Black Coffee (Peggy Lee album)

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Black Coffee
Peggy lee black coffee.jpg
Studio album by Peggy Lee
Released 1956 12" LP
Recorded 1953, 1956
Genre Jazz Vocals
Length 34:52
Label Decca Records American
Producer Cy Godfrey CD reissue
Peggy Lee chronology
Black Coffee
Songs from Pete Kelly's Blues

Black Coffee is the first album by Peggy Lee, released in the ten-inch format in 1953 on Decca Records in the United States, catalogue DL 5482. In 1956, at the request of the record label, Lee recorded four more songs for a reissue of the album in the twelve-inch LP format, catalogue DL 8358.[1] The 1956 cover is pictured at the right.


By 1953, Lee had been recording professionally since joining the Benny Goodman Orchestra in 1941, but had only released songs on 78s or 45s. This was her first opportunity to record an album, and in the early 1950s, common record company wisdom reserved the 12" LP for classical music and, in the case of Decca and Columbia Records, cast recordings of Broadway musicals. This practice would end soon after this LP was recorded, ten-inch records discontinued generally by the mid-1950s, Lee adding four songs at sessions in 1956 to expand the running time up to that of the twelve-inch LP.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]

Neither the 10" nor the 12" release made the Popular Album Chart, the chart expanding to a listing of ten to thirty LPs on average during 1956. Joni Mitchell has declared the album among her favorites,[3] leading off her torch song album of 2000, Both Sides Now, with a selection from Black Coffee, "You're My Thrill". In his book Jazz Singing, Will Friedwald names the album as one of his desert island discs.[4]


Three separate sessions in 1953 yielded the initial eight tracks for the ten-inch LP, all at Decca Studios, 50 West 57th Street in New York City, on April 30, May 1, May 4. The 1956 sessions to record the additional four tracks needed for the twelve-inch LP were done with different personnel at the Decca studios in Hollywood on April 3.

On October 26, 2004, the album was reissued as part of the Verve Records Master Edition series, Verve and Decca now both units within the giant Universal Music Group conglomerate. The track sequence followed that of the 1956 twelve-inch reissue. No original producer is listed, although Milt Gabler is mentioned in the reissue credits as Decca A&R.


1953 sessions[edit]

1956 sessions[edit]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Black Coffee" (Sonny Burke, Paul Francis Webster) – 3:05
  2. "I've Got You Under My Skin" (Cole Porter) – 2:28
  3. "Easy Living" (Ralph Rainger, Leo Robin) – 2:44
  4. "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" (Porter) – 2:09

Side two[edit]

  1. "A Woman Alone With the Blues" (Willard Robison) – 3:12
  2. "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) – 2:18
  3. "(Ah, the Apple Trees) When the World Was Young" (M. Philippe-Gerard, Angele Vannier, Johnny Mercer) – 3:16
  4. "Love Me or Leave Me" (Gus Kahn, Walter Donaldson) – 2:08

Track listing 1956 reissue[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Black Coffee" – 3:05
  2. "I've Got You Under My Skin" – 2:28
  3. "Easy Living" – 2:44
  4. "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" – 2:09
  5. "It Ain't Necessarily So" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward) – 3:22
  6. "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You?" (Don Redman, Andy Razaf) – 3:22

Side two[edit]

  1. "A Woman Alone With the Blues" – 3:12
  2. "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" – 2:18
  3. "When the World Was Young" – 3:16
  4. "Love Me or Leave Me" – 2:08
  5. "You're My Thrill" (Sidney Clare, Jay Gorney) – 3:22
  6. "There's a Small Hotel" (Rodgers, Hart) – 2:44


  1. ^ The entry on-line at erroneously states that the initial 1953 issue was an album of four 78 RPM records. The 2004 Verve Master Series compact disc reissue includes facsimiles of both the 1953 and 1956 LP covers front and back, and Will Friedwald identifies the release as a ten-inch LP in the liner notes.
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Black Coffee, Verve Master Edition 3093, 2004, liner notes.
  4. ^ Friedwald, Will. Jazz Singing, New York: Da Capo paperback, 1996, p. 435.