Swaps and Sales » LIMITED TIME SPECIAL OFF FROM MOSAIC » Yesterday 8:15 pm

Mosaic Records have the 7 CD Bing set  of "The CBS Radio Recordings" on special offer at $99 instead of $119.

Other sets, including that of Louis Armstrong are also being offered at cut prices.

The catch is that the offer is for 16th and 17th December only so you need to move quickly.


Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 14/12/2018 9:21 pm

Richard Baker
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Malcolm Macfarlane wrote:

This is well worth watching.

A fascinating item. Thanks Malcolm, but I'd go much further than you because I think it is pretty well essential watching for all those who have the book. It sets a frame around the background to the book - the delays in production, the change in approach as compared to volume one, and includes quite a lot of interesting background. 
Fascinating to contemplate what the first volume would be like if the same resources had been available to Giddins when he was compiling that.


Artistic Legacy » 70 years of the LP » 14/12/2018 8:00 pm

The UK magazine "Record Collector" Christmas issue #487 is celebrating 70 years of the LP by selecting an LP that they believe had the greatest influence for each of the years. Not "the best" but the greatest influence.
However they introduce the 23 page piece with a tribute to Bing's overall influence. The 70 Landmark Albums of the Last 70 Years is here.

This is a part quote of the introduction - 
"When the first long-playing record was introduced by Columbia Records at a press conference in New York’s Waldorf Astoria in 1948, it was considered primarily as a boon for selling classical music, whose long form had been ill-suited to the 78rpm format – the first ever long-player was a recording of a Mendelssohn concerto. However, it wasn’t long before more popular artists saw the potential of LPs. Bing Crosby, who was at the forefront of various 20th century music technologies, from the microphone to magnetic tape, was among the first artists to see his work appear on album format – Crosby Classics, a collection of his 30s recordings released by Columbia.".

Whilst none of his records is selected for any of the years, "Merry Christmas" is awarded the title of runner up for 1948, after Stan Kenton's "A Presentation Of Progressive Jazz".

Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 05/12/2018 9:28 pm

Richard Baker
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I do not think that this is an appropriate forum for discussion about the finer points of usage of language.

I would have thought however that in this theater/theatre debate it matters not a jot which form is used so long as there is consistency within the book/article/whatever EXCEPT if quoting the titles of establishments, when surely there should be conformity to the style of the business in question. (I once worked for a business which had numerous subsidiaries with very similar names. Correct usage was critical!)  

I hope that this matter may rest.


Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 05/12/2018 3:02 pm

Richard Baker
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A review in the form of a podcast here. It runs to 6 minutes and can be streamed or downloaded.
It includes snips of songs and Gary Giddins himself though I'm uncertain whether they were made for this podcast or taken from other material.


Announcements » New film about Bing » 05/12/2018 7:36 am

A rather enigmatic statement from Gregory, but I'm unclear what the link to Military.com points to? My search on that site reveals nothing that is relevant.

Biography » 20 Bing Crosby film clippings » 04/12/2018 7:51 am

An interesting discovery Frans. Thank you. All from the Pathe newsreels.

Announcements » Bing back in the charts » 23/11/2018 7:59 am

I'm afraid I'm slightly lost in the technicalities of the way Billboard compile their charts these days, as  " -the overall unit figure combines pure album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA)." leaves me scratching my head.

Suffice it to say that the key result so far as we are concerned winds up as "Bing Crosby’s The Best of Bing Crosby - 20th Century Masters: The Christmas Collection (No. 199 with 5,000 units; up 48 percent)".

I wonder how many of these "units" translates to actual old-fashioned sales.


Others of Note » Richard Baker » 20/11/2018 11:21 pm

Ron Field wrote:

Have just read in the past day or two that Richard Baker has passed on - 93.
Gladly it is not OUR Richard.
The passed one was a news reader on BBC and also presented shows from the Royal Albert Hall including The Proms.
He was a good presenter.

He was very knowledgeable about classical music, writing books and for some time participating on a TV show "Face The Music" that involved the need to identify sometimes quite obscure classical pieces  - but I confirm not me!
 I'm still around and drawing breath, unless I'm imagining things!

Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 19/11/2018 8:09 am

Richard Baker
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Bing touched on this - remember? - in Road to Morocco, Bing and Bob sang - "Like Webster's dictionary, we're Morocco bound".

Well, it all goes back to Webster and his dictionary. Before Webster it was universally Theatre. After, it gradually became theater in the US.

This board is not the venue for discussions about language, but a good summary of the situation which avoids the various technicalities found in dictionaries (several of which, both British and American indicate that either is acceptable) can be found here. There is also a graph here (the second in the article) which shows that majority usage in US has been for theater but this has only been achieved in the last 50 years.

However, whatever version is believed to be "correct" in linguistic terms, in quoting the names of venues it is certainly wrong to correct any perceived errors in their adopted names. If a product/venue/company name is being quoted their stated name should be quoted without amendment. 

Announcements » BING magazine » 18/11/2018 11:48 pm

Archiefit wrote:

Bing did sing that immortal Aussie classic in a radio show, "I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts".

"Archiefit", I'm afraid you are mistaken. It's not Australian. 

"I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" was written in 1944 (original spelling was "Cocoanuts") by the English songwriters Harold Elton Box, Desmond Cox, and Lewis Ilda using the collective pseudonym of Fred Heatherton.

It became very popular in the UK and was usually performed with strong cockney accents so that for example "lovely" became "luverly". It was frequently performed in community sing-alongs. 

In the US it was recorded by Freddy Martin & Merv Griffin with a very poor imitation of London cockney accents and was something of a hit. (I suspect that it might possibly have been heard by US servicemen in the UK and "taken back" on their return, as happened with some other songs).

In the UK the most popular version was with the Billy Cotton Band, with vocal by Alan Breeze, though surprisingly that recording was made later, in 1950.

It was performed by Bing on the Chesterfield radio shows of 30 November and 28 December 1949.
Various other performers recorded it and it has been used as background "scene setting" on TV and film. 

Announcements » BING magazine » 17/11/2018 11:39 pm

Ron Field wrote:

Might even have 'Kookaburra sings in the old gum tree" but probably not waltzing Matilda or The road to Gundagai.
That's a film that Bing, Bob and Dottie could have made - The Road to Gundagai - and the song was already composed. They may have run into Dad and Dave.
For non-Aussies. There was a radio serial called Dad and Dave and a woman named Mabel and a song about 'my Mabel waits for me.
Ah! What could have been.

Ron, though Bing sang There's Nothing I Haven't Sung About he did not cover much in the way of Aussie songs though I can well imagine him with Waltzing Matilda. Not so certain about the The Road To Gundagai, a real old Aussie bush song. 

But to return to the point, the promised CD covers easterly points but not as far south as your home country.
Though come to think of it, there might be just one title of a more global all - encompassing nature.

Announcements » BING magazine » 17/11/2018 3:04 pm

Not just a holiday in Europe but something of a world tour.

Something to look forward to as we start to emerge (at least in the northern hemisphere), from the depths of winter, with a lengthy international song tour beckoning.

Get your maps out and consider the places that Bing visited in song!


Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 12/11/2018 7:03 pm

Richard Baker
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Thank you very much for that, Frans.
I too could not access more than the first two paragraphs without taking out a subscription, though I have previously looked at pages in the Wall Street Journal. Possibly they only allow a limited number of "free" views.

I am fascinated by the statement "For Crosby's renown to endure he needs to make the transition from faded star to timeless artist".

I think I could argue for some time about the two phrases "faded star" and "timeless artist".
Some have faded to the point that they are indeed all but forgotten, even to those with memories that take them back to the times, but there are some - Bing very well up there - who still have regular showings of films on TV, repeated playing of recordings on radio, continued availability of CDs and DVDs, including massive numbers of more or less pirated CDs and "virtual" CDs (just search on Amazon) and increasing presence on such services as Spotify and Youtube. And an active international fan club. There are others for whom similar claims can be made, but very few for which all are true. 

Timeless or not?



Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 08/11/2018 5:06 pm

Richard Baker
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Interview with Gary Giddins about Volume 2 here on YouTube.

Thanks to Malcolm for drawing attention to it.

Member Introductions » Hey Folks! New Member Here » 01/11/2018 9:47 pm

Graham Pascoe wrote:

Welcome Gary. When I was a lad living in Melbourne, Australia, there was no TV so the radio was the main source of our home entertainment and we couldn't avoid listening to Bing's records.There were only seven radio stations in Melbourne in 1947 and in any week there were seven hours of programs devoted to playing only Crosby recordings. No other artist came close to that.

Yes, Gary, Welcome.

Graham, I trust that you were not seeking to avoid those Crosby recordings.

In the 40s/early 50s I was growing up in South Africa. We had two radio stations - SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) on medium wave and a commercial station beaming in from what was then the Portuguese territory of Mozambique (then also known as Portuguese East Africa) - Radio Lorenzo Marques, broadcasting in English.

SABC was closely modelled on the British BBC and indeed carried many relays from BBC, whilst Radio Lorenzo Marques had an eclectic mix of American and British pop of the time, and of earlier years as looking back on it I'm fairly convinced that they may have been some years behind the times). And yes, Bing was pretty prominent there as well, though I'm none too certain that I was fully aware of him. I absorbed the songs but it was only when I heard them again in later years that I remembered the hours of hearing and enjoying them (more or less surreptitiously when I was supposed to be doing some school homework) and was able to associate them with Bing.

Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 31/10/2018 9:56 pm

Richard Baker
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Paul, Thank you very much for taking the trouble to post those quotes of various reviews.
I'm sure though that Giddins knew rather more of Bing than merely having heard of him, as stated by one of the reviewers!

I have taken the liberty of tidying up one or two items of extraneous material.

Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 31/10/2018 7:34 am

Richard Baker
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Reviews of the book are currently in Washington Post and Newsday.

I can't see them because the publications have closed off access to Europeans in fear of our "General Data Protection Regulation" (GDPR) and I cannot even get to the link to Newsday!
However for those outside Europe here is a link to the Washington Post item 


Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 23/10/2018 2:58 pm

Richard Baker
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"Don't judge a book by its cover"
- George Eliot


Biography » In Remembrance » 14/10/2018 7:03 am

Another year since 14 October 1977


Fan Interests » Remembering Bing » 02/10/2018 10:29 pm

Ron has supplied a copy of the Roxy's weekly notice of events. It includes a photo of Ron with Bing, as well as the earlier poster  and the weekly list with Ron's own contribution at the bottom. 


Swaps and Sales » Jonzo CDs for sale/swap - See details » 02/9/2018 11:40 am

So far as Sepia's "Through The Years" series is concerned I think you will find that most, if not all, are still available.
Sepia's own site is here http://www.sepiarecords.com/
but many on line suppliers also list them.

Best of hunting for the Jonzos. Some new, sealed copies are still listed on eBay, though unfortunately none of those which you seek are shown now.


Links » AMPEX sign demolished » 22/8/2018 6:57 am

Bing was famously involved in the early days of Ampex, who were developers of tape recording equipment.

A news item here relates to removal of the iconic sign from their site in Silicon Valey.

A connected link has an undated  photo of Bing with Ampex engineers (un-named).



Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 18/8/2018 12:01 pm

Richard Baker
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Thank you for sharing that review, Paul.
However the writer seems to lack the ability to form his/her own conclusions from facts.
Surely the best biographers should present the facts in a fair and balanced way with possible observations about motivations where justified.
However, to reach certain types of conclusion suggests that they are starting out with their own "agenda" and that in turn implies that facts could be presented in a slanted way to prove a case one way or the other. In turn that reduces the value of the work as it will be seen as biased in whatever direction.

As the to views on Sinatra I agree with Frans - the work is large enough in breadth and depth as it is - it is about Bing, not about his many contemporaries or "rivals". But in any event, during the years in question (up to 1946) was Sinatra really such a "threat". He was vastly popular but arguably with a younger, possibly mainly female following and had not yet developed the more "family" based following that Bing had acquired. I hasten to add that I was a little too young at the time to remember (!) but certainly get that impression from contemporary accounts.


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