Peggy Lee: Cannonball Express


Cannonball Express


Peggy Lee (vocals)


The Lost '40s and '50s Capitol Masters (Collectors' Choice 917)

Buy Track


Peggy Lee (vocals),

with Dave Barbour & His Orchestra


Composed by Clifford Ferre, Al Jacobs and Jack Pleis


Recorded: June 16, 1950


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Peggy Lee represents that liminal point where the jazz tradition blends effortlessly into the post-war pop sensibility. Those who harbor doubts about Ms. Lee's jazz credentials need only consult the verdict of Duke Ellington, who once commented: "If I'm the Duke, then Peggy's the Queen." Here she tackles the time-honored jazz tradition of train songs, and she must have enjoyed riding the rails, because she resuscitated this same tune for a 1962 session with Quincy Jones. Here she swings her phrases like a sax player -- but never too much; we could still bring this gal home for Mom to meet. She adds a dose of R&B for good measure. Today this all sounds so retro, but "Cannonball Express" was pretty cool stuff, circa 1950. Listening to it makes me nostalgic for the romance of those pre-Amtrak days.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


Comments are closed.