Lady and the Tramp (Score) by Various Artists
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This early '50s Disney classic had it all: class confrontation (purebred meets mutt), memorable songs (by Sonny Burke and Peggy Lee
), and an unusually truthful view of household creatures (dogs are good, cats are bad). "The Siamese Cat Song" shimmers with the mock Orientalism of classic Exotica--enhanced by Lee's double-tracked evocation of barely domesticated evil. Producer Randy Thornton deserves credit for piecing together Oliver Wallace's myriad cues into a reasonably cohesive musical work, but the handful of Peggy Lee tracks are the real treasure. Whether fronting a choir of howling dogs on "He's a Tramp" or employing that oddly dispassionate "Is That All There Is" voice on "What Is a Baby," it's Lee who, a half century later, still commands the spotlight. --Bill Forman