Lost Doris Day album revived by man she looked after as a child
An album of lost recordings made by Doris Day in the 1940s has been revived by a man who she babysat for as a budding star.
Les Brown Jr, the son of Day’s former band leader, has combined her recordings, broadcast once on radio but unreleased on record, with his father’s orchestra.
The result – titled Doris Day, With Love – will be released in November, nearly 80 years after the original recording sessions.
The Calamity Jane actress died at her home in Carmel Valley, California, on May 13 aged 97, after a serious case of pneumonia.
Day began her career as a singer but switched to acting in the 1950s after securing starring roles in Calamity Jane and Pillow Talk, leaving behind a number of unreleased recordings.
The album features a selection of cover versions and was originally broadcast with Day accompanied by the Page Cavanaugh Trio, who featured in some of her early films.
However, it was only after teaming up with American jazz musician Les Brown Sr and His Band of Renown that she found real success, enjoying two number one singles in 1945.
Now Les Brown Sr’s son, for who Day acted as a babysitter in her early years, has produced and augmented the original mono tracks with a full orchestra in stereo.
Les Brown Jr became so close to the late singer he referred to her by the nickname “Dodo”.
He told the PA news agency: “In the 1940s when my dad’s band would be playing in theatres between movie showings, I would be off stage in the wings.
“After Doris finished her segment of the floor show, she would be backstage playing and looking after me in her dressing room while my dad was out with the orchestra.
“She had terrible stage fright. She didn’t mind it so much when the band was playing for dancing in ballrooms, but the floor shows terrified her and that’s why she liked having something to distract her, looking after me! It took her mind off her fears about performing.
“Doris Day was a magical performer. A star of the screen of course, but blessed with a wonderful voice.
“At the time of course I knew her simply as my dad’s glamorous friend, but to be able to orchestrate the Doris Day, With Love album is a dream come true, it’s like a final gift to all her fans.
“I know that dad and Doris would be delighted. We’ve done them proud.”
I’m In The Mood For Love will be released via independent label Sleepy Night Records as a digital single on November 16, followed by the full album on November 29.