Peggy Lee

Let's Love

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Norma Deloris Egstrom from Jamestown, North Dakota had turned out to be the final album of Peggy Lee's lengthy tenure at Capitol Records, and 16 months after its release the 54-year-old singer returned to the record racks on Atlantic Records with Let's Love, touted as a comeback assisted by a former Capitol labelmate, former Beatle Paul McCartney, who wrote and produced the title song especially for her. That may have been the headline grabber, but the LP that was bookended by the song "Let's Love" and its reprise actually was more the product of Lee and Dave Grusin's efforts, under the auspices of Atlantic executive Nesuhi Ertegun. Lee and Grusin co-produced the rest of the tracks, adopting a sophisticated contemporary pop/jazz sound. Grusin was an expert at this sort of fusion style, incorporating elements of gospel, R&B, and funk, and Lee was very much on board with the approach. As on her later Capitol albums, she presented her versions of recent hits like James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" and the Stylistics' "You Make Me Feel Brand New." When she and Grusin did essay a standard like the ones she had been singing for 30 years, they made a point of transforming it. Irving Berlin's "Always" may have a 1925 copyright, but here it sounds like the Pointer Sisters' "Yes We Can Can." The co-producers also included a couple of string-filled ballads to make old fans welcome, however, with Lee adding lyrics to Grusin's movie theme "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" and doing Karen Carpenter one better on Henry and Felice Mancini's "Sometimes." As for "Let's Love" itself, it's a fairly typical McCartney effort of the period, not as bombastic as "My Love," but in the same vein with some obvious arranging tricks that do not detract from its appeal, and Lee, as she does with all the material here, sings it effectively.

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