A very special album
Peggy Lee once admitted that she doesn’t use most of her voice but what she has used has served her well. There’s an understatement. My pal Jon Nickoll introduced me to a little known album of hers called Sea Shells. Here, Peggy Lee begs our indulgence in a very personal song cycle, a sort of meditation on life and the passing of time.
Audaciously, she is accompanied only by a harpist (Stella Castellucci) for most of the album, with a bit of harpsichord added for good measure. There are musical interludes, Chinese poems and traditional English folk songs. This is a woman who loves words and stories and, in the nicest possible way, the sound of her own voice.
Sea Shells is a trip you’ll want to enjoy from start to finish from your favourite armchair. She seems to relish every word, purring and crooning in our ears. She draws us in with her oh-so-subtle storytelling style, which, at times, is barely more than a whisper. She makes you lean in. You have to really listen to Peggy Lee. But then, she could read me the phone book and I’d still hold me breath.