There is an undeniable thrill upon hearing the delectable voice of Doris Day once again. Technically flawless, infallibly seductive in tone, it’s hard to think of another singer of her era who offers the listener such unadulterated pleasure.
Among the 12 tracks here are reminders of her work in the 1950s and 60s, with three numbers sourced from the period when she was at her zenith. Listen out for the manner in which Day caresses the words of the meltingly beautiful song My One and Only Love, accompanied sympathetically by the André Previn Trio. Elsewhere, she brings a lifetime’s experience to bear on Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries, and her version of Hurry, It’s Lovely Up Here, a song from the musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever – where the heroine, blessed with powers of extra sensory perception, discovers that she can make plants grow – is immediately lovable.
These titles are interspersed with the raison d’etre for this sort of release: a batch of previously unreleased titles. Four of them are co-written and produced by her late son, Terry Melcher. Sony don’t reveal when they were recorded, but one of them, The Way I Dreamed It, was published in 1985 – meaning Day would likely have been in her 60s at the time of its recording. Her voice may have lost some of its lustre in the intervening years, but there’s no doubting the sincerity of her interpretations.
Bringing us right up to date, Doris has recorded a short but moving tribute to Terry, who died in 2004 – she dedicates a favourite film song of hers, My Buddy, to him. Terry features on Happy Endings, his strong voice suggesting he could have enjoyed a successful recording career as a singer – a side to his talents which never really got going – on top of his achievements as a record producer (notably, he produced one of his mother’s greatest hits, Move Over, Darling).
Four of the previously unreleased songs are written by Terry with Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys. The cheery Heaven Tonight exudes much of the pair’s joie-de-vivre in its sunny arrangement, while My Heart is a particularly poignant piece; throughout, Day adapts her voice to the more contemporary song styles with effortless ease. She made a unique contribution to the 20th century through the era of the big bands, then movies and recordings. The warmth and charm of her artistry, which transcends the passage of time, live on in this thoughtfully compiled release.