In 1966, five very different songs were nominated for Academy Awards. On The Shadow of Your Smile, which was released in March of that year, Bobby Darin flexed his musical muscles and covered them all. The first five tracks on The Shadow of Your Smile are Oscar nominees and were arranged by Shorty Rogers. "The Shadow of Your Smile" is a tender love song from The Sandpiper, which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The sensitive "I Will Wait for You" was in the French film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Two songs were in comedies of the day: "The Sweetheart Tree" from The Great Race and "The Ballad of Cat Ballou" from the Western satire Cat Ballou. And some have called "What's New Pussycat?," from the movie of the same name, the "wildest song ever nominated." Darin showcases his dynamic range on pop standards on the rest of the record. The remaining six songs were arranged by Richard Wess and include songs by Ira Gershwin and George Gershwin ("Liza"), Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg ("It's Only a Paper Moon"), Oscar Hammerstein ("Lover Come Back to Me), and even a Darin original ("Rainin'"). The Shadow of Your Smile has all of Bobby Darin's hallmark traits: schmaltz, swing, and humor. It was his first album for Atlantic Records. Diablo Records includes four bonus tracks to The Shadow of Your Smile, but does not identify their origins: "We Didn't Ask to Be Brought Here," "Funny What Love Can Do," "The Breaking Point," and "Silver Dollar." Recommended if you like well-written show tunes interpreted with upbeat bravado. In other words, if you like Bobby Darin the Entertainer. In a Broadway Bag, released in June 1966, was Darin's second LP for Atlantic. Though The Shadow of Your Smile included five songs from Oscar-nominated films and a number of other standards, it is on In a Broadway Bag where Darin took the concept to its logical end. In a Broadway Bag is a complete album of outstanding songs from current and recent hit musicals of the time. It begins with "Mame," which, as a single before Mame had even opened on Broadway, became one of the biggest hits of the year. As a result, the song became a staple of Darin's live act, and often opened his show. Darin's success with "Mame" inspired him to learn more about Broadway shows and to compile In a Broadway Bag. The LP showcases upbeat songs including "Don't Rain on My Parade" from Funny Girl, "I Believe in You from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, "It's Today" (also from Mame), "Everybody Has the Right to Be Wrong" from Skyscraper, and "Feeling Good" from The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd. In a Broadway Bag has its share of ballads as well, including Jerry Orbach's tune "Try to Remember" from The Fantastiks, "Night Song" from Golden Boy, "Once Upon a Time" from All American, "I'll Only Miss Her" from Skyscraper, and "The Other Half of Me" from I Had a Ball. Diablo Records includes three bonus tracks to In a Broadway Bag, but does not identify their origins: "Walking in the Shadow of Love," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," and "Merci Cherie." Pairing The Shadow of Your Smile and In a Broadway Bag was a natural. And songs like "Don't Rain on My Parade," "The Breaking Point," and "Lover Come Back to Me go together well. Broadway and standard material was perfect for Bobby Darin's mid-'60s, crooner phase. It is true that these songs sound better in one dose, not interspersed throughout Darin's rock or folk periods. In fact, when Varese released Swingin' the Standards, they took 16 tracks from the CDs The Shadow of Your Smile and In a Broadway Bag, and added a couple tracks from Sings Dr. Doolittle -- but this combined album is more gratifying and complete.
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AllMusic Review by JT Griffith