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A Woman Alone with the Blues … remembering Peggy Lee by Maria Muldaur

Maria Muldaur has released an extremely entertaining tribute CD to the one and only Peggy Lee. This CD's appropriately titled A Woman Alone with the Blues .... remembering Peggy Lee. It contains 12 tunes, all written by and made famous by the one and only Peggy Lee. These priceless compositions can easily transport the listener back to a beautiful time when flamboyant 'Publicity Princes', like Miss Lee's 'Canadian Guru', Gino Empry, booked her into opulent world-class pleasure palaces, like the Royal York Hotel's sumptuous supper club, The Imperial Room in Toronto. This and many other world-class venues played host to Miss Lee's captivatingly enchanting vocal presence, throughout her long and illustrious career.

Remembering Peggy Lee, begins with one of Miss Lee’s best-loved classics, "Fever." Muldaur sings an impeccable rendition of this Peggy Lee classic -- equally complemented by Neal Caine's inventive bass solos. Caine also provides the interesting bass solo intro to "Fever." David Torkanowsky's piano harmonies add beautiful body to this piece.

Muldaur's vocals on "I Don't Know Enough About You" are slinky and seductive. She sings them with finesse and a style all her own. Jim Rothermel's clarinet solos flow out like water, and are backed by Arthur Lalin ll's percussive insight as well as Caine's empathetic bass lines.

Muldaur sings "Moments Like This" with sultry soul - backed by Caine's melodic bass lines and Danny Caron's melodic guitar solo. Torkanowsky's talent on the ivories on "Moments..." evokes nostalgic memories of Miss Lee's many live TV appearances.

"Winter Weather" is an upbeat swing number that Muldaur sings with carefree abandon. Her rhythm section keeps up with her like there's no tomorrow, while Rothermel's clarinet soloing ‘sings’ along. The horns provide a nice touch too! Dan Hicks' lead vocals responds to Muldaur's - adding a tinge of romance.

"Some Cats Know" is a thoughtful, lyrical reflection about relationships. Caine's bass lines are a strong point, with insightful piano accompaniment by Torkanowsky. There’s also an invigorating sax solo from Rothermel.

The pace quickens with the super-swingin' "Everything's Movin' Too Fast." New ways of doing things are described in lyrics like "You never eat your spinach... because you can take it in a pill". Everything's fast-paced in this tune -- from Muldaur's exquisite vocals to Torkanowsky's out-of-this-world boogie-woogie piano solo and Caine's frantically precise bass lines.

Muldaur’s brilliant horn section provides a musically vivid train callin' intro to "Waitin' For the Train to Come In." Muldaur sings of "being so melancholy since he's been away... waiting in the depot by the railway tracks." The empathy from the horn section, echoes Muldaur's feelings, while Caron's guitar solo cries out its’ own inner muse. Muldaur's jazzy, harmonic vocalizing along with complementing harmonies from the rhythm section, caps this tune off nicely.

Not all 'train' songs are laments, as is reflected in "The Freedom Train." Maria's vocals echo positive feelings throughout "Freedom .. ", while singing lyrics like "'Ridin' on the Freedom Train", and "Singing for Liberty, throughout the land ..."

"Black Coffee" creates images of a late night 'caffeine nightcap' or an early morning hangover. Caine's ‘lazy’ bass lines easily reflect a listless disposition. Lalin's sluggish ‘mood’-drumming adds to the "coffee and cigarettes, nicotine" late-night/early morning musical atmosphere. Rothermel's sax solo is sympathetic to Muldaur's lament. The same can be said of the other members of her impeccable rhythm section.

This mood continues in the title tune "A Woman Alone With the Blues." Muldaur’s soulful vocals descrbe a "good woman who believed in her man right or wrong .... breaking any heart he choose, leaving his woman alone with the blues".

This writer’s personal favorite is, "For Every Man There's a Woman." Muldaur sings out "Woman was made for man... for every prince there's a princess... if you wait, you'll meet the mate born for you alone". Muldaur’s vocals are filled with beautiful romantic imagery and enchanting musical harmonies.

Muldaur goes fishin' in "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'." This song describes the longing to find a soul mate, in a metaphoric fun way. Muldaur’s storytelling vocals share an old 'fish tale' that's always great to hear again.

The same can be said, in regards to this discerning collection of Peggy Lee vinyl gems that Muldaur managed to borrow and listen to for source material from Richard Barone's extensive record collection. Thanks to this Muldaur/Barone collaboration, we can all enjoy Maria Muldaur singing Peggy Lee's best-loved songs, right here in A Woman Alone with the Blues... remembering Peggy Lee.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Maria Muldaur
  • CD Title: A Woman Alone with the Blues … remembering Peggy Lee
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Telarc
  • Tracks: 1. Fever 2. I Dont Know Enough About You 3. Moments Like This 4. Winter Weather 5. Some Cats Know 6. Everything Is Moving Too Fast 7. Waitin' For The Train To Come In 8. The Freedom Train 9. Black Coffee 10. A Woman Alone In The Blues 11. For Every Man There's A Woman 12. I'm Gonna Go Fishin' '
  • Musicians: Maria Muldaur (vocals), Danny Caron (guitar), David Torkanowsky (piano), Jim Rothermel (alto & tenor sax, clarinet, flute), Kevin Porter (trombone, bass trombone), Neal Caine (bass), Arthur Latin ll (drums), Gerry Grosz (vibes).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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