06/7/2017 2:26 am  #1


Return to Paradise Islands

As I add more Crosby albums to my collection I'd like to share my thoughts on them. I thought of commenting on existing posts but since some are several years old, new posts seems to make the most sense!

"Return to Paradise Islands" is probably the one album from the 60's that surprises me the most. I had read Steven Lewis' evaluation (pretty dismal) and Ken Barnes didn't feel it worth mentioning but I feel this might be one of his most enjoyable efforts of the decade!

If there is a word to describe "Return to Paradise Islands" it's "lush". The Nelson Riddle accompaniment is lulling, and soothing. Ever go to the beach and listen to the sounds of the waves gently crash onto the beach? Will Riddle has managed to do THAT with music! What Riddle does with the orchestra, Bing does vocally especially on the ballads. This really is Bing at his most romantic. Bing was 60 years old when he recorded this and he probably could have charmed the young lady on the album cover back to his beach cottage if he sang "Return to Paradise" to her. 

I'm not sure why others have panned this so harshly, maybe the 2010 remastering is a huge improvement over the original? Either way I like this one so much I'm going back and forth between a B+ or an A- and I think I'm going with the A-.

 

06/7/2017 6:30 am  #2


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

Ron1972 wrote:

"Return to Paradise Islands" is probably the one album from the 60's that surprises me the most. I had read Steven Lewis' evaluation (pretty dismal) and Ken Barnes didn't feel it worth mentioning but I feel this might be one of his most enjoyable efforts of the decade!

"Ron1972", In some ways I can understand the comments you make about this and other albums. The evaluations that you quote are of course personal opinions and others might differ to some degree but I think that it is important to bear in mind that those evaluations were very largely based on comparisons with the extraordinarily high standards set by some others.

I doubt that any would disagree that of the recordings from the late 50s onwards, "Fancy Meeting You Here" and "Bing and Satchmo" set a very high standard against which some others could be something of a disappointment. I can enjoy all but the frequency with which I pull out the Paradise Islands and Country Hits albums relative to Fancy Meeting You Here is possibly something like 1 to 10 or worse.

The years when these albums were recorded are fresh in my memory. I remember the excitement with which we received them, the expectation with which we looked forward to receiving any announced issue, and the relative disappointment with which we received a few. 
 


 

 

06/7/2017 7:42 am  #3


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

I'm planning an article on "Return to Paradise Islands" for the winter issue of "Bing" so have been listening to it quite a lot lately. I don't go quite as far as Steven Lewis, but have to agree with Richard that "Fancy Meeting You Here" and "Bing and Satchmo" set the bar pretty high.
At the moment I have to admit that RTPI isn't really "growing on me", but I'll persevere!
I hope others will post their views here...

 

06/7/2017 3:15 pm  #4


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

Richard Baker wrote:

The evaluations that you quote are of course personal opinions and others might differ to some degree but I think that it is important to bear in mind that those evaluations were very largely based on comparisons with the extraordinarily high standards set by some others.

 

Hi Richard, I certainly am not discounting the opinions that I mentioned. On the contrary I have really relied on those evaluations and for the most part have found them to be very reliable. I mention them, particularly here because I'm surprised that my own opinions differs so greatly. 

And I agree that when evaluating the quality of someone's work you naturally look to other work that they have done and ask yourself is this better or worse? But of course that is just one variable, your own preferences come in to play, and I think with music like this you also start to judge it on it's own merits apart from the trends at the time (where a contemporary review may be much different).

One of the things I have asked myself about this album is if my enthusiasm is based on the fact that it's just new material to me or not. I don't thinks so but time will tell if my own evaluation changes!

It's tough to compare this album to something like "Fancy Meeting You Here" for instance because the material is just so different but with "Return to Paradise Islands" I find the uptempo numbers charming and the ballads just really beautifully done. Out of the 7 albums I've picked up in the last month or so it's one of the ones I listen to and enjoy the most. 
 

     Thread Starter
 

06/7/2017 3:26 pm  #5


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

jeremyrose wrote:

I'm planning an article on "Return to Paradise Islands" for the winter issue of "Bing" so have been listening to it quite a lot lately. I don't go quite as far as Steven Lewis, but have to agree with Richard that "Fancy Meeting You Here" and "Bing and Satchmo" set the bar pretty high.
At the moment I have to admit that RTPI isn't really "growing on me", but I'll persevere!
I hope others will post their views here...

I haven't heard the "Bing & Satchmo" album yet so can offer no opinion there but I think "Fancy Meeting You Here" may be Bing's best album PERIOD. The vocals, the chemistry, and arrangements are all fantastic! And I can honestly say that I don't think "Return to Paradise Islands" lives up to THAT standard but I do think it's a very well done album certainly better than many other albums Bing did in the 60's (at least those that I've had the opportunity to listen to.)

I do hope others share their throughts because I'm truly interested in the feedback, plus I think others who may stumble across this while searching the internet may find the feedback useful too! 

I'd also love to know if this ever does grow on you or not!

     Thread Starter
 

06/7/2017 3:50 pm  #6


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

If you haven't heard "Bing & Satchmo" yet, you're in for a treat. I envy you..!

I'm not going to say too much more about RTPI at this stage but - like Ron - would be very interested to hear some other views.

 

06/7/2017 7:39 pm  #7


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

Jeremy,

I look forward to your article on Return to Paradise Islands, an album that I find quite charming, even though I agree it is not the best that Bing made from the late '50s onward. Among the albums he cut in the '60s, Holiday in Europe is one of my favorites, and I wrote about it in the current issue of BING, bemoaning the fact that it's out of print and not easy or cheap to find on CD.

I like Bing & Satchmo, but that's the kind of album from which one would expect a little more. I would have liked it better if Bing and Louis had delved a little bit deeper into true jazz material, as they had done in the past on radio. But overall, it's a very enjoyable record, and my favorite track on it is the very witty reading of "Sugar."

If I had to choose a favorite Bing album, it would be Bing with a Beat, but that's probably because I am a jazz fan. Fancy Meeting You Here is, of course, a fantastic album!

AGF

 

06/7/2017 8:51 pm  #8


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

Anton, 

I believe "Holiday in Europe" is available in Europe or at least in the UK via Amazon digital download. Doesn't help me much in the states but...

     Thread Starter
 

06/7/2017 9:10 pm  #9


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

Ron,

As you say, Holiday in Europe is available for digital download on British Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Holiday-Europe-Remastered-Bing-Crosby/dp/B007LREFCE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1499375168&sr=8-2&keywords=crosby+holiday+europe

However, it doesn't seem to be available for download on the US Amazon, unfortunately. There is a Japanese CD edition of it from several years back, but that's out of print and commands hefty prices. As I say in my BING article, it is in need of a serious CD reissue that would make it more widely available, because it really is a very interesting concept album!

AGF

 

06/7/2017 10:05 pm  #10


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

And there is the second album with Rosie - That Travellin' Two Beat.

 

06/7/2017 11:05 pm  #11


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

Anton G.-F. wrote:

Ron,

As you say, Holiday in Europe is available for digital download on British Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Holiday-Europe-Remastered-Bing-Crosby/dp/B007LREFCE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1499375168&sr=8-2&keywords=crosby+holiday+europe

AGF

If you attach importance to sound quality and if the short sample tracks that you can stream from this site are anything to go by, it is best avoided. 
The sound is coarse and mono. It is not an accurate reflection of the sound of the original, still less of the superb Japanese MCA CD. The label is stated to be "Techniche Label OMP" with copyright claimed by "One Media Publishing" which seems very doubtful.

I suspect that fact alone is the reason for the non appearance on US Amazon, and the whole thing, including the "cover" looks wrong to me.

 

 


 

 

07/7/2017 8:17 am  #12


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

I agree with Richard that the Japanese CD release is the one to look out for. I was lucky enough to find a virtually mint copy on ebay a few years ago and they do crop up occasionally.
There's one listed at the moment - from Germany - but as you can see, it ain't cheap..!

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Bing-Crosby-Holiday-In-Europe-/141637508868?hash=item20fa40df04:g:9FMAAOSw32lYuGPK

 

07/7/2017 8:34 am  #13


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

Anton's article makes for fascinating reading and I certainly agree that a more generally-available CD release is long overdue.
(Having said that, I seem to remember that I have a second CD of the album on a UK budget label. I'm away from home at the moment, so can't verify it for the time being...)

 

07/7/2017 1:27 pm  #14


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

Jeremy,

I am glad to hear you enjoyed my article on Holiday in Europe! I had a great time writing it, and it gave me the chance to listen to the album over and over again. The next piece I am preparing for the forthcoming issue of BING is about another album that's in need of a serious digital reissue—Feels Good, Feels Right.

AGF

 

07/7/2017 5:07 pm  #15


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

Hello all,

I really like RTPI. I have a mid 80's Japanese pressing of the LP which has superior sound. I play it more than many of my other Bing albums. It is truly relaxing and the Riddle arrangements are beautiful. Bing's short stint on Reprise found him in excellent voice. 

Talk about opinions?  I like "Bing & Satchmo" but I'm not crazy over it. As far as "Fancy Meeting You Here" the concept is great (ala' Sinatra's "Come Fly with Me!") but I have grown very, very tired of the alleged "off the cuff" gibberish between the two. It's like buying a comedy album and within 6 months you know all the jokes by heart. I hardly ever listen to it.  


All the best,
Paul M. Mock
 

09/7/2017 12:43 am  #16


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

You're now talking about 2 of my favorite Bing albums, Return To Paradise Islands & Holiday In Europe.   I could listen to Holiday In Europe over and over, I never get tired of it.  (In fact, funnily enough, "C'est Si Bon" just happen to pop up and play on my Media Player as I was typing, what a great invention the computer Media player is.)   Return To Paradise is a perfect album for me to listen to in the summertime, it makes me feel like I'm at the beach.  

By the way to Ron1972, please be advised the original album version of Return To Paradise sound mix was very poor, Bing's voice was buried under the loud orchestration.   HOWEVER, when it was recently finally released on CD by the Crosby people the sound was remixed and Bing's voice was placed in the forefront where it should have been all along.   So if what you're hearing is the original album version, try to get the new (relatively now) CD version.   After decades in hibernation the Crosby people finally woke up and started to finally release albums and even a handful of TV specials, it was an all to brief period of celebration.   For now once again the Crosby people seem to have gone back into their cave for perhaps another decades long hibernation period as they have not released any new TV shows on DVD or new CD versions of Bing's albums in many years.  

 

09/7/2017 12:45 am  #17


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

By the way, another Bing album to seek out is "Songs I Wish I Had Sung" the "new" version put out by the Crosby people contains extra songs that are enjoyable too. 

 

09/7/2017 2:27 pm  #18


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

Some great information here Archiefit! I am listening to the newer CD release and now wonder what my thoughts would have been if I had heard the original album instead!

I agree that it does a great job of transporting you to the beach of some tropic isle. I find that it's also pretty good music to put on as I'm going to bed. It's very serene and restful (all in a good way!)

I'm more disappointed than ever that "Holiday in Europe" is not available on CD or MP3 album here in the states as the comments of you and a few others make we want to hear it in full. (I'm beginning to think I need one of those record players that can rip vinyl to mp3!)

I do have "Songs I Wish I had Sung" as part of "Through The Years" and since I've added a lot of that recently I have not had the chance to really listen to it yet. I think I posted elsewhere that one dilemma is do I purchase the "new" version anyway!

     Thread Starter
 

09/7/2017 2:32 pm  #19


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

paulmock wrote:

Hello all,

I really like RTPI. I have a mid 80's Japanese pressing of the LP which has superior sound. I play it more than many of my other Bing albums. It is truly relaxing and the Riddle arrangements are beautiful. Bing's short stint on Reprise found him in excellent voice. 

Talk about opinions?  I like "Bing & Satchmo" but I'm not crazy over it. As far as "Fancy Meeting You Here" the concept is great (ala' Sinatra's "Come Fly with Me!") but I have grown very, very tired of the alleged "off the cuff" gibberish between the two. It's like buying a comedy album and within 6 months you know all the jokes by heart. I hardly ever listen to it.  

It's nice to see a few more fans of "Return To Paradise Islands". I haven't had the chance to get the "Bing & Satchmo" album yet but it has certainly gotten lots of mention! I get your point about "Fancy Meeting You Here", maybe I haven't listened to it enough for the banter to grow old on me. 
 

     Thread Starter
 

09/7/2017 5:57 pm  #20


Re: Return to Paradise Islands

Ron1972 wrote:

I do have "Songs I Wish I had Sung" as part of "Through The Years" and since I've added a lot of that recently I have not had the chance to really listen to it yet. I think I posted elsewhere that one dilemma is do I purchase the "new" version anyway!

Ron1972, I think that, without a doubt, even if you have the Through the Years CD, it's still well worth purchasing the BCE release of Songs I Wish I Had Sung. The sound, the packaging, and the extra tracks make it an essential purchase, in my opinion.

If you're interested, here I leave you two reviews I once wrote about both albums:

http://bingcrosbyoncd.blogspot.com/search/label/Songs%20I%20Wish%20I%20Had%20Sung

AGF
 

 

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