Peggy Lee’s 1953 Black Coffee album will forever remain a masterpiece of vocal jazz. With such a seminal release, she stood to define an era.
- Black Coffee (1953) A
- Dream Street (1957) B+
- The opening “Street of Dreams” is a mysterious and alluring career highlight for Ms. Lee. The rest of the album sorta follows suit: Dream Street is mysterious and alluring alright, though not necessarily a career highlight.
- The Man I Love (1957) B+
- Crafted, conducted by and cuckolded with Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee’s The Man I Love is largely the creation of, well, another man. Yet Ms. Lee’s sophisticated persona still shines through. This is her record, after all.
- Sea Shells (1958) A-
- Out of nowhere, Peggy Lee transitioned from swingin’ pop to English folk. Accompanied by only a harp and a harpsichord — and featuring four instrumentals and two spoken word tracks — Sea Shells is by far the strangest (and most interesting) anomaly of Ms. Lee’s career.