Others of Note » BORN ON THIS DAY: FRANK SINATRA » 25/3/2020 9:52 pm

Steve Fay
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Ron Field wrote:

Would have been great if Bing had lived into his 90’s like Frankie Laine, Tony Bennett and Tony Martin.

I agree!  Bing was in the middle of a rebirth as a recording artist. And I think he had a rebirth as an actor on the horizon, perhaps in both TV and film.  He's quite good as one of the dramatic leads in "Doctor Cook's Garden," and, despite the subpar production values of "Stagecoach," Bing is terrific as a comic character actor playing Doc Boone.  Neither were even singing roles, to boot.

Recording » "The Complete Bing Crosby: A 10th Anniversary Collection" 3-LP set? » 16/3/2020 7:40 pm

Steve Fay
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I just acquired this set. I'm delighted to discover that the records are pristine and sound great, but I have a question for those who've known this set of recordings since it came out:

Was there some kind of insert that included in-depth information about the tracks?

Mine has no insert, and no printing on the individual record sleeves, which are plastic (possibly not the originals, but I don't know for sure). There is very little info beyond the track titles on the back album cover. 

I've had a middle tape from the cassette tape edition for several years, but it is nice to hear the entire collection.

Recording » REVIEW OF 'BING 'N' BASIE' » 04/3/2020 4:54 am

Steve Fay
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Due to the meanderings of the big river, it looks like you'd be a good 3 hour drive almost due North of me.  A shorter drive when I was younger and only winked at the speed limit laws,  Maybe actually a lot longer than three hours, as I'm now a pokey old geezer who stays off of the Interstate to take the scenic route, not wanting to miss any of the cows and barns and old broken windmills along the way.  ;)

My older brother went to college in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, not far from Savannah, not so far up river from you. I've been through that country a few times.

Recording » REVIEW OF 'BING 'N' BASIE' » 03/3/2020 10:04 pm

Steve Fay
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I find the "Bing with Basie" album very underwelming.  Had it had the kind of song choices and arrangements used in Tony Bennet's and Ella Fitzgerald's albums with Basie, the album would be unforgettable. Bing would have knocked it out of the park. Unfortunately, it didn't have those kinds of song choices or arrangements, and it is, sadly, rather forgettable.

To put it another way, I think Bing deserved to have top-notch, creative arrangements, and a set of excellent standards, going into that project.  I don't know why he didn't get that or who is to blame, but his talent deserved that, and he didn't get that level of quality music and material to work with.

New and Re-issued materials » Bing And Rosie - New "overdubs" » 02/2/2020 6:58 pm

Steve Fay
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Of course, tastes and motivations differ.  And I suppose wanting an excellent stereophonic rendering could be high on some listeners' lists. Being just old enough to have had some favorite monaural LPs at a time when Stereo copies of the same albums cost twice as much and I couldn't afford them, I never cultivated the idea that monaural was less acceptable. For example, I don't feel disappointed that my copy of the "How the West Was Won" album is the mono and not the stereo release. It's in good condition and sounds great. But then, that's my taste, not everybody's.

Also, I can recognize that a great deal of the motivation for re-orchestrated Crosby recordings is a lot of listeners' dislike of Buddy Cole, or at least his electric organ playing. Perhaps it makes me an oddball, but I particularly like Buddy Cole as an arranger and as a musician. The main thing I like about Buddy's arranging is that I don't recall ever hearing a Buddy Cole arrangement that made it hard to hear any nuance of Bing's singing. Perhaps others forget about that aspect of the arrangements if they very much dislike the parts of the same songs when Bing is not singing and we only hear Cole and his trio or a larger ensemble playing, like the Dixieland band. A lot of attention is given to Cole's electric organ playing, but that would only affect minority of the recordings.

Pehaps I am further an oddball for liking Buddy Cole's electric organ playing. It marks a time when the Hammond was still newly being embraced by a variety of jazz and pop musicians, each exploring differing aspects of the instrument's potential. Buddy Cole decided not to imitate his piano stylings, or even his pipe organ effects (he had been a virtuoso theater pipe organist in his youth, before coming to California). Buddy Cole struck out in a new direction with the electric organ. If more followed that direction, we might think more highly of what he did now. He may have been more of a voice crying in the wilderness than a

New and Re-issued materials » Bing And Rosie - New "overdubs" » 02/2/2020 2:32 am

Steve Fay
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In the recent thread about the new Bing with London Symphony Orchestra (and with modern choral groups) Christmas CD, someone mentioned this CD in making a comparison.  To address this CD specifically, I thought I'd bump this old thread about it.

I hadn't paid much attention to this CD any previous times I may have seen it listed for sale and didn't realize it was mixing Bing and Rosie with new accompaniment, as the Christmas CD does.  Considering every year there will be new Christmas compilations of Bing music, I have somewhat broader standards for what might be done with Christmas songs.  Also with many of the older compilations still available using earlier recording versions, it is not like a new compilation wipes them away.

I apply different standards to a recording like this one. Since for average listeners there aren't many versions of Bing and Rosie duets not on their original two albums made together.  To find out more about the album, I visited the CD company's webpage for it < https://good-music-store.myshopify.com/products/bing-crosby-rosemary-clooney-the-new-recordings  > ,  In addition to reading their explanation of the project, I also listened to one of the sets of audio clips they provide links to.

My impressions of the clips:
-- One of the Crosby-Clooney duets had the accompaniment much too loud for anyone to clearly hear and appreciate the deft interplay of rhythms between Bing and Rosie's different vocal parts. (negative score for that)
-- Some of the next tracks didn't have that problem.  I recall a Bing solo that sounded rather good. (positive scores for those)
-- Toward the end of that set of clips I realized that the Rosie song I was listening to was actually one from her album with Perez Prado, "A Touch of Tobasco."  The "NEW" accompaniment  was tame and bland compared to the original album, which has been re-released on CD, though I love listening to my original vinyl copy.  What moron thought they could improve on

Recording » Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas » 29/1/2020 7:32 pm

Steve Fay
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I'm a bit late to this party, but I wasn't late to purchasing the CD, thanks to my still being on Malcolm's email list, despite my inactivity as a Bing discussant the last few years.  My wife and I ordered two copies, one for us and one for a friend's Christmas gift.

Perhaps I haven't listened to the album hypercritically, but I have found it rather a delightful experience -- even though I'm usually a rather stodgy "originalist" when it comes to music and other things.  I certainly don't think anyone should think of this new album as any sort of replacement for any of the original tracks we may know from studio recordings or from radio. I think it mainly should be regarded as a vehicle for letting new audiences hear him, or for listeners who have been away from Bing for decades, to hear him again.

Obviously, one might expect the orchestra, and sometimes back-up singers/choruses, to be much more forward in the mix, relative to Bing, than would have been heard in recordings of the 40s or 50s. Maybe because I knew the songs well enough, Bing being nestled deeper in the mix didn't keep me from hearing-and/or-knowing what he was singing.  And while I might not love all of the back-up singer arranging, most of it seemed pretty good to me, letting a little fresh air into the orchestrations,  As much as I appreciate the role of the Ken Darby Singers in some of the original versions of some of the songs -- they in fact tend to transport me back to childhood walks with my family through Christmas-decorated department stores, while Bing's carols streamed from 10-inch loudspeakers installed in the store ceilings -- I am a bit afraid that being subjected to listening to the Darby crowd continuously might wear the eardrum right out of most human beings. ;)   Alternate choral groups, or no choral back-up, can be a welcome alternative at times, especially if we can still go back to the Darby version when we want to.

I didn't start out as a fan of the Bowie/Crosby drummerbo

Recording » Nomination for a Bing album to be re-released on CD... » 29/1/2020 3:53 pm

Steve Fay
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BING CROSBY: Sings the Great Country Hits.

In my experience, this album isn't often discussed, yet it sounds good and is very well made. Perhaps it has become "forgotten" because the style is a bit dated. It's not in the vein of Garth Brooks whipping an arena full of modern country fans into a frenzy, very true, but it is perfectly presented in the style of many a top country song produced in Nashville by the likes of Chet Atkins, with lush string sections and even lusher vocal choruses in the background, that tipped them over into cross-over hits on the pop charts. Listening to just a few examples of hits from country crooners like Eddy Arnold and Ray Price around that time reveal similar production values and techniques, as did some of Nat King Cole's remakes of country songs, and songs with country subject matter, that crossed over the other direction.  

Bing isn't remaking the songs as his own, as Ray Charles certainly did when he turned to country songs. Although had Bing had more years working with Ken Barnes and Pete Moore, and had they all turned their collective talents to a country music album, I know it could have been better than this one for two reasons: (a) because the arrangements would have been more surprising and timeless, and (b) because Bing would have dramatized the ballads more effectively, as he did so often in his collaborations with Barnes and Moore.  Still, despite that pipe-dream of mine, Bing gives fine renditions of the songs on this 1963 album, and the album features a good selection of songs hit songs from that time.

If the original tapes survive who knows whether a remix might offer more sparkling audio than my excellent-condition copy of the stereo LP, not to mention that, as many recent Crosby album re-releases do, the new CD might offer several other Crosby country or country-related songs as bonus tracks.  And I have no doubt that an interesting booklet about the the making of the album, its tracks, and Bing's

Radio » Were any of Bing's radio performances with Arnheim recorded? » 22/1/2020 3:11 pm

Steve Fay
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I noticed AFTER posting my question that the cover picture of the Arnheim CD, which I had been glancing at in Definitive Discography book yesterday, as I listened to some of the Chronology recording tracks, actually says "transcriptions."  But the paragraph below the illustration doesn't go into any detail about recordings from radio, focusing more on Bings studio recordings and the rise of his popularity during that period.  I did wonder specifically how many of the track on that CD might include Bing, as well.

Hearing Bing interact with the crowd so early in his radio career would be interesting!

Radio » Were any of Bing's radio performances with Arnheim recorded? » 22/1/2020 3:40 am

Steve Fay
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Gus Arnheim's Coconut Grove Orchestra had a radio show broadcast in California, and perhaps some nearby regions, and these broadcasts overlapped the period when Bing was singing with Arnheim's band. Does anyone know whether any of the shows including Bing were recorded by anyone (officially or unofficially). And if so, have any such recordings become available. 

The eleven studio recordings Bing made with Arnheim are available,  But I wonder whether other songs, or somewhat different arrangements might exist if some Arnheim-Crosby radio shows, or parts of them, could still be heard.

Television » Shock! No Bing From Time Life No Mo » 20/1/2020 4:18 am

Steve Fay
Replies: 13

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Lobosco wrote:

I can not answer for everyone on the board, but personally I am at the point in my life where I want to just listen to Bing and not get into the politics and business of what is being done with his legacy. 

My goal at this point is just passing on the memory of Bing to my children and enjoy what Bing I have.
 

Ditto.

That's where I am these days, too, David.
 

Television » Bing on the SAG Awards » 08/2/2016 3:09 am

Steve Fay
Replies: 1

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Recently a new edition of DVDs of Burnett's show has been advertised, with brief glimpses of scenes from when Bing was a guest.  Some comedy bits from the show get longer representation, but it is good to see that Bing is included.

Swaps and Sales » Redmond Nostalgia » 23/1/2016 2:12 pm

Steve Fay
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I seem to have forgotten the details of how Redmond came to go out of business.  Did internal management problems do them in, or did it have to do with conflicts over rights to what they were selling? 

New and Re-issued materials » First New Releases of 2016 » 19/1/2016 3:35 pm

Steve Fay
Replies: 25

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Richard's account of the "Bill Crosby" name confusion reminds me of the story Bing tells in his autobiography about the fellow who recognized him as the new singing star "Bim Crosland", so when asked for his autograph, Bing signed "Bim Crosland"!

General Discussion » Volume Two is Out » 19/1/2016 3:20 pm

Steve Fay
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I think Bing might have had a few more very interesting film roles in later years.  Think of his work in Stagecoach, as the central character actor who at times fully carries the movie making one forget some of it's other shortcomings and poor production values.  Then, too, I think he might have been very effective playing against type in more dramatic roles, as in Dr. Cook's Garden  And both of those were non-singing roles, even the theme of Stagecoach being sung (forgettably) by Wayne Newton 

Then when we look, for example, at some of the songs recorded for the Seasons album, I think we are not just hearing Bings voice at that age, we are also hearing the voice of his maturity in the interpretation.  Furthermore, considering the sequence on side two of "Summer Wind," "Autumn in New York," and "September Song" -- I contend that these songs are not only products of Bing's vocal ability and rhythmic interpretation; rather, they are also dramatized, we might say *embodied*  through Bing's actor's soul.  I think this quality might have become more and more apparent in later Crosby albums, even if his range or power failed in ways not apparent in Seasons, where some of his low notes are so rich that they could rattle the windows if you turned the stereo up enough!

Biography » Bing with Nuns » 18/1/2016 12:06 am

Steve Fay
Replies: 4

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That's a great picture!

General Discussion » Volume Two is Out » 17/1/2016 11:59 pm

Steve Fay
Replies: 17

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I really like my early Sinatra 78s, and I respect the craft that went into some of Frank's thematic albums, but the "Rat Pack" and "Chairman of the Board" Sinatra personae never floated my boat, and despite liking some of Sinatra's film roles, I find Bing's career in movies more varied, entertaining, and impressive. What's my favorite Sinatra movie song?  :"Did You Evah," his duet with Bing!  I also think Bing's voice held up better in his old age than did Frank's.  The last times I heard Sinatra sing on TV the vocal ability was a bit ragged. It seems, today, like Tony Bennett is setting the standard in that department. Old Tony, despite some increasing losses in his range, seems invariably able to make up for it in his expressive timing and dynamics.  Hearing Tony Bennett, keeps me wondering what Bing might have yet contributed as a singer (and actor) had we had him with us for another 10-15 years! 

Announcements » A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS » 17/1/2016 11:40 pm

Steve Fay
Replies: 6

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Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,  but let me be the first to wish you all a cheery Valentine's Day!

General Discussion » Operation monday Dec. 14rh » 17/1/2016 11:14 pm

Steve Fay
Replies: 4

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I hope you've recovered well.

Radio » "Swinging on a Star" - by Judy Garland, Crosby radio tribute, 1954 » 17/1/2016 11:12 pm

Steve Fay
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Richard Baker wrote:

Interesting, and new to me.  A tribute to Bing but he was apparently not involved. Gary would only have been 21.....

I hope Gary wasn't disparaging his father behind the scenes during the production..... 
 

Radio » Radio Show 12-31-47 » 17/1/2016 11:03 pm

Steve Fay
Replies: 8

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Perhaps Bob Hope had been honored for some reason, and it was a reference to that!

Announcements » Bing on getTV » 17/1/2016 11:01 pm

Steve Fay
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getTV is a broadcast network that mainly shows "classic movies."  We just started getting them here this fall on one of the secondary channels of a local station.  They ran several old tv Christmas specials in the week or two before Christmas: Andy Williams, Bing, Judy Garland, and a few others.

Biography » Don Adams played golf » 17/1/2016 10:55 pm

Steve Fay
Replies: 2

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If Don Adams has been in one of those tournaments, it would have been very funny if before a putt he took off his shoe to make or receive a telephone call, as with his spy's "shoe phone" on his program!

Member Introductions » Welcome to our first Danish member » 17/1/2016 10:51 pm

Steve Fay
Replies: 4

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We should toast Henning's joining us with a round of glögg!

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