Natural Woman/Is That All There Is?

Natural Woman/Is That All There Is?

by Peggy Lee
     
 
The compilers of British EMI's extensive "two on one" reissue series have made some questionable choices in combining two albums originally issued on LP into a single CD, but it's hard to second guess this one, which contains the two albums Peggy Lee released in 1969, A Natural Woman and Is That All There Is? Not only are the collections chronologically

Overview

The compilers of British EMI's extensive "two on one" reissue series have made some questionable choices in combining two albums originally issued on LP into a single CD, but it's hard to second guess this one, which contains the two albums Peggy Lee released in 1969, A Natural Woman and Is That All There Is? Not only are the collections chronologically sequential, but it sounds like the second one employs tracks recorded for the first one. By the late '60s, Lee, like many other veteran pop singers, was attempting to keep current and keep selling records by incorporating current trends in pop
ock into her music. A Natural Woman alternates efforts by two prominent Los Angeles session musicians serving as arranger/conductors, pianist Mike Melvoin and trumpeter Bobby Bryant. This is one of those albums that sounds like these guys (and perhaps Lee, too) came up with the set list by listening to their AM radios, tuned to the local Top 40 station, on the freeway on their way to the session. They hear, say, Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," Sly & the Family Stone's "Everyday People," and Blood, Sweat & Tears' "Spinning Wheel," and, by the time they pull into the parking lot, they've got the gist of the arrangement down and proceed to re-create it, more or less, with their fellow session pros, as Lee gamely approximates the hit vocals. When they do use a vintage piece of material, such as "(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings," or come up with an original ("Lean on Me"), they are still keeping in mind what they heard on the radio, so that the former sounds like watered-down Motown and the latter has the modified R&B funkiness of Frank Sinatra's "That's Life." The atypical last song on A Natural Woman leads right into Is That All There Is? It's Randy Newman's introspective ballad "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today," and since Newman arranged and conducted Lee's surprise comeback hit with Leiber & Stoller's European-style art song "Is That All There Is?" (inspired by a Thomas Mann short story), and that song leads off the second LP, the mood stays constant. And that mood continues with the next track, "Love Story," another Newman composition, even if Lee, the disillusionment of "Is That All There Is?" notwithstanding, cannot bring herself to sing Newman's fatalistic final couplet, "We'll play checkers all day/Until we pass away." Instead, she substitutes "We'll play checkers in the sun/Playing checkers can be fun." Unfortunately, Is That All There Is? doesn't turn out to be a complete album of similar material. In fact, it is actually a cobbled-together rush job that was assembled on the fly to have an LP in the record racks while "Is That All There Is?," which had been released as a one-off single, was still in the charts. Capitol Records thought nothing of recycling previously released tracks including Lee's 1963 hit "I'm a Woman" (also written by Leiber & Stoller) to pad the collection out to LP length. Toward the end, there are some good songs and arrangements in the art song style of "Is That All There Is?," however, notably Newman's "Linda," which has had its gender switched and is called "Johnny (Linda)." But the Is That All There Is? LP remains a patchwork Peggy Lee album, even suitably paired with A Natural Woman.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/30/2003
Label:
Emd Int'l
UPC:
0724359265728
catalogNumber:
592657

Tracks

  1. (All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings
  2. Don't Explain
  3. Can I Change My Mind?
  4. Lean on Me
  5. (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay
  6. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
  7. Everyday People
  8. Please Send Me Someone to Love
  9. Spinning Wheel
  10. Living Is Dying Without You
  11. I Think It's Gonna Rain Today
  12. Is That All There Is?
  13. Love Story
  14. Me and My Shadow
  15. Sing a Rainbow
  16. My Old Flame
  17. I'm a Woman
  18. Somethin' Stupid
  19. Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
  20. Something
  21. Whistle for Happiness
  22. Johnny (Linda)
  23. I Can Hear the Music
  24. Don't Smoke in Bed
  25. You Must Have a Beautiful Baby

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Peggy Lee   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Percy Mayfield   Composer
Peggy Lee   Composer
Steve Cropper   Composer
Neil Diamond   Composer
George Harrison   Composer
Carole King   Composer
Randy Newman   Composer
Otis Redding   Composer
Jolson   Composer
Mundell Lowe   Composer
Ellie Greenwich   Composer
David Clayton-Thomas   Composer
Gerry Goffin   Composer
Jerry Leiber   Composer
Harold Rome   Composer
Phil Spector   Composer
Jeff Barry   Composer
Billie Holiday   Composer
Arthur Hamilton   Composer
Arthur Herzog   Composer
Joel Hirschhorn   Composer
Kasha   Composer
Mike Melvoin   Composer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Sylvester "Sly Stone" Stewart   Composer
Mike Stoller   Composer
Harry Warren   Composer
Jerry Wexler   Composer
Arthur Johnston   Composer
Willard Robison   Composer
Sam Coslow   Composer
Dave Dreyer   Composer
Henri Herpin   Composer
C. Carson Parks   Composer
Billy Rose   Composer
Jean Marie Blanvillain   Composer

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