Discussion Board Use and Registration Isssues » This Board - The Future » 13/2/2022 8:42 pm

Jim Determan
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Richard,

Thank you for everything you have done for the Bing community: setting up and administering this board, your wonderful on-line discography, "Keeping Track", and your other contributions to Bing magazine. Also, thank you for the many times you have helped me personally as a Bing fan and collector.

Best wishes, and I hope we will still here from you now and then.

David, thank you for taking over administration of this board along with your many other contributions to the community.

Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 18/12/2018 7:25 pm

Jim Determan
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Along with their "Louis and Bing" sale, Mosaic Records posted an article on their Daily Jazz Gazette on Bing Crosby Swinging on a Star with a picture of the cover and a link to an interview with Giddins. 

Go to the Mosaic website, select Jazz Gazette and scroll down, it is currently the 4th item.
http://www.mosaicrecords.com/
Below is a link to the article (I haven't verified whether it is one that has been linked elsewhere in this thread):
https://jerryjazzmusician.com/2018/10/25/interview-with-bing-crosby-biographer-gary-giddins/

Also, further down on the Mosaic Jazz Gazette, there is a link to Nate Chinen's WBGO 2018 holiday gift guide, since Mosaic's Savory set is on his list. Giddin's biography also makes the list. Below is a link: 
http://www.wbgo.org/post/refurbished-classics-fresh-discoveries-swing-holidays-our-gift-guide#stream/0

Nice to see the book being plugged on jazz sites. Maybe enough copies will sell to keep Gary busy for another 17 years. Hopefully he'll be a bit quicker and we'll all be around to read it.

Swaps and Sales » LIMITED TIME SPECIAL OFF FROM MOSAIC » 18/12/2018 7:00 pm

As of this writing, although the two days have passed, the Bing and Louis sets are still listed at the $99 sale price on the Mosaic website.

New and Re-issued materials » Bing Crosby Mosaic Set » 22/6/2018 5:35 am

Jim Determan
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I think that CD is from a chronological series of studio recordings that Redmond Nostalgia put out. I don't think it was as complete or as well remastered, as the Chronological Bing Crosby and Through the Years series, but it was probably less expensive.

Recording » Bing with Eddie Condon - new alternate takes? » 21/6/2018 7:02 am

Being a Condon fan, I purchased the Mosaic "Complete Commodore & Decca Eddie Condon & Bud Freeman Sessions". As noted above, the takes listed as "unissued" were not included in the set, but presumably still exist. Since the set is already 8 quite full CDs, it may be that space considerations were part of the reason they were left off.

There are a couple of other things in the liner notes on the Crosby session that caught my attention. One is a nice picture of Bing and Eddie Condon looking over the sheet music, and to my surprise, sitting on the floor nearby is Alan Lomax. I wonder what he was doing at a Condon/Crosby session? (It is too early for him to be plugging his Father's 1947 autobiography, which was considered for a film with Bing playing John Lomax.)

The other is the following comment in the liner notes: "Nota bene: From Brad Gowans' papers at the Institute of Jazz Studies, a gift from a friend of a late friend, I discovered that Bing had arranged for his session fee to be divided among the musicians." A nice gesture, and it clearly indicates that recording with the Condon gang was a labor of love for Bing.

New and Re-issued materials » Bing Crosby Mosaic Set » 21/6/2018 6:08 am

Jim Determan
Replies: 12

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Mosaic is having a sale through the end of June with the Bing Crosby set reduced to $99.

http://www.mosaicrecords.com/prodinfo.asp?number=245-MD-CD

Also, eBay has a copy of the Mosaic set signed by Mary Crosby, with the discs still sealed:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/BING-CROSBY-CBS-Radio-Recordings-MOSAIC-7-CD-BOX-Autographed-by-MARY-CROSBY/372335731674?hash=item56b0f063da:g:NDMAAOSwhEVbItye
 

New and Re-issued materials » High Tor » 31/10/2017 5:54 am

Jim Determan
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It appears this release is the Decca LP. If you follow Richard's link and read the 3rd paragraph:

"Despite the lukewarm reaction from critics, an album featuring the songs and story of 'High Tor' was issued by Decca. The album effectively abridges the story of the 90 minute broadcast, interspersing dialogue from the soundtrack with studio recordings of the song score performed by the stars of 'High Tor'; Bing Crosby, Julie Andrews and Everett Sloane. The songs and story album of 'High Tor' now makes its debut on CD."
 

Artistic Legacy » Bing and the sound of the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra » 11/2/2017 10:50 pm

I recently read Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contributions to Jazz 1915-1945, an impressive tome by the late Richard M. Sudhalter. In it he quotes from drummer Ray McKinley in discussing the Dorsey brothers sound:

'The idea, as McKinley remembered it, was to build a band sound around the middle-register sonority of the trombones and tenors, a kind of instrumental cognate to the vocal timbre of Bing Crosby. "Bing was the biggest thing around in those days," said McKinley, "There was nobody who sang like him. The Dorseys had often played with Bing, and they felt - or the Rockwell-O'Keefe Agency felt - that they could achieve something if they pitched their sound like his."'

Interesting that Bing's tonality was an influence on the sonority they chose for the orchestra.

Recording » 1968 Promo LP for The Bing Crosby Special » 11/2/2017 10:38 pm

Hmm, perhaps I should have put this under television, but initially it was about the Promo LP.

I will have to watch the special on GET TV, since I have never seen it, only clips.

But on YouTube, it is the GET TV version of the "Soundstage Medley" that has the best video quality, but is missing all the Beatles songs, I suspect GET TV did not want to pay for the rights.

Compare the 6 minute GET TV version of the medley here with the 8 minute version in low video quality here.
Bing's versions of some of the Beatles tunes are some of the nicest parts of the medley ("Hey Jude", better than on the album, and "And I Love Her" with Jose Feliciano's guitar).

Recording » 1968 Promo LP for The Bing Crosby Special » 04/2/2017 2:21 am

I saw this ad for a sealed copy on eBay. I didn't even know this LP existed! A bit pricey though.

I've seen the "Sound Stage Medley" with the Supremes and Jose Feliciano, and separate duets with each of them on YouTube, which are pretty nice. There's now a much cleaner version of the "Sound Stage Medley" on YouTube, but the Beatles tunes, which are some of the nicest parts for Bing, have been edited out, probably to avoid royalties.

Recording » Harry Lillis and Bar-One CDs » 14/11/2016 3:55 am

Jim Determan
Replies: 20

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"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.

Recording » Harry Lillis and Bar-One CDs » 10/11/2016 7:08 pm

Jim Determan
Replies: 20

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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".

Jim

Recording » Harry Lillis and Bar-One CDs » 10/11/2016 7:18 am

Jim Determan
Replies: 20

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Stefan,

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:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/BING-CROSBY-CROSBY-CLASSICS-VOLUME-II-RARE-MUSIC-CD-/311728402953?hash=item489475f209:g:hLUAAOSwA3dYENgF

Recording » Bing and Bob Wills » 17/2/2016 3:50 am

I remember seeing a picture of Bing performing with Bob Wills at a war bond rally (possibly in Bing or Bingang magazine), and was surprised to learn that a recording of their performance of "San Antontio Rose" was made and auctioned off.
Here are an article from a Tulsa paper, and blog post from a Western swing forum discussing it:

http://www.tulsapeople.com/Tulsa-People/March-2013/Bing-and-Bob/

http://www.texasplayboys.net/_disc8/0000004b.htm

At the time, Bing had a big hit with "San Antonio Rose", which was written and originally recorded by Wills.

This would be quite a find if it showed up. Considering it seems to have been kept with some care at one point, it is a shame it is missing. This would be the one of Bing's lost recordings I would most like to hear.

I don't think it is anywhere nearly as unusual a coupling in Bing's career as his duet with David Bowie. In fact, as a fan of both Bing and Bob Wills, I always thought they would have sounded good together. Bing was a major influence on Western swing singers, including Tommy Duncan, who sang "San Antonio Rose" on Bob Wills recording. Bing's friends Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang were major influences on Western swing as well. Bing generally responded well to country material, and on Decca, he frequently recorded with a wide variety of popular and jazz artists, and generally found common ground.

I'm curious whether they used Wills's arrangement, and whether they slowed it down to the tempo that Bing had used. And whether Wills made his usual interjections during Bing's performance! I have to confess, I prefer Wills's original recording to Bing's, as the somewhat faster tempo, and mariachi style trumpets add a suitable Spanish flavor to the song.

 

New and Re-issued materials » Bing Crosby Mosaic Set » 17/2/2016 2:34 am

Jim Determan
Replies: 12

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In case anyone is still considering purchasing this set, Mosaic has it on sale for $105 until the end of February.

http://www.mosaicrecords.com/artists.asp?artist_search=Crosby_Bing

Others of Note » "Moon River" demo » 17/6/2015 2:09 am

I saw this article on "Moon River" in the BBC news, the highlight being the release of a demo tape of the song with Johnny Mercer singing, and Henry Mancini playing the piano:
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33058351
Here's a cleaner transfer of the same demo:
http://www.pbs.org/arts/work/michael-feinstein-moon-river/
This may be my favorite version of "Moon River". I always thought it should be done simply with minimal accompaniment, and I love Mercer's singing, even if the demo is a little rough.

According to the ICC Songogrqphy, Bing only recorded "Moon River' three times as part of medleys for TV shows.
A shame he never gave it a full treatment.
Here Bing and Louis Armstrong sing it to Andy Williams on the Pearl Bailey Show.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3vfqpt4iU4

Recording » Redmond Nostalgia » 09/6/2015 12:46 am

I am curious whether anyone has a catalog or list, preferably a soft copy, of the Redmond Nostalgia CDs which featured Bing. I am curious to see what they had available in their heyday.

I was disappointed when Redmond Nostalgia closed. At the time I was concentrating on Bing's commercial recordings, buying the Chronological and Through the Years series, figuring I would get around to the radio shows later (although I had purchased some of the better compilations of songs and excerpts from the radio shows). So, they closed before I had a chance to take advantage of their catalog.

Since BCE has excellent quality sources for many of the later shows, I am hoping they will make an extensive catalog of the full shows available for download at some point.

Artistic Legacy » Herb Jeffries does his best Bing Crosby » 03/2/2015 2:43 am

I was listening to some recordings by jazz pianist Earl Hines and his orchestra from the early 1930s, and a couple of them featured vocalist Herb Jeffries, who later sang with Duke Ellington, and was also a Western movie star. These are Jeffries earliest recordings, and on "Just to Be in Carolina" (1934) in particular he is clearly imitating Bing: adopting many of Bing's mannerisms from the period, including the "Crosby cry" and the husky vocal tone. Just another example of how pervasive Bing's influence was on popular singers at the time.
Here is a link to the song on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7dbLyZMRFI.
 

Recording » Did Wig mail new books yet? » 02/2/2015 8:11 am

Jim Determan
Replies: 29

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I have the Paul Whiteman "Greatest Hits" CD, CCM-061 (it actually says CCM-061-2 on both the jewel box spine and the disc). The liner notes for "My Blue Heaven" say 7-6-27 / Victor 20828, which would be the commercial release. Timing is 2:55. It could still be the test. I will compare it to the Jonzo, but it would help if I knew what I was listening for.

Richard, I agree with the others, you and Wig are both invaluable resources for all of us Bing fans.
Your online discography is fantastic, as is the new edition of Wig's discography.

Recording » Did Wig mail new books yet? » 29/1/2015 7:46 am

Jim Determan
Replies: 29

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Mine arrived today in California as well, So, looks like they are arriving all over today.
It's my birthday, so perfect timing!

Recording » Did Wig mail new books yet? » 24/1/2015 8:11 am

Jim Determan
Replies: 29

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Not yet. I'm looking forward to it. Don't mind the delay to make it more up-to-date. As long as it isn't never ending that is...

Artistic Legacy » Bing Crosby's 10 Favorite Performers of All Time » 24/1/2015 7:54 am

Although I'm not certain, I believe the list was most likely solicited from Bing by the writers of The Book of Lists, and was something he responded to in writing, not during an interview. The explanatory comment Bing provided seems more like something he would have put in a letter than a spoken comment. So, I also assume the list was contemporary to the time of publication. The Book of Lists was published every few years for a while, sort of like an almanac. 1977 was the first edition.

I agree with Anton, I listen to a wide variety of music, and even picking my favorite artists in one style would be difficult, although generally there would be a few who would have to be on the list, as well as others who would have to be contenders. I'm sure Bing's statement that "I could, of course, name hundreds more," was both an apology to anyone he left off, and a simple statement of fact.

I do think Steve's comment that both Garland and Armstrong had comedic talents is relevant. I had been thinking of the list as primarily a list of singers, with Barton and Borge thrown in. But, although I think of the other eight as first and foremost singers, they were all in a broader sense entertainers who had fairly significant careers in film/stage/TV. This may be telling, as other singers who I think would have been on Bing's short list - Ella Fitzgerald, Mildred Bailey (as Ron pointed out), Connee Boswell, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee (all women, a shame Bing never did the sequel to "Songs I Wish I Had Sung") - despite Clooney's role in White Christmas, were much more limited in terms of film/stage/TV roles. Although Astaire would definitely seem to fit the bill as an entertainer.

While I agree that at different times in his life, and maybe even on different days, the list might have varied somewhat, I think there are some like Jolson and Armstrong, and Sinatra for that matter, who would almost certainly have had to be on Bing's list. Twenty years previously, on "Songs

Artistic Legacy » Bing Crosby's 10 Favorite Performers of All Time » 18/1/2015 9:14 pm

Years ago I found this list by happenstance while thumbing through The Book of Lists (1977 edition) at the library. I copied it down on a scrap of paper that has been inside my copy of Ken Barnes' The Crosby Years for years.  I have never seen it reprinted so here it is along with Bing's comment at the end:

The Book of Lists, 1977
Bing Crosby's 10 Favorite Performers of All Time
1. Al Jolson
2. Ethel Waters
3. James Barton
4. Frank Sinatra
5. Lena Horne
6. Louis Armstrong
7. Nat Cole
8. Mel Torme
9. Judy Garland
10. Victor Borge

"These are not listed in order of preference, and include no actors, only performers. I could, of course, list hundreds more." - Bing Crosby

It is an interesting list, and I find it interesting to dissect it in various ways.
It includes three performers who were Bing's influences (Jolson, Waters, Armstrong). Several that were influenced (or probably influenced) by him (Sinatra, Cole, Torme, and probably Horne and Garland at least to some extent).

It includes three female performers (Waters, Horne, Garland) and seven male performers. Four black performers (Waters, Horne, Armstrong, Cole) and six white performers (Jolson, Barton, Sinatra, Torme, Garland, Borge).

Barton and Borge seem to be the odd men out, since all the rest are primarily singers. Barton is a vaudeville performer, dancer and actor (his Wikipedia entry mentions Bing putting him on this list), and Borge a pianist and comedian.

I suppose one could ask where are Fred Astaire, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, and Ella Fitzgerald (of whom Bing said "Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest of them all."). No doubt these and others would have been on his short list. Perhaps he considered Astaire more of an actor. Primarily Bing seems to have chosen those who would generally be considered the most influential performers in terms of stylistic developments. In fact all but two of the singers (Horne and Torme), have chapters in Henry Pleasants' [i]The Great Amer

Television » REVIEW OF BING CROSBY PBS DOCUMENTARY 'AMERICAN MASTERS' » 16/1/2015 11:20 pm

Jim Determan
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I had a chance to watch the Bing Crosby American Masters documentary online. I thought it was very well done. It was great to see a documentary that looked at Bing's career seriously, rather than just being a tribute show. It covered his innovative role in the development of popular singing, the varied aspects of his career (recordings, radio, movies, television) and the astonishing level of success he attained in multiple arenas, and his role in the development of tape recording. Also, it did not ignore or shy aware from the negatives, but instead put them in perspective. It was good to see the interview segments with Gary Giddins, Ken Barnes, and Tony Bennett, as well as those with Katherine and Mary.

I hope it will serve to introduce, or reintroduce a lot of people to Bing Crosby. Of course they could not cover everything, and we all would have sat through a much longer documentary. But they covered a lot and very effectively in an hour and a half, which is probably about the limit for a general audience. It covered many of the themes in Gary Giddins' book, while hopefully reaching a much larger audience (Gary, can we hope for volume 2 in 2015, the timing would be good).

I also purchased the soundtrack and have really been enjoying it. They did a good job of choosing nice alternate versions of many of the songs, I especially enjoyed "Pocket Full of Dreams", "Moonlight Becomes You", and "It's Been a Long, Long Time". I'm curious who plays the guitar on the soundtrack alternate of "Pocket Full of Dreams", perhaps Perry Botkin.

I also like the version of "It's Been a Long, Long Time" with Les Paul on guitar. But I am quite certain I hear bass and rhythm guitar on it, so it seems to be a trio rather than Les solo despite what the liner notes infer. I recall an interview with Les Paul where he said that when they were recording it he was playing something complicated and Bing asked him to simplify his solo, and that Bing was right about that. I imagine the radio pe

Recording » "Bing Sings the J. Mercer Songbook," "Le Bing" available for pre-order » 10/4/2014 7:14 am

Jim Determan
Replies: 37

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Richard,

I considered a language coach, but as you say, that wouldn't entail instructions to the orchestra. I'm also doubtful that it's Trotter, since much of it is English with a French accent, along with some French. I don't know French, but it sounds like a native speaker to me.

On "La Seine", track 21, at the beginning, after Bing says, "Let's go, once more from the top, this will be all the music for tonight." The voice says, "Ok. Ok, here we go." and then "Top, top, top, top, introduction, shhh. The trombones <something in French>." I also hear the voice after the breakdown, but just a few words, "eh, eh, eh" and "at the pickup, <someone's name?>", a second French voice responds "oui, oui".

On "Mon Coeur est un Violon", track 19, I also hear the voice, but just a word here and there. What may be that voice asks "rolling?", and what sounds like the same second French voice responds "oui." (Perhaps Durand brought an assistant with him to help in the control room).

In Malcolm's liner notes on "Le Bing" in "Through the Years Volume 5", he says that "During his radio show broadcast on June 4, 1953, Bing is about to sing "All My Love" and says that Mr. Durand is in the studio and hopes he will approve the English lyrics that had been added to the song. No doubt the dialogue was recorded specially in Paris while Bing was recording with Durand."

But according to the BCE "Le Bing" notes these radio shows were pre-recorded in Palm Springs before he left for France. It then seems doubtful Bing would have bothered to specially record dialogue in France to add to them. But perhaps Paul Durand was in the studio because he had flown out to California to rehearse. 

To me it seems very plausible that a well known French conductor, chosen to provide the accompaniment for Bing Crosby's first LP, and perhaps knowing he would have very limited time (1 day?!) to work with Bing in France, would have been flown over to work on the arrangements with Trotter,

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