I wrote what I’m about to write again for the 3rd time in the thread responding to the comment agreeing with mine that there are way too many people reading here instead of talking. I like that we all have Bing in common, but now we need to do something fun about it. What fun is it for each of us if you don’t share what you’re up to now and each day with whatever is Bing related in your lives.
So I was saying (my writings both disappeared before I had a chance to post, so now I’m writing this on a word document and I’ll cut and paste it into the message board) that we need to talk to each other have fun talking about Bing and Bing things and what we’re listening to (radio shows or Bing music or CDs) or what Bing we’re currently watching either movies or TV shows that we’re watching now. This is what is fun to share we all would be interested in what you would like to say Bing related. So speak up, we’re a friendly audience, no one will laugh if you expound on Bing here.
Today is Thanksgiving here in the good old US of A and I always listen to appropriate holiday Bing shows or music at holiday time, makes the show seem more like a live happening from today instead of decades back. Just makes it a current thing for me. For instance I won’t listen to a Bing St. Patty day show in September and I won’t hear a Bing Christmas thing in June.
So today I listened to Bing’s 11/26/47 show with Frankie Laine where Bing tells the story of the Man Without A Country. I really love the background music (I think written by Victor Young) used in this radio play, it’s beautiful. I’ve looked to try to find a record of just the background music but no luck so far in all the years I’ve tried.) Oh, also heard the 11/24 and 25/48 Bing Thanksgiving shows, the 24th being with Bert Lahr & Dorothy Kirsten (who's singing I find ear violating and piercing) and the 11/25/48 being a 15 min. show. Bing was busy in Nov. ‘48 apparently. The ’47 show was my favorite but Bert Lahr was funny in the ’48 show. Also heard Bing’s songs that I relate to Thanksgiving, songs “Way Back Home”, “Count Your Blessings”, “Ya’ll Come”, & “I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For”. Great Bing stuff for a holiday time. There are other Bing Thanksgiving radio shows but I hear those in other years. Anyone have a comment on any of these shows? Do you like the Man Without A Country story, do you like the background music used too?? See, this is how we can talk, that’s TALK to each other. This is a Bing Fun Fest here, or it could be. So let’s make it that way.
I listened to the "Man Without a Country" and Dorothy Kirsten/Bert Lahr shows.
As Bing says towards the beginning of the former, Thanksgiving is, "A Purely American Holiday", and it's sometimes difficult for non-Americans to appreciate the significance of the occasion to US citizens. The Philco show is interesting in that after an opening number from Bing and The Rhythmaires and a bit of dialogue with, and a solo number from, Bing's guest Frankie Laine, the rest of the show is given over to "The Man Without a Country". Although I've listened to the commercial issue a few times and have listened to this show before, I must admit I didn't know much about the background to the tale. There's some fascinating information in the relevant entry for the Philco show in Lionel Pairpoint's Radio Directory and on the commercial issue in Part 3 of Fred Reynolds' "The Crosby Collection. I personally find the performances by some of the supporting a bit melodramatic, but Bing's narration is characteristically sincere.
Victor Young's background music is a beautifully crafted piece of work and, as Lee says, would be worthy of a separate release. It's directed by JST on the Philco show and by Young himself on the commercial issue.
I very much enjoyed the Dorothy Kirsten/Bert Lahr show. I've always liked Dorothy Kirsten's voice and as well as some of her Met Opera broadcasts, I've got a favourite recording of her singing the music of Sigmund Romberg with Gordon MacRae - another firm favourite of mine. I love the way she scales back her voice when she joins Bing for a lovely version of "These Foolish Things", even if - understandably for a classically-trained singer, I 'spose - she doesn't have that ease around the bar line which comes so naturally to Bing.
I also like the comedy schtick with Bert Lahr, although the "Burlesque Days" sketch feels a bit laboured to my ears.
Thanks, Lee, for channelling my attention towards these two shows...
Last edited by jeremyrose (25/11/2016 9:02 pm)
I'm glad you got to hear the shows today that I mentioned. Interesting too your takes on the shows. Another song I heard today was Bing's record of "Home Cooking" that's also a good Thanksgiving related song, mentions a lot of the food we eat at Thanksgiving time. By the way, I could tell you the real story of Thanksgiving but I'll leave that to another time, but it's not the story most people have been taught.
Now I have a good question, that I've wondered about for years. Today I listened to another Thanksgiving related (well it was mentioned) Bing radio show from 11/23/49 with Peggy Lee. Here's my question, at one point in the show Bing and Peggy sing "Way Back Home" but right in the middle of the song you suddenly hear someone whistling completely random off the mark as to the song being sung strange odd whistling (along?). Now when I first heard this years back I thought, I wonder if that was me whistling when I recorded the show off the radio but even back in my radio show recording days I used a patch cord not a live mic, so it couldn't have been me. Here's the question, does everyone hear this oddball whistling in the middle of the "Way Back Home" song on the 11/23/49 show? Is this just a fluke or is this on everyone's recording. My only guess as to what this is is that the person who originally recorded this show back in 1949 used a live mic in front of a speaker and it was that person who whistled oddly along to the song. This is what I've decided is the source of this strange whistler. After all back then a home recorder of radio shows would have used a live mic in front of a speaker rather than a patch cord. Even when I first started recording radio shows back in the early '70's I used to use a live mic in front of a speaker too.
Anyway, any one else hear this oddball whistling the off tune whistling while Peggy and Bing sing so beautifully this very nice song?
I'll have to dig out the recordings Lee to check. Bing is still my favorite singer of all-time but I've been going through a Kay Starr phase lately since she passed away. Listening to a little Woody Herman as I write this.
There is a fair amount of whistling on the original broadcast disc starting around 1M:35S into the song.
I'm fairly sure it's Bing - it's interspersed with his vocal and there is no overlap, and it is all pretty casual.
Typical Bing, I'd say.
Huh, if that was Bing he sure lost track of the melody, that whistling was totally off the mark of the song melody. Besides, I'll have to listen again to be certain, but I thought I remember the strange whistling happening at the same time as Bing's singing. But I'll have to hear it again. It's certainly not Bing's typical type whistling where he whistles with the song not against it. But at least it's not just my recording where this odd whistle is heard.
I've listened to this a couple of times, and although I agree it's not as "on-the-money" as most of Bing's whistling interludes, I don't think there's any question but that it's him.
Apart from anything else, it's got to be someone who's within whistling distance of a microphone. I've obviously got no idea what the exact studio set-up was, but I would guess that the orchestra were captured on two or three overhead mics, with The Rhythmaires gathered around a single vocal stand-mic and Bing and Peggy sharing a second. Bing and Peggy would simply have taken a step back while the other was singing their solo lines, and stepped forward together for the duo sections. The whistling occurs during The Rhythmaires' contributions and is slightly distanced, so for my money, it's Bing...
(I love the fact that we have a place where we can have a discussion about 30 seconds of distant whistling in a radio programme recorded more than 60 years ago!)
OK, I listened again to the offending Way Back Home off the mark, off beat, odd random whistles and they do indeed occur while the background singers are singing and not when Bing is singing. So I guess it's more than likely it was Bing, feeling loose as a goose, no doubt, who is the guilty party. I guess he was just in a jolly mood and trying to stick to the song melody just wasn't part of Bing's idea. After all, this was supposedly a once in a lifetime broadcast, never meant to be a record of permanence for ever more, and supposed to be heard only that one time in 1949.
OK, the controversy continues. Today I listened to a 12/1/48 post-Thanksgiving broadcast of Philco Radio Time, Bing's guests were brother Bob, Bob's daughter Kathy (is she still alive?, I wondered as I listened) & our gal Peggy Lee. Sure enough this whistling occurred again. BUT this time the whistling did go along with the song's melody. It happens near the end of the show at about 2 minutes into the song "Until", once again when the background singers (were these the Rhythmaires?) start to sing their part of the song. Admittedly, this time the whistling does go along with the melody of the song instead of the odd random whistling bits for no reason. But it all seems to confirm Bing's practice of whistling while the background singers do their bit. I liked today's whistles, they were not off the mark, but still slightly odd to hear pop up in the middle of what is otherwise a very smooth sounding background singing.
As a side note Lee, Cathy Crosby is still alive. I believe she is in her mid 60s now. Her brother Chris Crosby was a singer as well, who sang with the Bob Crosby band in later years - 1970s to early 1980s.
By the way Lee, do you have a facebook account? There is a Lee that keeps coming up as a friend suggestion but not sure it is you.
No, there is only one Lee and that must be an imposter on your Facebook. I'm not a Facebook member or whatever they call it. I don't really do any of this "social media" stuff, no tweets, insta messages, texting, nothing. Only email and a couple of message boards will you find little old me.