Peggy Lee

Somethin' Groovy!

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Somethin' Groovy! does the exact opposite of all those late-'60s vocal albums that charted the course of new '60s pop and rock with a big-band backing. Instead, producer David Cavanaugh and music director Ralph Carmichael drape a set of vocal standards ("Makin' Whoopee," "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," "It Might as Well Be Spring," "Love Is Here to Stay") over a soft, gauzy, quintessentially '60s backing. Lee's voice is generally in good shape for these songs, and she treats them with even more laidback charm than listeners would expect. It's difficult to escape the impression, however, that excessive tinkering with the arrangements ruins Lee's performances; her duet with harmonica player Toots Thielemans on "Makin' Whoopee" is interesting, but so disjointed and loose that it's more camp than quality. The ballads "I Can Hear the Music," "Love Is Here to Stay," and "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" are done much better, but Somethin' Groovy! is an unfortunate album, finding a solid vocal performance trapped in time by weak arrangements and flaccid productions.