Fever: Jessie Gordon Sings Peggy Lee


DBOM 09 Photographer Simon KerslakeSinger Jessie Gordon is extremely busy during Fringe World. Gordon’s enjoyed sold out shows with Stratosfunk’s tribute to Etta James, she’s also received critical acclaim for her performance in ‘Speak Easy’, and has been performing as part of swing band The Darling Buds of May. Yet she still has several more shows in the massive Fringe World program.

One of those show’s is ‘Fever: The Music of Peggy Lee’ which is on later this month.

When it comes to knowledge about Peggy Lee, I admit to Gordon that I don’t really know anything about the popular singer beyond her signature tune, and I also have a copy of her singing Otis Redding’s ‘Sitting on the Dock of a Bay’ on my iPod.

“That is A-Ok,” Gordon reassures me, “Everyone knows that she sings ‘Fever’. She was pretty hip and recorded a lot of pop music in her later career. She recorded some Beatles stuff and things that you just don’t expect.”

Gordon shares that her starting point for creating the show was a love of Peggy Lee’s signature tune ‘Fever’.

“I have loved ‘Fever’ and have sung it with the Darling Buds of May for many years. There is a wealth of other stuff she’s done and I knew she’d started as a big band singer, which is how I started too.

“I did a lot of research, she also did a lot of research and discovered the breath of work she’d done including writing a lot of lyrics.”

While ‘Fever’ has been recorded by many artists Gordon said this does not make the song exceptionally challenging.

“To me songs which are the most challenging are ones that have to convey a huge amount of emotion or if there is one version that is really well know. Something like Etta James’ ‘At Last’ is hard because everyone knows that one version and it’s filled with emotion, that’s really hard to perform live but if it’s a song that ben recorded by many people that actually helps, you can draw on all the versions. It’s such a playful and sexy song, I find that really appealing.”

Aside from her amazing voice, Peggy Lee was also known for her beauty and her platinum blonde hair. Gordon said she has been asked if she’ll be going blonde for the show.

“I said look she’s cute but I don’t think I can pull off platinum blonde hair, I’m a red head and will just be singing the songs.”

Another song Gordon looks for to performing in the show is from a classic Disney movie.

“I never realized that Peggy Lee wrote the lyrics and sang the song ‘He’s a Tramp’ from Lady and the Tramp. We do it in the show and it’s a highlight.”

‘Fever – The Music of Peggy Lee’ is at Fringe World from February 14 – 18. Tickets available from www.fringeworld.com.au

Graeme Watson, image: Simon Kerslake

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