14/5/2020 5:51 pm  #1


Ol Man River - 1945

Boy, Bing tried to record a great version of this song countless times, but not luck. I think it was discussed in another thread on here. Well I just uploaded the 1945 version and an unreleased take. 

Not a fan of either one of them. I think by the end of 1945, Bing's voice was worn out and it did not translate to a dramatic song like Ol Man River. 

What are your thoughts...

A take:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMgiJk0Qv1I

Unreleased take: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNmiQk4FCBg&t=72s
 

Last edited by Lobosco (14/5/2020 5:51 pm)

 

14/5/2020 6:07 pm  #2


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

I still like wih the last few lines being one of the most powerful I've heard Bing in the mid-1940s. The 1941 one is YouTube, but that's probably the least of the efforts as the melody was changed too much to fit his octave. The 1928 is the best one he recorded for commercial use though I find his 1954 Buddy Cole one and the later Crosby medley concert renditions to be the best.


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15/5/2020 8:30 am  #3


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

I completely agree about the 1945 version - those last few lines have amazing power to them, but on the whole I don’t think that that song at that tempo is suited to Bing. I know it sounds like a clichė, but you really do need a great rolling bass like Paul Robeson’s to bring it off successfully.

The ‘28 version was one of the first Crosby/Whiteman tracks I ever heard, so I’ve got a very soft spot for it, but the Buddy Cole version is just sooooo laid back..!

 

15/5/2020 4:20 pm  #4


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

Bing made  another recording of the song at a different tempo, which is not as good as the traditional versions.it is more of an up and down singing.
I prefer the beat of the 1920’s and then later towards the end of his life.
I have most versions by Bing.

 

15/5/2020 8:23 pm  #5


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

This television version is one of my favorites too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgAiuyq7Bm8

Bing sang in on his television special of March 2, 1959. The video is also on You Tube, but I think just the audio helps in showcasing it more.

     Thread Starter
 

16/5/2020 10:20 am  #6


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

I wouldn't say Bing's voice was worn out by 1945, but the song just doesn't suit him.

 

16/5/2020 11:07 am  #7


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

Lobosco wrote:

. I think by the end of 1945, Bing's voice was worn out and it did not translate to a dramatic song like Ol Man River. 
 

David, did you really mean that?  In 1945 Bing still had considerably more than half of his singing career ahead of him, with many stirring and powerful performances to come!

In some ways Ol' Man River is a problem song. It oozes weariness and futility, the impossibility of improving human things in contrast to the river that keeps rolling along.

So it is only in the phrases about ol' man river keeping rolling along that strength is called for - but it is the frail weary human that is uttering those stirring phrases. So is he doing it as a frail human in awe of the mighty river or does he attempt to emulate the power of the river? 

The 1928 version is in a totally different league. Highly enjoyable but not really plunging into depths of emotion.

BTW I think it rather amusing to recount the story of Mrs Kern and Mrs Hammerstein who were together attending some function. Mrs Kern, introducing herself to a third party, said something to the effect that her husband wrote "Ol Man River" and Mrs Hammerstein interrupted to say that he didn't - it was her husband that wrote "Ol' Man River", while Mr Kern had written "Tum - Tum -  TumTum" etc.

(Kern wrote the music, Hammerstein the lyric)
 
 

 

17/5/2020 11:48 am  #8


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

Richard Baker wrote:

Lobosco wrote:

. I think by the end of 1945, Bing's voice was worn out and it did not translate to a dramatic song like Ol Man River. 
 

David, did you really mean that?  In 1945 Bing still had considerably more than half of his singing career ahead of him, with many stirring and powerful performances to come!

In some ways Ol' Man River is a problem song. It oozes weariness and futility, the impossibility of improving human things in contrast to the river that keeps rolling along.

So it is only in the phrases about ol' man river keeping rolling along that strength is called for - but it is the frail weary human that is uttering those stirring phrases. So is he doing it as a frail human in awe of the mighty river or does he attempt to emulate the power of the river? 

The 1928 version is in a totally different league. Highly enjoyable but not really plunging into depths of emotion.

BTW I think it rather amusing to recount the story of Mrs Kern and Mrs Hammerstein who were together attending some function. Mrs Kern, introducing herself to a third party, said something to the effect that her husband wrote "Ol Man River" and Mrs Hammerstein interrupted to say that he didn't - it was her husband that wrote "Ol' Man River", while Mr Kern had written "Tum - Tum -  TumTum" etc.

(Kern wrote the music, Hammerstein the lyric)
 
 

Worn out might have been too strong of a word. I think that in 1945 his voice sounded tired. From singing non stop for the USO, records, movies, and radio shows I feel that his voice sounded weaker or strained as a result. Of course I just meant for the time he recorded Ol Man River. He had 32 years left to go.
 

     Thread Starter
 

17/5/2020 7:20 pm  #9


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

And how the words to the song have changed from 1928 to now - words sung then aren’t sung now.
You can’t or don’t sing ......n....all work on the Mississippi.
The version I referred to earlier was recorded  31/12/1945 with Camarata and orchestra.
Not a particularly good recording.
Previous recording in the standard vein was a couple of years earlier with a John Scott.
Wonder why he did the Camarata side.

 

17/5/2020 8:34 pm  #10


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

Probably for ‘Til The Clouds Roll By, and thankfully Bing didn’t sing the intro with the “n****** all work on the Mississippi” part, although it wouldn’t surprise me if he would’ve changed similarly to Sinatra changing it to “here we all work on the Mississippi.”


Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.
 

17/5/2020 10:34 pm  #11


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

ModernBingFan0377 wrote:

Probably for ‘Til The Clouds Roll By, and thankfully Bing didn’t sing the intro with the “n****** all work on the Mississippi” part, although it wouldn’t surprise me if he would’ve changed similarly to Sinatra changing it to “here we all work on the Mississippi.”

Al Jolson recorded a version in the late 20s with the profanity included. I have it on a CD with otherwise good Jolson recordings. I try to avoid having to hear this record at all costs though.

     Thread Starter
 

18/5/2020 12:09 am  #12


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

Over time attitudes change and also meanings, which become a pain for one to adapt to a new meaning. One example is ‘gay’. When I was growing up it meant ‘happy’ e.g. the  Fred Astaire film - The Gay Divorcee.
One could be so happy and gay, you can now but it has an entirely different meaning.

 

18/5/2020 3:01 am  #13


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

Or even Bing singing I Surrender Dear with "I may seem proud, I may act gay, it's just a pose, I'm not that way" which makes almost a different meaning, than what was intended with listening with today's ears.


Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.
 

18/5/2020 5:47 pm  #14


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

I think gay is a little bit different than the n-word. I have still heard people say gay to mean happy. Gay doesn't necessarily have a derogatory meaning as the n-word does.

     Thread Starter
 

18/5/2020 6:31 pm  #15


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

I realize that, I was just using it as an example of how the general public will view a word today vs then, obviously the n-word was bad then, but not as many people realized it then as people do now.


Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.
 

18/5/2020 7:57 pm  #16


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

ModernBingFan0377 wrote:

I realize that, I was just using it as an example of how the general public will view a word today vs then, obviously the n-word was bad then, but not as many people realized it then as people do now.

That's so true. Imagine what words will be taboo in 2040!

     Thread Starter
 

18/5/2020 8:07 pm  #17


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

I don’t really want to imagine that!


Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.
 

18/5/2020 9:22 pm  #18


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

Lobosco,
I just looked at the label you posted and it says Camarata but when I played it it is the normal arrangement. Must see if I can find earlier version with JST to see if that is the one with a different tempo etc.

 

18/5/2020 9:56 pm  #19


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

Went to YouTube and one can play the Camarata ‘standard version’ of the song.
Bing recorded the song in 1941 with Victor Young, but can’t hear it played, so I think this would be the version that is entirely different.
My Jonzo CD’s are back in Australia.
So, if you can play the 1941 version.

 

18/5/2020 11:04 pm  #20


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

Well, I don't really know what all the hub-bub is about.   I have NEVER thought Ol Man River is a great song for Bing or anyone.  The song is just too weary and dragy.   It may be my least favorite Bing recording, unfortunately Bing must have liked the song cause he sang it so many different times on radio and TV.   Well, I guess this will be one time when Bing & I will disagree.   As for Bing's voice I have always loved Bing's voice in the late '40's and all thru the '50's more than the Bing of the '20's and '30's so I naturally disagree that Bing's voice was worn out by '45, it was just getting started.

BUT, as far as the n word as it's so politically correct known today, the word used in the songs was negro not as they say in the rap world niggah with an er properly pronounced..   The N word was not sung it was "negro" and that is not a dirty word.   No more than Caucasion is a dirty word.  So once again, what's the hub-bub?

Last edited by Archiefit (18/5/2020 11:18 pm)

 

19/5/2020 12:37 am  #21


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

Instead of the ‘n’ word it can/is substituted with - coloureds all work....: people all.....:
Can have blokes all work and women all work.
Easy enough to change in this instance but not always can one change a word or words in a song.
To me, Bing’s worst song would have to be - With this Ring I Thee Wed.

 

19/5/2020 6:42 am  #22


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

OK, We all recognise that usage of some words has changed: meanings have changed and the degree of acceptability has changed, but perhaps this subject has now run it's course and in danger of being done to death? 





 

 

19/5/2020 6:50 am  #23


Re: Ol Man River - 1945

And I was the accidental cause by mentioning the original verse, which is ironic since I requested this version of Ol’ Man River, thus Lobosco created this thread to show the song I requested.


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