05/12/2019 1:20 pm  #51


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

I assume that all Crosby fans are pleased to see the "Bing at Christmas" CD in the charts. I realise that some people will prefer the originals but overall the new CD is a sensible and commercial way of relaunching Bing's Christmas songs to a more modern audience. Most of the reviews on Amazon UK are excellent but there are two bad ones which are reproduced below. I have just submitted a more balanced review and I'd be grateful if a few more people who have bought if from Amazon would do the same. If you don't like the CD, please keep your opinion to yourself this time. We want Bing top of the charts. 

 1.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity [color=#555555 !important]25 November 2019[/color] As a long time Bing Crosby fan, and member of the Bing fan club, i was really looking forward to this release. Unfortunately i'm left very disappointed as the tracks have been very badly mixed with the new orchestrations, with the vocals over produced resulting in a very harsh electronic sound. What could have been an excellent CD is basically a let down. Shame on the producers for such a missed opportunity.[color=#767676 !important]9 people found this helpful[/color]Helpful

1.0 out of 5 stars Awful! [color=#555555 !important]27 November 2019[/color] Long time fan of Bing and have all his US Decca 78s and UK Brunswick's and even the most beat up Brunswick sounds better than this. Awful muddled sound with lots of added echo. I also remember the LSO long before they had to undertake projects like this to keep the wolf from the door. I shall stick with the Original recordings backed by the likes of John Scott Trotter, Paul Weston, Victor Young and many other fine musicians of the Crosby era. Those responsible for this should be ashamed, its quite awful, save your money.

Last edited by Malcolm Macfarlane (05/12/2019 1:24 pm)

 

08/12/2019 12:03 pm  #52


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Still in the charts, but down to No. 11 this week.

 

08/12/2019 12:06 pm  #53


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

I see that one of the adverse comments seems to have been removed.

     Thread Starter
 

09/12/2019 12:52 pm  #54


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

As a fan of Bing Crosby, I would never post a bad review. Any Bing is better than no Bing!

 

09/12/2019 7:57 pm  #55


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Lobosco wrote:

As a fan of Bing Crosby, I would never post a bad review. Any Bing is better than no Bing!

Even if a CD cover gives incorrect track names or is badly recorded? Surely we need to be advised what to avoid? I can agree with you, David, on matters of personal taste but not when it comes to quality of reproduction/ presentation etc.
 

     Thread Starter
 

09/12/2019 8:22 pm  #56


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

I've added my ten (Euro)cents worth. Also asked the gentleman of the negative review on which equipment he played the cd. Muddled sound and echo... He couldn't have been playing the cd on his old Victrola now, couldn't he? No, he couldn't ... Or could he ...?
Just joking of course. https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png
This one negative review just underlines how well received the CD is by all other buyers.

 

09/12/2019 8:33 pm  #57


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Richard Baker wrote:

Lobosco wrote:

As a fan of Bing Crosby, I would never post a bad review. Any Bing is better than no Bing!

Even if a CD cover gives incorrect track names or is badly recorded? Surely we need to be advised what to avoid? I can agree with you, David, on matters of personal taste but not when it comes to quality of reproduction/ presentation etc.
 

I'm not sure I would post it on Amazon unless it is a major flaw in the production of the CD. If I simply do not like the issue I would not comment.

I'm at the point in my collecting though that I rarely buy any Bing issue unless it is from Sepia or the BCE or a reputable source. Like I've said before, I miss the days of hunting flea markets and garage sales for new Bing!
 

 

11/12/2019 7:14 am  #58


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

 

11/12/2019 8:35 pm  #59


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

I hear that Bing at Christmas is the Australian charts at no. 22.

 

11/12/2019 8:58 pm  #60


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Bing at Christmas is back at no 9. https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


See: https://www.officialcharts.com/charts/albums-chart/

Last edited by frans (11/12/2019 9:08 pm)

 

12/12/2019 4:01 am  #61


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

I haven't gotten the new orchestrated CD yet, it's due on Friday.  But I have heard the songs posted on Utube.  The only one I really didn't like was that lousy Penatronix vocal bunch that drown out Bing singing White Christmas.   I also would have preferred if they had used the 1947 vocal or a 1950's radio recording of White Christmas instead of that 1942 version.  I prefer Bing's more relaxed later versions rather than the showy '42 version.

 

14/12/2019 7:34 am  #62


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

- - - and now heading for the streaming charts. 

See report here.
https://www.udiscovermusic.com/classical-news/white-christmas-bing-crosby/

In fact it is clear that this relates to streaming of "White Christmas" overall, the total being influenced by the new album.

Figures are impressive "The release of the new album Bing at Christmas, which sets Bing Crosby’s original vocals to newly-recorded orchestral arrangements performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, and features the historical hit, has contributed to the track being streamed globally 10 million more times during the first week of December than this time last year (an increase of 250%). 

But go to the full report.



 

     Thread Starter
 

14/12/2019 9:17 am  #63


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

John Walton tells me that there's an excellent double page spread in the 'Saturday Review' section of today's 'Times'.

 

14/12/2019 4:03 pm  #64


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Malcolm Macfarlane wrote:

John Walton tells me that there's an excellent double page spread in the 'Saturday Review' section of today's 'Times'.

Indeed there is -  
Only subscribers can see the online edition but I am taking the liberty of giving the text here. 
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/
The article itself is here but only subscribers will see more than a teaser 
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/why-were-all-still-dreaming-of-a-white-christmas-the-story-behind-bing-crosbys-no-1-cfs0dcljz
There is a danger that I'm treading on poor ground. If The Times objects to this quote, which I'm copying with full attribution to them, I might have to remove it. 

Why we’re all still dreaming of a White Christmas:
the story behind Bing Crosby’s No 1

Andrew Billen meets the descendants of the singer and Irving Berlin to learn the story behind the best selling single.
The Times, December 13 2019.
Note the dateline in the online edition appears to differ from the publication date of the paper which is 14 December.

Just like Irving Berlin and Bing Crosby, I am in Los Angeles dreaming of a white Christmas. Even though the most snow that has fallen in downtown LA came to just two inches, this is no paradox. The sleigh bells in White Christmas, the song written by Berlin and sung into legend by Crosby, are like the nightingales in Berkeley Square or the bluebirds (that is, American thrushes) over the white cliffs of Dover: longed for, but not present.
For the Siberian-born composer and the crooner from Spokane, a city in Washington state where this year snow fell in September, the song must have been an acknowledgment of how far, by the song’s release in 1942, they had come. For 16 million American servicemen, who adopted it as a seasonal anthem, it was surely a reminder of how far they had yet to go.
With 58 million copies sold worldwide, Crosby’s White Christmas is the bestselling single to date; 77 years on, it’s streamed 18 million times each Christmas Day. It has now been rereleased on an album called Bing at Christmas, in which Crosby’s vocals and those to 12 other yuletide hearth-pleasers are orchestrated against arrangements by the London Symphony Orchestra.
Crosby’s three surviving children, Mary, Harry and Nathaniel, see the album as an opportunity to right an old wrong, the scandal that White Christmas never topped the charts in Britain.
“Well, that’s your fault,” says Mary Crosby, in the cramped Wilshire Boulevard offices of Bing Crosby Enterprises. “That’s on you. Write a good article. I hold you fully responsible for how this does.”
Out of seven Crosby children, Mary is Bing’s only daughter, born 60 years ago to his second wife, Kathryn (who aged 86 is still around, having survived a car crash nine years ago that killed the man she married after Bing). The actress jokes that she wished she had inherited her father’s blue eyes and his voice, but instead got his nose, which does disservice to our memories of her as Kristin Shepard, the Dallas vixen who in 1980 shot JR Ewing. Mary says that she enjoys being the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question, but even more bringing up her two boys within a happy marriage at the end of a mountain dirt road in California.
It is a modest life; much, she insists, like her childhood outside San Francisco. Bing never watched his films and rarely spoke about his career. He did not crave approbation. She tells a story that has Bing taking Bob Hope, his co-star in the Road to . . . films, on a three-day fishing expedition around an island off the Californian coast. Their boat returned after a single day. Someone asked why they had come back early.
“And Bob said, ‘Fish don’t applaud.’ Bob needed the applause. Dad really didn’t, but one of the things that I would say is that because Dad was incredibly modest and under the radar, we as a family did him a disservice. When he died we just continued under the radar and did nothing about getting his voice out. I think it took us about 20 years to think, ‘Oh, we’ve really done this wrong, because nobody knows who Bing Crosby is except around Christmas.’ And then that was when we found Robert.”
Robert Bader is in the office with us, fact-checking Mary’s memories, these being, because Bing died when she was 18, necessarily limited. He is the vice-president of Bing Crosby Enterprises and an expert on Groucho Marx, who has become the devoted archivist, restorer and guardian of Crosby’s works and reputation. He is obviously delighted with Bing at Christmas.
I ask if the Crosby business is making money. “I don’t know that it’s going to pay back all the digitising, but it’s getting close,” he says. “Look, it’s a business; that’s why they call it the music business. This material doesn’t preserve itself. So I don’t feel any shame about commercialising any of it.”
“Basically, the heavy lifting is all Robert,” Mary says.
And Bing’s and Berlin’s, of course. Berlin, who over his 60-year career wrote about 1,500 songs, brought White Christmas to his office in New York in January 1940. He told his chief orchestrator, Helmy Kresa, to take down not only the best song he had ever written, but “the best song anybody ever wrote”. While it is likely he had completed the song at home in New York that weekend, when and where he started it is disputed. Berlin’s granddaughter Emily Fletcher firmly believes it was written in LA, and that the white Christmases he dreamt of were Manhattan, not Russian.
“He and his family left Russia when he was four,” she says. “He was talking about the white Christmases of New York, absolutely. We all think he wrote it in LA, possibly at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. He certainly started it when he was writing for the film that became Alexander’s Ragtime Band [1938] because my grandmother, mother and her sisters were living in New York and he really was missing them.
“He hated being away from them for Christmas and would come back to New York when he was making all the Rogers-Astaire movies in Hollywood. That was one year when he couldn’t, and I think that was the year — but I don’t want to say for sure — that my mother, grandmother and aunts flew over and surprised him.”
The song’s lyrics certainly supply some support for the family Los Angeles legend. A verse rarely performed specifically sings of “Beverly Hills, LA” where “the orange and palm tree sway” and of nevertheless “longing to be up north” on December 24.
The world first heard White Christmas on Crosby’s NBC radio show, Kraft Music Hall, broadcast from the art deco Radio City of Hollywood on December 25, 1941, 18 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Earlier that month Crosby had sung it feelingly on the as yet uncompleted film Holiday Inn. His assiduous and thoughtful biographer Gary Giddins writes that on the radio, however, he delivered it “too slowly, with laboured mordent”.
In any case, no one noticed. “There was no reaction,” Giddins writes. It was only after Holiday Inn, starring Crosby and Fred Astaire, was released in 1942 that things began to change. The film critics largely ignored the number and the studio turned to plugging other songs from the movie, Be Careful, It’s My Heart and Abraham, a patriotic number Crosby performs in wince-making blackface. By September, however, White Christmas was outselling both. Number one in every US chart by the end of October, it stayed there for nearly three months.
In an interview in 1974 Crosby put its “immediate and lasting” impact down to its popularity with soldiers far from home, many of whom requested it on forces’ radio. Berlin agreed, but noted that unlike most war songs, White Christmas did not make anyone want to go to war. James Kaplan in his excellent book on Berlin notes another oddity: it is a secular song by a Jewish man about a Christian festival. He quotes Philip Roth in Operation Shylock. “God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and then He gave Irving Berlin Easter Parade and White Christmas. The two holidays that celebrate the divinity of Christ . . . and what does Irving Berlin do? He de-Christs them both!”
With tracks including Do You Hear What I Hear? and Little Drummer Boy (a 1977 duet with David Bowie that Crosby sang a month before his death), Bing at Christmas is by no means a secular effort — fittingly, given that Crosby was a life-means-life Catholic. Mary, however, prefers to say the album is really about the spirit of the holiday and “Dad’s value system”.
That value system has come under scrutiny since Crosby’s death. Mary admits that he was an old-fashioned, if not Victorian, father — untactile and, perhaps, unsure of women (the ultimate intimacy with his leading lady, Marjorie Reynolds, in Holiday Inn is a kiss on her cheek).
“His language of love was very subtle. He was of a generation that wasn’t excessively, effusively affectionate. But Mom’s from Texas and she taught us to crawl all over him. So we would kiss him and make him squirm, and if we were walking on the street and he took my hand, it meant a great deal. But I always knew that I was deeply beloved.”
The serious complaints were made after his death by the four sons from Crosby’s first unhappy marriage to the nightclub singer Dixie Lee. She had become a difficult alcoholic, but although Crosby considered leaving her he stayed for 22 years, until her death from cancer in 1952. Two of their sons killed themselves, Lindsay putting a gun to his head apparently after watching the film White Christmas on television. All are now dead, but in 1983 the eldest, Gary, wrote a devastating memoir, Going My Own Way, that alleged Bing had humiliated him psychologically and beaten him regularly with a studded belt. The sons additionally insisted that they were not properly provided for in his will, a calumny Bader spends some time dismantling for me.
The second set of Crosby children have their own theory to explain the chronic unhappiness of their half-brothers.
“Nobody understood foetal alcohol syndrome,” Mary says. “Dixie drank massively through her pregnancies. The kids were hugely challenged from the get-go. They were always in trouble, and we’re not talking rough-housing kid trouble. We’re talking about getting thrown out of schools right and left, and violence. It was a train wreck and I’m absolutely sure foetal alcohol syndrome was involved.”
“The truth,” Bader elaborates, “is they had all the symptoms and all the physical signs. You see it in photos where their heads are sort of enlarged and their hands are very small. It’s really the classic symptoms.”
Crosby died aged 74 on October 14, 1977 after a round of golf in Spain. His final words were: “That was a great game of golf, fellas. Let’s get a Coke.” It was, all agree, a good way to go, although it robbed Mary and her brothers, who had performed with their father throughout their childhoods on Christmas TV specials, of the privilege of fully knowing him as adults.
Mary’s one-year-elder brother, Harry, an investment banker, got nearest to that. In the summer of 1977 he sang and played the guitar with his father at the London Palladium and on a British tour.
“As I started to follow my own path musically,” he tells me by phone from New York, “it was great to have the opportunity to perform both with him and as a solo act, and that’s what we did. And then, sadly, we lost him too young. We were together right up until two days before he went to Spain. I was obviously heartbroken. You grow up quickly at the age of 19.”
I ask how it feels to hear White Christmas. “Well, it tells me it’s that special time of year and it’s a wonderful feeling. My dad passed over 40 years ago and I feel in a way a lot closer to him at those times.”
And for Mary? “Initially,” she says, “for the first ten years, it was bittersweet to hear it, but now it just gives me such joy. It’s so incredibly sweet to hear Dad’s voice and know he is still the voice of Christmas.”
Berlin, born 15 years earlier than Crosby, died 12 years after him in 1989, aged 101. His granddaughter, now a theatre scout, was at drama school in London. “Nobody,” Fletcher says, “knew that I was related to him, but we spent the day after he died listening to his music, singing his songs.”
The day we talk Fletcher is looking forward to the first night of the new London production of White Christmas, the stage version of the 1954 Crosby film that astutely positions Berlin and Bing’s masterpiece within the context of an American platoon fighting in Europe. The Kleenex come out at the end every time she sees it, she says. White Christmas the musical is clearly showing as few signs of mortality as its title song. Perhaps this Christmas we shall, as both families hope, be dreaming of Bing Crosby.
The album Bing at Christmas is out on Decca. The musical White Christmas is on at the Dominion Theatre, London W1 (020 7927 0900), until January 4


Verbatim quote from THE TIMES,  Saturday Review Section, 14 December 2019, 



 

Last edited by Richard Baker (14/12/2019 4:04 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

14/12/2019 11:06 pm  #65


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Another interview with Mary Crosby here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bDIS4FfZr0&feature=youtu.be

 

15/12/2019 7:25 am  #66


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

See a London bus advertising the new CD. Have a look at https://twitter.com/DeccaRecords/status/1205543523199700993
 

Last edited by Malcolm Macfarlane (15/12/2019 7:26 am)

 

15/12/2019 8:08 am  #67


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Malcolm Macfarlane wrote:

See a London bus advertising the new CD. Have a look at https://twitter.com/DeccaRecords/status/1205543523199700993
 

Also go to twitter #BingAtChristmas

https://twitter.com/hashtag/bingatchristmas

     Thread Starter
 

15/12/2019 6:20 pm  #68


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

 

16/12/2019 12:12 am  #69


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

How wonderful that Bing is receiving so much publicity.
Long May it last.
A few days early - but Merry Bing Christmas to all - from a Bushfire burnt country.

 

16/12/2019 6:10 am  #70


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Apparently the Tenors are performing The Christmas Song with Bing in their concerts. Greg Van Beek found this amateur video on YouTube. Nice to see so many clips from the Christmas specials on the large video screens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMxRD-BM7zE

 

16/12/2019 7:03 pm  #71


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Wow! This is tremendous publicity for our man. Well done to The Tenors!

 

17/12/2019 7:35 am  #72


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

     Thread Starter
 

17/12/2019 8:30 am  #73


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Mary is doing a superb job. Here's another clip.
https://www.virginmediatelevision.ie/player/show/809/166945/0/Ireland-AM

 

17/12/2019 8:55 am  #74


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

I see that Bing's at No. 11 in the Artist 100 chart. Not exactly sure how this is compiled but great to see. 
https://www.billboard.com/charts/artist-100?fbclid=IwAR3rTlADYon7KTNxkYpXHpmVJjIdzhTqjovhXMibAFHFCqV3D_m-Mzm593A

 

18/12/2019 11:35 pm  #75


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

The CD is being advertised on Aussie TV along with The Seekers, so I hope the ads are helping the sales.
Our white Christmas is grey with the smoke from over 100 bush fires in NSW alone, plus the other States as well.

 

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