If imitation is the highest form of flattery, the ears of the inestimable Peggy Lee must be ringing. Kate Dimbleby's Ain't This Cosy is at least the 4th album honoring Ms Lee released ii the last few years. There was Jeanie Bryson's, followed by Connie Evingson's. The icing on the cake was Mosaic Records complete Capitol Record transcriptions of Peggy Lee in a box set shared with June Christie. The thrust behind this latest "let's honor Peggy" CD was spawned by a one-act biographical play written by Lucy Powell, The Making of Miss Peggy Lee, which opened in London in December of 1999 with Dimbleby as Lee. A tribute to Lee as both singer and composers seemed a natural follow on to the play.
Dimbleby, ably assisted by Geoff Eales's trio, has included some of Lee's more famous tunes along with some that aren't heard that often. "Is That all There Is, one of the most sardonic and irreverent laments ever, probably as much as any song, captures Lee's off hand approach to lyrics which were delivered with a voice immediately recognizable after a bar or two. Of the lesser known Lee recorded songs included here are "Sing a Rainbow" and "He's just My Kind." The session is topped off with a wistful "I Don't Wanna Play in Your Yard" done A Capella. Lee has a stylized manner of singing can legitimately be imitated without being slavishly copied, and that's just what Dimbleby accomplishes in this album - - a delightful interpretation of the works of one of the icons of American popular song. Recommended.