Another in a long line of EMI releases spotlighting Peggy Lee's work at Capitol Records, Sings the Standards is a rather eccentric endeavor. For one thing, many of the standards on this 22-song collection are more strongly associated with artists other than Lee. So you get Lee singing tunes linked to Nat King Cole ("L-O-V-E," "Smile," and "Unforgettable"), Frank Sinatra ("Fly Me to the Moon," "Strangers in the Night"), Tony Bennett ("I Left My Heart in San Francisco"), and others rather than standards associated with Lee. There's nothing wrong with this, but by definition a standard is a great song that anyone can put their own stamp on, not a song associated with one artist. It gets a little more confusing when the collection includes tunes that Lee co-wrote, a couple of songs by rock artists and actual standards. But while this collection is a real mishmash, the approach actually works better than it should because Lee was a rather eccentric artist and by the 1960s she was widely becoming known as an eccentric lady. So, if you don't take the title of this collection literally, Sings the Standards is actually a pretty good overview of Lee's strengths as an interpretive vocalist.
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AllMusic Review by Nick Dedina