Benny Goodman / Peggy Lee

Peggy Lee Sings with Benny Goodman

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The official release date on Peggy Lee Sings with Benny Goodman is 1957, but the recording sounds so old-fashioned, it seems earlier. This means that while the music is quite enjoyable, Lee doesn't rely on the sultry style that made her famous on hits like "Fever." Instead, this short (30 minutes) album features an innocent Lee backed by Goodman on a handful of standards. The set opens with a lovely, smooth version of "How Long Has This Been Going On?" and includes equally charming takes on "We'll Meet Again" and "That Did It, Marie." The arrangements are attractive but rather typical of '40s big-band music, and only occasionally allow Goodman room for a clarinet solo. As is the habit of big-band music, the modern listener will find it odd that the singer, seemingly the reason for listening to the song, sometimes waits an entire minute before entering the fray (it's almost as though the band was warming up). But the vocals are worth the wait. Lee's carefree versions on "I Threw a Kiss in the Ocean" and "My Old Flame" are more Helen Forrest than June Christy, but are nonetheless easy on the ears. Peggy Lee Sings with Benny Goodman is an enjoyable ode to an earlier, more innocent time.