02/1/2012 12:29 am  #1

The Year In Review 2011

It is time to take stock and look back at the year just past.
It was probably too much to expect that the glorious flood of new releases to which we were treated from late 2009 and through 2010 would continue at the same rate. We had that seven CD 'Mosaic' set followed by all those delightful single and double sets - 'A Southern Memoir', 'On The Sentimental Side', 'Seasons', 'El Senor Bing', 'Bing and Rosie', 'So Rare', 'Return to Paradise Islands', 'On Broadway', 'The Great American Songbook', 'The Christmas Sessions'  and 'The Sinatra Songbook'. (I hope I remember them all).  Twenty CDs in twelve packages in the space of not much over a year was a pretty breakneck pace. From the collector's point of view, bearing costs in mind, a pause was probably welcome.

For the Crosby family December 2010 was traumatic and it seems to me an inevitable consequence was that the major effort that had been put into the spate of issues that year could not be continued into 2011. In addition the ownership and management philosophy of Collector's Choice, with which there had been such a fruitful partnership, changed. This temporarily left the family without an established outlet for new issues.

Whether in consequence of this, or whether other factors played their part, I do not know, but we then saw something new in the Crosby world: -The first releases of 'exclusive downloads' with 'Shall We Dance?' http://www.bingcrosby.com/images/newsletter012011e.jpg

and 'With All My Heart'. http://www.bingcrosby.com/images/newsletter012011d.jpg

These broke new ground in another respect as well because each had a video clip in addition to their 15 tracks of audio. (I love the video of 'Doin' The Bing'!).

Except for one track from the 'Longines' set 'The Songs I Love' from 1968 these were taken from material recorded for radio in the 1950s with a few tracks from 1960s TV. Unlike much of the  material released in 2010, many of the tracks have a full orchestral accompaniment, with Buddy Cole and his Trio much less in evidence.
Full details are on this site http://crosbyfanworld.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=103   

These two albums are very enjoyable and remain available exclusively as downloads from iTunes. Artwork matching the style of the 'Collector's Choice' CDs is available as a download, through the courtesy of the folk at Bing Crosby Enterprises. See the links which followed the original posting.

There was then silence until a couple of months ago when we had two items with Christmas themed music - an old fashioned seven inch vinyl disc entitled 'The Night Before Christmas',


which included the 'The Night Before Christmas', 'Adeste Fidelis' and 'Away In A Manger' (from 'A Christmas Sing With Bing' radio show of 1960). A reversion to old times or, as some have said, joining a fashionable trend?

I have not been able to sample the second Christmas item 'Bing Crosby Christmas' 


stated to be available from selected retailers in the US and Canada which contained 14 tracks from the 2010 'Christmas Sessions' plus 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' from a KMH show and 'A Marshmallow World' (with Ella Fitzgerald),  from Chesterfield radio program.

Finally from HLC Properties and it's associated concerns there was 'Bing In Dixieland'


which repeats 15 tracks from the Mosaic set - all those with a Dixieland band accompaniment in that set, and adds further tracks in similar vein to make a total of 23. This one really jumps. Get you swinging all through Dixie. More details here - http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150534409918327&set=pu.44544738326&type=1&theater

'Bing In Dixieland and The Night Before Christmas are I believe still  available from 'The Home Of Bing Crosby' - http://www.bingcrosbystore.com/servlet/the-Bing-Crosby-Archive/Categories.
I see that most of the earlier CDs included in the 'Collector's Choice' releases seem only to be available from this source in bundled packs.
The two download albums are on iTunes, whilst 'Bing Crosby Christmas' is as stated above available from selected retailers in the US and Canada.

From other sources we had the continuing march of the 'Through The Years' series. Personally I'm lost - I can say nothing that has not been said many times over about this sequence.  I find it not only entertaining, but a ready source of reference for information and comparisons. It is very instructive to hear the songs played in the sequence of recording - it takes you through the changing fashions and current hits in a way that little else can. They provide their own commentary of the music scene of the time, though we are beginning to reach an era when Bing parted company from 'current pop'.

Volume seven http://www.sepiarecords.com/sepia1167.jpg

Details here - http://www.sepiarecords.com/sepia1167.html This starts from April 21, 1954 and consists very largely of tracks from the Musical Autobiography set.

Volume eighthttp://www.sepiarecords.com/sepia1178.jpg
Details here - http://www.sepiarecords.com/sepia1178.html between June 1954 and July 1955, with more of the Autoboigraphy.

Volume nine http://www.sepiarecords.com/sepia1185.jpg
Details here - http://www.sepiarecords.com/sepia1185.html with tracks from 1955 and 1956.

The tracks are not now totally complete because chronologically there are a few gaps, for reasons of copyright and because the intervening material is or has recently been available, but the 'holes' are not many.

(Amazon UK list the series apparently in duplicate - at a variety of prices at around the £6 level and as 'imports' at around the £13 point. They are not imports to the UK and there is no justification for pricing them as such - But go and get yours from the ICC anyway).

Hallmark reissued 'Join Bing and Sing-a-long'.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Join-Bing-Sing-Along-Crosby/dp/B004MLXR62/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1325444648&sr=1-1 Not one of my favourites but worthy of remaining available.


Amazon also list this as a download, whilst Amazon UK list the tracks from the second LP in the sequence of three as downloads (only) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Join-Bing-Gang-Along-Expanded/dp/B006DKDVDO/ref=sr_shvl_album_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1325458973&sr=301-4

I normally allow compilations of the 'Best of' type to pass me by but I will mention one, simply because it is the first for sometime that I actually believe is worthy. And I like it! Bing Crosby & His Buddies - Gone Fishin' - His 53 Finest.



The music is well selected - well in a way it selects itself - just about all of the better tracks with a duettist are included in the two CD set.  Just the thing to demonstrate why Bing was the great Bing. But all true enthusiasts will already have all the tracks, some many times over.  Bing was always good with others provided the others were themselves adequately accomplished. Both raised their game and Bing always gave the impression of being very relaxed. The result was that all participants enjoyed themselves. A cracking listen.

I'm not wholehearted about video material because I personally do not think it bears anything like the replay of purely audio material, but a set has caught my attention. It includes some films not often seen - 'The Bing Crosby Collection' from Universal
which includes 'College Humor', 'We're Not Dressing', 'Here Is My Heart', Mississippi', Sing You Sinners' and 'Welcome Stranger'.

'Stagecoach' was also issued on DVD. No songs - Bing here does drama. I would have wished that he had a different vehicle than this remake. The original was a pretty definitive effort. But Bing does very well. (Odd that the two particularly noticeable dramatic parts in films were as drunkards! - 'Country Girl' and 'Stagecoach'.)

What can we expect in 2012. The last 'Through The Years' for a start. But what goodies are on the starting blocks at HLC Properties?  I'm sure that there is a lot more interesting material hidden in the archives in that basement.

Last edited by Richard Baker (02/1/2012 12:42 am)


02/1/2012 8:04 am  #2

Re: The Year In Review 2011

A superb review, Richard. It has been a great couple of years.


02/1/2012 8:49 am  #3

Re: The Year In Review 2011

Some further thoughts.  Bing in Dixieland is a superb issue which should sell well. As I have the Mosaic set I have only downloaded the tracks I lack and the quality is wonderful. "The Banjo's Back in Town" is one of the Bing and Buddy tracks not on the Mosaic set.  It was probably wise to cut out the intro on "Now You Has Jazz" in view of the curtain noise on the Edsel Show soundtrack.  There is a video version of "Now You Has Jazz" too.

Incidentally, the downloadable only albums "With All My Heart" and "Shall We Dance" have disappeared from i-tunes but I am told that they are in the process of being uploaded again.


02/1/2012 10:57 am  #4

Re: The Year In Review 2011

Malcolm Macfarlane wrote:

Incidentally, the downloadable only albums "With All My Heart" and "Shall We Dance" have disappeared from i-tunes but I am told that they are in the process of being uploaded again.

Thanks for that update, Malcolm. I did not find them on iTunes but told myself that this was down to my own incompetence and lack of patience in searching the iTunes site, and assumed they must be there somewhere!

I totally agree about 'Bing In Dixieland'. I still prefer the physicality of a CD with cover and written notes (even though I 'rip' to computer and play through it much of the time), so I have it in that form even though there is duplication of many tracks with the Mosaic set.

     Thread Starter

03/1/2012 6:19 pm  #5

Re: The Year In Review 2011

<<I see that most of the earlier CDs included in the 'Collector's Choice' releases seem only to be available from this source in bundled packs.>>

Richard, If you look very, very closely at the bottom of the page in question you will see some very small numbers indicating that there are 2 further pages. There we can find the releases available individually.


03/1/2012 7:17 pm  #6

Re: The Year In Review 2011

Malcolm Macfarlane wrote:

<<I see that most of the earlier CDs included in the 'Collector's Choice' releases seem only to be available from this source in bundled packs.>>

Richard, If you look very, very closely at the bottom of the page in question you will see some very small numbers indicating that there are 2 further pages. There we can find the releases available individually.

Malcolm, You are right. But I can't see more than two little spots when viewed on my laptop! Fairly clear but still rather tiny when seen on my larger desktop screen. They are really too small to be noticed unless actually looking very closely.  And so far as I can see the options listed on the newly revealed pages (to me) do cover the various individual CDs.

     Thread Starter

04/1/2012 6:04 pm  #7

Re: The Year In Review 2011

Thanks so much for taking the trouble to compile that over-view, Richard. As Malcolm so rightly says, it's been a great couple of years.

One point with regard to the "Bing Crosby Christmas Album" available at "selected retailers in the US and Canada". My wife and I were in Switzerland a couple of weeks ago, visiting my step-son and his wife just outside Geneva. I spotted a Bing Crosby Christmas album alongside their CD player and when I had a closer look I was very surprised to see that it had been released by BCE with Kathryn Crosby credited as Executive Producer. It had a different cover from the one pictured in Richard's report, but it would appear to be the same CD. They found it in a local supermarket, and although they wanted to hang on to it to play over the holiday, they have promised to forward it to pass it on to me so that I can add it to my collection.

Interesting that BCE releases are finding their way into Europe...

Best wishes to all for 2012, and here's to more treasures from the archives in the coming months!


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