A resident of Beaufort, SC, by way of Savannah, GA, Penney Petersen's first album is one that comes with entries from the Great American Popular Songbook. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Petersen sings these classic tunes in a straightforward manner with no swooping, no sighing, no yelping, and no dramatic or surprising key changes. Instead she takes a path trod by great practitioners such as Dinah Shore, Margaret Whiting, and Peggy Lee. Operating on the principle that a singer's main job is to deliver the lyrics so the listener can understand them and doesn't need a translator to find out what's being sung, each of the 15 tunes on the musical agenda gets individual attention by Petersen and her friends. And her friends are important to the success of this album, as they are unrelenting in their efforts to give utmost support. First of all there's pianist/organist Bob Alberti, who has worked with Mel Tormé and Buddy Morrow. He has established a personal working relationship with the singer that comes through on such cuts as a slower-than-usual account of "Smile." Neither flashy nor pedantic, this pianist sets just the right tone for each cut. Bill Prince runs the spectrum of reed instruments, plus picks up trumpet and flute. He also rises to the top like cream on "Cheek to Cheek." Bruce Spradley's clean-stringed guitar gets solo space on "Willow Weep for Me," while Prince picks up the trumpet on a pert "Frim Fram Sauce." As It Should Be is a welcome addition to the library of exceptional vocal performances.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan