Over the years I've been collecting most of Bing's commercial recordings re-issued on CD (I have yet to catch up with some of the more recent Sepia stuff and some of the alternate UA takes), but I've never come across the Harry Lillis and Bar-One CDs. Some of the rare material on these CDs has since been made officially by the Crosby estate through their partnership with CC (and later UMG). Unfortunately, there are still entire albums that are exclusive to these CDs. How are/were they distributed? How can I find them?
Many thanks in advance
Stefan Huber wrote:
- - - I've never come across the Harry Lillis and Bar-One CDs. Some of the rare material on these CDs has since been made officially by the Crosby estate through their partnership with CC (and later UMG). Unfortunately, there are still entire albums that are exclusive to these CDs. How are/were they distributed? How can I find them?)
Stefan, details were circulated to members of the fan clubs at the time of issue. So far as I am aware they were not distributed through normal retail channels. As a result circulation was quite limited.
So, are they still available from them?
Stefan Huber wrote:
So, are they still available from them?
This was quite some years ago and I do not believe that the sources remain active.
Stefan. All of the Harry Lillis CDs have appeared at one time or another for sale on eBay. I purchased my entire HL series via eBay (with the exception of the 5th volume). I would check there occasionally. The Bar-One CD's are rare, and I've only seen a couple of them appear on eBay (though not the ones you or I would be looking for).
I hope this helps!
I obtained some of the Bar One International CDs directly from Barry Whittingham, but that was in 2009. I have a catalog and an address, but no email or telephone. I could provide you with the address if there is some chance it is still active.
I obtained some of the Harry Lillis CDs from Chick Wilson's Select Circles, which I know is, unfortunately, no longer active. Others I purchased from eBay, where they occasionally appear.
Since you are searching for CD releases of Bing's commercial recordings, there are currently several new copies of "Crosby Classics Volume II" (EMI Regal 1572042) available on eBay at a low price (probably old stock). This CD has 17 of the medleys from the 1960 "101 Gang Songs" album. Not Bing's best work by any means, but I believe these medleys are only available on this CD and some of the Bar One CDs, with the EMI Regal being an official release. The "Crosby Classics Volume II" CD seems to be quite rare as I had never even seen a picture of the cover before, despite searching for it for years. Here's a link:
Last edited by Jim Determan (10/11/2016 7:21 am)
I haven't heard any news of Barry for some years now. He performed a great service for Crosby collectors in the early days of CD, with some of his releases still being (as far as I know) the only CD option for certain recordings. "Hey Jude, Hey Bing!", "Bingo Viejo" and the 5 poems from 1977, for example. He also produced an 8-CD series of songs culled from KMH broadcasts called "The Krafty Young Bing".
I saw him at the Leeds meeting a few times and he used set up a stall at the back of the room and chatter incessantly throughout the meeting!
He produced a lot of compilations and various themed series - the complete Bing/Al Philcos, etc. - and although the quality could be variable, in those early years of CD (and certainly long before the internet) he was a great source of hard-to-obtain material.
I obtained my Harry Lillis releases via ICC, but with regard to the Sing-Along albums, I have an "official" release of "Join Bing and Sing Along" on a the Hallmark label. Hallmark 710082.
Other than that - as Jim says - other than the EMI Regal release, the sources seem to be from private sources. I have, for example, a privately-produced Sing-Along compilation called "Sing Along With Bing Crosby!" on the GAV Records label. (GAVCD-1002). I seem to remember picking this up at Leeds a few years ago, but I have no idea who was responsible for GAV Records. I'm sure somebody out there will...
The poems were in fact issued on the Collectors Choice "Seasons" CCM2104 in 2010
(later replaced by the identical CD on the UMG label B0017960-2 in 2013, still available - see http://bingcrosby.com/product-category/cds-and-vinyl/page/2), both issued as a joint enterprise with the Crosby family companies.
I also have the Hallmark "Join Bing & Sing Along" CD, which is taken from the 1959 album of the same title. But the material on the EMI Regal release is different, it is from the 1960 "101 Gang Songs" album. Based on Richard's discography there is no overlap. Also, it seems to be in stereo, whereas I believe the Hallmark is mono.
I've heard of the GAV label, but never found any of their CDs. They also released some of the Buddy Cole material, long before the Mosaic set, that I had tried to find at that time.
It would sure be nice to see the Crosby family release official versions of the Longines sessions, "Hey Jude" and "Bingo Viejo".
Sorry, I had completely forgotten that the 5 poems make up part of the bonus tracks on the CCM "Seasons" release.
Jim is quite right - the Hallmark CD is in mono. The GAV release is in stereo and is a compilation of tracks from "101 Gang Songs", "Join Bing and Sing Along!" and "On the Happy Side".
Although it has had an "official" CD release, I would like to add "Bing 'n Basie" to the list of albums I would like to see remastered and re-packaged by BCE - including, of course, the un-released, "If I Had a Hammer". (Incidentally, "If I Had a Hammer was included on the Bar-One International release of "Bing 'n Basie", together with "Hey Jude, Hey Bing!" on a single CD...)
"Bing 'n Basie" was the first CD I ever bought - before I even had a CD player. I was so surprised to see it released, and thought it might not stay in print long. It was a pretty early CD release, and I suspect Polydor released it because it gave them the first Bing CD on the market.
I would like to see BCE reissue it, especially if they include a clean version of "If I Had a Hammer", one that doesn't sound like it was recorded on a portable tape recorder held up to a speaker. But I'm glad to have heard it even in that form. The only reason I can see for it not being released on the album is there are some passages where Bing is having to sing over the band when it is pretty loud, and since Bing recorded his vocals to pre-recorded tracks there was no way to change that. But it's a nice uptempo performance that would add to the album.
Jim, your story and mine are exactly the same when it comes to Bing 'n' Basie. It was the very first Bing CD I ever bought and I bought it a year or 2 I ever even had a CD player. I remember playing it on my sister's CD player at the time. That was a good memory and funny to see how you bought it before you had a CD player and how I had done the exact same thing.
As for the Bing sing along albums this has always been a confusing topic. Different albums containing different medleys and you never know which is which. I bought the actual albums at a Used Record store years ago (when they were still around) and transferred them to CD myself. So now I know which is which that I'm listening to. But they were also on the Harry Lillis CD series. Once again, I'd have to look and compare each song on the Harry Lillis CD to see from which Sing along album it came from. Yes, I bought the Harry Lillis CDs from Chick Wilson too. What a great guy he was. He was so helpful and a kind man to talk to. I bought a lot of great Bing CDs from him. I don't know for sure, but I fear Chick is no longer with us. I know he was getting Alzheimers toward the end of our Bing buys and his wife took over at the end. He was a great guy and had a sad end. I will always think of Chick every Christmas when I get out my Kate Smith Christmas CD. I had seen Kate sing "Christmas In My Home Town" on Hollywood Palace and ever since seeing that I had looked for the Kate Smith album that it came from. I never could find the album in used record stores so one day I asked Chick if he could look out for it on his many record and CD buying trips. He said he would and not only did he find it he found a CD release of it. I didn't even expect that it was ever released on CD. So I was really happy. Unfortunately this was getting near Chick's forgetful days. It was more than a year later that I brought up the Kate Smith album to him again to see if he ever found it he said, "Oh, you're the one who asked for this!. I found this a year ago and forgot who it was that asked for it. It's been sitting on my shelf all this time." Boy was I happy to hear this and I'm sure Chick was happy to finally get it out. Chick was a good man, if he's no longer with us may he rest in that Big Used Record Store in the sky. I salute you Chick.
I miss Chick Wilson and Mr. Nostalgia as well. Redmond Nostalgia too is gone but not forgotten as well. Surprisingly they opened a new record/CD store in my neighborhood. I haven't been there yet, but I was shocked.
Chick Wilson had some great stuff. Mr. Nostalgia was good in Florida but his prices were a little dear. Oh I can't forget Worlds Records either!
I didn't know Redmond Nostalgia had an actual store. Isn't he the guy that used to sell Bing radio show tapes? I thought he was located in Washington state. But, if he's the guy I'm thinking of, he closed down his mail business years ago. I think Redmond Nostalgia also sold lots of different old time radio besides Bing, now that I think about it more. Oh well, I'm not sure. I know that one guy who had so many great sounding Bing radio shows esp. those of the late '50's and early '60's was shut down by small minded powers that be.
Yes, Redmond Nostalgia had extensive lists of non-Bing material. With every "Bing" order I placed with Redmond, I used to include a couple of other discs of other favoured singers, and so I have quite a few Mario Lanza Coca-Cola shows and Gordon MacRae "Railroad Hour" productions of classic musicals, for example...
Other contributors to this board will, I feel sure, have much more extensive recollections of, and information about, father-and-son, Larry and David Kiner, who were responsible for making this material available. I seem to remember there was a direct - even personal - link between Larry's possession of the Bing material and Bing himself, but without doing a bit more research, I hesitate to elaborate on that...
I think that this 1994 obituary of Larry Kiner will be of interest to all.
It has also been quoted on David Lobosco's "Bing Crosby News Archive".
Thanks, Richard. I knew I could rely on you..!
Yes, it was Kiner that sold those great sounding 1950's and '60's radio shows with Bing and Rosie and Bing alone. Story was as I remember it Kiner's father had made copies from the original tapes back in the '60's. The sound was excellent on these and I later transferred those tapes to CD which Kiner also later did and offered for sale. My only complaint on the Kiner tapes was that some of the shows the very beginning opening would be cut off. But that was a once in a while problem, most were complete. I still to this day continue to listen to those Bing and Rose shows, they have a special informal quality that I like. The real Bing radio shows from the '40's and '50's are of course still the classic of classics to hear, but those little get togethers of Bing & Rosie from early '60's were fun to listen to too. I especially like the ads from Rod Cameron and Sara Lee and Cheerios, oh and the Cat's Paw shoe polish. All corny but nostalgic for me. Esp. the Mr. Bubble ad Rosie does. We had Mr. Bubbles when we were kids.
Yes, Redmond sold a whole lot of what I'd call the normal Bing show biz type radio programs of the '40's and early '50's. Also sold a whole bunch of old time radio shows non-Bing releated. I believe it was Redmond where I bought some Family Theater and Lux Theater shows. Lot of different sources for great old time radio back then.
It's sad that Redmond Nostalgia closed, but I am envious of Larry Kiner's son having all these recordings still that he could listen to anytime. Redmond has a great chronological offering of Buddy Clark. I bought many of them but I regret I never got to complete the collection. I wish we had contact info for Larry's son - I believe his name was David Kiner.
A good rule for collectors is to strike while the iron is hot. When it's available that's the time to buy otherwise tomorrow it may be gone. I learned this lesson a few times in my days of collecting. One thing Kiner didn't have that I wish he did was the 15 min shows Bing did in the late '50's. Those are shows I hear every once in a while on the official Crosby internet radio but it's not enjoyable to hear them there because I only hear the last couple minutes of a show having missed it since their Crosby Internet radio never ever announces what they're playing next, no schedule at all so you never know when you should tune in. A real waste.