03/6/2011 2:42 pm  #1

Post about the Crosby song(s) you listened to TODAY

Is there something about the experience of listening to Bing Crosby that pulls we fans together across the thousands of miles that separate us?  Do you find, like me, that sometimes when you are listening to Bing a feeling comes over you -- like a surprise -- that you never heard before just how good a particular song really is?  Maybe a song takes you back to a time in your life, or paints a picture in your mind?  Maybe a particular song always effects your mood or gets you moving?  Why not share with the rest of us something that stood out for you about a song (or a few songs) of Bing's that you listened to today (or just recently)?  Since every member is an EXPERT on what Bing's music does for him or her personally, there is no reason that a forum thread like this might not go on indefinitely, with every member posting something, and returning periodically to comment about other songs they are listening to as weeks pass.

(I'll follow-up with a post about my own listening, but for this to get interesting the rest of you need to follow suit.)


03/6/2011 3:43 pm  #2

Re: Post about the Crosby song(s) you listened to TODAY

"What's New," from the FEELS GOOD, FEELS RIGHT album:
  Just reading or remembering the title of this song, immediately reminds me that it is one of my favorites, but listening today, I was continually impressed by how perfectly Bing sings it and how well the recording catches every delicate change in his dynamics and inflection.  So much could go wrong with a very large orchestra and a lush string section, but the arrangement breathes with, supporting without crowding or masking the emotional transitions conveyed by Bing.  For some reason, today, listening to it again, I realized more than ever, how exquisite this track is, even though in times past I have sometimes replayed it repeatedly after hearing it again.

"Pick Yourself Up" from the Crosby-Astaire A COUPLE OF SONG & DANCE MEN album:
  First, I had to walk back into the living room to hear it properly, having stepped away to do something in another room moments earlier.  Second, it's impossible for me to hear this song without feeling like my entire being is smiling and also without imagining I can see the comic scene playing out in front of my eyes.  It seems as vivid as a scene from "Holiday Inn" or one of the Road movies, maybe more vivid than that, because I feel like I'm right there and not watching it on a screen.  That Fred and Bing are consumate actors, fully embodying these humorous parts and not just singers singing, is evident throughout.  The snippet of recording studio laughter at the end of comic spoken ending, lets us all know that the musicians and engineers were as entertained as we are.  I am liable to sit there several minutes smiling after this song finishes, before flipping the record for side two.  That happened again today.

"It's Easy to Remember":
  This is the song identified with Bing that Fred does solo on the album just mentioned, but I listened to Bing's 1935 version just recently, while revisiting the Proper 4CD compilation that came out some years ago and which took this song title as the name for the collection.  I think the way Bing modulates his vocal dynamics and depth, showing great range in both -- from the soft and light to the full and rich over the course of the song -- is one of the things that especially impresses me listening to it again after a passage of some months.  The depth of potential meaning in the lyric grabbed me, too, making me wonder how an ellder Bing might have reinterpreted it -- think of the difference between the 1930's and 1970's (SEASONS album) versions of "June in January"! Bing seems not to have recorded a full version of this song later than 1954.  There is a snippet of the song in the long medley in the later part of the 1976 Palladium Concert recording that can only give a hint of what a full version might have shown were it recorded in Bing's maturity in collaboration with Ken Barnes, perhaps, on one of those albums they were yet to make....  Of course all of this is meant to say, that in 1935 Bing makes of this what strikes me as a timeless song.

Last edited by Steve Fay (03/6/2011 3:49 pm)

     Thread Starter

07/6/2011 10:34 pm  #3

Re: Post about the Crosby song(s) you listened to TODAY

For me, BING CROSBY has a warmth in his voice that is like no one else - I heard it said once, that if you were feeling kind of down and out, he had a sort of reassurance in his voice, that made you feel everything was going to be alright.  I also feel that, unlike any other singer, or most other singers, BING seems to be singing directly to you.  Not at you.  Making the listening experience, almost personal.    BING was also way ahead of his time, with soulful interpretations of songs like "Honeysuckle Rose," "Black Moonlight" from The CBS Recordings, for example, when BING was just about to be overtaken by Rock and Roll, and R&B.  By the last few years, in the seventies, BING was recapturing the vocal techniques of his earlier years, such as The Forties, and particularly, The Fifties.  I read somewhere that someone had said BING unlike other singers sang the rhythm.  Which is a more modern approach.  Going for more of the notes in a song than some of the other vocalists, who sang straight out.   Anyway, just a few thoughts.


08/6/2011 4:56 pm  #4

Re: Post about the Crosby song(s) you listened to TODAY

Tony, you've put it very well.

The warmth was not just of voice but of manner. Bing sang for you and to you - in your own room. Maybe that's why the recordings with a small group are so good. You are there with Bing plus small group with Bing singing for you in a relaxed manner - and all the while kidding you along that it was oh, so easy and that you could do it too!

I can think of very few singers who even come close to that.  So frequently you find yourself admiring an aspect of the technique, the timing, projection, phrasing, breath control. But frequently those aspects take over and remain on the surface, producing a degree of tension.

With Bing it's the warm relaxation and apparently effortless way with the song, whilst still keeping all those many shades of technique under control but hidden away somewhere.


05/5/2020 6:01 am  #5

Re: Post about the Crosby song(s) you listened to TODAY

Although Frank's version is the most known, I'd say Bing did a commendable version, although this is one of the rare instances where I prefer Frank's version. I think the thing that ruins it for me is Bing's editing of the melody on the "loneliest night of the week" part. The little changes on the melody throughout aren't the best to me. Besides that it is still an enjoyable version.

"AUTUMN IN NEW YORK" From Seasons:
My favorite recording of this song with one of the best arrangements from Pete Moore. Pete Moore really outdid himself on this one. I prefer this arrangement to Billy May's arrangement for Sinatra even, my reasoning is that while May's arrangement does well on the sweeping strings representing the lush and beautiful colors of autumn, but doesn't capture the New York-y jazz part like Moore's does along with the sweeping strings. Bing performance on this song amazes me still knowing he was a little over a month from his death and was 74.

Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.

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