When Doris Day sings, the title of one of her signature songs most definitely applies: “It’s Magic.” The legendary vocalist, who celebrated her 92nd birthday on April 3, is the subject of a new reissue from Varese Vintage. The Love Album, recorded over three sessions in May and June 1967, was first issued in the mid-1990s and has seen a couple of previous iterations on CD. Varese’s newly remastered edition adds stunning period photography and updated liner notes for the most compelling presentation of this rare material yet.
Doris entered the famed halls of Western Recorders on May 25, 1967 for the first of three sessions for The Love Album; the subsequent dates (June 6 and June 9) would take place at United Recording and RCA Victor. The superstar was a free agent, so to speak, having parted ways with Columbia Records (after a 20+-year relationship) at the end of 1966. For these independently-produced sessions, Day selected the songs herself – primarily romantic favorites from the 1920s and 1930s, some very well-known (“For All We Know,” “Street of Dreams”), others less so (“Snuggled on Your Shoulder,” “A Faded Summer Love”). A number of these songs were introduced by Bing Crosby, a singer with whom Day shared an ability to connect with an audience in warm, intimate fashion. Recording just a few months over a year before The Doris Day Show would premiere on CBS on September 24, 1968, Doris delivered some of the most satiny vocals of her career. She was joined by arranger-conductor Sid Feller (perhaps best known for Ray Charles’ groundbreaking Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music) and an all-star team of musicians including Barney Kessel on guitar, drummer Irv Cottler and pianist Ronnell Bright. Kessel’s evocative work is particularly prominent throughout.
The mood is low-key and gently sensual throughout these eleven ballad performances, as Doris brings unforced intimacy to “Are You Lonesome Tonight” and “Snuggled on Your Shoulder,” and restrained longing on “Oh, How I Miss You Tonight.” Of course, “less is more” has always been an essential part of the Day vocal formula. On every one of these songs, her inherent gifts as an actress and a storyteller imbue the lyrics with truth, and she never overplays her hand. The beauty of her natural tone is only matched by its apparent effortlessness as she espouses the wisdom of “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” or the deeply profound melancholy of Irving Berlin’s “All Alone.” Feller surrounds her voice and the rhythm section with plush, billowy strings that add atmosphere to such shimmering tracks as “Sleepy Lagoon” and the attractively reflective “If I Had My Life to Live Over/Let Me Call You Sweetheart” medley. These tender moments are among the finest in the Day oeuvre.
Three bonus tracks have been appended to The Love Album (as on the previous Concord/Feinery issue), all taken from the 1971 broadcast The Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff Special and recorded at CBS Television City on April 12, 1970. “It’s Magic” and “Sentimental Journey,” of course, revisit two of Day’s most beloved songs – the latter in a modernized arrangement with a bluesy, era-appropriate backbeat. Most impressive is her rendition of “Both Sides Now.” Day’s contemplative reading brings a new dimension to Joni Mitchell’s composition – lovely, yet earthy, and ultimately moving. Listening to “Both Sides,” one only wishes that Doris had extended her recording career by a few more years and recorded more contemporary material.
Varese’s new edition of The Love Album features Will Friedwald’s updated liner notes as well as a splendid Arwin Productions (Day’s production company) period CD label courtesy of art director/designer Bill Pitzonka. This romantic classic from one of the greatest popular vocalists of all time is available now at the links below, but we want YOU to take a sentimental journey with YOUR VERY OWN COPY!
To enter to win ONE OF TEN COPIES, simply LIKE our Facebook page, and head over to Varese Sarabande’s FB page and do the same! Just leave us a comment on the DORIS DAY post on our FB page. Let us know: What’s your favorite Doris Day song or memory? Once you like both pages and comment anything you’d like to share about the radiant Miss Day, you’ll automatically be entered to win!
If you’ve entered our previous giveaways and have already liked BOTH The Second Disc and Varese’s Facebook page, you can still win: simply enter a comment on our thread to be entered! Only one entry per person. If you’ve won a Second Disc giveaway in the last 60 days, you are ineligible for this contest. Remember, BOTH FB pages must be “LIKED” and a comment left on our page in order to win!
Don’t have Facebook? We’re not leaving you out in the cold! Just send an e-mail to theseconddisc AT gmail DOT com with the subject line “DORIS DAY” plus your name and mailing address, and you’ll also be entered to win!
The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on the evening of Sunday, May 15, at which time 10 random winners will be selected. Contest open to all. Only one entry per person either via Facebook or email. All winners at sole discretion of The Second Disc. U.S. residents only, please. This contest is NOT affiliated with or endorsed by Facebook. Winner will be notified week of Monday, May 16 via Facebook and The Second Disc, so remember to check back! Good luck!
- For All We Know
- Snuggled on Your Shoulder
- Are You Lonesome Tonight
- Street of Dreams
- Oh, How I Miss You Tonight
- Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries
- All Alone
- A Faded Summer Love
- Sleepy Lagoon
- Wonderful One
- If I Had My Life to Live Over/Let Me Call You Sweetheart
- Both Sides Now
- It’s Magic
- Sentimental Journey
Tracks 1-11 first released on The Love Album, Vision VIS CD 2, 1994
Tracks 12-14 first released on The Love Album, Concord 013431310426, 2006