In the early '60s, recording artists like Doris Day often would assemble the songs for their albums by coming up with a concept -- travel songs, Oscar winners, etc. -- and then picking 12 tunes, most of them from among the hundreds of pop standards that came from movie and stage musicals of the '20s, '30s, and '40s, sometimes commissioning a new song or two on the theme to be written. (Actually, all this legwork was done less often by the singer herself than by the A&R person assigned to her at the record label.) This discount-priced two-fer reissue presents two such albums, the first released originally in 1960, the second in 1961. What Every Girl Should Know was an album of songs of advice, such as "What's the Use of Wond'rin'" from Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel and "You Can't Have Everything" from the 1937 movie of the same name. I Have Dreamed was an album of songs about dreaming, such as the 1945 hit "I'll Buy That Dream" and "You Stepped Out of a Dream" from the 1941 film Ziegfeld Girl. Day, who came up as a '40s band singer, knows her way around dream songs, which were a staple of the swing era, and coming from a pre-women's liberation generation, she has no trouble articulating advice to women to be true to often imperfect males, even if listeners 40 years later may cringe here and there. As a 2001 Day compilation, the 24-track set contains perhaps a few too many obscure and not very good songs, but it does afford fans the opportunity to hear Day address many memorable show tunes, especially a clutch of lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann