This discount-priced two-fer combines two up-tempo Doris Day albums from the late '50s and early '60s. The discs were not released sequentially; 1959's Cuttin' Capers was followed by two 1960 releases, What Every Girl Should Know and Show Time, before Bright and Shiny appeared in 1961. But the two albums share a sprightly tone. The theme of Bright and Shiny is happy songs - "I Want to Be Happy," "Happy Talk" - while Cuttin' Capers is even more frolicsome. There are songs that were newly written at the time, such as the scene-setting "Cuttin' Capers," which leads things off, and "Twinkle and Shine," the title song from Day's reissued 1961 film (the first time around in 1959 it had been called It Happened to Jane), which closed the disc, but for the most part the songs are drawn from the Great American Songbook, dating back to the mid-'20s for tunes like "I'm Sitting on Top of the World" and "I Want to Be Happy" (both songs Day had sung in films in the '50s) and as recent as the late '40s for "Steppin' out With My Baby" from the 1948 film Easter Parade and "Happy Talk" from the 1949 musical South Pacific. The material and the arrangements are well chosen for a singer who was better at conveying contentment than turmoil. Of course, Day was always on an even keel, and though she gamely joins in on the celebration like the professional she is, she never gets deliriously happy. Like the screen persona she was developing at the same time in her comedies with Rock Hudson, she is friendly and even sexy, but wholesome and down to earth. These albums were not big sellers in their initial releases, but they hold up well 40-plus years later.
##01-12 "Cuttin' Capers" 1959 CBS Records 2.5*
Doris Day was nearing her peak as a box-office star in 1958 and had just scored a Top Ten hit with the up-tempo "Everybody Loves a Lover," but her album sales had fallen off with the dreamy ballad collection Day by Night. So, when she came to cut a new LP in November, she teamed with conductor Frank DeVol and made a deliberately livelier record. As usual, nearly every song was chosen from the past, ranging from the 1925 copyright "I'm Sitting on Top of the World" (which Day had sung before in the 1955 film Love Me or Leave Me and its soundtrack album) to 1948's "Steppin' out With My Baby," an Irving Berlin composition introduced by Fred Astaire in Easter Parade. The exception was the newly written title song, which set the mood of light frolic and danceable tempos. The always-cheery Day was right at home with such material, especially "Why Don't We Do This More Often," into which she got some of the wholesome sexuality she was expressing in her movie roles. While not quite novelty material, however, this was not in general the best songwriting she had ever encountered, even though the songwriting credits included Berlin, Frank Loesser, Ira Gershwin, and Cole Porter. A second retread was "Makin' Whoopee," a song Day had sung with Danny Thomas in I'll See You in My Dreams and on the album of the film's songs she cut. Earlier she had sung the original lyrics; this time they were bowdlerized. It may seem unfair to note that an album intended to be lighthearted is also lightweight, but Cuttin' Capers ended up being slight despite the singer's usual high spirits. And it did not restore her to commercial success as an album-seller.
All Music Guide
##13-24 "Bright And Shiny" 1961 Columbia 2.5*
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.
All Music Guide