Peggy Lee

Make It with You

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By the early '70s Peggy Lee was pretty much relegated to serving the easy listening contingency of music lovers. Make It with You (1970) continues her run of moderately successful long-players for Capitol Records. Once again, she joins forces with Mike Melvoin (conductor/arranger) and Benny Golson (conductor/arranger) for a ten-song collection that concentrates on selections from concurrent -- rather than classic -- pop composers. The Neil Sedaka/Howard Greenfield number "One More Ride on the Merry-Go-Round" is a perfect match for the artist's interesting and at times dark, emotive, or -- in this case -- melancholy fare. Lee lends a similar yearning to her cover of the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road." The score and Lee's delivery don't suffer from the typically heavy-handed and over the top strings that have essentially ruined many of the well-intentioned remakes of the McCartney-penned ballad. Paul Anka's "That's What Living's About" is a quirky "stop and smell the roses" slice of life that may make listeners of a certain demographic very nostalgic for not only the sweet sentiment set forth in the lyrics, but the deceptive simplicity that seems innate when referring to top-shelf talents such as Anka. The haunting and surreal "The No-Color Time of the Day" is one of those noir-tinged tracks that Lee seems to include on each of her mid- to late-'60s and early-'70s albums. It has likewise aged better than the majority of the platter's conservative and middle-of-the-road contents. Lee's jazzy roots make for a standout rendition of the too-mod-for-its-own-good "message" song "Let's Get Lost in Now" from the equally forgettable stage production Salvation. The title composition, "Make It with You," reaffirms David Gates' often underrated skills as a writer. Lee's inviting timbre and Melvoin's light yet affective orchestration are completely simpatico. The festivities begin to wind down with the bouncy and forcefully hip "I've Never Been So Happy in My Life," followed by "You'll Remember Me" -- a number that was blatantly recycled from an earlier Lee LP, Bridge Over Troubled Water (1969). "Goodbye" returns the vocalist to her status as one of America's singular torch balladeers, providing an opening for Lee to do what she does best, not to mention a fitting conclusion to the endeavor. After several decades out of print, in 2008 Collectors' Choice Music teamed Make It with You and Where Did They Go (1971) along with four non-LP bonus tracks onto a two-fer CD.

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