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Bing Crosby
His 50 Greatest Hits of the 30s & 40s

Living Era - CD AJS 277 [150:48] ADD

 

 

Crotchet Budget price


Disc 1: The Ď30s [76:24]

Itís Easy To Remember / Rogers, Hart
Out of Nowhere / Green, Heyman
Just One More Chance / Coslow, Johnson
At Your Command / Barris, Crosby, Tobias
Dinah / Lewis, Akst, Young
Please / Rainger, Robin
Brother, Can You Spare A Dime? / Harburg, Gorney
Youíre Getting To Be A Habit With Me / Warren, Dubin
The Shadow Waltz / Warren, Dubin
Little Dutch Mill / Barris, Freed
Love In Bloom / Rainger, Robin
June In January / Rainger, Robin
Soon Ė Thereíll Just Be Two Of Us / Rogers, Hart
Red Sails In The Sunset / Williams, Kennedy
Iím An Old Cowhand / Mercer
Pennies From Heaven / Johnston, Burke
Sweet Leilani / Owens
Too Marvelous For Words / Whiting, Mercer
The Moon Got In My Eyes / Burke, Johnston
Bob White (Whatcha Gonna Swing Tonight?) / Hanighen, Mercer
Iíve Got A Pocketful of Dreams / Monaco, Burke
Alexanderís Ragtime Band / Berlin
You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby / Warren, Mercer
An Apple For The Teacher / Monaco, Burke
Silent Night, Holy Night / Gruber
Disc 2: The Ď40s [74:24]

Only Forever / Monaco, Burke
Sierra Sue / Carey
Trade Winds / Friend, Tobias
Be Careful, Itís My Heart / Berlin
Moonlight Becomes You / Van Heusen, Burke
Sunday, Monday Or Always / Van Heusen, Burke
People Will Say Weíre In Love / Rodgers, Hammerstein
Pistol Packiní Mama / Dexter
San Fernando Valley / Jenkins, Gordon
Swinging On A Star / Van Heusen, Burke
I Love You / Porter
Amor, Amor / Ruiz, Skylar
Iíll Be Seeing You / Fain, Kahal
Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral, Thatís An Irish Lullaby / Shannon
Donít Fence Me In / Porter
Itís Been A Long, Long Time / Styne, Cahn
I Canít Begin To Tell You / Monaco, Gordon
McNamaraís Band / OíConnor, Stanford
South America, Take It Away / Rome
The Whiffenpoof Song / Pomeroy, Galloway, Minnegerade
Galway Bay / Colahan, Box, Cox
Far Away Places / Whitney, Kramer
Dear Hearts And Gentle People / Fain, Hilliard
Now Is The Hour (Hearere Ra Ė Maori Farewell Song) / Kiahuau, Scott
White Christmas / Berlin


Bing Crosby hardly needs any introduction. He was one of the greatest of the crooners and jazz singers of all time, a star on screen, and truly a giant in the Big Band era. In truth, his only competition for greatest male singer of the first half of the 20th century would come from either Louis Armstrong or Frank Sinatra, and Bing has the distinction of out-selling both of the other men, at least between 1930 and 1949. Collected on this 2 CD set are his 50 most popular songs as determined by total sales, which is as good an indicator of popularity as any. Brother, let me tell you, even after more than 50 years this cat can still swing.

The first disc has several tracks that were obviously difficult to clean up. The overall sound quality is good but not spectacular. The second, with the better original recording equipment and less time for the masters to age, sounds notably better. These recordings are preserved for posterity here, and thankfully should no longer be subject to the ravishes of time.

There are several songs on this exquisite collection that were especially entertaining or notable. Dinah has a particularly fun skat duet with Bing and his tuba player, displaying one of the early examples of a white musician following the lead of Louis Armstrong. Iím An Old Cowhand is one of those wonderful western-swing tunes that seems timeless and fresh at every listen, and here is notably recorded with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. Also notable in the realm of his novelty songs would be Sweet Leilani, performed with Lani McIntyre & his Hawaiians, complete with ukulele and steel guitar. Iíve Got A Pocketful Of Dreams, while not one of the better remembered tunes in the Crosby library, is certainly one of the best of his early output, with an incredibly tight band behind him. Similarly Alexanderís Ragtime Band (duet with Connee Boswell) sounds great and swings hard for all of the dancers. Itís hard to keep from moving when you listen, and the recording sounds great.

The second disc contains even more great recordings, and highlights Bing at his best. Be Careful, Itís My Heart is heartfelt and a wonderful vehicle for his crooner sensibilities. Pistol Packiní Mama with the Andrews Sisters is classic toe-tapping big band swing, and a tongue-in-cheek classic. Swinging On A Star is of course one of Bingís best known and loved songs, and canít help but bring a smile to your face. Donít Fence Me In is another duet with the Andrews Sisters where Bing shows his versatility, as it sounds as if it should be in the realm of The Light Crust Doughboys or Bob Wills. Itís Been A Long, Long Time is another of the Bing Crosby standards that is required for any collection. And of course White Christmas is simply the best-selling single of all time, and though certainly a seasonal song must be included for that fact alone.

In short, if you are going to own only one Bing Crosby album, this should be the one. If youíre going to own only two Bing Crosby albums, this should be one of the two. Itís a collection of his best and best-loved songs. I simply cannot recommend an album any more highly.

Patrick Gary

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