Since Peggy Lee scored her Top Ten version of "Fever" in 1958, it may sound odd to report that the British budget compilation named for that hit consists of recordings made originally between 1941 and 1948. The explanation is simple: in addition to the 23 tracks from the '40s it contains, the album leads off with a live recording of the title song from an unknown radio broadcast. That, of course, gives a false impression of the contents; following the opening track, the set immediately looks back more than a decade for Lee's first number one hit, "Mañana (Is Soon Enough for Me)," and that is, in fact, one of the more recent tracks on a collection that also includes a half-dozen of Lee's recordings as the girl singer in Benny Goodman's band. Another in the endless supply of European releases taking advantage of the short copyright limit on recordings on that continent, Fever jumbles up a random collection of Lee's early recordings, but at least you can say that the selection is generous and that the sound quality is pretty good (that is, on the non-Goodman stuff requisitioned from Capitol Records recordings), probably because the compilers are taking the tracks straight off of other CD reissues these days rather than mastering from scratchy old 78s. Of course, one would be better off sticking with the more legitimate Columbia and Capitol reissues of this material.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
feat: The Capitol Jazzmen
feat: The Four of a Kind