Perth sextet The Darling Buds of May took to the stage in immaculate attire to celebrate the life and music of Miss Peggy Lee.
Looking slinky in silver lame Jessie Gordon captivated the attentive audience with her charming patter and gorgeous voice. She was ably supported by the fabulous horn section Mark Turner on sax and Riki Malet on trumpet. They were joined by Leah van Der Muelen on bass, Jon Matthews on guitar, and Domenic D’Leno on drums /percussion. All of these excelled with outstanding solo stints throughout the evening’s entertainment.
With a recording and performing career spanning six decades, Peggy Lee was one of the most successful and prolific singers of the 20th century. I must admit to having previously only thought of Lee with reference to two later big numbers, Fever and Is That All There Is? So it was interesting to learn of her early days with The Benny Goodman Big Band, her four husbands and of her highly successful lyric writing partnership with first husband Dave Bourbon and other collaborators.
Cleverly, Lee employed an artless rhyming scheme with repetitive choruses, which allowed her a huge breadth of interpretation and style to inject into these lines. Like Ms Lee, Jessie Gordon wrung every bit of nuance, phrasing and emotion from lyrics such as the seemingly simplistic He’s a Tramp from the Disney movie The Lady and The Tramp.
The Darlings opened with of zippy version of Hallelujah, I Just Love Him So and the bluesy My Mama Done Told Me (lovely lonesome train sound fx. from the band here). The more familiar Love Me or Leave Me was followed by a couple of unheard of (by me) numbers Carumba! It’s the Samba and Show Me the Way to Get Out of this World. The vivacious Gordon displayed a nice line in witty self-deprecation with these lyrics.
“The song we’d all been waiting for”, Fever was handled impeccably by both Gordon and the band with a delicious hand played percussion by D’Leno as timekeeper. That Old Black Magic and Well, Alright, OK, You Win (I’m in Love with you) and Things Are Swinging rounded out a terrific show with bounce and verve.
What a swell party it was!
2016 Fringe World Festival
Fever: The Music of Peggy Lee
The Darling Buds of May
Venue: De Parel Spiegeltent | Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge, WA
Dates: 22 – 25 January 2016
Tickets: $30.00 – $35.00