British EMI continues its "two on one" series of combining two vintage LPs on a single CD with a couple of Peggy Lee albums from two different eras. I'm a Woman, which Capitol Records released in February 1963, was a rush job. Lee was enjoying a hit single with the Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller-composed title song, which had been issued as a one-off single, in early 1963, so Capitol had her quickly cut an album's worth of tracks in order to have an LP of the same name out to take advantage commercially. With conductor Dick Hazard and a small jazz band, she cut some recent hits for others -- "Mack the Knife," "A Taste of Honey," "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" -- along with standards -- "Come Rain or Come Shine," "I'll Get By" -- and left-field choices (Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'"). It all works, largely because nobody seems to be taking it too seriously, and, of course, there's also that title song, a Lee favorite. Norma Deloris Egstrom from Jamestown North Dakota appeared more than nine years later, in June 1972, and proved to be Lee's final recording for Capitol Records, the label she had stuck with, except for one five-year interruption, since 1945. The title, evoking the singer's real name and hometown, seemed to promise some uncompromisingly honest self-reflection, but the contents were the usual for a veteran pop singer in the early ‘70s trying to remain faithful to her pre-rock past while also staying up to date by covering recent soft rock hits. So, Leon Russell's "A Song for You" and his Carpenters hit "Superstar" shared space with ‘40s evergreens like "The More I See You" and "I'll Be Seeing You." The reissue adds a previously unreleased track from the sessions, "It Changes." The song, written by the Sherman Brothers (known for their Walt Disney movie musicals), is in the vein of Lee's hit "Is That All There Is," which it may have been intended to recall. It doesn't really fit, but it is one of the better songs and performances on the CD.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann