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Honored by the Ballroom Operators of America eight times, Les Brown is most famous for his dance music, and he chose his singers because they added to his pretty, "danceable" sound, not for their creativity, originality, or jazz talent. Of all his singers, Doris Day, with him in the early 1940s, is the most famous, the only one who made the leap to a solo career and a long run as a movie star in musical comedies. The songs here are standards, sung by the singers hired by Brown during the late 1930s through 1950s--Betty Bonney, Eileen Wilson, Lucy Ann Polk, Gordon Drake--not names that ring bells now, except in Les Brown's own recordings.
Doris Day's star quality is noticeable in her three songs-"Sentimental Journey," "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time," and "Day by Day," all songs that were big hits for her and the band, but while the other tracks are easy to listen to-and even easier to dance to-there are no star turns and little excitement in the remaining ballads. Brown's saxophonist, Butch Stone, known as the comedian of the band and a sometime singer, does put his humor to work in one of the best tracks--his version of Louis Prima's novelty song "Robin Hood"--while Les Brown's younger brother, Stumpy Brown, a trombonist, sings a jivey "Just a Gigolo" in bop style. The CD is pleasant, easy listening with many unfamiliar vocalists who enhance the band's style, but it is background music, not music that creates its own interest. Mary Whipple
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