- though one in a different mold. This love story about a peddler's daughter and her suitor is evidently inspired by the folk ballads of olden days.

The core of the album lies in the session under discussion (September 14, 1953). Three of this session's four masters were included. Of the remaining five masters found in the album, two are from the next session (September 16), which was also dedicated to the recording of a holiday single. To fill the rest of Songs In An Intimate Style, Decca searched for suitably intimate ballads from Peggy Lee's back catalogue, and found them in two other Lee sessions, one dated February 13, 1953, the other November 28, 1952.

3. Release Date
Curiously, I have come across both 1953 and 1954 release dates for this album. I have corroborated that August 9, 1954 is the correct date for the 10" LP version. Hence a 1953 date could be correct only if it applied to another album configuration.

Before the CD era, the only other configuration in which this album came out was on EP (first image seen above). I have not succeeded at locating the EP's release date. Taking into account that the oldest songs in Songs In An Intimate Style are from September 1953, the EP could have been hypothetically issued as early as October of 1953. However, the notion that Decca could have issued the EP as early as a year in advance of the 10" LP strikes me as highly unlikely.

In short, the aforementioned 1953 release date is probably a mere error.





Songs & Cross-references (Film)

1. "Love You So" Versus "I Love You So" [Songs]
2. About Mrs. Leslie [Film]
The Decca EP Songs In An Intimate Style credits "Love You So" to Bill Walker. Curiously, Peggy Lee and Victor Young are credited with writing a song which has a similar title: "I Love You So."

Lee and Young's song was copyrighted one year later. It is listed as the theme of the 1954 Paramount movie About Mrs. Leslie -- a film which I have not yet watched. There are no known recordings of the Lee-Young song.

3. "Apples, Peaches And Cherries" In The Regional Charts
During the 1953 holiday season, this lighthearted tale of love and produce pleased the ears of listeners at three radio stations: WALA in Mobile, Alabama (#4 for the week ending November 28), WOV in New York, NY (#4 for the week ending December 26), and WMIE in Miami, Florida (#7 for the week ending January 2, 1954). Cash Box is the source for all the reports.

4. "Love You So" In The Regional Charts
This tender ballad met caught the ears and hearts of listeners at KOOL, in Phoenix, Arizona, where it ranked #5 for three weeks, the first ending November 28, 1953, and the other two from the following year (January 2 and 9, 1954).


Personnel

1. Gordon Jenkins
2. Sy Oliver
3. Victor Young
The sources at my reach are in disagreement on the matter of this session's conductor. Decca's session files credit Sy Oliver. There is no mention of Oliver, however, in the back cover of the album Songs In An Intimate Style. Instead, the back cover's notes indicate that Gordon Jenkins and Victor Young alternately conducted all the performances heard in the album. Aural inspection of the tracks indeed points to the presence of Jenkins in some of the performances, Young in other performances.

Should we conclude, then, that Oliver was wrongly credited in Decca's master file? Not necessarily. Since Oliver was an in-house conductor at Decca, he could have been asked to act as the nominal leader/conductor of a session, primarily for paperwork purposes.

Or he could have been enlisted to conduct just certain numbers. Given his in-house role, Oliver might have been at hand to take over when the style of a main conductor did not suit one or more masters from a given session. For this date, Oliver could have conducted the livelier tracks ("Apples, Peaches and Cherries," in particular), whereas Victor Young could have been in charge of the strings-laden numbers.

For the time being, I feel that it is more prudent to incorporate to this discography only the credit given in the more concrete of the two sources: the Decca master file. I am left wishing for a future inspection of the session's AFM report, which should fully solve this matter.

(Another session with more than one conductor in the run: February 11, 1955.)

4. Pete Candoli
The inclusion of trumpet player Pete Candoli in this date is based on two sources. One of them is Stella Castellucci’s reminiscences, as published in her autobiography Diving Deep For Sea Shells, written with Edgar Amaya. Castellucci characterizes Candoli as a funny guy, always joking, and identifies him as the main male voice on “Apples, Peaches And Cherries.” The other source is an advertisement for "Apples, Peaches And Cherries" found in the November 28, 1953 issue of Billboard, which credits the playing in the recording to "the Pete Candoli group." Since no trumpet or brass is evident during this date, Candoli’s participation might have involved leading and adding touches such as that song’s background vocal. (If he was not playing one of the major instruments in the session, support playing of any bell-like instruments heard in these masters could conceivably be absorbed to him, too.)







Photos

The images directly above show a 1953 advertisement devised by the NY-based song publishing company Broude Brothers. This pseudo-culinary advertisement supported one of the company's songs, "Apples, Peaches And Cherries." It also promoted Peggy Lee's debut version of the number, which she recorded at the present session. Broude Brothers placed ads in trade periodicals from the time. Also shown above is a photograph of Peggy Lee with a street vendor (or, if you will, "a peddler"), by a fruit cart. This photo dates from February or March 1948.

Images of the album Songs In An Intimate Style can be seen at the top of these session notes. The album's front cover is shown in two of its two configurations: EP (first image) and 10" LP (second image). The rest of the above-seen images (displaying images of sheet music and a movie poster) should be self-explanatory.


Date: September 16, 1953
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Victor Young (con), Victor Young And His Orchestra (acc), Marty Paich (p), Stella Castellucci (hrp), Peggy Lee (v), Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires {Conlon, Mack McLean, Loulie "Lily" Jean Norman, Charles Parlato, Gloria Wood} (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 7360Master Take (Decca) It's Christmas Time Again - 2:58(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, John M. "Jack" Elliot, James Harwood)
DECCA 78 & 4528939 & 9 28939 — {Ring Those Christmas Bells / It's Christmas Time Again}   (1953)
DECCA EP(Chile) Dis E 54023 — Peggy Lee Con Victor Young   (1954)
CAPITOL CD09463 63376 2 3 — CHRISTMAS WITH PEGGY LEE   (2006)
UNIVERSAL CD9353878 — Christmas ("Icon" Series)   (2014)
DECCA©Columbia EP(Spain) Ecge 70211 — Peggy Lee   
b. L 7361Master Take (Decca) Ring Those Christmas Bells - 2:19(Marvin Fisher, Gus Levine)
DECCA 78 & 4528939 & 9 28939 — {Ring Those Christmas Bells / It's Christmas Time Again}   (1953)
DECCA EP(Chile) Dis E 54023 — Peggy Lee Con Victor Young   (1954)
DECCA LPDl 9056 — [Various Artists] Around The Christmas Tree; A Special Day Program   (1957)
Rev-Ola©Cherry Red Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Cr Rev 212 — Moon Flowers; The Collection, 1952-1954   (2007)
UNIVERSAL CD9353878 — Christmas ("Icon" Series)   (2014)
DECCA©Columbia EP(Spain) Ecge 70211 — Peggy Lee   
c. L 7362Master Take (Decca) Baubles, Bangles And Beads - 3:15(Robert Craig Wright, George Forrest, Alexander Borodin) / arr: Marty Paich
DECCA EPEd 2117 — [Various Artists] Selections From The Musical Production Kismet {Danny Kaye, Four Aces, Peggy Lee}   (1953)
DECCA 78 & 4528890 & 9 28890 — {Baubles, Bangles And Beads / Love You So}   (1953)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 3213 - P 3214 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1953)
d. L 7363Master Take (Decca) That's What A Woman Is For - 3:17(Sammy Cahn, Rube Bloom) / arr: Marty Paich
DECCA 78 & 4529164 & 9 29164 — {Summer Vacation / That's What A Woman Is For}   (1954)
DECCA double EP/(10") LPEd 684 (91302-91303) / Dl 5539 — Songs In An Intimate Style    (1954)
DECCA©Festival (10") LP(Australia) Cfr 10 589 — Songs In An Intimate Style ("Red Ribbon" Series)   (1955)


Songs

1. "Baubles, Bangles And Beads" In The Music Charts
The song "Baubles, Bangles And Beads" comes from the Broadway musical Kismet, which premiered to popular success on December 3, 1953. The Broadway cast album was released by Columbia soon afterwards (1954). Meanwhile, the other record labels rushed to release competing versions of the show's songs, as recorded by their respective artist rosters. At Decca, Danny Kaye, Peggy Lee and The Four Aces were enlisted for this purpose. In addition to their respective singles, an EP with these artists' interpretations of four Kismet numbers was issued by the company.

Peggy Lee's version of "Baubles, Bangles And Beads" entered the Billboard charts on the same week that the musical opened. In Joel Whitburn's estimation, Lee's seventh hit recording for Decca peaked at #30. (For her eight chart entry, go back to the session dated February 13, 1953.) Whitburn shows no other charting versions of the song.

Cash Box magazine's Disc-Hits Box Score (Nation's Top 50) chart tallied two versions: Peggy Lee's and its competition on Columbia, sung by Lu Ann Simms. They are given a combined #34 peak, and a four-week stay. The regional charts published by the same magazine makes it evident that Lee's version was the one receiving airplay. Five stations reported activity, including WOV in New York, New York (#7 for the week ending February 6), KMPC in Los Angeles, California (#10, January 9), WKXL in Concord, New Hampshire (#2, January 9), and KECA in Los Angeles, California (#8 for week ending December 19, 1953; #4 for week ending January 9 1954). But where it showed the longest stronghold was at KNX in Hollywood, California (November 28, December 5, December 12, December 19), with a #3 peak.


Songwriters

1. Alexander Borodin
The music of Kismet was adapted from the works of Russian composer Alexander Borodin. Like most of the other selections in Kismet, "Baubles, Bangles And Beads" borrows from Borodin's opera Prince Igor -- and also from his second string quartet.


Arrangers And Arrangements

1. Marty Paich
2. "Baubles, Bangles And Beads"
3. "That's What A Woman Is For"
Marty Paich is the probable arranger of both "Baubles, Bangles And Beads" and "That's What A Woman Is For."

In the case of "Baubles, Bangles And Beads," confirmation for the Paich credit comes from an interview in which Peggy Lee made the identification. Paich is also identified as the arranger in Leonard Feather's notes for the Decca LP The Best Of Peggy Lee.

The source for the "That's What A Woman Is For" credit is Peggy Lee's own sheet music library, in which a Paich arrangement of the song is kept. This credit should be deemed tentative, though, because the library's arrangement has yet to be compared with the arrangement heard in the recording.

Lee also kept a second arrangement of "Baubles, Bangles And Beads," credited to Benny Carter. Perhaps Carter's arrangement was the one used by Lee for a televised, 1959 version of the song (to be listed in one of this discography's TV pages, once they open for viewing).


Personnel

1. Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires
This vocal group is heard on "It's Christmas Time" and "Ring Those Christmas Bells" only.


Songs In An Intimate Style: Album Sessions (Cross-references)

For detailed comment about the album, see pertinent notes under the preceding session (September 14, 1953).





Collectors' Corner

1. Around The Christmas Tree [LP]
Curiously, Decca released at least two versions of the above-listed Decca LP Around The Christmas Tree, both with the same title and cover but each with different track listing. Of the two, only Dl 9056 (first image above) includes Lee's "Ring Those Christmas Bells"; the other version (Dl 38170) does not feature Lee at all.

I know of no reason for Decca's course of action. One possible explanation would have been that the two albums were part of a series called "Around The Christmas Tree." I doubt that such was the case, however. The albums themselves give no indication of being volumes from a series, nor have I seen any other volumes.



Date: March 1, 1954
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Victor Young (con), Victor Young And His Singing Strings (acc), Vicente Gomez (g), Unknown (b, p), Peggy Lee (v)

a. L 7583Master Take (Decca) Johnny Guitar - 2:56(Peggy Lee, Victor Popular Young) / arr: Victor Young
DECCA 78 & 4529076 & 9 29076 — {Autumn In Rome / Johnny Guitar }   (1954)
DECCA EP(Chile) Dis E 54023 — Peggy Lee Con Victor Young   (1954)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 3541 - P 3542 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1954)
b. L 7583Alternate Take (Decca) Johnny Guitar - 2:58(Peggy Lee, Victor Popular Young) / arr: Victor Young
DECCA©MCA CD(Japan) 35 Xd 510 [Reissue: Mvcm 28009, rel. 1991] — Peggy Lee ("Best 22 Songs" Series)   (1986)
Movieplay Licensed cassette(Portugal?) Hpm 6212 — Fever   (1988)
DECCA©MCA CD(Japan) 28009 — Peggy Lee ("Best 22" Series)   (1991)
c. L 7584Master Take (Decca) Autumn In Rome - 2:41(Sammy Cahn, Paul Weston, Alessandro Cicognini) / arr: Victor Young
DECCA 78 & 4529076 & 9 29076 — {Autumn In Rome / Johnny Guitar }   (1954)
DECCA EP(Chile) Dis E 54023 — Peggy Lee Con Victor Young   (1954)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 3541 - P 3542 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1954)





Cross-references (Film)

1. A Date Dedicated To Movie Themes
2. Johnny Guitar [Film]
3. Terminal Station[Film]
This session was dedicated to studio versions of two 1954 movie themes.

Peggy Lee recorded Johnny Guitar's eponymous theme not only for the movie soundtrack but also for this Decca session. (In other words, this Decca recording features a vocal different from the one heard in the soundtrack. More details on this matter will be found in this discography's film page, once that page opens for viewing.)

"Autumn In Rome" is the love theme of the movie Indiscretion Of An American Wife [aka Terminal Station], which was first released in Italy (1953) and then, two months after this session, in the United States (1954). Lee is not heard on the film soundtrack, and no known involvement with the film. She is responsible only for the studio recording waxed at this date. (The soundtrack's vocalist is Patti Page. She is seen below, in a screenshot from a prologue to the movie. An oddity, the movie's prologue is essentially a music video in which Page sings the two main songs from the film, and which otherwise bears no connection to the story.)





Songs

1. "Autumn In Rome" And "Johnny Guitar" In The Regional American Airplay Charts
Cash Box's tabulations for the week of May 8, 1954 indicate that "Johnny Guitar" ranked #6 at KDEF in Albuquerque, New Mexico, while "Autumn In Rome" ranked #7 at WEBK in Tampa, Florida.

2. "Johnny Guitar" In The Foreign Music Charts
Although "Johnny Guitar" is often cited as one of Peggy Lee's most beloved and memorable songs, it does not seem to have made much of an initial impression in the United States. Aside from the exception reported above, contemporaneous American charts bear no trace of "Johnny Guitar." The song achieved its greatest impact abroad, especially in Europe and in Japan. (Perhaps the success of the song -- or lack thereof -- was dependent on the movie's own reception. Although nowadays widely deemed a cult classic, the film Johnny Guitar was poorly received and critically panned in the United States, yet applauded and highly admired in France, Spain, and other countries.)

Italians proved especially receptive to the song: five versions were released on that market in 1955. The online project HitParadeItalia ranks three of those versions in its top 30 of bestsellers for that year. Two are covers sung in Italian, and placing at #8 and #14. The third, at #28, is Peggy Lee's original in English. In HitParadeItalia's more subjective list of best interpretations of the year, Lee's version receives the further honor of being ranked at #7 and described as "una splendida ballata egregiamente interpretata da Peggy Lee."


Personnel

1. Vicente Gómez
In connection to the song "Johnny Guitar," Peggy Lee's autobiography contains the following statement: "Vincent Gomez played the guitar, Victor Young conducted." I am assuming that she is referring to Vicente Gómez, a Madrid-born classical and flamenco guitarist who had recorded for Decca in the late 1930s and had become a movie music performer during the 1940s and 1950s. Some time after or before this session took place, Gómez added another phase to his distinguished career: he opened, in LA, his Academy of Spanish Arts.


Arrangements

1. Victor Young
The arranging credit for "Johnny Guitar" is found in Peggy Lee's 1990 album There'll Be Another Spring: The Peggy Lee Songbook. The credit for "Autumn In Rome" should be deemed tentative but highly likely; it is based on the fact that Peggy Lee kept a Young arrangement of the song in her sheet music library.


Masters And Issues

1. The Fabulous Peggy Lee [LP]
This album was released by Decca in 1964, eight years after Peggy Lee had left the label. It collects mostly numbers that had not been previously released on 12" LP. Naturally, those songs come from a variety of sessions. Two are from this date and two others are from a session dated June 8, 1956. The remaining eight songs come from dates held in 1953 (February 18 and September 14), 1954 (May 24 and 26), 1955 (January 19, February 11, June 3) and 1956 (April 3). The Fabulous Peggy Lee was released both in mono and in "hi-fi stereophonic," which was Decca's name for its brand of simulated stereo.

2. "Autumn In Rome" [Edit]
The originally issued version of "Autumn In Rome" opened with an overdub, featuring the sound of chirping birds. Derided as "corny" by music critics in 1954, this overdub was edited out of the 2003 Universal/MCA CD Love Songs. That year, the newly created bird-less version went on to being licensed by Marks & Spencer, for used on a Peggy Lee disc that was part of the company's CD music series.

3. "Johnny Guitar": The Two Studio Takes And Their Distribution
At close listening, the differences between the two above-listed takes of "Johnny Guitar" become readily apparent. As aptly summarized by Steve Dodd, who first alerted me to the existence of not one but two issued takes, the earlier take is permeated by a more emotional approach, the alternate by a more declamatory style. Moreover, Lee tends to hold the notes longer in the alternate. For other points of comparison, listen to the guitar playing throughout, and to Lee's intonation of the final line. Also notice, around 1:52, the way in which Lee pronounces, the final r of the word "guitar."

Over the years, these two "Johnny Guitar" takes have had a fairly specific distribution. The alternate take is found on CD only. The master take has appeared on LP and also on CDs which have a LP counterpart, such as Perfect-Lee!. I have encountered only three exceptions to this distribution:

a) Classics And Collectibles (official CD From Universal Records)
This CD, which does not have a LP counterpart, contains the master take of "Johnny Guitar." (So far, the Classics And Collectibles is the one and only CD project for which the master has been retrieved from Decca's vaults.)

b) Miss Wonderful (Public Domain compilation from Proper Records)
c) Why Don't You Do Right (bootleg from Joker Tonverlag Records)
These CDs also contain the master take, and do not have LP counterparts. Since neither company had access to Decca's vaults, both CDs must have used old LP copies to copy or 'toast' their "Johnny Guitar" tracks.

Bear also in mind the existence of three CDs and one LP which contain the soundtrack version of "Johnny Guitar," rather than either of this session's takes. (Details will be listed in this discography's page for soundtracks, once that page opens for viewing.)





Collectors' Corner

1. The Many Japanese Sleeves Of "Johnny Guitar / Autumn In Rome" [45]
A perennial favorite in Japan, the 45-rpm single that contains "Johnny Guitar" and "Autumn In Rome" has been frequently re-released there over the years, sometimes with different cover artwork. I have tracked more than a handful of such covers, and I still keep finding more. A few are on display above. To see more, go to this discography's chronological 45 index. (Since I do not know the release year of any of this Japanese single's versions, I have placed my entry for it near the bottom of the index, along with other singles for which a release year is similarly missing. To find the entry in the index, you will thus need to scroll down past the year 1993, and/or enter the code Ds 98 in your browser's search engine.)

Although the 45 index now contains images and could thus be said to make image descriptions obsolete, I have kept below my original descriptions of these covers. (They were originally written and successively revised during the discography's pre-pictorial days.)

Version A
Catalogue number Decca Ds 98. A Peggy Lee head shot is prominently featured next to a still of Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden. Both movie stars are seen lying down (perhaps in hiding during a gunfight?). Hayden on one knee. Yellow background. Connoisseurs will recognize the Peggy Lee head shot: it is a drawing based on a mid-1950s photo of Lee. (That photo, probably a publicity shot, was used for the cover of a Lee LP released by Camay Records, and also for a collectible card.)

Version B
Catalogue number Decca Ds 98. One still from the movie, showing Joan Crawford (in shirt and cowboy pants) and Sterling Hayden, who is facing another actor. This cover is available in green and blue background colors. Surrounding the photo, and thus functioning as ornamental frame, is the semblance of a film roll. No image of Peggy Lee.

Version C
Catalogue number Decca Ds 98 : as version B, except that the featured movie still is a different one (Crawford and Hayden hidden under rocks). Available in numerous background colors. No image of Peggy Lee.

Version D
Catalogue number Decca Ds 98. Two stills from the movie, both showing Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden. In one they are at a canteen. The other is a head shot in which Hayden is seen consoling Crawford. Yellow background. No image of Peggy Lee.

Version E
Catalogue number Decca D 237: Still from the movie, showing Joan Crawford, with arms crossed, looking at Sterling Hayden, guitar in hand. The background is three quarters yellow, one quarter red. No image of Peggy Lee.


Date: April 10, 1954
Location: Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Joseph J. Lilley Orchestra And Chorus (acc), Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Peggy Lee, Trudy Stevens (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 7622Master Take (Decca) White Christmas (Finale) - 3:15(Irving Berlin)
b. L 7623Master Take (Decca) Snow - 2:37(Irving Berlin)
CBS Radio broadcast82 — [Bing Crosby] The Bing Crosby Show {Private Circulation Item}   (1955)
Hallmark Licensed CS/LP/CD(United Kingdom) Hsc392 / Shm 3292 / Pwks 561 & Pwkm 4012 — [Bing Crosby] Christmas With Bing   (1989)
Christmas Legends Public Domain CD(Portugal) 25266 — [Bing Crosby] Christmas Songs ("Christmas Legends" Series)   (2004)
Both titles on: DECCA 78-rpm album/EP/12" LPA 956 / Ed 819 (91463-91465) / Dl 8083 — Selections From Irving Berlin's White Christmas {Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Peggy Lee}   (1954)
DECCA 78 & 4529342 & 9 29342 — {Snow / White Christmas (Finale)}   (1954)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8044 — Selections From Irving Berlin's White Christmas {Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Peggy Lee}   (1954)





The White Christmas Album Sessions (Cross-references)

Decca dedicated five dates to the making of Selections From Irving Berlin's White Christmas, an album 'inspired' by the 1954 Paramount movie Irving Berlin's White Christmas. That film's top star, Bing Crosby, was also a top Decca artist. Three of the sessions (April 10, May 21 and September 9, 1954) featured him as the lead vocalist. There was also a session for Danny Kaye, another of the movies' stars, and a fifth session for Peggy Lee, who had not appeared on the film. In addition to that fifth session (May 24, 1954), Lee made guest appearances in the present one, too. For extended commentary, consult the notes under the next session.


Masters

1. Non-Lee Masters
Three masters were recorded during this April 10 date. Not listed above is "The Old Man / Gee, I Wish I Was Back In The Army," sung by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, without Peggy Lee.


Issues

1. Selections From Irving Berlin's White Christmas [LP] In The Music Charts
The December 25, 1954 issue of Billboard magazine shows a #2 peak for the EP version of Selections From Irving Berlin's White Christmas. The same peak was subsequently reached by the LP version, in the January 1, 1955 issue of the magazine. Decca's team of Crosby, Kaye, Lee, and Stevens were kept from the top spot by RCA Victor's soundtrack of the blockbuster film The Student Prince, starring Mario Lanza.

A general note. From 1945 to 1954, Billboard did not publish its album chart on a weekly basis. Besides being periodic, the chart was also very small: commonly, just five positions. Those two facts can severely limit attempts at pinpointing the popularity of positions for the period. It was not until late 1954 that this chart (then called Best Selling Popular Albums) became more of regular (biweekly) feature, and the number of slots were more consistently increased to fifteen.

Billboard's #2 peak is matched by Cash Box. In that magazine's Top 10 Best Selling Pop Albums, the LP and the EP are collective listed on that position for three weeks (December 25, 1954 to January 8, 1955). Herein, too, it was kept from the top by The Student Prince.


Date: May 24, 1954
Location: Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Joseph Lilley (con), Benny Carter (as), James "Jimmy" Rowles (p, v), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 7706Master Take (Decca) Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me - 2:56(Irving Berlin) / arr: Benny Carter
DECCA 78 & 4529250 & 9 29250 — {Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me / Sisters}   (1954)
DECCA 78-rpm album/EP/12" LPA 956 / Ed 819 (91463-91465) / Dl 8083 — Selections From Irving Berlin's White Christmas {Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Peggy Lee}   (1954)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8044 — Selections From Irving Berlin's White Christmas {Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Peggy Lee}   (1954)
b. L 7707Master Take (Decca) Sisters - 2:25(Irving Berlin)
DECCA 78 & 4529250 & 9 29250 — {Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me / Sisters}   (1954)
DECCA 78-rpm album/EP/12" LPA 956 / Ed 819 (91463-91465) / Dl 8083 — Selections From Irving Berlin's White Christmas {Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Peggy Lee}   (1954)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8044 — Selections From Irving Berlin's White Christmas {Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Peggy Lee}   (1954)
c. L 7708Master Take (Decca) It's Because We're In Love - 2:56(Peggy Lee) / arr: James "Jimmy" Rowles
DECCA©Universal Music Group CD(United Kingdom) 1130342 — CLASSICS & COLLECTIBLES   (2003)
All titles on: American Jazz Classics Public Domain CD(Spain) Ajc 99158 — The Benny Carter Sessions   (2017)





The White Christmas Album Sessions (Cross-references: Film)

The songs "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" and "Sisters" were originally written for the Paramount film Irving Berlin's White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. In the soundtrack of this cinematic musical, all four stars are heard singing. (In Vera-Ellen's case, her singing was actually dubbed by Trudy Stevens.)

When this Paramount film went into production, Peggy Lee was still signed to Warner Brothers. Her star-turn in The Jazz Singer had already made the rounds in movie theaters across the nation. Michael Curtiz had directed The Jazz Singer, and he would go on to direct Irving Berlin's White Christmas as well. In between these two films, however, his decades-long relationship with Warner Brothers had become fractured and litigious, leading to a change of the director's status from Warner Bros. stalwart to industry freelancer. Most of his freelance work would end up being for Paramount.

According to the March 12, 1953 issue of Variety, "Paramount wanted Peggy Lee for White Christmas, but Jack Warner was too mad at Mike Curtiz to let her go." If that report is true, then Rosemary Clooney would have been belatedly recruited for a role which was initially intended for Peggy Lee. (In addition to Paramount, others who would have probably wanted Lee on the movie role would have been Bing Crosby, and Decca Records. The former was her friendly, erstwhile radio boss, while the latter was the label which had both recording artists under contract.)

Taking advantage of the fact that not only Crosby but also Kaye was under their contract, Decca was naturally eager to release its own version of the soundtrack. Titled Selections From Irving Berlin's White Christmas, the Decca album features Crosby, Kaye, and Trudy Stevens, but not Rosemary Clooney, whose recording label was Columbia. (Meanwhile, Clooney's label had the opposite dilemma: no male stars under contract. The lack of testosterone worked to her benefit. In June of 1954, Clooney wounded up recording not only her own numbers, but also those that Crosby and Kaye sang in the film. Columbia released them on EP and 10" LP.)

Although Paramount was not able to borrow Peggy Lee from Warner Bros, she was still on board to record the lead female numbers for this Decca project. The present White Christmas date was entirely dedicated to her vocals. She can also be heard in an earlier date (April 10, 1954), for which she lent her pipes to two ensemble numbers.

In passing, it should be pointed out that the present session's third master ("It's Because We're In Love") bears no connection to the movie. Lee and her musicians probably took advantage of their joint presence at the studio to sneak in the number, which she composed, and which served as her pianist's debut as vocalist (on record).


Songs

1. "Sisters"
In the movie soundtrack, "Sisters" is sung by Rosemary Clooney and Trudy Stevens. In Columbia's album version of the soundtrack, it is performed as a duet between Rosemary Clooney and her real-life sister, Betty Clooney.

At Decca, Peggy Lee duetted with herself, playing the roles of both titular sisters. Lee humorously gives each sibling a different personality, mainly through the use of intonation. Intermittently, the "two Lees" are even heard in unison, thanks to the technique of doubletrack taping.

Lest confusion arises, I must stress the fact that Decca's version of "Sisters" is sung by Peggy Lee only. Various Public Domain CDs have wrongly asserted that Trudy Stevens is heard on this track. (For specific examples, read below, under Issues.) Stevens is certainly heard in some of the Deca album's other numbers -- just not on "Sisters."

2. "Sisters" In The Music Charts
One of Cash Box's nationwide charts, Disc-Hits Box Score, shows that the song "Sisters" achieved a #24 peak during the week ending October 16, 1954, and a nine-week stay in that national chart.

The rankings are collectively granted to both Rosemary Clooney's and Peggy Lee's versions, but an asterisk next to Clooney's recording is used to indicate that hers was, supposedly the top version. I suspect that the asterisk was misplaced. It might have been granted to Clooney on account of her being one of the artists who acted and sang on the movie from which the song comes. (Another factor might have been the fact that Clooney was hot on the charts during these years, with "This Ole House" reaching high on the top ten of charts nationwide.)

Amidst Cash Box's own regional reports, I found four top ten listings for the Peggy Lee version, and came across no listings for the Clooney version. The "Sister" Lee listings: #5 at WERE in Cleveland, Ohio (October 9) and #9 the following week, #6 at KGW in Portland, Oregon (October 16), and #10 at WILK in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (October 23).


Personnel (And Non-Lee Issues)

1. Jimmy Rowles, vocalist
2. Kinda Groovy! [LP]
Jimmy Rowles shares vocal duties with Peggy Lee on "It's Because We're In Love" only. To my knowledge, this duet was the pianist's very first vocal on record. It predates, by eight years, Rowles' one full album as vocalist, Kinda Groovy!.

Made for Capitol, that 1962 Rowles album has ties to Peggy Lee, too. According to its liner notes, Lee was the person who told producer Dave Cavanaugh about the pianist's singing ability and who urged Cavanaugh to give a listen to Rowles' voice. Startled by the producer's unexpected request, Rowles is said to have asked, "Who says that I can sing?" Cavanaugh's answer: "Peggy Lee."

(Nota bene: Kinda Groovy! was recorded on October 23, 24 and 26 of 1962. For the rest of the 1960s, Rowles confined his own recording activity to instrumental playing. Then, from the 1970s onwards, he sprinkled many of his piano albums with selected vocal tracks. The underrated musicians is estimated to have recorded as many as 60 vocals.)

2. Joseph Lilley
Although the credit "orchestra directed by Joseph Lilley" is found in the Decca single that contains Peggy Lee's versions of the songs "Love, You Didn't Right By Me" and "Sisters," I have my doubts about the involvement of Lilley in this particular session. It is very possible that he is credited only because those two songs are also part of the Decca album, whose others numbers he conducted. At any rate, I have circumscribed my doubts to this note. Otherwise, since Lilley is listed in both the Decca single and the master file, I have put my doubts aside, and thus entered his name in this session.


Issues

1. The Ultimate White Christmas [CD]
The British label Castle Pulse released a CD called The Ultimate White Christmas. Its track listing wrongly refers to this session's version of "Sisters" as a duet sung by Peggy Lee and Trudy Stevens. It is Lee who plays in song the roles of both titular sisters.

Incidentally, this Public Domain compact disc combines Decca's Selections From Irving Berlin's White Christmas with Rosemary Clooney's equivalent material for Columbia.

2. Classics And Collectibles [CD]
3. "Sisters" [Song]
Regrettably, two of the 52 tracks in the excellent CD set Classics And Collectibles suffer from significant mastering defects. Both defects occur in doubletracked numbers for which Peggy Lee overdubbed her voice, thereby duetting with herself: "The Siamese Cat Song" and this session's "Sisters."

For each of these numbers, only one of Lee's two voices is heard in the CD. Where her "other" voice is expected to come in, music fills in the spots. This defect could perchance prove a welcome curiosity among Peggy Lee collectors who already own other releases with the correct vocals in them. More casual listeners are advised to track down other CDs which contain them. (For additional comments about Classics And Collectibles, see also notes under session dated December 6, 1954.)


Date: May 26, 1954
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), The Sy Oliver Orchestra (acc), Benny Carter (as), Laurindo Almeida (g), Sammy Davis, Jr., Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 7713Master Take (Decca) Bouquet Of Blues - 3:14(Arthur Hamilton) / arr: Benny Carter
DECCA 78 & 4529373 & 9 29373 — {Let Me Go, Lover! / Bouquet Of Blues}   (1954)
DECCA©MCA CS/CDCs/Cd 2 11122 — BLACK COFFEE AND OTHER DELIGHTS; THE DECCA ANTHOLOGY   (1994)
Jazz Heritage Society/Amerco CS/CD524865 /M — Black Coffee And Other Delights; The Decca Anthology    (1997)
Blue Moon Licensed/Public Domain CD(Spain) Bmcd 3034 — A WOMAN ALONE WITH THE BLUES   (1997)
Backup Public Domain CD(Portugal) 73136 — Lover ("Essential Jazz Masters" Series)   (2007)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 3941 - P 3942 — Basic Music Library [2 Peggy Lee, 2 Sarah Vaughan vocals]   
b. L 7714Master Take (Decca) Love Letters - 2:44(Edward Heyman, Victor Popular Young) / arr: Victor Young
DECCA LPDxb 164 (4024-4025)/ Dxsb 7 164 [enhanced stereo] / 2 4049 [MCA] — The Best Of Peggy Lee [Reissued in 1966 and 1980]   (1960)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8356 — The Best Of Peggy Lee, Volume 2   (1961)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(Germany) Lpbm 87056 — The Best Of Peggy Lee   (1961)
c. L 7715Master Take (Decca) The Gypsy With Fire In His Shoes - 2:50(Laurindo Almeida, Peggy Lee)
DECCA 459 30117 — {Where Flamingos Fly / The Gypsy With Fire In His Shoes}   (1957)
DECCA 78(Japan) De 518 — {The Gypsy With Fire In His Shoes / Where Flamingos Fly}   (1957)
DECCA EP(Denmark/Sweden) Bme 9344 — Presenting Peggy Lee   (1957)
All titles on: American Jazz Classics Public Domain CD(Spain) Ajc 99158 — The Benny Carter Sessions   (2017)





Cross-references (Film)

1. "The Gypsy With Fire In His Shoes" [Song]
2. The Rawhide Years [Movie]
Composed by Laurindo Almeida and written by Peggy Lee, "The Gypsy With Fire In His Shoes" was featured in the Universal western The Rawhide Years, which was released in 1956. At the time of writing, Almeida was probably Lee's regular guitar player.





Personnel (And Musical Instruments)

1. Sammy Davis, Jr.
2. Dan Dailey
3. Parlando
"The Gypsy With Fire In His Shoes" features tap dancing. In her autobiography, Peggy Lee reports that "Dan Dailey tried to do a flamenco dance on the recording, but somehow it didn't work. Sammy Davis, Jr. came in, danced on a wooden platform, overdubbing, and this time it was perfect. Like he is." Sammy Davis, Jr. does not do any singing in this master, but he is indeed responsible for the heel dancing that is heard throughout.

Also credited to him are the exclamatory asides heard throughout the performance, all of them spoken in Spanish, ("¡Olé, olé!," "¡Esa gitana!," "¡Viva su gracia!," et cetera). Listeners versed in the language might understandably harbor doubts about this credit, because the speaker sounds like a native from Spain. However, Spain-based accents are very easily imitated by residents of other Spanish-speaking countries. As a Cuban-American with a known knack for vocal imitations, Davis Jr. would have had no trouble pulling it off.

Having listened to many of Davis' albums and concert performances, I am confident about my identification of his spoken voice as the one on record.

4. Laurindo Almeida
5. Guitars
Five guitarists are known to have played in this session's master of "Love Letters." Unfortunately, their names are not revealed on any of the information at hand. A near-certain candidate is Laurindo Almeida. He is known to have worked with Lee during her Decca years, and he shares a songwriting credit for another master from this date ("The Gypsy With Fire In His Shoes"). Hence I have tentatively included him in this session's personnel.


Arrangements

1. "Bouquet Of Blues"
The source for the "Bouquet Of Blues" arranging credit is the second edition of Ed Berger's text Benny Carter: A Life in American Music, co-written with Morroe Berger and James Patrick.

2. "Love Letters"
3. Mickey Ingalls
In addition to Victor Young's arrangement of "Love Letters" for this session, Peggy Lee's music sheet library contains a later one, by Mickey Ingalls.


Date: November 9, 1954
Location: Nola Recording Studio, 111 W 57th St., Floor #17, New York
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Sy Oliver (con), Gene DiNovi (p), Stella Castellucci (hrp), Peggy Lee, Donald Mills, Harry Mills, Herbert Mills, John Mills (v), The Mills Brothers (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 87041Master Take (Decca) It Must Be So - 2:52(Peggy Lee) / arr: Dave Barbour, Peggy Lee
DECCA©MCA CDMcad 11571 — The Best Of The Decca Years   (1997)
BMG MUSIC PUBLISHING CD[promo] Pub 016 — PEGGY LEE: SONGWRITER   (2001)
Asv/Living Era Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Aja 5644 — Lover   (2006)
b. 87042Master Take (Decca) Straight Ahead - 2:40(Peggy Lee) / arr: Gene DiNovi
Jasmine Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Jascd 579 — The Hits And More ...   (2011)
Both titles on: DECCA 78 & 4529359 & 9 29359 — {Straight Ahead / It Must Be So}   (1954)
DECCA©Universal Music Group CD(United Kingdom) 1130342 — CLASSICS & COLLECTIBLES   (2003)
Jasmine Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Jazzbox 31 — [The Mills Brothers] Straight Ahead!   (2014)
American Jazz Classics Public Domain CD(Spain) Ajc 99158 — The Benny Carter Sessions   (2017)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 4021 - P 4022 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   




Cross-references (Radio And Holiday Music)

1. Radio
The session’s harpist, Stella Castellucci, has made allusion to an event that took place shortly after this date. “The new songs were broadcast over the radio the very night they were recorded,” she tell us in her autobiography (Diving Deep For Sea Shells, written with Edgar Amaya).

If the songs made their public debut on the very same day in which they were recorded, then there is a good chance that they were intended for a special occasion. Also potentially indicative of a special situation is the choice of recording venue: the present discography shows no other session conducted at Nola. (Bear in mind, however, that the location of many Lee session still remains unknown or uncertain.)

Unfortunately, I do not know which radio show (or particular occasion) it was. A charity event is a strong possibility. In that regard, it is worth noting that one of the session's two songs ("Straight Ahead") was picked to be the opening number of a transcribed March of Dimes radio show that was broadcast in January of 1955. See images below. It could be that, back on November 9, 1954, a similar March of Dimes program had had its premiere, too.




2. A Holiday Single?
Decca #29359 ( "It Must Be So" / "Straight Ahead") came out in December of 1953. The month chosen for release leaves me to wonder if the single was considered to be a seasonal offering. Albeit neither composition ranks as a holiday number in the strict sense of the term, both songs are imbued in the season's spirit of sharing, caring, and being hopeful. Essentially a spiritual, "Straight Ahead" is a fast and fervent hand clapper with a message of encouragement (namely: do not let trouble and disappointment weigh you down in life; keep on moving toward the potentially better pastures lying ahead). Similarly, "It Must Be So" unrelentingly celebrates the joys of living and loving.


Songs

1. "It Must Be So" In The Regional Charts
According to Cash Box, thIs number had a #9 peak during the week ending January 29, 1954 .


Personnel

1. Stella Castellucci
The participation of Stella Castellucci in this session was casually corroborated by the musician herself. I do hear her harp, playing a relatively fast beat, in "Straight Ahead."

2. Gene DiNovi
At this point in time, Gene DiNovi was serving as Lee's regular pianist at her nightclub gigs. His participation in the present session has not been fully corroborated, but I deem it highly likely. (As will be discussed next, he is strongly suspected to be the arranger of one of the date's performances, too.)


Arrangements

1. Gene DiNovi
2. "Straight Ahead"
Decca's Peggy Lee files do not identify the arrangers of the songs that she recorded for the label. Readers might thus question why I have credited Gene DiNovi with the arrangement of "Straight Ahead." The basis for this credit is the fact that Lee kept a DiNovi arrangement of "Straight Ahead" in her personal library of music. Bear in mind, however, that her personal arrangement has yet to be closely inspected and compared to this session's performance. Hence the present credit must be deemed tentative, albeit very likely to be correct.

3. Dave Barbour & Peggy Lee
4. "It Must Be So"
As already explained, arrangers are not credited or identified in Decca's artist files. In the particular case of the song "It Must Be So," I have credited Dave Barbour and Peggy Lee because an arrangement of the song -- specifying that they arranged it -- exists in Capitol's library of music scores. (That arrangement was the one used for the Decca recording. Or so states an existent music score master list, ably prepared by Daniel A. Henderson at the institution that is the collection's current holder, Brigham Young University.)

An odd situation is at play. "It Must Be So" was recorded for Decca yet its arrangement was kept at Capitol. I can only speculate about the reasons for such a state of affairs. As one of various possible scenarios, I am wondering if "It Must Be So" could have been originally written back in the mid- or late 1940s, when Lee and her husband were under Capitol contract. In this hypothetical scenario, a Capitol recording of the song would have been considered or even attempted but the project would have been ultimately scratched. Years later, Lee would have proceeded to resurrect the song for her Decca collaboration with The Mills Brothers.

To go further into the realm of speculation, could it be that both the song and its arrangement were originally conceived to be used in the movie Tom Thumb, for which Barbour and Lee were enlisted to compose songs? (Although that movie was not filmed until the 1950s, it had actually been in pre-production since the 1940s.) The message of "It Must Be So" would have certainly been suitable for a children's movie.


Location

1. Source
The identification of the location at which this date was held was possible thanks to the aforementioned Stella Castellucci, who played harp on "Straight Ahead and confidently remembered that the song was recorded at Nola.


Date: November 18, 1954
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Gordon Jenkins And His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Unknown (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 7989Master Take (Decca) Let Me Go, Lover! - 3:02(Jenny Lou Carson, Al Hill)
DECCA 78 & 4529373 & 9 29373 — {Let Me Go, Lover! / Bouquet Of Blues}   (1954)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(Germany) Lpbm 87056 — The Best Of Peggy Lee   (1961)
DECCA©MCA LP(Japan) P 11546 — Peggy Lee Deluxe ("Deluxe" MCA Series)   (1985)




Songs And Songwriters

1. Jenny Lou Carson
2. "Let Me Go, Devil"
3. "Al Hill"
In 1945, country singer-songwriter Jenny Lou Carson became the first female to pen a #1 country hit. Tex Ritter, the pioneer country singer and western film star, topped the chart with her composition "You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often." Eight years later, Hank Williams' long battle with alcoholism and untimely death (January 1, 1953) inspired Jenny Lou to write a tune which she called "Let Me Go, Devil." The devil in question was the bottle. Not surprisingly, Capitol's Tex Ritter was among those who recorded this number in 1953. Neither his version nor several others, mostly by country artists (Wade Ray, Johnny Bond, Hank Snow; Decca's popster Georgie Shaw), managed to make the charts.

Still working on its promotion, the song's music publishing house (Hill & Range) tried to pique the interest of Columbia A&R man Mitch Miller. The Man was not sold on "Let Me Go, Devil." He turned the song down because its lyric did not strike him as commercially appealing. He did like the music, though. Confident that they could change his mind, the publishing house acted fast. Three songwriters quickly got together for the purpose of turning in a new, more romantic and safer-sounding lyric.

Dressed with new words, "Let Me Go, Devil" mutated into "Let Me Go, Lover." Paradoxically, credit for the rewritten lyrics went to only one songwriter, named Al Hill. In reality, "Al Hill" was not a person but Hill & Range's blanket pseudonym for the men involved in the re-writing: Kay Twomey, Bernie Weisman, Fred Wise and, more indirectly, Mitch Miller himself.




Cross-references (Television)

At this point in time, Mitch Miller's activities included not only signing artists and producing their sessions for Columbia but also helping choose the music to be featured on CBS-TV shows such as Studio One (a then-popular "drama of the week" anthological series). Satisfied with the new version of "Let Me Go, Devil," he convinced the producers of Studio One to use the tune on an upcoming episode of Studio One.

To premiere the lyrics, the A&R man chose a teen-aged discovery of his, named Joan Weber. According to Miller himself, his intention was to cut the tune “with a voice nobody knew, so the [TV] audience wouldn’t be distracted from the story line.” He saw a perfect candidate in Weber. To his ears, the teenager "sounded like every girl you ever heard singing behind the counter in a five and-dime store.” (She was merely 18 years old and just out of high school, albeit already pregnant and married.)

Named after the song, the episode of Studio One had as its main characters an elusive murderer and the disc jockey whom he enjoyed antagonizing. While stealthily moving in and out of the dj's radio station, the murderer relished turning the turntables on to his favorite record, "Let Me Go, Lover." The upshot of this plot device was that the song was played six times during the one-hour episode of the then-popular TV series. Hammered over and over with the tailor-made number, audiences started to clamor to hear it again. Radio stations were inundated with hundreds of requests, and record dealers ordered 500,000 copies within the two weeks that followed the telecast. (A canny marketer, Miller had already sent out 20,000 copies to distributors, in advance of the episode's November 15 telecast.) "Let Me Go, Lover" became a huge 1954-1955 success for Columbia Records, reaching the top of the music charts and passing the million mark in sales.

"Let Me Go, Lover" is said to have been the first TV hit single ever. (As is often the case for claims about primacy, this one is overstated, or at least in need of several asterisks. Previous interpretations that had become hits after TV exposure included "I Believe," "Eh Cumpari," and a couple of show themes, "The Syncopated Clock" and "Dragnet.") At a time when the tube was still emerging as a weapon for mass consumption, the number's meteoric rise to the top of the charts put into relief the medium's huge potential as music advertisement.


Songs

1. "Let Me Go, Lover" In The Music Charts
In the footsteps of Columbia's and Mitch Miller's huge hit, most of the other record labels rushed to compete with versions of the same number. One or two artists from each label's roster was picked and requested to cover the bestseller. At Lee's former label (Capitol), Dean Martin was designated as the "cover boy." At Decca, Lee was asked to be the "cover girl." (Georgie Shaw's "Let Me Go, Devil" version was also hurriedly re-released by Decca.) From the perspective of a Billboard reviewer who was not enthused with Peggy Lee's version (being far more enthusiastic about the Decca single's B side, "Bouquet Of Blues"), her recording of "Let Me Go, Lover" had been released "much too late ... to get a token of the share of the action."

The reviewer was proven to be somewhat (not entirely) off the mark on all counts. "Let Me Go, Lover" became Peggy Lee' ninth hit for Decca Records. According to Joel Whitburn's chart tabulations, her version peaked at #26 after debuting in the charts for the week of December 18, 1954, the same week on which the Billboard review was published. However, four competing versions by up-and-coming female vocalists did place higher: Weber's chart-topper (Columbia), Teresa Brewer's (#6, Coral), Patti Page's (#8, Mercury), and Sunny Gale's (#17, RCA). It is thus possible that, as the reviewer theorized, the Decca-Lee offering was showing up a bit too late.

On the other hand, about a dozen additional interpretations competed for chart action in the United States, but fell short any mark. One of those was Dean Martin's aforementioned recording on Capitol, which fared immensely better in the United Kingdom (#3), thus besting all other competing renditions there, including Weber's (#16) and the native favorite, by Ruby Murray (#5). Two additional versions would make the UK charts in subsequent decades.

Clear indication of the song's sensational success can be found in Cash Box's Disc-Hits Box Score, where it took merely three weeks to shoot up to the top (week ending December 18, 1954). It stayed only two weeks at #1, dethroned by two other similarly popular tunes of the day, "Mr. Sandman" and "Melody Of Love." In the same magazine's , "Let Me Go, Lover" also scored two weeks at the top (January 15 and 22, 1955). A third Cash Box listing, The Ten Records Disc Jockeys Played Most This Week pinpoints the versions by Weber, Brewer, and Page as the ones deserving of the honor.


Date: November 19, 1954
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Victor Young (con), Victor Young And His Singing Strings (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Unknown (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 7990Master Take (Decca) How Bitter, My Sweet - 3:01(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Don George)
DECCA 78 & 4529429 & 9 29429 — {I Belong To You / How Bitter, My Sweet}   (1955)
DECCA©Columbia EP(Spain) Ecge ?70925 — La Dama Y El Vagabundo (Lady And The Tramp)   (1956)
DECCA EP/LPEd 2401 / Dl 8316 (rel. ca. 1956) — [Various Artists] The Feminine Touch ("Music For The Boy Friend" Series)   (1956)



Date: December 6, 1954
Location: Disney Studio?, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Victor Young And His Orchestra (acc), Marty Paich (p), Peggy Lee (v), The Walt Disney Chorus (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 8040Master Take (Disney/Decca) Bella Notte - 3:07(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee) / arr: Victor Young
DECCA 78 & 4529460 & 9 29460 — {Bella Notte / La La Lu [edit]}   (1955)
DECCA 78 & 45(Japan) De 346 & D45 346 — {La La Lu / Bella Notte}   (1955)
DECCA EP/(10") LPEd 728 (91505-91506)/Dl 5557 — Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1955)
b. L 8041Master Take (Disney/Decca) Peace On Earth / Silent Night - 3:09(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee, Franz Gruber, Joseph Mohr)
DECCA EP/(10") LPEd 728 (91505-91506)/Dl 5557 — Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1955)
DECCA©Brunswick (10") LP(United Kingdom) La 8731 — Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1955)
DECCA©Cid EP(France) Eus 100 558 — La Belle Et Le Clochard (Lady And The Tramp)   (1956)
c. L 8042Master Take (Disney/Decca) La La Lu - 4:10(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee) / arr: Victor Young
DECCA EP/(10") LPEd 728 (91505-91506)/Dl 5557 — Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1955)
DECCA©Brunswick (10") LP(United Kingdom) La 8731 — Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1955)
DECCA©Columbia EP(Spain) Ecge 70170 — La Dama Y El Vagabundo (Lady And The Tramp)   (1956)
d. 87455Edit La La Lu [Shortened Single Version] - 3:00(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee) / arr: Victor Young
DECCA 78 & 4529460 & 9 29460 — {Bella Notte / La La Lu [edit]}   (1955)
DECCA 78 & 45(Japan) De 346 & D45 346 — {La La Lu / Bella Notte}   (1955)
DECCA 78 & 45K 149 (88186) / 1 275 (9-88186) — From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp ("Children's Series") {The Siamese Cat Song / La La Lu}   (1955)
e. unknownMaster Take (Disney) La La Lu [Shortened Film Version] - 1:34(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, possibly Peggy Lee)
DISNEY CS/CD5008 60951 0 0 / 5008 60951 7 9 — Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1997)
DISNEY CD861428 — Disney's Lady And The Tramp And Friends   (2006)
DISNEY CDD002066192 — Lady And The Tramp ("The Legacy Collection" Series)   (2015)
f. L 8043Master Take (Disney/Decca) What Is A Baby? - 4:17(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee) / arr: Victor Young
DECCA EP/(10") LPEd 728 (91505-91506)/Dl 5557 — Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1955)
DECCA©Brunswick (10") LP(United Kingdom) La 8731 — Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1955)
DECCA©Columbia EP(Spain) Ecge 70169 — La Dama Y El Vagabundo (Lady And The Tramp)   (1956)
g. L 88894Edit What Is A Baby? [Shortened Version] - 3:07(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee) / arr: Victor Young
DECCA 459 38005 — {Peace On Earth-Silent Night / What Is A Baby [edit]}   




Cross-references: Film

1. Lady And The Tramp: The Movie And Its Music Score
Though in gestation since the early 1940s, the Disney classic Lady And The Tramp did not begin production until 1952. On that year, Sonny Burke was enrolled to compose the film's score. In addition to being a established music composer, Burke was an A&R man at Decca Records, where he had recently signed Peggy Lee to a long-term contract. For her part, Lee was not only a established singer but also a young lyricist with several self-penned hits already under her belt. Around June of 1952, Burke co-enlisted Lee to work with him on the Disney film's score. Together, Burke and Lee wrote ten songs inspired by the movie's storyboards.

2. Peggy Lee's Contributions To Lady And The Tramp
Lee's work on this animated film was not restricted to lyric writing, however. She played four of the movie's characters: a human, a canine, and a pair of felines. Under these characters' guises, she sang three numbers on the movie's soundtrack, too. (All three were part of the aforementioned batch of songs co-written by Lee with Burke. As for the rest of their compositions, most of them also made it into the soundtrack, in versions sung by the acts who impersonated the various other characters in the film.) More incidentally, the singer-songwriter contributed one significant modification to the story's plot: a character slated to die was revived after Lee tearfully protested that his demise was too sad to bear. The film Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp made its theatrical debut in 1955, at which time Lee naturally did a substantial amount of promotion on its behalf, too.

3. Disney's Records Deals
Any current Walt Disney aficionado will be well acquainted with the various Disney-owned music labels through which the soundtracks have been regularly released to the buying public. None of those Disney labels existed, however, during the first three decades of the company's life. From the silent era to the mid-1950s, Disney shared its hold over soundtrack music with the established record companies of the time (Capitol, Columbia, Decca and, more commonly, RCA Victor). The latter prepared, pressed and distributed any commercial versions of the soundtrack. Such pressings could contain the actual music heard on the soundtrack (music which would have been recorded at Disney's studios), or a new version of the soundtrack's music (which would have been waxed at the studios of the recording company) ... or a combination of both.

Naturally, contractual deals between Disney and the record labels were firmly at play -- deals which must have involved their fair share of mutual compromise. Label identification was one aspect evidently ruled by compromise. Rather than Disney's logo, each of the albums in question bears the imprint of the record label that released it. A Disney copyright tag can be found, but it is typically in very tiny print. On the other hand, the titles of these albumsprominently include the possessive phrase "Walt Disney's," through which it is made clear that they are directly linked to, and approved by, the Walt Disney film company.

Disney terminated most of the above-described deals after its establishment of Disneyland Records in 1956. Disney further reinforced this newly gained hegemony with the creation of yet another music label, Buena Vista Records, in 1959. (Certain distribution deals continued to take place, however. A few remained active until recently. For example, Universal served as the distributor of Disney's music in the United States during the first decade of the twenty-first century. In the United Kingdom, a similar role was performed by EMI around the same time.)





4. Lady And The Tramp: Albums & Singles Releases From Decca And Disney
In 1955, music from the score of Lady And The Tramp was released on Decca, the label to which both Sonny Burke and Peggy Lee were contracted. Through that year, Decca issued such music on multiple configurations: 78-rpm & 45-rpm discs, EP (pictured above, on top), and 10" LP (also on top above).

All of the above-listed material thus came into the market one year before the foundation of Disneyland Records. On its March 26, 1955 issue, Billboard magazine reported that the 10" LP (and by extension, the other configurations) "combine[d] sound track vocals and instrumentals from the picture with sides recorded specially for Decca by Miss Lee ..."

A 12" LP came out next, in 1957. It is an expanded version of the 10" LP that had been issued in 1955. The images up above display both the 10" and 12" LP versions.

Eventually (1975), the 12" LP would be reissued on one of Disney's own labels, Buena Vista. It would never be reissued, however, on the company's main US label, Disneyland Records (renamed Walt Disney Records in more recent decades).

Instead, Disneyland Records followed three other courses of action. The main course was to re-record the numbers from the original soundtrack, hiring less well-known singers to take on the vocals originally sung by Peggy Lee and other feature film acts. In most cases, the singers substituting for Peggy Lee were Marilyn Hooven, Robie Lester, and Teri York.

Another common undertaking on Disneyland's part was the release of narratives of the film's story. (One example is the 1962 Disneyland Records LP Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp, from the company's "Magic Mirrors" series. That album's narrator was Ginny Tyler. In addition, labels such as Capitol released their own narration LPs.)

An alternative less commonly used by Disneyland Records was to mix their re-recordings with actual numbers from the soundtrack.

A challenge is thus faced by Peggy Lee fans interested in collecting Disney-label albums on which she sings. In some of such albums, Lee's role as songwriter is deceptively used to credit her on the front or back cover, without any specifications as to the nature of the credit. Fans assuming and anticipating that Lee would sing in the given album could end up feeling duped.

A more visual illustration of the above-discussed matters can be found in this discography's pictorial Decca page (section III and Miscellanea at the bottom of the page).




The Lady And The Tramp Sessions

Peggy Lee participated in five sessions dedicated to material from Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp. They took place on December 6 and 20, 1954; February 11, 1955; December 20, 1956; and January 10, 1957. (A sixth session, dated November 7, 1955, has not been entered in this discography. To find out the reasons why I have omitted it, see entry about "What Is A Baby" below, under Masters, point #4.)

The general purpose of all five dates was to record the film's main songs for commercial release on record. Early sessions showcased the voices of various film participants -- Peggy Lee being the main star among them. The resulting masters were issued not only on 78-rpm and 45-rpm singles but also on EP and 10" LP. The last two configurations came out in 1955.

Later sessions featured Peggy Lee only. Those aimed at supplying additional numbers for an expanded, 12" version of the original 10" LP. The expanded album was released in 1957 -- two years after the movie's premiere.

Two of the dates were singles sessions. The earliest (December 20, 1954) featured two of the three songs that Lee herself sings in the movie. In addition to being issued on a Decca single, they were also included on the 1954 EP and 10" LP. The second singles date (February 11, 1955) was a special one. During that date, Lee recorded the same two songs as on the December 20, 1954 session, but with different accompaniment. Those 1955 versions were also issued on a Decca single.

Photo above: Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke, probably rehearsing one of the songs that they co-wrote for the Walt Disney film Lady And The Tramp. Their location on this particular photo is not Decca's studios but a room at Disney's studios.


Masters

1. Location Of The Masters
The master tapes for this and all Lady And The Tramp sessions are kept in the vaults at Universal, current owner of the Decca catalogue. Or rather, they were kept there while in existence. in 2008, a devastating fire idestroyed an untold portion of Universal's film and music tape library. Fortunately, a portion of the lost masters had been already digitally safeguarded and another portion survived in dupes. (However, it is widely believed that a very significant amount of recorded material is lost forever. Despite the company's public minimization of its losses, any session tapes, alternate takes, and unissued performances once lying in the vaults are now believed to have been vanished from existence in any shape or form.)

For its part, Disney has kept the film's reels. Disney has also kept production reels, which contain both vocal and choral tracks, along with music cues. This material includes Peggy Lee's vocals for "La La Lu," "He's A Tramp," and "The Siamese Cat Song" as heard on the film's soundtrack. See also note about masters, multitracking and editing, under session dated December 20, 1954.



2. "Peace On Earth / Silent Night"
Decca master L 8041 consists of a conceptually clever medley. "Peace On Earth," a Burke-Lee composition," is performed together with the holiday classic "Silent Night." To be more specific, the medley alternate between each, interspersing the first chorus of "Silent Night" amidst the lines from "Peace On Earth." Moreover, the meter of "Silent Night" has undergone a suitable modification, from its original 6/8 to 4/4. Vocally, Lee receives backing from the so-called Walt Disney Chorus, which takes over some of the lines. (She still sings lyrics from both songs, though.)

3. "La La Lu"
Decca's files list two "La La Lu" masters, L 8042 and 87455. The former is the master heard in the original Decca LP. The latter is an edited, shortened version of the former.

This edit must have been created for the purpose of releasing "La La Lu" on Decca single. Since master L 8402 clocks in at over four minutes, it must have been deemed unsuitable for release on 45-rpm and 78-rpm discs. Hence an edit had to be made for inclusion in Decca 9 29460, the 45-rpm single that is pictured below. (I should acknowledge that I have not listened to the single in question -- not, at least, in its original US edition. I have listened, though, to an audio transfer of its British 78-rpm counterpart, Brunswick 05483. My thanks to fellow fan Brian Weber for facilitating my listening of the British issue. At the time of this writing, the audio of the British single can be heard on YouTube.)

In Decca's files, both master L 8402 and edit 87455 are given the same date, yet a different location. The 4:10 version is found among Decca's LA masters; the edit among the label's NY masters. Despite the files' assignation of the same date in both cases, I am more inclined to think that the edit was created at a later date -- perhaps 1955, rather than 1954. Pointing to the year 1955 is the positioning of the edit in the New York files: between masters that are dated February 15, 1955 and February 16, 1955. (Lest I add more confusion, I should point out that those February 15 and February 16 masters are not by Lee, but by other Decca artists.) A February date makes perfect sense when we further take into account that March 21, 1955 was the day scheduled for the release of Decca single 29460.

Another clarification that should be made herein: the version of "La La Lu" heard in the Disney movie is neither of the two under discussion. Clocking in at 1:34, the soundtrack version is even shorter than the Decca edit. It was sung and recorded expressly for the movie. Although it is not part of Decca's log files, I have included it above mainly for clarification purposes. I do not know its recording date; my somewhat deceptive listing of it in this session is meant to be a temporary measure. (This Disney master will eventually be moved to the discography's Movie Soundtracks page, which I have yet to put together.)

Besides timing, the 1:34 soundtrack version has a vocal coda that is different from the other two versions. In the Decca master and its edit, Peggy Lee closes with the spoken line "good night, little star sweeper." In the movie soundtrack, her spoken line is instead "there now, little star sweeper, dream on." Yet another difference pertains to an additional lyric line, rendered as "fold up your wings for tonight" on the Decca single, but as "fold up your wings, close your eyes" in the movie soundtrack.




4. "What Is A Baby?"
Decca's files list two "What Is A Baby?" masters, L 8043 and 88894. The former is the master heard in the original Decca LP. I believe that the latter is an edited, shortened version of the former. (Regrettably, I have not been able to actually listened to master 88894, nor do I know of anyone who has does so.)

An edit would have been created for the purpose of releasing the number on a Decca single. Such a purpose could have not been served by aaster L 8043: clocking in at 4:17, it was too long to fit on a 78-rpm or 45-rpm disc. Pictured above is the only issue known to contain the presumed edit: Decca 9 38005. Its physical label states that the performance clocks in at 3:10.

As already established, master L 8043 was recorded in Los Angeles on December 6, 1954. As for master 88894, it is not listed
under that date in Decca's logs, nor is it identified as an LA production. It is listed instead in the label's New York master files, under the date November 7, 1955.

I am taking some liberties with the sessioning of master #88894. Since I believe it to be an edit rather than a freshly recorded master, I have opted for to incorporating it to the present date, and to skip the creation of a November 7, 1955 session. Part of the rationale behind my decision pertains to Peggy Lee's assumed absence from said "session." The making of an edit would have not required her presence in the studio; the NY sate is likelier to have called for just record engineers and A&R men. (My decision also aims at easing the viewer's perusal of the information about the two "What is A Baby?" masters. By including both the original master and its presumed edit in the same session, I'm simply duplicating the procedure that the Decca files followed for "La La Lu." Of course, one has to wonder why Decca failed to follow such a procedure in both cases ... For what is worth, lapses in logic and occasional errors are far from rare in the company's files.)

This note's readers might also be wondering about the film's soundtrack version of "What Is A Baby?," and its connection with Decca. Neither of the Decca masters discussed above contains the soundtrack version which is even shorter (8 bars) than the other two. More importantly, it is not sung by Peggy Lee. Because Lady was the character to which the number was assigned, the person who sings it in the movie is Barbara Luddy, the actress in charge of voicing the female canine.


Personnel

1. The Walt Disney Chorus
The chorus performs on "Peace On Earth/Silent Night" only.


Songs

1. "La La Lu" In The Italian An American Music Charts
According to tabulations made by the online project HitParadeItalia, Peggy Lee's version of "La La Lu" ranks 86th among Italy's bestselling songs of 1956. Though those tabulations were made in current times, they do rely on 1956 data. At the very least, they point to a measure of international interest in "La La Lu" during that year. Naturally, the success of the movie Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp must have accounted for some of the attention bestowed on the song in 1956. Italian listeners must have also been aware of -- and interested in -- Lee's singing, because two other singles of hers had enjoyed chart action during the previous year. (See sessions dated March 1, 1954 and January 19, 1955.) Meanwhile, in the United States, a single that featured "La La Lu" on its B side topped the Children's chart. for detail see notes under next session.





Issues

1. Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp [LP] In The Music Charts
2. Decca K-149 [Single] In The Music Charts
The July 23, 1955 issue of Billboard magazine contains a 15-slot chart called Best Selling Children Records. At #10 is an item listed as follows: "10. The Lady And The Tramp - Peggy Lee ...... Decca." The listed item is presumably Lee's 10"LP on Decca Records. Unfortunately, Billboard has neglected to type the entry's catalogue number. (All other 14 entries include catalogue number.) See also note about a concurrently charting 45-rpm single (featuring "La La Lu"), under session dated February 11, 1955.

3. Decca #38005 [Single]
This single was not listed in the Peggy Lee session files that I originally consulted. I have two other sources to thank for my awareness of its existence: Michel Ruppli's The Decca Labels: A Discography and Charles Garrod's Decca New York Masters, Volume 7 (8700-8999). Incidentally, Garrod's text states that this master was "not used." If he meant that it was not issued at all, then Garrod's assertion is erroneous. (Check the above-shown picture of a promotional copy.)

4. Decca #29433 [Single]
I am mentioning this single only for the purposes of clarifying its contents, and thus saving Lee fans from assuming that Lee sings on it. On one side of the single, Victor Young And His Singing Strings perform "Bella Notte" as an instrumental. In other words, Peggy Lee's involvement in this single is as songwriter only -- not as a vocalist. (The song on the single's flip side is the theme from "The Medic," also an instrumental performance by Young And His Singing Strings.)

5. Classics And Collectibles [CD]
Although the excellent 2-CD set Classics And Collectibles officially contains 52 tracks, some early pressings feature only 50. Missing are "Bella Notte" and the medley of "Peace On Earth/Silent Night." Prospective buyers are thus advised to inquire about the total number of tracks before ordering any copies up for auction or sale. (Also worth noting: all pressings of the set contain a mixing defect that affects two tracks, "The Siamese Cat Song" and "Sisters." For details about that defect, see notes about Issues under the sessions dated May 24, 1954 and December 6, 1954.)


Arrangements

1. Marty Paich
Other that the orchestra leader, this session's individual players are not identified in Decca's files. On the basis of two sources in which he is identified as such, I have incorporated Marty Paich as the piano player. The two sources also credit him with arranging numbers from Lady And The Tramp, but neither specifies which numbers they were.

One of the two sources is David Meeker's book Jazz On Screen. My other source is the following biographical account, found in Paich's estate-run website: "[a]fter finishing his formal studies, Paich took a series of jobs in the Los Angeles music and recording industry. These included arranging (and playing) the score for the Disney Studio's full length cartoon film The Lady and The Tramp [sic], working as accompanist for vocalist Peggy Lee." Contrary to what the phrasing and sequencing of events in the website's otherwise fine write-up might suggest, Paich work for Lady And The Tramp would have not been a separate matter from his work with Peggy Lee. His involvement in the score would have stemmed from the fact that he was her pianist at the time.

Given the lack of specifics in either of my sources, Paich's involvement in this session should be considered likely, but still tentative.


Acknowledgments

I want to give special thanks to two fellow Peggy Lee fans, Lucas Tuinstra and Steve Dodd, for the invaluable help that they provided during my research of the Lady And The Tramp sessions. In addition to discussing those sessions with me, Lucas taped various versions of each song in succession, so that I could more easily compare them. For his part, Steve Dodd clarified some significant details pertaining to the various issues of "He's A Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song." I am also thankful to Brian Weber, for pointing out an error in a previous edition of the discography -- an error caused by my preliminary, too-hasty incorporation of details about the soundtrack versions. (At the time of this writing, I have yet to research and create a film page for the Peggy Lee Discography. My grasp of the soundtrack material is still an ongoing process. In any case, the aforementioned error has been corrected.)


Date: December 20, 1954
Location: Disney Studio?, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Oliver Wallace (con), Unknown (b, d, cym), Sonny Burke (p, chi, mar), Peggy Lee (gng, bel, v), The Mellomen {Bill Lee, Thurl Ravenscroft, Max Smith, Bob Stevens} (bkv)

a. 87268Master Take (Disney/Decca) He's A Tramp - 1:35(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee)
DISNEY CS/CD5008 60951 0 0 / 5008 60951 7 9 — Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1997)
CAPITOL©EMI CS/CD(United Kingdom) 7243 5 27818 4 3 / 7243 5 27818 2 9 — THE VERY BEST OF PEGGY LEE   (2000)
Disky Licensed CD(Netherlands) Si 903647 /Cb 904361 — Here's Peggy Lee ("The Here's Series," Volume 1)   (2006)
DISNEY CD861428 — Disney's Lady And The Tramp And Friends   (2006)
Plaza Mayor Public Domain commercial CDr/MP3(United Kingdom) __ — The Collection   (2011)
DISNEY CDD002066192 — Lady And The Tramp ("The Legacy Collection" Series)   (2015)
b. 87268-duplicate?Take Variant (Decca/Disney) He's A Tramp - 2:10(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee)
DECCA 78 & 4529427 & 9 29427 — {He's A Tramp / The Siamese Cat Song} [version #1]   (1955)
DECCA EP/(10") LPEd 728 (91505-91506)/Dl 5557 — Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1955)
DECCA©Brunswick (10") LP(United Kingdom) La 8731 — Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1955)
c. 87270Master Take (Disney/Decca) The Siamese Cat Song - 2:07(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee)
DECCA 78 & 4529427 & 9 29427 — {He's A Tramp / The Siamese Cat Song} [version #1]   (1955)
DECCA EP/(10") LPEd 728 (91505-91506)/Dl 5557 — Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1955)
DECCA©Brunswick (10") LP(United Kingdom) La 8731 — Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp   (1955)




The Lady And The Tramp Sessions (Cross-references)

1. Sessions
This was the second of five Peggy Lee dates dedicated to songs written for the Disney movie Lady And The Tramp. A list of the other dates can be found under the previous session, dated December 6, 1954.

2. Additional Decca Versions Of "He's A Tramp" And "The Siamese Cat Song"
Both of this date's songs were re-recorded by Peggy Lee on February 7, 1955. Just as this date's pair was issued by Decca on a single, so were the re-recordings. For further discussion, see notes under that 1955 date.


Personnel

1. Oliver Wallace And Cast
The present session was actually shared by the members of the Lady And The Tramp cast. Oliver Wallace, the session's conductor, is also
credited as the date's leader in Decca's files.

Furthermore, Decca's master files list Wallace as sharing vocal duties with Peggy Lee in "The Siamese Cat Song." Nevertheless, no such Wallace vocal has been located in any Decca issue, nor in the movie's soundtrack. In all versions, the only voice who sings the parts of both cats is Lee's. (Perhaps the files point to an original plan to have Wallace sing one of the roles -- a plan later discarded?)

2. The Disney Chorus And Orchestra
Decca's files also indicate that The Orchestra accompanies the cast on all of this session's masters. Nevertheless, no orchestra is audible in Peggy Lee's numbers. I have thus abstained from including The Orchestra as part of the personnel of Lee's masters.

3. The Mellomen / The Pound Hounds
As indicated in the personnel listed above, this session's edition of The Mellomen featured Bill Lee, Thurl Ravenscroft, Max Smith, and Bob Stevens. (At Capitol in 1949, Peggy Lee had worked with an earlier edition of the group. That edition included Ravenscroft, Lee, and Smith, but not Stephens.)

In Decca's files, The Mellomen are not identified by their stage name, but are instead billed as The Pound Hounds, which is a reference to the animated characters whose roles the men sing in the movie. They perform on "He's A Tramp" only, not on "The Siamese Cat Song."


Musical Instruments

1. "He's A Tramp"
"He's A Tramp" features unknown rhythm accompaniment, and also cymbals.

2. "The Siamese Cat Song"
"The Siamese Cat Song" features gong, bells, chimes, and marimba, borrowed from Disney's sound effects department. Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke are seen playing those instruments in the special Walt Disney's Cavalcade Of Song, televised in 1955. That TV program gave viewers a recreation of the recording session. (See also page for Television Broadcasts, once it opens for viewing.)





Issues

1. "The Siamese Cat Song" In Stereo [Song]
2. "He's A Tramp" In So-Called Stereo [Song]
3. Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp [Disney CD]
4. Disney's Lady And The Tramp And Friends [Disney CD]
5. The Very Best Of Peggy Lee [EMI CD]
6. Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp [Buena Vista LP]
7. {He's A Tramp / Home, Sweet Home} [Buena Vista 45]

The Lady and the Tramp soundtrack sessions were recorded in mono only. However, a stereo version of "The Siamese Cat Song" was newly created in 1997 by Randy Thornton, producer of the CD Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp. Once Thornton discovered that the song's two feline vocals had been recorded in different tapes, he was able to create a stereo effect by keeping the vocals separate.

In addition to the original Disney CD (pictured above), Thornton's stereo tracks have been included in two other CDs, EMI's The Very Best Of Peggy Lee (also pictured above) and Disney's compilation Disney's Lady And The Tramp And Friends.

Issues on Disney's Buena Vista label are supposedly in stereo as well, but those are in reality 'fake' or mock stereo releases.

8. Lady And The Tramp [Disneyland LP Dq 1231]
9. Walt Disney Presents The Story And Songs From Lady And The Tramp (Disneyland LP #3917; Includes 12-page color booklet)
10. Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp ... Plus Walt Disney's Mr. Toad And Rob Roy [Capitol LP J 3260]

Contrary to what some sources suggest, the three LPs that I just listed do not feature Peggy Lee on vocals. Certainly, they contain songs from the movie. But they are sung by singers other than Lee: Teri York along with Bob Grabeau (Dq 1231), Ginny Tyler (3917), and in the case of the Capitol LP, by an unidentified vocalist.

11. Two Versions Of Decca #29427 [Single]
For specifics about this particular topic (already touched upon), see Masters And Issues, note #2, under session dated February 11, 1955.





12. Stand By For Music [Transcription Disc]
Program no. 44 of the Navy recruitment radio show Stand By For Music featured three Peggy Lee vocals, all of them from her Lady And The Tramp sessions. Because I have not listened to the contents of that disc, session assignation for two of these Lee performances should be deemed tentative. To be more specific, the unanswered question that we face is whether this transcription disc's versions of "He's A Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song" are the ones from the present session, or the ones recorded at a later date (February 11, 1955). Until I am able to listen to the disc, or until solid confirmation from another listener turns up, I am tentatively listing the Stand By For Music item under the later masters.


Masters

1. Multitracking And Editing
This session's recordings of "He's A Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song" are the ones released in the Decca LP Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp. They also seem to be the same recordings heard in the movie soundtrack of Lady And The Tramp, but the matter is still in need of further research. (I will arrive at a conclusion after I finish my work on this discography's Movie Soundtracks page, which remains under construction at the present time.)

In his notes for Walt Disney CD #60951, Randy Thornton explains that the soundtrack versions are extant in the form of multi-track recordings. In other words, the various tracks or components (vocal, chorus, sound effects, music cues) exist separately from one another at Disney's reel library. Hence engineers and producers with access to Disney's vaults have had the option of excluding any of those components, if the men were so inclined. Various components have indeed been edited out from a few LP and CD tracks. For instance, the spoken line "what a dog!," which the movie character Peg utters twice as she starts singing "He's A Tramp," is heard only once in the above-listed EMI and Disky CDs. (It is heard twice in the Disney CD.) Those EMI and Disky discs have also omitted the spoken utterances that one of the Pound Hounds makes right after Peg's aforementioned exclamations. (The hound's purged phrases: "Tell us about it, Peg!" "Peg used to be in the dog and pony follies"). These dog utterances have been kept intact, on the other hand, in issues that contain the longer, 2:10 version of "He's A Tramp."

2. "He's A Tramp": Decca's 2:10 Variant
In the film soundtrack of the movie Lady And The Tramp, the song "He's A Tramp" clocks in at 1 minute and 35 seconds. It lasts 2 minutes and 10 seconds in Decca's original album releases (Ed 728 & Dl 5557). As mentioned before, I have yet to determine if the film's version is the same one recorded at the present session.

The longer duration of this session's master might be the result of duplication and splicing. Strongly pointing toward that possibility is the fact that, during the last minute of this longer performance, we hear the exact same vocal as before -- specifically, the bridge and the last verse.

3. Overdubbing
To sing the role of the two felines in "The Siamese Cat Song," Lee overdubbed her own voice one fifth apart. In the aforementioned TV special Walt Disney's Cavalcade Of Song, she re-enacts the process with the help of two home recorders.

4. Non-Lee Masters
Three of this session's five masters did not include Peggy Lee. Master #87266 ("Lady") is an instrumental featuring The Walt Disney Studio Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Oliver Wallace. George Givot sings "Bella Notte And Finale" on master #87267. The Mellomen's canine version of "Home, Sweet Home" (in which they bark the melody all the way through) can be found in master #87269.


Date: January 19, 1955
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Alfred Newman (con), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 8111Master Take (Decca) I Belong To You - 3:00(Jack Brooks, Alex North)
DECCA 78 & 4529429 & 9 29429 — {I Belong To You / How Bitter, My Sweet}   (1955)
DECCA©Columbia EP(Spain) Ecge ?70925 — La Dama Y El Vagabundo (Lady And The Tramp)   (1956)
DECCA LPDl 4461 / Dl 7 4461 [stereo enhanced] — The Fabulous Peggy Lee    (1964)




Cross-references (Film)

1. The Racers
"I Belong To You" was written for the 20th Century Fox film The Racers (1955). For more details, consult this discography's film page, once it is finished and available for viewing.


Songs

1. "I Belong To You" In The Italian Music Charts
According to HitParadeItalia, Peggy Lee's version of "I Belong To You" ranks 83rd among Italy's bestselling songs of 1955. (Though not created until the beginning of the Twenty-First century, this online source offers reasonably reliable data: original charts and other primary Italian sources were used for the tabulations.)

The fact that "I Belong To You" was heard on a film must have contributed to sales and airplay of Lee's single. Known among Italians as Destino sull'asfalto or Il Temerario, the film might have sparked European interest due to patriotic factors. Gino Borgesa, the fictional main character, was inspired by Rudolph Caracciola, the famous 1930s German car racer of (alleged) Italian descent. Furthermore, the movie featured exteriors filmed at several European races of the 1954 sportscar season, including the Grands Prix.

Peggy Lee's earlier success with another film soundtrack number could have also sparked some interest in "I Belong To You." The earlier, 1954 number is believed to have made the Italian charts. (See session dated March 1, 1954.)

2. "I Belong To You" In The American Regional Charts
According to the Disk Jockeys' Regional Record Reports published by Cash Box magazine, Peggy Lee's recording of "I Belong To You" placed at #6 at KOOL in Phoenix, Arizona,for the week ending April 2, 1955. Somewhat belatedly, the recording also found favor among listeners of KBOL in Boulder, Colorado. Therein, it placed at #9 for the week ending September 3, 1955.


Date: February 7, 1955 (First Of Two Sessions)
Location: Either Peggy Lee's Own Home (On Wilshire Boulevard?) Or Decca Recording Studio, 5505 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Tom Mack (pdr), Stella Castellucci (hrp), Peggy Lee (v)

a. L 8158Master Take (Decca) Sea Fever - 2:02(Eleanor Alletta Chaffee, Friedrich Silcher) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) 0e 9400 — Sea Shells, Part 1   (1958)
b. L 8159 [medley]Master Take (Decca) The Fisherman - 1:25(Li Po) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
c. L 8159 [medley]Master Take (Decca) Autumn Evening - 1:30(Tu Mu) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
d. L 8160 [medley]Master Take (Decca) Going Rowing - 1:25(Tu Fu) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
e. L 8160 [medley]Master Take (Decca) Like The Moon - 0:21(Wu-Hao The Dancing Girl) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
f. L 8160 [medley]Master Take (Decca) The Musicians - 0:36(unknown) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
g. L 8161Master Take (Decca) The Riddle Song - 3:55(Traditional) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) 0e 9401 — Sea Shells, Part 2   (1958)
All titles on: DECCA LPDl 8591 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8266 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Festival LP(Australia) Fl 12 7050 — Sea Shells   (1958)




Sea Shells: Genesis

The following quote comes from an article titled "John Whitcomb Visits Peggy Lee," which Cosmopolitan magazine published in February 1955: One day, Peggy sat on a sofa in her California house, a taxi waiting outside, airline tickets to Boston in her purse. The taxi honked, but Peggy couldn’t get up. "There I sat," she says, "mink coat on, all ready to go. My musicians were on the way. We had fifty thousand dollars worth of nightclub bookings, beginning in Boston. And me, I couldn’t hoist myself off that sofa." She giggled. "My secretary had left. She had to stop in Chicago to get her fur coat out of storage. Well, when the doctor came, he took one look at me and said I’d had it. Absolute rest, or else, he said. I spent four months just lying in the desert, recharging the old batteries." Whitcomb continues: I met Peggy shortly after her return from the desert. She was already at work on Lady and the Tramp. She had moved into an apartment on Wilshire Boulevard, glad to be rid of her big house in Bel Air ... She looked around the small apartment, at the grand piano flanking a record player and a harp (Peggy can’t play one, but she’s crazy about harps).

A relentless work schedule (along with fast-lane living, limited sleep, and an attendant recourse to stimulants) had thus caused Lee to collapse. This health scare had actually taken place more than a year before the 1955 date to be discussed herein. It was in mid- or late November of 1953 that Lee's doctors gave her no other alternative but to submit to a long period of rest. The singer had then left Hollywood for a very extensive, medically imposed stay in Palm Springs. Four months later, Lee had returned from the desert with a renewed thirst ... for more work. She was eager to resume her singing career,

But Lee's eagerness was not circumscribed to her work schedule: she was also itching to change her living conditions. The Wilshire Boulevard apartment (mentioned in the Cosmopolitan interview above) was a transitional dwelling. The singer was about to move into a new residence in the Hollywood area, re-designed to her specifications. Featuring a Japanese-style garden built for her, the cool environment of this new home was more in tune with the spiritual serenity that she was trying to build within herself.

Lee's physical and spiritual desire for a peaceful environment probably served as one of the main inspirations for the album Sea Shells. As disclosed by Stella Castellucci, the harp player who was a member of the singer's regular group at this point in time: "Peg shared her ideas with me a month before the actual recording of what would become Sea Shells. She wanted to make an album of folk songs, sea chants, and children's play songs accompanied by harp. We started from there and it took shape ... It took its own natural course. Peg and I seemed to work with one mind ... She knew the words to the old familiar folk songs and nursery rhymes." Set to harp and harpsichord, the evocative album indeed consists of Chinese poems, folk airs and other unorthodox pieces, all of them rendered in a relaxed, gentle and lyrical manner.


Photos

Above: two Japanese LP editions of the album Sea Shells. Of the two, the first is the earliest (exact date unknown; possibly early 1960s), and uses entirely different artwork from the American original. The second (date also unknown, possibly late 1960s or early 1970s) uses the regular artwork. Yet another Japanese LP edition, dating from 1972, can be seen several paragraphs below. In comparison to the American original, the artwork of that 1972 Japanese edition features the same front cover but a different back. As can be gleaned from these comments, Sea Shells has been frequently reissued in Japan, on both LP and CD. For more album artwork, take a look at the pictorial Decca page.

Below: the aforementioned Japanese garden at Peggy Lee's hilltop home, at it looked in late 1960. Also visible are Lee's pets. The songwriter of "He's A Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song" was fond of dogs, and in later years would become fond of cats as well.





The Sea Shells Album Sessions (Cross-references)

In Decca's official paperwork, the Sea Shells material is divided into five sessions:

a) Peggy Lee session, masters L8158 to L8161 (recorded on February 7, 1955)
b) Nickie [sic] Barbour session, master L8162 (recorded on February 7, 1955)
c) Stella Castellucci session, masters L8163 to L8165 (recorded on February 7, 1955)
d) Peggy Lee session, masters L8166 to L8170 (recorded on February 7, 1955)
e) Peggy Lee session, masters L8271 to L8275 (recorded on March 31, 1955)

(For further specifics about the non-Lee masters, see notes under the next session.)




Issues

1. The Release Of Sea Shells [LP]
Curiously, four years elapsed between the recording and the release of Sea Shells. According to Stella Castellucci, who was not only the harpist but also the arranger of most of the performances, Decca did not issue the album because it was believed to be incomplete; Peggy Lee had told the label that she was planning to record additional tracks. Regrettably, no additional album tracks were recorded after the March 31 session. In Castellucci’s words, Decca “simply … got tired of waiting on Peg to complete it. When it was released, she was satisfied but [still] intended to add more to it.”

Other factors might have also played a role in the delayed release of Sea Shells. It is indeed possible that, as many fans have theorized over the years, Decca itself was in no hurry to handle an album of limited commercial appeal.

Sea Shells was finally issued in mid-1958, when Peggy Lee was no longer under contract with Decca. The May 10, 1958 issue of Cash Box lists it as one of two vocal albums that Decca had included in its Springtime In Hi-Fi batch of upcoming albums, the other one being Mark Murphy's Let Yourself Go. Among the other twelve LPs, there were four items of European origin (e.g., Music Sweeter Than Wine, by Herman Hagstedt) as well as offering from domestic Decca acts such as Jack Pleis and Ethel Smith. The above-seen review is from the same magazine's June 7, 1958 issue. Elsewhere, I have come across a June 19, 1958 street date for the Lee album. (It is not clear in this date refers to the domestic release, or to a foreign edition.)

By the time that Sea Shells came out, Lee had already spent over two years back at Capitol, the label which she had had her under contract from the mid-1940s to early 1952. What's more, the release of this Decca album actually took place late in the same month as the release of her Capitol single "Fever." The single's success (or pre-release word of its prospective success) might have prompted Decca to search its vaults for fresh, previously unissued Lee material.

Be that as it may, there is nothing illegal or highly irregular in the situation at hand. Decca was the rightful owner of the recordings that Lee had made for the company. Besides, Decca is likely to have contacted Lee for approval of the album's release. Her brief liner notes in the back cover of the album seem to have been written then (that is, in 1958, rather than in 1955) . She probably was not consulted, however, on every single matter pertaining to the album. For instance, Lee probably had no involvement in the choice of picture for the front cover, which she is known to have greatly disliked.

No singles from the Sea Shells sessions came out in either 1955 or 1958. It was not until decades later that one of the songs turned up on a single: in 1982, MCA issued a 45-rpm single that included "I Don't Want To Play In Your Back Yard" (recorded during the March 31, 1955 album session). The 45-rpm disc in question was released only in the United Kingdom.




Masters & Literary Sources

1. Chinese Love Poems From Most Ancient To Modern Times [Book]
2. Translators
Of the above listed performances, "The Fisherman," "Autumn Evening," "Going Rowing," "Like The Moon," and "The Musicians" are actually poems which Peggy Lee recites (i.e., she does not sing them). For ease of reference, I have listed each poem separately. In Decca's master files, these poems are actually listed together, as medleys. To be more specific, the files identify master L 8159 as "Chinese Love Poems, Part 1" and master L 8160 as "Chinese Love Poems, Part 2." Part 1 consists of "The Fisherman" and "Autumn Evening." Part 2 contains the other poems.

These poetic pieces were culled from the book Chinese Love Poems From Most Ancient To Modern Times (Peter Pauper Press, 1942). They were originally written by Oriental authors born between the seventh and ninth centuries. These poets are not identified by name in Decca's original LP, nor can their names be found in subsequent albums. Their names (i.e., Li Po, Tu Fu, Tu Mu, and Wu-Hao) appear in this discography thanks to additional research which I have enthusiastically conducted -- and which include my search and eventual inspection of a copy of the book at a specialized manuscript library.

British and American translators rendered these Oriental and medieval verses into English during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. "Like The Moon" and "Going Rowing" were both translated by Gertrude Laughlin Joerissen. "The Fisherman" was translated by Peter Rudolph. "Autumn Evening" was possibly translated by Soame Jennings. "The Musicians" is actually the book's epigraph, and bears no title, author, or translator.

As for this session's two other vocals ("The Riddle Song," "Sea Fever"), neither is Chinese, nor a poem. Both are folk-oriented numbers of American origin, as described in more detail below.

3. Music Of Many Lands And Peoples [Book]
4. "Sea Fever" [Song]
During the preparation for the Sea Shells sessions, Peggy Lee's manager Ed Kelly found for her a book titled Music Of Many Lands And Peoples, which Silver, Burdett and Company had originally published in 1932. This is an extensive text (268 pages) that includes both lyrics and music. Although Peggy Lee picked only one song from the book, it was an important one: "Sea Fever," the number that opens Sea Shells and which presumably inspired the album's title as well. My thanks to Stella Castellucci for telling me about the book and about how Lee became acquainted with it.




Songs, Songwriters, And Cross-references (Television)

1. "The Riddle Song"
A folk lullaby of Irish origin, "The Riddle Song" is believed to be over 300 years old. In America, it probably became better known thanks to a version heard in the 1949 movie The Walking Hills. That film version was sung by blues & folk artist Josh White.

2. "Sea Fever"
3. Eleanor Alletta Chaffee
4. Friedrich Silcher
5. Jane Bowers
In Decca's original Sea Shells issue (Dl 8591), the song "Sea Fever" bears no songwriter credits. No credit are featured, either, in later issues. The identities of the song's authors remained unknown to me until June 2010, when Stella Castellucci kindly revealed that their names can be found in Music Of Many Lands And Peoples, the book that was one of Lee's sources for these Sea Shells sessions.

American author Eleanor Alletta Chaffee wrote poems and children's stories which were frequently published in national magazines during the first half of the twentieth century. German composer Friedrich Silcher is best-known for his contributions to the craft of choir singing, and also for setting to music folk songs and poems such as Heinrich Heine's "Die Lorelei".

Obviously, "Sea Fever" is not the result of a personal collaboration between these two songwriters. Silcher (1789-1860) lived centuries earlier than Chaffee. Most probably, Eleanor Alletta Chaffee's conceived "Sea Shells" as a lyrical poem, with no music attached to it. When the poem was picked for inclusion in the 1932 songbook, Chaffee or the editors (McConathy, Beattie & Morgan) must have searched for a suitable piece of music to accompany the lyrics, and Silcher's melody was the result of that search.

My friend Thomas Ludwig, a fellow fan of Peggy Lee, has identified the melody in question as a 1842 Silcher composition to which the composer added a 1837 lyric written by Wilhelm Hey. Originally part of a Silcher song cycle and conceived by him as a children's song, the number in question has become a perennial Christmas carol in Germany: "Alle Jahre Wieder." One version of this carol can be heard in this YouTube audio clip.

Another American version of "Sea Fever" was recorded by The Kingston Trio in 1960. Their version remained unreleased until its inclusion in their set The Capitol Years (1995). The Trio sings the same lyrics as Lee, but there is more to their version: a short verse, not found in Lee's recording, which they repeat often ("sea fever, my mother called it; sea fever, she knew that I had").

However, the Kingston Trio's version is credited not to Chaffee and Silcher but to Jane Bowers. A frequent writer of material for the Trio, Ms. Bowers presumably first heard the song in Lee's Sea Shells LP (released in 1958) and then proceeded to write the additional refrain for the Trio version that was recorded in 1960. Since "Sea Fever" was credited to no one in Lee's LP, Bowers and Capitol might have assumed it to be an anonymous, traditional folk song.

6. "The Musicians" [Television]
As previously noted, "The Musicians" serves as the epigraph of Chinese Love Poems From Most Ancient To Modern Times, the book from which Peggy Lee selected the Chinese poems that were recorded at this session. Unfortunately, the book does not identify the author of this short poem. So far, I have not come across any source that reveals who he or she was. Help in this pursuit would be appreciated.

Peggy Lee also recited "The Musicians" on television, at the end of a 1967 special. (Consult this discography's TV Specials page.)

7. "Autumn Evening"
Tu Mu's authorship of this poem should be deemed tentative.


Arrangements

1. Head Arrangements
2. Stella Castellucci
3. "Sea Fever"
The Sea Shells sessions primarily used head arrangements. Most of them were created by Stella Castellucci, with input from Peggy Lee, during their rehearsals together. In the particular case of "Sea Fever," Castellucci's head arrangement for harp playing naturally follows the melody printed in the book from which the number was taken. (For details about the source book, see above, under "Songs And Songwriters.”)


Photos

Below: Onstage at Ciro's in 1955, Stella Castellucci, sits next to her Peggy Lee harp. The second picture shows Peggy Lee, also in or around 1955, with the harp in the background. The unknown location could be her Wilshire Boulevard apartment, which will come up for further discussion in the ensuing paragraphs.





Location

There are conflicting accounts about the exact locale in which the Sea Shells sessions were recorded. Harp player Stella Castellucci, who was present at the actual dates, recalled in 2008 that the recording sessions took place in Decca's studios.

For his part, the late Peggy Lee bio-discographer Ron Towe asserted that the album was "put together in Peggy's recording studio at home." Since Lee changed residences around this time, it is not clear which home that would be. In the mid-1950s, Lee sold the house that she then owned in Holmby Hills, and temporarily moved to an apartment on Wilshire Boulevard. The move is mentioned in an above-quoted interview, from a Cosmopolitan issue published in February 1955. (Note that the interviewer reports the conspicuous presence of a harp and a piano at the Wilshire Boulevard apartment.) But, soon thereafter, in April 1955, Lee was living in "an eight-room contemporary-style house atop a mountain overlooking Beverly Hills," according to another article, published by Redbook.

For his part, the liner annotator of the MCA CD Black Coffee/Sea Shells states that "[t]hese titles are unaccounted for in the Los Angeles sessions and may have been recorded elsewhere." His statement can thus serve as support for Towe's claim, and the same can be said of an assessment from fellow discographer George Hewitt. After giving a close listening to the album, Hewitt noticed an amount of background hum inconsistent with a product from a major professional recording studio.

The matter remains unresolved.


Date: February 7, 1955 (Second Of Two Sessions)
Location: Either Peggy Lee's Own Home (On Wilshire Boulevard?) Or Decca Recording Studio, 5505 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Tom Mack (pdr), Stella Castellucci (hrp), Peggy Lee (v)

a. L 8166Master Take (Decca) The Legend Of The Well(Moira Heath aka Frances Ash, Laurence Reginald Ward Johnson) / arr: Marty Paich
unissued
b. L 8167Master Take (Decca) I Don't Want To Play In Your Yard - 2:31(Henry W. Petrie, Henry Sawyer, Philip Wingate) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
DECCA LPDl 8591 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8266 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) 0e 9401 — Sea Shells, Part 2   (1958)
c. L 8168Master Take (Decca) Little Old Car - 1:11(Henry J. "Heinie" Beau, Peggy Lee) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
DECCA LPDl 8591 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8266 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Festival LP(Australia) Fl 12 7050 — Sea Shells   (1958)
d. L 8169Master Take (Decca) The Gold Wedding Ring - 2:16(Harry Sukman, Peggy Lee) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
DECCA LPDl 8591 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8266 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) 0e 9401 — Sea Shells, Part 2   (1958)
e. L 8170Master Take (Decca) A Brown Bird Singing - 2:59(Royden Barrie, Haydn Wood) / arr: Sonny Burke
DECCA LPDl 8591 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8266 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) 0e 9400 — Sea Shells, Part 1   (1958)





The Sea Shells Album Sessions (Cross-references)

1. A Date With Stella Castellucci And Gene DiNovi
2. A Date With Nicki Barbour
The sessions that resulted in the album Sea Shells took place on February 7, 1955 and March 31, 1955.

On February 7, a total of four sessions were actually held. The first February 7 session has been itemized in the entry which precedes the present one. The second session consisted of only one master, recorded by Peggy Lee's daughter Nicki Barbour. The third session comprised three masters, all of them instrumentals interpreted by Stella Castellucci. (Since the second and third February 7 sessions did not include Peggy Lee vocals, I have not entered them in this discography's database. However, further details about them can be found below, under Masters.) Peggy Lee's pianist, Gene DiNovi joined Castellucci in at least one of her numbers, for which he played the harpsichord. Further specifics will be supplied below, under Masters.

The present session came last for the day.


Photos

Above: Australian and German pressings of the LP Sea Shells, both presumed to be issued on the same year as the American original (1958), or shortly thereafter.

Below: Nicki Lee Foster with her mom, sometime in the mid-1950s. Gene DiNovi in the mid-1970s. The Sea Shells sessions would mark the pianist's very first time playing the harpsichord.





Songs And Songwriters

1. "The Legend Of The Well"
2. The Ted Heath Orchestra
"The Legend Of The Well" was authored by two members of The Ted Heath Orchestra -- arguably the most successful of the British big bands, at least from a commercial standpoint. The lyrics were written by Heath's wife Frances Ash, who used the pseudonym "Moira Heath" as her professional songwriting name. Officially credited with the melody is Heath's arranger, Laurie Johnson, who in later years went on to compose themes for film and TV shows such as The Avengers and Dr. Strangelove. Some sources also credit Ted Heath as songwriter, but his name does not appear in the music sheet.

Courtesy of David Torresen (webmaster of peggylee.com), here is a transcription of the Moira Heath lyric: "I threw a pebble into the well and closed my eyes to pray / That a lonely child, through the magic spell, would find happiness that day. / And as the water circled wide, a tear fell from above / And standing there beside me was a child in search of love. / I knew a moment of ecstasy, as smiling through his tears, / He held out his arms, beseeching me to love him through the years. / I took his hand in mine and gently kissed his hair. / I knew thrill divine; then he suddenly wasn't there. / All through the years hereafter I have loved that child. Who can tell / If the music I hear is laughter each time I throw a pebble in the well."


Masters

1. "The Legend Of The Well"
All the songs that Peggy Lee recorded for Decca have been released, with one exception: "The Legend Of The Well" never ever made an appearance on CD, LP, single, or any other commercial configuration.

In 2008, when Stella Castellucci was belatedly asked about "The Legend Of The Well," the session's harpist clearly remembered loving the song during the rehearsals but did not have any recollection of having tried it at the actual record date. Castellucci's comments raise the possibility that, although a master number was reserved and entered in Decca's files, Lee and company could have ultimately abandoned their plans to record "The Legend Of The Well."

It is just as possible that the master was indeed recorded -- though not necessarily with the use of harp -- and that it was lost, or destroyed in 1971, when MCA's consolidation of Decca's vaults led to the purging of some of its material. Word of mouth about that purge suggests that all hitherto existing session reels were destroyed, along with any reels that did not contain master takes or safeties. (For what is worth, I should add a detail that contradicts the statements just made. During the first decade of the twenty-first century, I had confirmation of the existence in the vaults of the unissued master by Nicki Lee Barbour mentioned in a note above. It would thus seem that Decca did not purge itself of -- all of? -- its unreleased masters.)

2. Non-Lee Masters
As previously mentioned, one of the Sea Shells sessions held on February 7 was dedicated to a performance by Nicki Lee Barbour. Titled "Au Clair De La Lune" and identified as master L 8162, this performance is believed to have been a poetic recitation, in French, set to harp accompaniment. It was never issued.

Also recorded during the February 7 Sea Shells sessions were the following instrumentals:

a) Master L 8163, "Chaconne" ("Le Bon Petit Roi D'Yvetot") [misspelled in most sources as “Chaconde”]
b) Master L 8164, "Greensleeves / The Happy Monks"
c) Master L 8165, "The Maid With The Flaxen Hair" ("La Fille Aux Cheveux De Lin")

All three instrumentals were performed by Stella Castellucci on harp, with Gene DiNovi on harpsichord in some of the numbers.

For the original LP (Dl 8591), Decca split master L 8164 into two tracks. "Greensleeeves" is track #4 on the LP, and "The Happy Monks" is track #6. All later album (re)issues (on both LP and CD) have followed suit: this medley has never been issued as an unity.

A second version of the same medley was recorded during the next Sea Shells session, dated March 31, 1955. That master was also left unissued.


Photos

Below: two editions of the same 78-rpm album by harpist Laura Newell with The Stuyvesant String Quartet. A couple of classical pieces are performed over this album's two discs. One piece is Ravel's Introduction And Allegro For Harp And Strings. The other piece is Debussy's The Maid With the Flaxen Hair, a number which is performed by Newell solo, and which was also performed by Stella Castellucci during these Sea Shells sessions. The Ravel piece was not used on the sessions, but Castellucci mentions in her autobiography that she would play themes from it at Lee's concerts, "as segues between tunes."

Peggy Lee's wish to sing with harp dated back to her first hearings of this album, which was first released in 1940, and which she kept in her personal record collection. In mid-1953, Lee finally acted on this wish, by hiring Castellucci to be part of her jazz combo. At Lee's nightclub performances of the mid-1950s, the harpist not only accompanied Lee but was featured on her own solo segments. From 1953 to 1960, Castellucci can also be heard in many of Lee's recordings for both Capitol and Decca.)






Arrangements And Compositions

1. Peggy Lee
2. "Greensleeves / The Happy Monks" (Medley)
Although this medley features no singing from Peggy Lee, she still had a prominent role in its making. Lee is credited as the arranger of the medley's first song ("Greensleeves") and as the composer of its second song ("The Happy Monks").

2. Marty Paich
Credit to Marty Paich for the arrangement of "The Legend Of The Well" is based on the fact that a Paich score for that song was kept by Peggy Lee in her music sheet library. However, the credit must be deemed tentative: due to the loss or non-existence of the Decca master, there is no easy way to corroborate that Paich's arrangement was the one used (or scheduled to be used) at the actual session.

3. Stella Castellucci
4. Sonny Burke
5. Head Arrangements
Stella Castellucci is my source for the arranging credits to Sonny Burke in this session and in the one dated March 31, 1955. Castellucci also remembers that no charts were written for any of the other numbers that were released in the album Sea Shells. The head arrangements were created mainly by Castellucci, with input from Peggy Lee, during their rehearsals together.


Date: February 11, 1955
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Sonny Burke, Gordon Jenkins, Sy Oliver (con), Unknown (acc), Peggy Lee (v)

a. L 8178Master Take (Decca) Ooh, That Kiss - 2:21(Mort Dixon, Harry Warren, Joseph "Joe" Young)
DECCA 78 & 4529534 & 9 29534 — {Ooh, That Kiss / Oh! No! (Please Don't Go)}   (1955)
DECCA EP/LPEd 2401 / Dl 8316 (rel. ca. 1956) — [Various Artists] The Feminine Touch ("Music For The Boy Friend" Series)   (1956)
DECCA LPDxb 164 (4024-4025)/ Dxsb 7 164 [enhanced stereo] / 2 4049 [MCA] — The Best Of Peggy Lee [Reissued in 1966 and 1980]   (1960)
b. L 8179Master Take (Decca) Oh! No! (Please Don't Go) - 2:38(Lucky Thompson, Gerald "Gee" Wilson)
DECCA 78 & 4529534 & 9 29534 — {Ooh, That Kiss / Oh! No! (Please Don't Go)}   (1955)
DECCA LPDl 4461 / Dl 7 4461 [stereo enhanced] — The Fabulous Peggy Lee    (1964)
Ace Of Hearts Licensed LP(United Kingdom) Ah 107 — The Fabulous Peggy Lee    (1966)
Official Licensed LP(Denmark) 12002 — The Fabulous Peggy Lee    (1988)
LPTime Public Domain CD(Spain) Lpt 1125 — The Fabulous Peggy Lee   (2010)
Bestend Public Domain CD(Greece) 2711402319 — Johnny Guitar   (2011)
c. L 8180Master Take (Decca) He's A Tramp - 2:40(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee)
DECCA 78 & 4529427 & 9 29427 — {He's A Tramp / The Siamese Cat Song} [version #2]   (1955)
US Government's Navy Recuitment Service 16" Transcription DiscPrograms No. 43 & No. 44 — Stand By For Music [The Rhythmaires; Peggy Lee]    (1956)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8355 — The Best Of Peggy Lee, Volume 1   (1961)
d. L 8181Master Take (Decca) The Siamese Cat Song - 2:24(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee)
DECCA 78 & 4529427 & 9 29427 — {He's A Tramp / The Siamese Cat Song} [version #2]   (1955)
DECCA 78 & 45K 149 (88186) / 1 275 (9-88186) — From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp ("Children's Series") {The Siamese Cat Song / La La Lu}   (1955)
US Government's Treasury Department Service 16" Transcription DiscPrograms No. 433 & 434 — Guest Star [Fess Parker / Peggy Lee]   (1955)
All titles on: DECCA©Universal Music Group CD(United Kingdom) 1130342 — CLASSICS & COLLECTIBLES   (2003)


The Lady And The Tramp Sessions (Cross-references)

1. A Lady And The Tramp Semi-Session
The present date was a singles session. Two of session's four masters made their debut on Decca single 29427, the other two on single 29534. Furthermore, the songs on Decca 29427 are from the movie Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp. This was the third of five Peggy Lee sessions dedicated (or, in this particular case, partially dedicated) to songs from that film. The other two sessions have the following dates: December 6 and 20, 1954; December 20, 1956; and January 10, 1957.





Songs

1 & 2. "Ooh, That Kiss" & Ella Fitzgerald
Originally written in a 4/4 meter, "Ooh, That Kiss" was turned into a cha cha number by Peggy Lee and company. The recording earned a "rave review" from Ella Fitzgerald when it was played for her during a 1955 Down Beat magazine Blindfold Test. Her printed reaction: "Five stars!!! I heard this record before in Detroit, and when I heard it, I tried to buy it right away. I think it's the cutest thing; the beat, the arrangement, and the way Peggy sings it. Of course, Peggy is something to me like Jeri Southern. Just certain songs they sing, they get that sexy feeling in their singing. This seems like it was just written for her. No complaints at all." (Photo above: Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald nearly 30 years later, on January 27, 1983 at the Royal York Hotel in Canada. Fitzgerald was just finishing her engagement at the hotel's Imperial Room, and Lee was the artist scheduled to perform on the following week.)

5. "Oh! No! (Please Don't Go)" In The Regional Music Charts
In the Disc Jockeys' Regional Record Reports published by Cash Box magazine, this Peggy Lee recording shows up in the #10 position at KLEE, in Ottumwa, Iowa, for the week ending July 9, 1955.

6. "He's A Tramp" In The Regional Music Charts
For the week ending April 9, 1955, Peggy Lee's Decca recording of her self-penned tune was occupying the #9 position at WOPR in Portland, Oregon.

7. "He's A Tramp" (The Two Decca Versions)
8. "The Siamese Cat Song" (The Two Decca Versions)
See comments below, under Masters And issues.


Personnel (Conductors)

1. Sy Oliver
2. Gordon Jenkins
3. Sonny Burke
Decca's master files identify Sy Oliver as the conductor of one of the master from this session, L 8179 ("Oh! No!"). The files do not include conductor credit for the other three masters, but other sources do. Oddly, Oliver is not the name found in those other sources. The notes of the MCA issue Perfect-Lee credit Gordon Jenkins with conducting "Ooh, That Kiss." Meanwhile, the notes of both The Best Of Peggy Lee (Decca LP 7164) and The Best Of The Decca Years (MCA CD 11571) list Sonny Burke as the conductor of "He's A Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song." He is also credited on the physical label of Decca's 45-rpm single 9 29427 ("The Siamese Cat Song" / He's A Tramp").

There is no extant evidence to back up or refute any of the credits given in the preceding paragraph. Some speculation on my part follows.

I am inclined to believe that Burke and Oliver were present at the session, and that Jenkins was not. In my estimation, Burke would have come in to preside over the songs that he co-wrote with Lee, and to fulfill his additional role as pianist on both of them. Oliver would be a likelier candidate to have presided over the making of the brassier numbers -- "Oh! No!" and "Ooh, That Kiss." He was, after all, a brass player. Oliver was also an in-house conductor at Decca -- and thus someone who was probably ready at hand to contribute and participate on the label's sessions. For his part, Burke was a Decca A&R man, and thus another individual likely to be around often.

In the end, the lack of any conclusive information has led me to include all three men in the personnel for this date. (Incidentally, this page's September 14, 1953 session offers another instance of a date to which three conductors are attached.)


Arrangements

1. "He's A Tramp"
2. Billy May
Peggy Lee's sheet music library includes an arrangement of "He's A Tramp." That arrangement was written by Billy May. It is not known, however, if May's arrangement is the same one used for this session's version of the song.






Masters And Issues

1. From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp [78] In The Music Charts
Produced for the children's market, this issue not only bears a suitably colorful jacket but also makes use of different colors (pink & yellow) for each side's labels. Decca issued it on both 78 rpm (catalogue number K-149) and 45 rpm (catalogue number 1-275). I should also note that its version of "He's A Tramp" is the one from the present session (master L 8181) even though the musical accompaniment has been misidentified on the physical label.

From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp must have been released sometime between late February and early May of 1955. On the May 14, 1955 issue of Billboard, the 78-rpm single is listed at #15 in the magazine's Best Selling Children Records chart. The same magazine issue also included a Chart Comments column, in which it was pointed out that 11 of the 15 slots were Disney-related. The top three were being occupied by versions of "The Ballad Of David Crockett" (each by a male singer from a different label). Fess Parker had taken over the chart with not only the top number but also three sequels.

Meanwhile, Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp was a newcomer on the rise. In addition to the #15 position, the #5 slot also featured music inspired by the film. The latter was the position being occupied by Capitol's 78-rpm album Lady And The Tramp. (The Capitol album consisted of not only two 78-rpm discs but also nice, full-size drawings of scenes from the film, which probably succeeded at luring buying parents. A bit of somewhat tricky advertisement might have also served as lure: the front cover claims that "members of the cast" are heard on the album. Left unmentioned are the facts that the album is almost entirely narrated, and that Peggy Lee is not the unidentified vocalist on its one number, "The Siamese Cat Song.")




The magazine's July 23 issue reveals that the Capitol album had climbed one spot to the #4 position, while the Peggy Lee disc had jumped five spots to #10. By September 3, the Capitol album had climbed to what would remain its uppermost slot, #2. It was kept from reaching #1 by the Peggy Lee 78-rpm disc (i.e, From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp, K-149). The Decca item and its Capitol competitor remained in the top two positions for the remainder of the year -- or, at least until early December. (It is not known if they were still at the top in early 1956. Unfortunately, Billboard does not seem to have published this chart after December 3.)

2. The 1954 Masters Versus The 1955 Masters Of "He's A Tramp" And "The Siamese Cat Song"
Previous to this session, Peggy Lee had recorded "He's A Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song" on December 20, 1954.

The vocalist and her musicians tackled this session's version of "He's A Tramp" in a more adult-oriented manner than the earlier one. No spoken comments, no barks and no howls were included.

Both versions of "The Siamese Cat Song" feature the same main lyrics, but there are also lines and even choruses that are unique to each version. Exclusive to this session's version are choruses about baked pies and about a bird "living in [a] wire house." As for the earlier performance, it boasts an exclusive chorus about a "baby crying" and about milk about to be stolen. (Shared by both the 1954 and the 1955 masters are a chorus about a fish "swimming 'round and round." The introductory chorus is also shared, although a couple of lines differ slightly.)





3. Two Versions Of Decca #29427 [Single]
Oddly, Decca single #29427 was issued in two versions. One version features this date's re-recordings of "He's A Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song." The other version contains the original recordings (1954). Visually, the two versions can be told apart by the personnel credited on the physical label of the single. In the single that features the songs from this date, the credited personnel is an orchestra directed by Sonny Burke. In the other version, "He' A Tramp" is described as a vocal with 'The Pound Hounds" and rhythm accompaniment, and "The Siamese Cat Song" as a vocal with Oliver Wallace & The Disney Studio Orchestra. My thanks to the late Ron Towe, in whose discography I first read about this oddity, and to Jim Pierson, for confirming that both versions do exist.

4. "He's A Tramp" And "The Siamese Cat Song": Album Distribution
In addition to the above-discussed single, the December 20, 1954 versions of "He's A Tramp" And "The Siamese Cat Song" made early appearances on the 1954 issues of the Decca album Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp. They can also be found in the 12" version of that album (1957). Naturally, reissues of the 12" LP reprise the 1954 masters, too.

During the LP era, the 1954 versions were the ones most frequently reissued on compilations. They were also the ones turning up on most issues with a Disney logo -- including not only LPs but also 45-rpm discs and CDs. (I am referring to Disney issues that opted to feature Lee's vocals, as opposed to those which preferred to use vocal recreations from Disney's staff of vocalists. I should also clarify that Disney's Buena Vista label is a separate matter. That label used the 1955 masters instead.)

As for this session's versions of "He's A Tramp" And "The Siamese Cat Song," they have also had wide distribution. After their debut on the 1955 Decca single that was discussed above, they went into a bit of a commercial hiatus, rarely making appearance on vinyl compilations. Then the compact disc era took over, and the tables were turned: many CD compilations feature the 1955 masters.

5. Discographical Errors In Decca's Files (And In Some MCA CDs)
Some of the Peggy Lee CDs released by MCA and its affiliates make inaccurate statements about the versions of "He's A Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song" which they contain. Those CDs identify the songs as being "from the movie Lady And The Tramp" and give them the date of the soundtrack versions (1954); however, aural inspection proves that the included versions are the ones from this 1955 session.

The producers of such CDs were probably relying on the data found in Decca's master file. Unfortunately, the files contain erroneous information about the songs in question. Specifically, there is misidentification of the issues in which each version appears. To wit:

- The files fail to list Decca single #29427 under this session's version of "He's A Tramp." (It is correctly listed under "The Siamese Cat Song," and also under the 1954 masters.)

- Although MCA LP #1632 (The Best Of Peggy Lee) is correctly listed under the 1955 version of "The Siamese Cat Song," it is incorrectly listed under the 1954 version of "He's A Tramp."

- Brunswick LP #8355 (the British version of Decca LP Dl 5557) is listed under both masters of "He's A Tramp." In reality, the Brunswick album contains only the 1954 master. (As for "The Siamese Cat Song," Brunswick LP #8355 is correctly listed under the 1954 master.)

In this discography, I have attempted to correct all three errors found in the Decca files.





6. Stand By For Music [Transcription Disc]
Program no. 44 of the syndicated radio show Stand By For Music featured three Peggy Lee vocals, all of them from her Lady And The Tramp sessions. Because I have not listened to the contents of this disc, the identification of two of the three listed performances should be deemed tentative. Specifically, the question is whether the played versions of "He's A Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song" were the ones recorded during this date, or the earlier ones (from December 20, 1954). Until I am able to listen to the disc or solid confirmation turns up, I am tentatively listing this item under this date's masters.



Date: March 31, 1955
Location: Either Peggy Lee's Own Home (On Wilshire Boulevard?) Or Decca Recording Studio, 5505 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Tom Mack (pdr), Gene DiNovi (hps), Stella Castellucci (hrp), Peggy Lee (v)

a. L 8271Master Take (Decca) Nine Thorny Thickets - 4:59(Rolfe Humphries, Johnny Mercer) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
b. L 8273Master Take (Decca) The White Birch & The Sycamore - 4:00(Peggy Lee, Willard Robison, Hubie Wheeler) / arr: Sonny Burke
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) 0e 9400 — Sea Shells, Part 1   (1958)
c. L 8274Master Take (Decca) Of Such Is The Kingdom Of God - 3:12(Irma Glenn, Ernest Holmes) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) 0e 9400 — Sea Shells, Part 1   (1958)
Delta's LaserLight Digital Licensed CD12642 — Miss Peggy Lee ("More Of The Best" Series)   (1996)
d. L 8275Master Take (Decca) The Wearing Of The Green - 2:31(Traditional) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) 0e 9401 — Sea Shells, Part 2   (1958)
All titles on: DECCA LPDl 8591 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8266 — Sea Shells   (1958)
DECCA©Festival LP(Australia) Fl 12 7050 — Sea Shells   (1958)




The Sea Shells Album Sessions

Dates: February 7 and March 31, 1955. For further details, see notes under February 7 sessions.


Songs And Songwriters

1. "The Wearing Of The Green"
"The Wearing Of The Green" is an Irish ballad that has been in circulation since the early nineteenth century. A later, revised and well-known treatment by playwright Dion Boucicault exists, too. The version sung by Peggy Lee is the earlier, more traditional one.


Masters

1. Non-Lee Masters
Also recorded during this session was master L 8272, which is a second version of "Greensleeves / The Happy Monks," an instrumental medley that Stella Castellucci and Gene DiNovi had previously recorded on February 7, 1955 (master L 8164). Lee is credited with the arrangement of "Greensleeves" and with the composition of "The Happy Monks."


Photos

Above: EPs released by Brunswick, the British branch of Decca Records. No Sea Shells EPs were issued in the United States.

Below: Stella Castellucci's autobiography, written with Edgar Amaya, naturally covers the years which she spent working as Peggy Lee's harpist, as well as their life-long friendship. Special coverage is given to the Sea Shells sessions. A harpsichord is shown in the other picture. The one used at these sessions was on loan from its owner, Alice Ehlers, a famous Austrian harpsichordist. Ehlers had been teaching at the University of Southern California, where the instrument had also been hitherto kept. Probably of Medieval origin but at its popular zenith during the Renaissance and Baroque period, harpsichords went into near oblivion after the invention of the piano, which usurped their place. It clearly benefitted by the Early Music Revival which took place in the 1950s, and of which Sea Shells could be considered an unwitting representative. Peggy Lee was responsible for talking Gene DiNovi into playing the instrument, which he had not even seen before.





Arrangements

This date's head arrangements were conceived by Stella Castellucci, with input from Peggy Lee, during their rehearsals together.


Dating And Issues

1. Black Coffee/Sea Shells [CD]
The notes of the CD twofer Black Coffee/Sea Shells (MCA #19363) wrongly state that the Sea Shells sessions took place in 1956, rather than in 1955.


Date: May 6, 1955
Location: Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Milt Gabler (pdr), Harold "Hal" Mooney (con), Julian "Matty" Matlock (cl), Eddie Miller (ts), Dick Cathcart (t), Dick McDonough (g), Gene DiNovi (p), Nick Fatool (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. L 8386Master Take (Decca) What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry? - 2:10(Walter Donaldson, Abe Lyman) / arr: Harold "Hal" Mooney
DECCA 78 & 4529608 & 9 29608 — {Sugar / What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry?}   (1955)
DECCA©Festival EP(Australia) Fr 10 538 — Somebody Loves Me   (1962)
DECCA©MCA cassette(Japan) Vcm 3648 — Peggy Lee ("Best One '82" Series)   (1981)
b. L 8387Master Take (Decca) I'm Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now - 2:16(Benny Davis, Jesse Greer)
Joker Tonverlag/Sarabandas/Promo Sound AG Bootleg CD(Switzerland) Entcd 0239 [reissued 1996] — Why Don't You Do Right ("The Entertainers" Series)    (1987)
Jazz World Public Domain CD(Denmark) Jw 77023 — "Fever"   (1988)
Hitbuster Public Domain CD(Israel/Germany) Hb 490023 — I Can't Give You Anything But Love   (1994)
DECCA©Universal Music Group CD(United Kingdom) 1130342 — CLASSICS & COLLECTIBLES   (2003)
Emporio Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Emtbx 365 — The Essential Peggy Lee    (2006)
c. L 8388Master Take (Decca) Oh, Didn't He Ramble - 2:18(Traditional) / arr: Harold "Hal" Mooney
Big3 Public Domain CDBt 3039 — Peggy Lee ("The Absolutely Essential CD Collection" Series)   (2011)
d. L 8389Master Take (Decca) Sugar (That Sugar Baby Of Mine) - 2:36(Sidney Mitchell, Edna Alexander Pinkard, Maceo Pinkard)
DECCA 78 & 4529608 & 9 29608 — {Sugar / What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry?}   (1955)
DECCA©Festival EP(Australia) Fr 10 538 — Somebody Loves Me   (1962)
DECCA©MCA CS/LP/CD(United Kingdom) Mclc/Mcl/Dmcl 1794 [CD rel. in 1989] — Perfect-Lee   (1984)
e. L 8390Master Take (Decca) Somebody Loves Me - 3:29(Buddy G. DeSylva, George Gershwin, Ballard MacDonald)
DECCA©Festival EP(Australia) Fr 10 538 — Somebody Loves Me   (1962)
DECCA©MCA Victor LP(Japan) Mca 10016 — Peggy Lee ("Super Deluxe" MCA Series)   (1973)
DECCA©MCA LP(Japan) Vim 10013 — Peggy Lee ("Golden Disc" Series)   (1973)
All titles on: DECCA EP/LPEd 758 (91638-91639) / Dl 8166 — Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues   (1955)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8078 — Songs From The Warner Bros. Film Pete Kelly's Blues   (1956)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) Oe 9153 — Songs From The Warner Bros. Film Pete Kelly's Blues, Volume 1   (1956)





Pete Kelly's Blues: The Film And The Album Sessions

Warner Brothers' 1955 film Pete Kelly Blues included two singers amidst its cast, Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald. Lee played a dramatic role that actually earned her a Film Critics award and a Movie Audience award. She also received an Oscar nomination, in the category of Best Supporting Actress. Like Lee, Fitzgerald was also featured in an acting role -- though her part was smaller.

Set in the world of speakeasies during the Prohibition era, the film centers around the tribulations of a cornetist-led band forced to play at such joints. Hence Pete Kelly's Blues is primarily a gangster flick, yet one with a very prominent music soundtrack.

Although a fair amount of dialogue was assigned to both Lee and Fitzgerald, both were still typecast in the role of vocalists -- fortunately so, for fans of their music. Each has singing scenes in the movie, and they naturally excel at them.

Decca took advantage of the fact that Lee and Fitzgerald were both under the label's contract at the time. An album titled Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues was released on that year. It consists of nine vocals by Lee, three by Fitzgerald. Lee recorded her numbers over two sessions, on May 6 and May 10, 1955.

(Photos above: American, British, and Japanese editions of the LP Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues.)





Masters And Cross-references (Film)

1. Non Lee Masters: Ella Fitzgerald
In the movie, Fitzgerald is seen and heard performing the following numbers: "Pete Kelly's Blues," "Ella Hums The Blues," and "Hard-hearted Hannah." The Decca album Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues contains the exact same Fitzgerald performances that are heard on the movie soundtrack -- not versions newly recorded for Decca.

Various print sources have corroborated the identity of the three Fitzgerald performances on the Decca release. In his book Ella Fitzgerald: An Annotated Discography, J. Wilfred Johnson states that the album tracks are indeed "the actual soundtrack recordings, the right of which were purchased from Warner Brothers." In Stuart Nicholson's Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography Of The First Lady Of Jazz, producer Milt Gabler is quoted on the matter, too: "we took [Ella's] numbers off a tape. They were from Pete Kelly's Blues out of L.A. ... We got the tape and put them out from that."

According to Decca's master files, all three Ella Fitzgerald performances were recorded on May 3, 1955. They were included not only in the LP Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues but also in a separate Fitzgerald EP (Decca Ed 2269) that is also called Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues.

2. Peggy Lee Masters: Soundtrack Versions Versus Album Versions
In the film, Lee is seen and heard performing the following numbers: "Sing A Rainbow," "Somebody Loves Me," "He Needs Me" and "Sugar." Those four titles are also found on the Decca LP.

If Ella Fitzgerald's masters were taken from the movie soundtrack's tapes, how about Lee's output? Decca's files do not clarify the matter, but an aural comparison does: Lee's soundtrack versions are different from those heard in the Decca album.

Performed after her character has gone mad and regressed into childhood, Peggy Lee's soundtrack version of "Sing A Rainbow" is clearly different from the beautifully phrased Decca recording. Ditto for "Somebody Loves Me," which her movie character sings briefly and with a slur, while in an intoxicated state.

As for Lee's two other numbers ("Sugar," "He Needs Me"), their respective Decca and soundtrack versions may sound superficially similar, but close listening reveals differences in tone and vocal texture. The film actually runs those two songs together, seemingly editing parts of them. (Thus, unlike the album's versions, the soundtrack versions are not featured in their entirety.)

Lee is also featured on five additional album tracks. All five of them are heard in the movie as instrumentals only: "What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry?," "I'm Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now," "Oh, Didn't He Ramble," "I Never Knew," and "Bye Bye Blackbird."

In conclusion, five of Lee's nine Decca album masters are studio versions of the movie's instrumentals, and four are new versions of the songs that she does on film. Only Ella Fitzgerald's three album masters are the same ones heard in the movie.




Personnel And Cross-references (Film)

1. The Many Faces Of Pete Kelly's Blues
The 1955 movie under discussion was based on the radio show of the same name, which had been on the airwaves in 1951, as a summer replacement series. Following the radio and movie installments, there was also a TV series (1955), too. The same actor, Jack Webb, played the titular role on the radio and film installments (but not on TV).

2. Jack Webb
3. Dick Cathcart
In all its several installments, Pete Kelly's Blues was Jack Webb's pet project. His great love and enthusiasm for Dixieland jazz music motivated him. After starring in the radio show, he went on to serve triple duty as producer, director, and star of the movie Pete Kelly's Blues. His character is a cornet player who leads a band known as Pete Kelly's Lucky Seven. Since Webb was not a musician, his character's cornet playing was overdubbed by Dixieland trumpeter Dick Cathcart. (The same procedure, featuring Cathcart, had been followed for the radio show.)

4. The Lucky Seven (On Film And On The Radio)
In the movie's soundtrack, the following musicians played under the name of Pete Kelly's Lucky Seven: Jud DeNaut (bass), Nick Fatool (drums), Eddie Miller (tenor saxophone), Matty Matlock (clarinet), Moe Schneider (trombone), Ray Sherman (piano), George Van Eps (guitar) and -- unseen, overdubbing Jack Webb -- Dick Cathcart (cornet).

Pianist Sherman and guitarist Van Eps are definitely seen in the movie reel. I am far less certain about the other five (DeNaut, Fatool, Miller, Matlock, Schneider). Actors or other musicians might have served as stand-ins.

All but bassist DeNaut and clarinetist-saxophonist Miller had also been heard on the 1951 radio show.

(Photos above: Pete Kelly's Big Seven, as pictured in the back cover of the Decca album Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues. An ad showing and promoting that Decca LP, as well as its EP counterparts.)

5. Peggy Lee's Dates With The Lucky Four (Not Seven)
For Peggy Lee's Pete Kelly's Blues Decca sessions, half of Pete Kelly's Lucky Seven members were recruited: Dick Cathcart, Nick Fatool, Eddie Miller, and Matty Matlock. The session's other performers (guitarist Dick McDonough and conductor Harold Mooney) are not known to have had any direct involvement in the movie (nor in the radio show).

6. Piano & Bass & Piano
7. Gene DiNovi
8. Jud DeNaut
Decca's file lists neither a bassist not a pianist for Peggy Lee's May 6 and May 10, 1955 sessions. I have tentatively listed Gene DiNovi on the grounds of a comment made by the pianist himself; see Personnel notes under the next session. In the soundtrack of the movie that inspired these Decca sessions, Jud DeNaut played bass, as part of The Lucky Seven. DeNaut could also be the bass player heard herein, but we have no evidence to either support or refuse that possibility.

9. Ella Fitzgerald's Accompaniment
The trio heard in Ella Fitzgerald's numbers (Don Abney on piano, Joe Mondragon on bass, Larry Bunker on drums) did not participate in Peggy Lee's sessions. They probably were Fitzgerald's regular traveling musicians. (Bunker and Mondragon worked with Lee, however, in some of her other sessions.)


Issues And Collectors' Corner

1. The LP Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues In The Music Charts
A joint effort by Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee, Decca's Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues fared well commercially. It spent 10 weeks in Billboard's albums chart, which was then named Best-Selling Popular Albums. The LP configuration peaked at #7, while the EP configuration reached either than same slot or a #8. A more specialized album list, called Show And Movie, ranked the LP at #6 in the December 3, 1955 issue of the magazine.

For the duration of the rock era, Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues remained the highest-peaking album of both singers' careers. (By "rock era," I mean the period that begins with the smash success of Billy Haley And His Comets' "Rock Around The Clock" in 1955. Before that period, one of Lee's albums had actually peaked at #2 -- Rendezvous With Peggy Lee. Note also that the ranking of "highest-peaking album" refers to peak position only -- not to total number of weeks. Both singers had other LPs of greater longevity in Billboard's album chart.)

At Cash Box, a chart called Top 15 Best Selling Albums ranked together the three Pete Kelly's Blues albums that were in currency at the time. Collectively, they are shown as holding strong in the #2 slot for six weeks, starting with the week of September 11 to 17, 1955. They were thwarted from claiming the top by the LP and EP Columbia editions of the Love Me Or Leave Me soundtrack, starring Doris Day.

In the same magazine's July 28, 1956 issue, a multiple-label listing called All-Time Best Selling Albums was published. Decca reported five albums under the jazz category. All of them were soundtracks: The Benny Goodman Story, The Man With The Golden Arm, Satchmo At Symphony Hall, The Wild One, andSongs From Pete Kelly's Blues.

Readers interested in tracing Lee's charting album history at Decca Records should also consult the notes under the sessions dated May 4, 1953; April 10, 1954; and April 10, 1957.




2. Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues On EP
In the United States, Decca originally released Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues in two configurations, one of them being 12" LP. The other configuration was EP, of which Decca released two: one containing Lee's nine numbers and the other containing Fitzgerald's three numbers. Both EPs are shown above; the back cover of the Lee EP has also been included.

Meanwhile, British Brunswick released not two but three Pete Kelly's Blues EPs -- the one by Fitzgerald and two by Lee, thereby splitting her nine numbers into two sets. All three of them are seen in the first row below. The second row contains other European editions of the Fitzgerald EP.





3. Pete Kelly's Blues Cornucopia [LP Versions]
In addition to Decca Records, three other labels released full original albums connected to the world of Pete Kelly's Blues: RCA, Columbia, and Warner Brothers. With the exception of the Decca LP, all these albums bear the imprint "A Mark VII Limited Production." Mark VII was Jack Webb's company.




When it was originally issued, RCA's Pete Kelly's Blues (LP Pm 1126) deceptively posed as the original soundtrack. It is not. Recorded on October 19, 1955, this recreation of the film's soundtrack combines music played by the same ensemble heard in the movie with narration by producer Jack Webb (then under RCA contract). It contains instrumentals only; no vocals. The LP edition is seen on the first of the three images above; the EP edition on the third image. The second image shows another RCA LP edition, from which Webb's narration was excised. Issued in 1959, its catalogue number is Pm 2053. On CD, Collectors' Choice Music reissued the 1955 RCA album in 1999, with catalogue number Ccm 55. On this century, the British Public Domain company Giant Steps released a twofer CD which combines the 1955 RCA album with the 1955 Decca counterpart, featuring Lee and Fitzgerald. A photo of its cover can be seen in the next session.




On Columbia, Music From Jack Webb's Pete Kelly's Blues features both Matty Matlock (with His Jazz Band) and Ray Heindorff (with The Warner Brothers Orchestra). The four Heindorff numbers are said to actually be from the movie's soundtrack. The eight Matlock tracks are re-recordings. This album's front cover bears the legend "presented by Warner Brothers." It was issued as not only a LP (first image above, catalogue number Cl 690) but also two EPs (seen above as well; catalogue numbers B 2104 & B2105).
.



Warner Brothers' The Authentic Music From The Television Production Pete Kelly's Blues (W 1303) features, once again, Pete Kelly's Big Seven, which is alternatively billed as The Tuxedo Band in some of the performances. Released in 1959, the album's front cover (first image above) showcases cast members of the television version of Pete Kelly's Blues. Earlier on the same year, Warner Brothers had also issued Pete Kelly Lets His Hair Down (W 1217; second image above), featuring the same ensemble.

The track listings of the aforementioned Pete Kelly's Blues LPs partially resemble, partially differ from the contents of the Lee-Fitzgerald LP on Decca. In the case of the Columbia and RCA items, two songs ("Sing A Rainbow," "Ella Hums The Blues") are replaced with other numbers ("Breezin' Along With The Breeze" and "Smiles"), which are also heard on the film. The Columbia album omits "He Needs Me" as well. As for the two LPs on Warner Brothers, their titles clearly indicate that they are not directly related the movie; hence the one and only song that they share with the Decca LP is the titular "Pete Kelly's Blues," on the W 1303 LP.

Common to all the LPs, including the Decca Lee-Fitzgerald album, is the presence of Matlock, Miller, Cathcart, and Fatool. (George Van Epps plays guitar in the non-Decca albums. Also playing in the non-Decca albums are trombonist Moe Schneider, pianist Ray Sherman, and bassist Jud DeNaut. Added to the ensemble heard in the Warner Brothers album is Frank Beach on trumpet. Also, in the Warner Brothers album, Dick Cathcart certainly plays cornet as part of the ensemble -- just as he had done in the original radio show and in the movie.)




Not content with having album projects on all the aforementioned labels, Webb struck a deal with Capitol Records as well. Two singles containing the song "Pete Kelly's Blues" were issued on Capitol. One was an instrumental performed by Ray Anthony and His Orchestra, the other a vocal by June Christy with Pete Rugolo. Anthony's instrumental became a hit.

But that was not all. As reflected by the three mages above, there was more. Additional Big Seven offerings came out on Capitol: the 1956 EP The Dixie Style Of Pete Kelly's Big 7 (EAP 1 404) and the 1957 RCA Victor LP Pete Kelly At Home (Lpm 1413). Meanwhile, British Decca entered the fray with its own Music From Pete Kelly's Blues, in the form of a 1956 EP by Alex Welsh And His Dixieland Band (Dfe 6315).


Arrangers And Arrangements

1. Harold Mooney
My crediting of Harold Mooney as this session's arranger relies on the existence of copies of his arrangements for these sessions' songs. The arrangements have been preserved as part of Peggy Lee's music library.


Date: May 10, 1955
Location: Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Milt Gabler (pdr), Harold "Hal" Mooney (con), Julian "Matty" Matlock (cl), Eddie Miller (ts), Dick Cathcart (t), Dick McDonough (g), Gene DiNovi (p), Nick Fatool (d), Peggy Lee (v), Session Musicians (bkv)

a. L 8398Master Take (Decca) I Never Knew - 3:00(Ted Fiorito, Gus Kahn) / arr: Harold "Hal" Mooney
DECCA LPDxb 164 (4024-4025)/ Dxsb 7 164 [enhanced stereo] / 2 4049 [MCA] — The Best Of Peggy Lee [Reissued in 1966 and 1980]   (1960)
DECCA©Festival EP(Australia) Fr 10 538 — Somebody Loves Me   (1962)
Joker Tonverlag/Sarabandas/Promo Sound AG Bootleg CD(Switzerland) Entcd 0239 [reissued 1996] — Why Don't You Do Right ("The Entertainers" Series)    (1987)
b. L 8399Master Take (Decca) Bye, Bye, Blackbird - 3:40(Mort Dixon, Ray Henderson)
DECCA©Festival EP(Australia) Fx 10 536 — Black Coffee   (1962)
DECCA©MCA LP(Japan) P 11546 — Peggy Lee Deluxe ("Deluxe" MCA Series)   (1985)
DECCA©MCA@WEA@Warner Pioneer cassette(Japan) Pkf 5483 — Peggy Lee ("Very Best" Series)   (1985)
c. L 8400Master Take (Decca) He Needs Me - 2:35(Arthur Hamilton) / arr: Harold "Hal" Mooney
DECCA 78 & 4529605 & 9 29605 — {He Needs Me / Sing A Rainbow}   (1955)
DECCA LPDxb 164 (4024-4025)/ Dxsb 7 164 [enhanced stereo] / 2 4049 [MCA] — The Best Of Peggy Lee [Reissued in 1966 and 1980]   (1960)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8356 — The Best Of Peggy Lee, Volume 2   (1961)
d. L 8401Master Take (Decca) Sing A Rainbow - 2:46(Arthur Hamilton) / arr: Harold "Hal" Mooney
DECCA 78 & 4529605 & 9 29605 — {He Needs Me / Sing A Rainbow}   (1955)
Music Club Licensed CS/CD(United Kingdom) Mctc/Mccd 157 (reissued as Mccd 436 in 2000) — The Best Of Peggy Lee, 1952-1956 [Also available in a collectors' edition]   (1994)
DECCA©MCA CS/CDCs/Cd 2 11122 — BLACK COFFEE AND OTHER DELIGHTS; THE DECCA ANTHOLOGY   (1994)
All titles on: DECCA EP/LPEd 758 (91638-91639) / Dl 8166 — Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues   (1955)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8078 — Songs From The Warner Bros. Film Pete Kelly's Blues   (1956)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) Oe 9154 — Songs From The Warner Bros. Film Pete Kelly's Blues, Volume 2   (1956)





The Pete Kelly's Blues Album Sessions (Cross-references: Film)

This is the second of two sessions dedicated to songs from the movie Pete Kelly's Blues. For further details, see session dated May 6, 1955. Once it opens for viewing, see also this discography's page for Movie Soundtrack performances.

(Photos above: a Kiwi/Australian LP edition of Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues, on the Festival label. Giant Steps' Pete Kelly's Blues; Expanded Soundtrack, a Public Domain CD that contains two 1955 albums. One of them is the Lee-Fitzgerald LP, on Decca and the other is the Webb-Big Seven LP on RCA. More album covers of relevance can be seen in section IV of this discography's pictorial Decca page.)


Songs

1. "He Needs Me" In The Regional Music Charts
For the week ending September 17, 1955, this Peggy Lee recording attained a #9 placement at KRUX in Phoenix, Arizona.


Personnel

1. Bass: Jud DeNaut?
Decca's file does not list a bassist for Peggy Lee's May 6 and May 10, 1955 sessions. In the soundtrack of the movie that inspired these Decca sessions, Jud DeNaut played bass, as part of The Lucky Seven. DeNaut could also be the bass player heard herein, but we have no evidence to either support or refuse that possibility.

3. Gene DiNovi
Decca's file does not identify a pianist for Peggy Lee's May 6 and May 10, 1955 sessions. Herein, I have tentatively listed Gene DiNovi on the grounds of a comment made by the pianist himself: "[s]ince I wasn't with Peggy while the movies [which she did] were being shot, I didn't play on the soundtrack of any of them. But I sometimes felt like I'd been in Pete Kelly's Blues because I played on Peggy's later recordings of some of the movie's tunes, working with many of the musicians from the movie. These guys represented the best in Dixieland, Matty Matlock on clarinet, Eddie Miller on tenor, and a sweet trumpet player named Dick Cathcart whose playing I loved."

4. Background Vocals
Unknown background vocals, by an all-male chorus, on "Bye Bye Blackbird" only. Most likely, this chorus consists of musicians from the session, and I have thus tentatively credited them for the vocal.


Arrangers And Arrangements

1. Harold Mooney
The credit to Harold Mooney as this session's arranger relies on the fact that copies of his arrangements are extant in Peggy Lee's sheet music library.


Photos

Above: Festival Records LP edition of the album Songs From Pete Kelly's Blues. A CD edition on the Public Domain label Cherry Red (Giant Steps), which combines the contents of the Lee-Fitzgerald Decca LP with those of Jack Webb's own LP on RCA Records. Below: Peggy Lee in the studio, recording "Sing A Rainbow." (I do not know if the version in question is the one heard in the film soundtrack, or this session's rendition.) Celebrating Jack Webb's 35th birthday on April 2, 1955, probably on the set of the film Pete Kelly's Blues.





Date: June 3, 1955
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Dave Barbour (con), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 8471Master Take (Decca) Pablo Pasablo - 3:05(Sherman Edwards)
b. L 8472Master Take (Decca) Me - 2:26(Irving Berlin)
DECCA LPDl 4461 / Dl 7 4461 [stereo enhanced] — The Fabulous Peggy Lee    (1964)
Ace Of Hearts Licensed LP(United Kingdom) Ah 107 — The Fabulous Peggy Lee    (1966)
Official Licensed LP(Denmark) 12002 — The Fabulous Peggy Lee    (1988)
Both titles on: DECCA 78 & 4529861 & 9 29681 — {Pablo Pasablo / Me}   (1955)
DECCA©Universal Music Group CD(United Kingdom) 1130342 — CLASSICS & COLLECTIBLES   (2003)


Personnel, Arrangements And Cross-references

1. Dave Barbour At Decca
2. Jeri Southern
This is one of two Peggy Lee Decca sessions in which her ex-husband Dave Barbour is credited as conductor. The other session is dated February 18, 1953.

Decca's master files list Dave Barbour as conducting "Me" only. No conductor is listed for "Pablo Pasablo."

Presumably, Barbour was recruited at Lee's request. During these years, Barbour also conducted for Jeri Southern, who reportedly joined the Decca label through Lee's recommendation.

3. Unknown Musicians
Note that there is another session below that is esteemed to have been waxed, like this one, on June 3, 1955. The personnel of the other session is unknown, and has been listed below. Chances are that most of the same personnel played on this date, but I have no corroboration on the matter.


Songs

1. "Me" In The Regional Music Charts
For the week ending November 19, 1955, this Peggy Lee recording attained a #3 placement at WALA in Mobile, Alabama. Recordings by Eddie Fisher and The Hilltoppers were above it.


Date: ca. June 3, 1955
Location: Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Gene DiNovi (con), Julian "Matty" Matlock (cl), Eddie Miller (ts), Emmanuel "Manny" Klein (t), Shelly Manne (d), Jim Backus (v, spk), Peggy Lee (v), Session Musicians (bkv)

a. L 8473Master Take (Decca) Mister Magoo Does The Cha Cha Cha - 2:40(Gene DiNovi, Peggy Lee) / arr: Gene DiNovi
b. L 8474Master Take (Decca) Three Cheers For Mister Magoo - 2:27(Peggy Lee) / arr: Gene DiNovi
Both titles on: DECCA©Brunswick 78 & 45(United Kingdom) 05549 — {Three Cheers For Mr. Magoo / Mr. Magoo Does The Cha Cha} [released in the UK only]   (1956)
DECCA©Universal Music Group CD(United Kingdom) 1130342 — CLASSICS & COLLECTIBLES   (2003)





The Recording Session

Two of Peggy Lee's biographers has indicated that this session came about as a result of Lee's cinematic activities at Warner Bros. in the spring of 1955, the movies Pete Kelly's Blues and Rebel Without A Cause were being concurrently filmed there. Peggy Lee was enrolled in the former, Jim Backus in the latter.


Personnel (I) And Cross-references (TV Cartoons)

1. Mr. Magoo
2. Jim Backus
These two masters feature Peggy Lee in the company of Jim Backus, who impersonates his famous cartoon character, Mr. Magoo. His is a parlando performance -- no singing.

3. Animation Soundtrack?
Both of this session's masters qualify as special material. Could they have been intended for a Mr. Magoo project (e.g., a cartoon, or a movie feature)? Although I have found no evidence to lead me in that direction, I would not be surprised to learn one day that such was the case. In particular, "Three Cheers For Mr. Magoo" suggests a specific context or scene: Magoo being honored and giving a speech at his alma mater.

4. Gene DiNovi
This session's personnel is not listed in Decca's master files. Fortunately, Gene DiNovi kept record of this session, for which co-wrote the songs, and on which he played piano as well. DiNovi is thus the source for the listed personnel.





Personnel (II) And Songs

1. "Mr. Magoo Does The Cha Cha"
"Mr. Magoo Does The Cha Cha" is a duet sung by Backus and Lee. Backus also speaks some of the lines -- and laughs aplenty.

2. "Three Cheers For Mr. Magoo"
"Three Cheers For Mr. Magoo" is essentially a march, with Lee and company -- presumably, the session's musicians -- sing the titular cheers. It is thus more of an ensemble number or chorus piece with a festive, circus-like atmosphere. Mr. Magoo is also present, although he does not sing. Instead, he speaks (and, of course, laughs) in reaction to the cheers. We also hear about one or two of the shortsighted, "terrible adventures that he's been through."


Issues

1. Brunswick #05549 [Single]
According to word of mouth (passed along by one of the session's participants), Peggy Lee had no intention to have these masters commercially released. They were mistakenly sent to the United Kingdom, and issued there only. The intention behind Lee's recording of the masters is not known; see my speculative comments above, under personnel notes.


Date: November 22, 1955
Label: DECCA

Bing Crosby (ldr), Buddy Cole And His Orchestra (acc), Edwin "Buddy" Cole (p), Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L8807Master Take (Decca) The Possibility's There - 2:50(Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(United Kingdom) Oe 9467 — [Bing Crosby] Bing Sings, No. 2   (1959)
Ace Of Hearts Licensed LP(United Kingdom) Ah 164 — [Bing Crosby] Bing, Rare Style    (1967)
See-For-Miles Licensed CS/CD(United Kingdom) See Ck/Cd 360 — [Bing Crosby] The EP Collection   (1992)
DECCA©MCA CDMcad 11571 — The Best Of The Decca Years   (1997)
Sepia Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 1185 — [Bing Crosby] Through The Years, Volume 9, 1955-1956   (2012)





Masters

1. Bing Crosby
2. Non-Lee Masters
3. A (Partial) Holiday Session
This is a Bing Crosby date which resulted in four masters. Peggy Lee is heard only in "The Possibility's There," which she and the crooner sing as a duet. The other three masters are Crosby solos: "Christmas Is A-Comin' " (L 8805), "The First Snowfall" (L 8807) and "The Next Time It Happens" (L 8808).

As made evident by their titles, two of this session's numbers are seasonal offerings. The other two ("The Next Time It Happens," "The Possibility's there") are romantic pieces, and thus thematically alike as well.

Obviously, one of the purposes of this November 1955 session was to produce Crosby material for release over the holidays. Decca must have annually requested such seasonal material from Crosby, who had come to be renowned as the Voice of Christmas.

The holiday tunes from the present session were indeed issued on singles during the winter of 1955 -- on two singles, to be more specific. Decca #29777 offered "The First Snowfall," while Decca #29790 claimed "Christmas Is A-Comin'." For a flip side, Decca #29777 also used one of the romantic songs from this date, "The Next Time It Happens." On the other hand, Decca #29790 opted to use a second holiday number, from a later Crosby session ("Is Christmas Only A Tree?," aka master L 8820).

In short: all but one of this session's masters made their respective debuts on seasonal Crosby singles. Only "The Possibility's There" was excluded, for reasons unknown. Though by no means a holiday number, its qualifications are arguably greater than those of the other non-holiday number that passed muster (i..e, "The Next Time it Happens," a love lament from the pens of Hammerstein and Rodgers). The Crosby-Lee duet evokes a mood of cozy bliss that fits right in with the season's emphasis in warmth and intimacy.

For an earlier Crosby-Lee duet which definitely qualifies as a holiday offering, see "Little Jack Frost, Get Lost," recorded on November 17, 1952.





Issues

1. Bing Sings, No. 2 [LP]
Released in the United Kingdom, this 1959 Brunswick Records LP (pictured above) served as the original issue of "The Possibility's There." In the United States, the song had to wait almost half a century for its release (on the Peggy Lee CD Best Of The Decca Years, pictured below).





Cross-references (Radio As Source)

In his Bing Crosby: A Bio-Bibliography, J. Roger Osterholm states that this session's numbers were "recorded from radio broadcasts." The Bing Crosby Show was a CBS radio program that aired every week from Monday through Friday, starting on November 22, 1954 and concluding on December 28, 1956. That show would be the natural candidate to have broadcast Crosby's duet with Lee.

We are fortunate to have an excellent, almost complete log of the songs performed on the show. (The log was prepared by the excellent Crosby discographer Lionel Pairpont, who in turn relied on research conducted by Russ Rullman and Larry F. Kiner. Their work was still unfinished in 2005, when Pairpont passed away. Fortunately, most of the missing data was finally added between 2016 and 2017, thanks to Malcolm Macfarlane and other dedicated fans of Crosby.)

The log shows that all four songs from this session were indeed heard in the radio program. What's more, each one was broadcast over several episodes. It turns out, however, that all such airings took place after November 22, 1955 -- i.e., after Decca's date for the present session. Given this state of affairs, I find little reason to agree with the categorization of the session's masters as original broadcasts. One amenable hypothesis: Crosby and company could have initially recorded or "transcribed" them for radio broadcast, but would have ultimately deemed the results superior enough to merit commercial release on Decca Records.

For other Decca masters that do (or might) stem from original radio broadcasts, see sessions dated May 16, 1952 and November 17, 1952.





Personnel

1. The Buddy Cole Trio
For its entire duration, The Bing Crosby Show (1954-1956) featured The Buddy Cole Trio as musical accompaniment. The trio consisted of Cole on piano, Don Whitaker on bass, Nick Fatool on drums and one guitar. The latter was played by Perry Botkin, Jr. during the earlier years of the show, by Vince Terri in later episodes. In Decca's Crosby files, "Buddy Cole And His Orchestra" is the name given to the ensemble credited for the present session. It could be assumed that Cole's trio played as part of such an orchestra. Nevertheless, the lack of any additional session data prevents me from confidently endorsing this assumption.

2. Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires
The Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires are heard in some of this session's masters, but not in "The Possibility's There."


Date: January 6, 1956
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Sy Oliver (con), The Sy Oliver Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Session Musicians (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. L 8903Master Take (Decca) They Can't Take That Away From Me - 2:56(George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin)
DECCA 78 & 4529877 & 9 29877 — {Joey, Joey, Joey / They Can't Take That Away From Me}   (1956)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(Germany) Lpbm 87056 — title unknown   (1956)
DECCA LPDl 8816 — Miss Wonderful    (1959)
b. L 8904Master Take (Decca) Mr. Wonderful - 3:18(Lawrence Holofcener, Jerry Bock, George David Weiss) / arr: Sy Oliver
DECCA 78 & 4529834 & 9 29834 — {Mr. Wonderful / Crazy In The Heart}   (1956)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(Germany) Lpbm 87056 — title unknown   (1956)
DECCA EP(Denmark/Sweden) Bme 9344 — Presenting Peggy Lee   (1957)
c. L 8905Master Take (Decca) Joey, Joey, Joey - 2:43(Frank Loesser)
DECCA 78 & 4529877 & 9 29877 — {Joey, Joey, Joey / They Can't Take That Away From Me}   (1956)
DECCA LPDl 8816 — Miss Wonderful    (1959)
DECCA©MCA's Vocalion LPVl 7 3903 [simulated stereo] — Crazy In The Heart   (1970)
d. L 8906Master Take (Decca) Crazy In The Heart - 2:54(William Engvick, Alec Wilder)
DECCA 78 & 4529834 & 9 29834 — {Mr. Wonderful / Crazy In The Heart}   (1956)
DECCA LPDl 8816 — Miss Wonderful    (1959)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8266 — Miss Wonderful    (1959)
e. L 8907Master Take (Decca) You've Got To See Mamma Ev'ry Night - 2:45(Con Conrad, Billy Rose) / arr: Benny Carter
DECCA 78 & 4529837 / 9 29837 — {The Comeback / You've Got To See Mamma Ev'ry Night (Or You Can't See Mamma At All)}   (1956)
DECCA LPDl 8816 — Miss Wonderful    (1959)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8266 — Miss Wonderful    (1959)
f. L 8908Master Take (Decca) I Don't Know Enough About You - 2:55(Dave Barbour, Peggy Lee) / arr: Sy Oliver
DECCA 78 & 4530059 & 9 30059 — {You Oughta Be Mine / I Don't Know Enough About You}   (1956)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8171 — Dream Street   (1957)
DECCA©Brunswick 78 & 45(United Kingdom) 05714 — {Where Flamingos Fly / I Don't Know Enough About You} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1957)
g. L 8909Master Take (Decca) The Comeback - 3:01(Memphis Slim aka John Peter Chatman aka L. C. Fraser) / arr: Sy Oliver
DECCA 78 & 4529837 / 9 29837 — {The Comeback / You've Got To See Mamma Ev'ry Night (Or You Can't See Mamma At All)}   (1956)
DECCA LPDl 8816 — Miss Wonderful    (1959)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8266 — Miss Wonderful    (1959)
h. L 8910Master Take (Decca) Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - 2:28(Traditional) / arr: Neal Hefti, Peggy Lee
DECCA 459 30879 — {Swing Low, Sweet Chariot / It Ain't Necessarily So}   (1959)
DECCA LPDxb 164 (4024-4025)/ Dxsb 7 164 [enhanced stereo] / 2 4049 [MCA] — The Best Of Peggy Lee [Reissued in 1966 and 1980]   (1960)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8356 — The Best Of Peggy Lee, Volume 2   (1961)





The Miss Wonderful Sessions

This session was conducted by Sy Oliver -- pictured above, in 1955. All but one of the resulting eight masters were issued in the 1959 Decca LP Miss Wonderful -- also pictured above. (The left-out master, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" was also issued at the same time as the LP, but only on a Decca single.)

Six months after the present date, Sy Oliver conducted another session for Peggy Lee. Five of the resulting masters were also included in the 1959 Miss Wonderful LP. The date of the second Oliver session was June 8, 1956.

Due to the facts mentioned in the two preceding paragraphs, I am naturally referring to Lee's January 6 and June 8 dates as "the Miss Wonderful sessions."

Nevertheless, it would be equally appropriate, if not more so, to simply call them singles sessions. Although not identified as such, Miss Wonderful is primarily a collection of singles that had been originally issued in 1956. (Only two of the LP's twelve tracks had not been previously released on singles -- "Take A Little Time To Smile" and "Wrong Joe," both from the June 8 date.)


Issues

1. Miss Wonderful
One dated January 6 and the other June 8, there is a six-month lapse between the two sessions from which the LP Miss Wonderful was culled. Despite such a lapse, the album comes across as a cohesive piece, largely due to the fact that Sy Oliver singlehandedly conducted the orchestra that is featured on all tracks.

By the time that this Decca LP came out, Lee had already spent three years away from Decca, under contract with another label. Perhaps her chart success at that other label (Capitol) motivated Decca to put together this collection of previously issued singles.

There is also the possibility that Miss Wonderful had been conceived back in 1956, only to be temporarily canceled when Lee revealed her intention to leave the label. Giving fuel to this possibility is the fact that such a large quantity of masters were recorded at the two dates under scrutiny (i.e., enough tracks to fill an album).

The amount of input that Peggy Lee had on the creation and preparation of Miss Wonderful is unclear. If the album had not been planned before 1959, then her input must have been non-existent or, at best, limited.

Photos below: two shots from the same photo session that generated the front cover of the 1959 Decca album Miss Wonderful. The shots are undated, but believed to date from either 1955 or 1956. The front cover of the 1970 MCA album Crazy In The Heart, which combines five tracks from Miss Wonderful with five tracks from another original Decca LP (Black Coffee With Peggy Lee).





Masters

1. Number Of Sessions Per Day (January 6, 1956)
2. Record Sessions With Unusually Numerous Masters (1956)
Due to contractual stipulations, four was the maximum number of masters that record labels were allowed to record at one given session. Furthermore, the allotted time amount was four hours, before overtime had to be factored into the session. These stipulations were dictated by the American Federation of Musicians, to which record labels were required to report their session data.

Bypassing the four-master limit on any given day did not require any complicated stratagems. The simple solution was to book the given artist for more than one recording session on the scheduled date. If that had been the course of action, the AFRS report (and also the record company's own files ) would naturally list two sessions, neither one with more than four masters. (As for a three-session marathon, it would have been as well, at least in theory. In practice, I imagine that most singers would have chosen to avoid any such marathons. They would have run risk of evincing vocal wear on one too many of the resulting takes.)

Decca's 1956 artist files for Peggy Lee break with expected patterns. Most of her dates from that year list more than four masters. If the files are accurate, then the likeliest explanation for these unusual listings would be that Decca was lax in its reporting of the information. The results of two successive sessions would have been listed as one because they had taken place on the same day (and because they were, of course, by the same artist).

I can only presume that dates such as the present one (consisting of eight masters) are split into two sessions in the AFM documentation, which I have not been able to consult. In any case, the recording of six to eight masters on a daily basis was in itself unusual for Lee. It points to a change in her recording routine -- perchance a reflection of contractual obligations that needed to be promptly fulfilled.


Cross-References

1. "I Don't Know Enough About You"
2. Dream Street [LP]
Peggy Lee first recorded "I Don't Know Enough About You" for Capitol, on December 26, 1945.
This session's re-recording was actually issued by Decca not only in the US LP Miss Wonderful but also in British editions of the LP Dream Street, where it replaced the song "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face." For a more detailed explanation of the master's British issuing history, see notes under session dated June 7, 1956.

As shown above, "I Don't Know Enough About You" was released as a single, too.

3. "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"
For Peggy Lee's other recordings of this song, see Capitol sessions dated October 17, 1946 and January 29, 1947. See also Capitol transcription session dated June 11, 1946.


Songs

1. "Mr. Wonderful" In The Music Charts
2. Sarah Vaughan
3. Teddi King
Originating in the 1956 Broadway musical of the same title, "Mr. Wonderful" was Lee's 10th Top 40 Billboard chart hit for Decca Records. It made its debut during the week of June 7, 1956. Peggy Lee had competition from Mercury's Sarah Vaughan and RCA's Teddi King, whose respective versions also made Billboard's various charts.

In the Top 100 chart, Peggy Lee's version climbed to #23, Teddi King's to #32, and Sarah Vaughan's to #38.

In the Jockey (airplay) chart, Sarah Vaughan peaked at #13, Peggy Lee at #14, and Teddi King at #18.

In the Bestseller chart, Peggy Lee reached #25. King's and Vaughan's versions did not make the Bestseller list.

Lee's version stayed in Billboard's charts for ten weeks, Vaughan's for seven, and King's for two.

The magazine's primary song chart, Honor Roll Of Hits, shows the song making its debut on the survey week ending February 22, 1956 (published on the March 3 issue) and peaking at #14 during the week ending May 9, 1956 (published on the May 19 issue). This chart lists all then-available versions of each song; however, the Peggy Lee version is singled out as the "best selling record."

The Cash Box charts also point to Lee's version as the most successful. What's more, the magazine's regional reports could lead to the suspicion that the song's #14 US peak is an understatement. Beginning with the magazine issue published on March 10 and ending with the one dated July 7, I counted 51 regional reports that featured Peggy Lee's "Mr. Wonderful" as part of their weekly top ten polls.

Lee's best Cash Box showings were at KTHE in Thermopolis, Wyoming (April 1) and at WPFH in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (April 21). Her recording held the #1 spot on both of those stations, the #2 contenders being Les Baxter's "Poor People Of Paris (KTHE) and Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" (WPFH). In the jukeboxes, Lee found particular favor among Milwaukee and Atlanta listeners during the weeks ending April 28 and May 5, when she variously placed in the #8, #9, and #10 positions. Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" was topping the jukeboxes of both regions. As for record store reports, the songstress' recording had its best showing at Van Curler Music in Albany, New York. For the week ending May 9, Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" ranked first at that store, and Peggy Lee's "Mr. Wonderful" ranked second.

The renditions by Peggy Lee and Sarah Vaughan made the charts in the United Kingdom, too. According to the Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles, 1952-1980, Lee's interpretation was by far the most successful in English territory: it peaked at #5 and received airplay for 13 weeks.

4. "Joey, Joey, Joey" In The Music Charts
"Joey, Joey, Joey" was a minor chart hit for Peggy Lee. Released on the week of May 5, 1956, her version peaked at #76 and stayed in Billboard's Top 100 for six weeks.

At Cash Box, two disc jockeys reported that this Lee recording had entered the weekly top ten of their respective stations. According to Herb Knight, it ranked #9 at WKBW (Buffalo, New York) for the week ending May 5, 1956. And, according to Ken Scott, it ranked #6 at WAPI (Birmingham, Alabama) for the week ending June 23, 1956.

This song from the 1956 Broadway musical The Most Happy Fella was introduced on stage by Art Lund, who had been, coincidentally, Lee's duet partner during her years with Benny Goodman.

"Joey, Joey, Joey" was Lee's eleventh and last Billboard hit on Decca, raising the total count (Decca, Capitol, Columbia and Okeh) to 47 hits. (Her next hits would be on the Capitol label.)

5. "The Comeback" In The Regional Charts
This Peggy Lee recording spent the week ending August 11, 1956 in the #5 position at KABC in Hollywood, California.

6. "They Can't Take that Away From Me" In The Regional Charts
This Peggy Lee recording also spent a week in the regional music charts. For the week ending June 23, 1956, it enjoyed the #3 spot at KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

7. "I Don't Know Enough About You" (And "You Oughta Be Mine") According To The Music Trade Press
Decca single 29837 was issued with this session's version of "I Don't Know Enough About You" as its B side. The A side was "You Oughta Be Mine," from Lee's June 8, 1956 session. Trade reviewers championed the single, with Billboard giving it its "Spotlight" and Cash Box listing it among its "Best Bets."
Variety gave the edge to the B side, rating it "excellent," while calling the A side just "good."

Cash Box: "Peggy Lee hands in a sultry torch tune in her smooth, moody fashion. Exciting piece of material that could step out and click. Wonderful arrangement by Sy Oliver." (A side.) "The lark hands in a wonderful revival version of her own delightful composition. Easy rhythm side could be a hit all over again." (B side.)





Songwriters

1. "The Come Back"
2. Memphis Slim
3. L. C. Fraser (Frazier)
4. Peter Chatman
Whereas Decca credits L. C. Fraser as the songwriter of "The Come Back," other sources identify Peter Chatman as the song's author. At BMI's online site, clicking on either Peter Chatman or L. C. Fraser (spelled there and elsewhere as "Frazier") sends the user to a list of songs written by Memphis Slim.

All three names actually refer to the same person. Memphis Slim's birth name was John Len Chatman, but he often used the variant "Peter Chatman" in official records, and even claimed that it was his birth name. Peter Chatman was actually the name of his father.

As for "L. C. Frazier," I assume it to be a pseudonym whose full spelling should be "Len Chatman Frazier." (Perhaps "Frazier" was his mother's maiden name?)


Arrangers And Arrangements

1. Sy Oliver
2. "Mr. Wonderful"
3. "I Don't Know Enough About You"
4. Peter Moore
5. Lenny LaCroix
Peggy Lee's sheet music library holds three arrangements of "Mr. Wonderful." Their respective authors are Lenny LaCroix, Peter Moore, and Sy Oliver. The LaCroix and Moore pieces were definitely written many years after the present date.

By process of elimination, the Sy Oliver is thus likely to be the one used at this session. Lee's library also contains an arrangements of "I Don't Know Enough About You" with his Oliver's name on it.

Photos above: front covers of two Sy Oliver Decca releases from the mid-1950s, both of which use a photo that reflect the trumpeter's orientation toward self-arranged brassy tunes. At the point that his illustrious and varied career intersected with Lee's, Oliver was serving a long-term appointment as one of Decca's staff conductors and arrangers. Besides his earlier hit successes as part of the Jimmy Lunceford band (and everlasting triumph as the composer of the standard "Yes, Indeed"), Oliver had the distinction of conducting and arranging for many singers of note. Besides Peggy Lee, the list includes Louis Armstrong, Chubby Checker, Chris Connor, Sammy Davis Jr, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, The Mills Brothers, Della Reese, Frank Sinatra, Jeri Southern, and Caterina Valente.

6. "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"
7. Neal Hefti & Peggy Lee
8. Dave Barbour & Peggy Lee
Above, the arrangement of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" has been credited to Peggy Lee and Neal Hefti. My sources for this credit are Lee's sheet music library (where a copy of the arrangement has been kept) and Sean Connors' list of the singer's compositions. Lee's library actually contains two arrangements of this song. The second is credited to Billy May.

The Decca LP set The Best Of Peggy Lee (Dxb 164) erroneously credits this arrangement to Dave Barbour and Peggy Lee. Perhaps Leonard Feather, the album's annotator, confused this Lee recording of the song for Decca with her earlier ones on Capitol. (One of those 1940s versions is indeed credited to the Barbours, and the others are similar enough to have been arranged by them as well, although no confirmation has been forthcoming. Be that as it may, Hefti and Lee's 1956 arrangement of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is vastly different from what is heard in the earlier versions.)

9. "You've Got To See Mamma Ev'ry Night"
10. Benny Carter
11. Mickey Ingalls
Also found in Peggy Lee's music library are two arrangements of the song "You've Got To See Mamma Ev'ry Night." One of them is credited to Benny Carter. I do not know if that Carter arrangement is the same one that was used for this session. Carter worked as music director of Lee's concert appearances during the early 1960s, and she did sing "You've Got To See Mamma Ev'ry Night" onstage then. The arrangement at Lee's library could well be from that later time. In short, this date's Carter credit must be deemed tentative.

As for the second extant arrangement of "You've Got To See Mamma Ev'ry Night" at Lee's library, Mickey Ingalls wrote it decades after the present session took place.


Date: April 3, 1956
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Sy Oliver (con), William "Bill" Pitman (g), Buddy Clark (b), Lou Levy (p), Larry Bunker (vib, d, per), Stella Castellucci (hrp), Unknown (tri), Peggy Lee (v)

a. L 9121Master Take (Decca) Do I Love You? - 1:34(Cole Porter) / arr: Shorty Rogers
DECCA LPDl 4461 / Dl 7 4461 [stereo enhanced] — The Fabulous Peggy Lee    (1964)
Ace Of Hearts Licensed LP(United Kingdom) Ah 107 — The Fabulous Peggy Lee    (1966)
Official Licensed LP(Denmark) 12002 — The Fabulous Peggy Lee    (1988)
b. L 9122Master Take (Decca) It Ain't Necessarily So - 3:21(George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Dubose Heyward)
DECCA LPDl 8358 — Black Coffee With Peggy Lee   (1956)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(France/Germany) 10 120 Epb — Miss Peggy Lee   (1957)
DECCA©Festival LP(Australia) Fr 12 1474 — Black Coffee   (1957)
c. L 9123Master Take (Decca) Guess I'll Go Back Home (This Summer) - 3:18(Ray Mayer, Willard Robison)
DECCA LPDxb 164 (4024-4025)/ Dxsb 7 164 [enhanced stereo] / 2 4049 [MCA] — The Best Of Peggy Lee [Reissued in 1966 and 1980]   (1960)
DECCA©Brunswick LP(United Kingdom) Lat 8356 — The Best Of Peggy Lee, Volume 2   (1961)
DECCA©Brunswick LP/CD(Germany) 87092 [also Blk 86 024P/Mcd 18346; CD rel. in 1991] — My Greatest Songs [Reissued, year unknown, as part of MCA's "Gema American" LP Series]   (1963)
d. L 9124Master Take (Decca) There's A Small Hotel - 2:49(Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
DECCA LPDl 8358 — Black Coffee With Peggy Lee   (1956)
DECCA©Festival LP(Australia) Fr 12 1474 — Black Coffee   (1957)
DECCA©Festival LP(Australia) Fl 12 7026 — Black Coffee   (1958)
e. L 9125Master Take (Decca) Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You - 3:22(Don Redman, Andy Razaf)
DECCA LPDl 8358 — Black Coffee With Peggy Lee   (1956)
DECCA©Brunswick EP(France/Germany) 10 120 Epb — Miss Peggy Lee   (1957)
DECCA©Festival LP(Australia) Fr 12 1474 — Black Coffee   (1957)
f. L 9126Master Take (Decca) You're My Thrill - 3:20(Sidney Clare, Jay Gorney)
DECCA LPDl 8358 — Black Coffee With Peggy Lee   (1956)
DECCA©Festival LP(Australia) Fr 12 1474 — Black Coffee   (1957)
DECCA©Festival LP(Australia) Fl 12 7026 — Black Coffee   (1958)
All titles on: Essential Jazz Classics Public Domain CD(Spain) 55441 — Black Coffee & Dream Street; The Complete Sessions   (2009)
LPTime Public Domain CD(Spain) Lpt 1160 — Dream Street   (2011)





The Black Coffee Album Sessions (Cross-references)

In the mid-1950s, record companies reissued some of their more popular and better-known 10" LPs in the then-emerging 12" format. Picked for reissue in such expanded manner was Peggy Lee's 10" LP Black Coffee, which had been originally released in 1953.

This April 3, 1956 session was spent recording additional songs for inclusion in the expanded version of the album. Of the six masters recorded on the present date, four were incorporated to the 12" LP, thereby rounding the number of tracks to a dozen.

The other two masters remained unissued until the 1960s, when each appeared on a separate Decca project. (To be more specific, one master was paradoxically included in a Best Of Peggy Lee compilation, and the other in The Fabulous Peggy Lee, an album that Decca put together, without the singer's direct involvement, in 1964.)

For a look into the earlier Black Coffee dates (i.e., the 10-inch album sessions), see above, under April 30, May 1 and May 3, 1953.


Issues & Photos

1. Decca's New World Of Sound And Black Coffee With Peggy Lee [Decca 12" LP]
For its 1956 Fall Release season, the Decca label devised an ambitious promotion centered around its logo "A New World of Sound." A total of fifty-two Decca albums were issued on that season -- far more than at any previous time in the label's history -- and an collective promotion of them was extensively carried out. In addition to the total quantity, genre diversity was also touted: the batch included titles in the fields of classical (9), country (7), jazz (5), and pop (31). Quite a few of them were retrospectives featuring the label's most popular acts: The Jolson Story, Ethel Merman's A Musical Biography, The Andrews Sisters' By Popular Demand, Kitty Wells' Country Hits Parade, Ernest Tubb Favorites, etc. From Sammy Davis, Jr.'s, there was a pick-up album, Here's Looking At You, collecting a motley crew of numbers recorded between 1954 and 1956. Brand new albums included Bing Crosby's Songs I Wish I Had Sung (The First Time Around) and Carmen McRae's Blue Moon. A mere handful of albums by female artists made the cut; in addition to those already mentioned, there was The Great Sophie Tucker and, of course, Black Coffee With Peggy Lee.

2. Black Coffee With Peggy Lee [Verve CD Edition]
The two numbers that were left out of the 12" album Black Coffee ("Do I Love You?," "Guess I'll Go Back Home This Summer") were also excluded from the otherwise definitive 2004 CD Black Coffee. Such omissions are all the more unfortunate when we taken into account the fact that the CD belongs to Verve's Master Edition series, which prided itself on releasing complete sessions.

3. Photos
The first of the above-seen photos showcases the 12" LP Black Coffee With Peggy Lee. The second features the album's definitive CD edition, on Verve Records (2004).


Personnel

1. Sy Oliver
2. Lou Levy
Decca's master files credit Sy Oliver with "directing the orchestra" on Do I Love You? That orchestral credit to Oliver is rather odd, because Lee's performance of "Do I Love You?" features just a rhythm section. Hence, in this particular instance, the files accuracy is dubious.

Aside from the Oliver credit, Decca's files make no mention of a conductor for this session's masters. I can only presume that pianist Lou Levy, along with Peggy Lee herself, were in charge of all creative activities at the session.


Arrangements

1. "Do I Love You?"
2. Shorty Rogers
3. Johnny Mandel
Decca's paperwork does not include arranger credits. For the most part, Peggy Lee's own library of arrangements has served as my only source on the matter. Case in point: the above-shown credit stems from the existence in the library of an arrangement of "Do I Love You?," with Shorty Rogers' name attached to it.

Lee's library contains a second arrangement of "Do I Love You?," credited to Johnny Mandel. That Mandel arrangement must have been written many years later, and was presumably used, if at all, in live performance. In connection to this matter, see next paragraphs, too.


Songs And Cross-references

1. "Do I Love You?"
In addition to the version waxed on this date, the song "Do I Love You?" was also recorded by Peggy Lee for her 1959 album Beauty And The Beat!. (See sessions dated May 28-30, 1959. That Capitol album used head arrangements.)

There is yet a third Lee version of "Do I Love You?" on record. She waxed it for her 1993 CD Moments Like This, which comprises songs that Leevocalist was singing in concert at that point in time. (See session dated September 8, 1992.)


Date: June 5, 1956
Location: Decca Studios, Los Angeles
Label: DECCA

Peggy Lee (ldr), Bud Shank (f, as), Bob Cooper (ts), Max K. Bennett, Buddy Clark (b), Lou Levy (p), Larry Bunker (vib, per), Stella Castellucci (hrp), Nick Fatool (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. L 9263Master Take (Decca) It's All Right With Me - 2:20(Cole Porter)
DECCA LPDxb 164 (4024-4025)/ Dxsb 7 164 [enhanced stereo] / 2 4049 [MCA] — The Best Of Peggy Lee [Reissued in 1966 and 1980]   (1960)
DECCA©Festival EP(Australia) Fx 10 535 — The Swinging Miss L   (1962)
DECCA©Brunswick LP/CD(Germany) 87092 [also Blk 86 024P/Mcd 18346; CD rel. in 1991] — My Greatest Songs [Reissued, year unknown, as part of MCA's "Gema American" LP Series]   (1963)
b. L 9264Master Take (Decca) What's New? - 2:56(Johnny Burke, Bob Haggart)
DECCA©MCA LP(Japan) P 11546 — Peggy Lee Deluxe ("Deluxe" MCA Series)   (1985)
DECCA©MCA@WEA@Warner Pioneer cassette(Japan) Pkf 5483 — Peggy Lee ("Very Best" Series)   (1985)
Daiichi Kikaku Public Domain CD(Japan) Ob 3005 — Peggy Lee ("The Great Jazz Artist" Series)   (1991)
c. L 9265Master Take (Decca) Something I Dreamed Last Night - 2:25(Jack Yellen, Herb Magidson, Sammy Fain)
DECCA©Brunswick LP/CD(Germany) 87092 [also Blk 86 024P/Mcd 18346; CD rel. in 1991] — My Greatest Songs [Reissued, year unknown, as part of MCA's "Gema American" LP Series]   (1963)
DECCA©MCA's Vocalion LPVl 3776 / 7 3776 [simulated stereo] — So Blue   (1966)
DECCA©MCA Victor LP(Japan) Mca 10016 — Peggy Lee ("Super Deluxe" MCA Series)   (1973)
d. L 9266Master Take (Decca) It Never Entered My Mind - 2:57(Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
DECCA©MCA's Vocalion LPVl 3776 / 7 3776 [simulated stereo] — So Blue   (1966)
DECCA©MCA's Coral CS/LPCrc/Cr 20187 — Peggy Lee   (1984)
Music Club Licensed CS/CD(United Kingdom) Mctc/Mccd 157 (reissued as Mccd 436 in 2000) — The Best Of Peggy Lee, 1952-1956 [Also available in a collectors' edition]   (1994)
e. L 9267Master Take (Decca) So Blue - 2:13(Ray Henderson, Buddy G. DeSylva, Lew Brown, Helen Crawford)