Doris Day

Bright and Shiny

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By several measures, all of them registered in the liner notes to Bright and Shiny, Doris Day was the top movie star of the early '60s. But she had achieved this prominence, seemingly, at the cost of her popularity as a recording star. It was no surprise that Columbia Records emphasized her film accolades, since they provided the excuse for the company to keep her under contract; she wasn't selling enough records to maintain her berth on a major label otherwise. For years Day had restricted her recordings to one LP and a few singles per year, while her peers were turning out two or three albums in the same period. In 1960, she released two albums, but that didn't change her fortunes. Nevertheless, she was back in the recording studio in December 1960, this time to cut an LP the theme of which was happiness, hence titles like "I Want to Be Happy" (a song she'd previously done in the film Tea for Two and its accompanying album), "Happy Talk," and "Make Someone Happy," the last from the Comden-Green-Styne musical, Do Re Mi. The concept was an appropriate one for a performer who was always better at expressing the sunny side of the emotional range, but even here, Day didn't so much convey happiness as calm contentment. At her best, on "Singin' in the Rain," she gave off her usual intimacy and warmth, but otherwise didn't put much of herself into the songs. She was, however, occasionally prodded by Neal Hefti's inventive arrangements, which often revolved around keyboard instruments: organ on "Keep Smilin', Keep Laughin', Be Happy," harpsichord on "Gotta Feelin'." Columbia pulled the latter and the title song as singles, but it was no use; Bright and Shiny was another commercial failure for Day.

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