Fresh from her unexpected Top 20 pop singles entry "Is That All There Is" in October of 1969, vocalist Peggy Lee commenced the '70s on an optimistic note. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for the remarkable prolificacy -- during a pair of mid-February 1970 recording sessions -- that yielded Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970), her first long-player of the decade. As she had done on many of her mid- to late-'60s collections, Lee embraces a fairly broad spectrum of styles within the course of the ten songs. As reflected in the tune stack and Lee's uniformly excellent performances, conductor Mike Melvoin has adeptly chosen concurrent singer/songwriters with a more modern sound. Primary among these are an upbeat blues-infused reading of Randy Newman's "Have You Seen My Baby" and the remake of Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," the latter as heavily influenced by Aretha Franklin's soul-filled excursion as by the Simon & Garfunkel original. To a lesser -- but certainly funkier -- extent is the interpretation of B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone." Also chosen are two Burt Bacharach/Hal David staples -- a fun and slightly Herb Alpert-esque arrangement of "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" and a somewhat perfunctory "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head." Overwhelmingly better suited to the artist are the show tunes "You'll Remember Me," with which Lee scored an easy listening chart hit; the closer, "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life," and the solitary selection from the Great White Way, "I See Your Face Before Me." Unquestionably it is the dark, ominous, and appropriately titled "Something Strange" that stands as Lee's signature tune from this effort.
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Bridge Over Troubled Water Review
by Lindsay Planer