Peggy Lee

Big $pender

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Blending a couple of then-current show tunes with older classics of the big band form, Peggy Lee's 1966 LP Big $pender occasionally rose its head above the level of kitsch -- and much more so than 1965's Pass Me By. It's tough to blame Lee herself; while the arrangements (including work by Dave Grusin and Bill Holman) are mostly successful, again and again the accompaniment descends into rote repetition of the usual rock motifs. The blaring brass of the title track make it a highlight, though, and Lee sounds positively jubilant while singing a genuine standard ("Let's Fall in Love") over a conservative arrangement. A few pearls among the swine are hardly enough to recommend this record.