27/10/2013 10:23 pm  #1

On the Sentimental Side

The latest entry in my new Bing Crosby on CD blog is a brief review of On the Sentimental Side, the singalong album that was believed to be lost for several years only to resurface in 2010 as part of the BCE / Collectors' Choice batch of releases.

I have been listening to that CD quite a bit lately, and even though I still don't really understand the appeal of the singalong genre, I find that I quite enjoy the album, especially now that my wife and I have had a baby girl. Our baby is only 4 months old, so she can't sing along yet, but I like playing On the Sentimental Side and singing the songs to her, harmonizing with Bing and the choir.

My question is: what do you think about that album in particular and about Bing's singalong records in general? You can read my review here:


I'd love to read your opinions about On the Sentimental Side!


28/10/2013 6:24 pm  #2

Re: On the Sentimental Side

"On the Sentimental Side" is one I don't have the LP of, but I believe that part of what triggered the Bing's sing-along album series was the great popularity of Mitch Miller's TV program "Sing-along With Mitch," at the time, and of Miller's several sing-along record albums. Someone figured 'Bing could do that, too!' without bothering to strongly consider the question: But should he?  To be fair, there was a lot of anxiety about how pop-music stars could stay popular in the first two decades of rock-and-roll.  Miller found a formula that worked for a while.  Funny, though, you can barely find a rock-and-roll radio station anymore than plays any rock from the 50s, 60s, or even 70s anymore.  80s and 90s hits are now called the oldies.

In playing back through my Bing LPs from latest, toward the earliest, I have recently started playing the Crosby sing-along albums I have. One has to say, that Bing sings all the songs well and with great warmth.  The one titled (or subtitled) "Encore" impressed me the most this time through.  Bing is backed up by a mixed chorus of adults, conducted and arranged by Jack Halloran (who also worked with Bing on "How the West Was Won" and one of his Christmas albums). The choral work is high quality, very listenable, and entertaining--and I think it's much better than Mitch Miller's delightful to watch, but not so creative, sing-along singers.

I agree that, collectively, the sing-along albums certainly have value as treasure troves of very old (and old-fashioned) popular songs and some long popular folk songs--the sorts of songs that were in my grade school song book 55 years ago...and perhaps are not in children's songbooks anymore.

Last edited by Steve Fay (28/10/2013 6:28 pm)


28/10/2013 9:40 pm  #3

Re: On the Sentimental Side

At least 28 of the sing-along songs were alternatively backed with a Children´s Camp Chorus instead the chorus of Jack Halloran and was sold by the Camp Sing-a-Song Inc., New York. The songs sounds well and fresh and funny with this children voices backed with Bing´s warm sound, comparing the same ones of Hallorans chorus. Will there be any possibilities of new mixing of the sing-alongs, because Bing´s voice was recorded separatly?
From the cover text: "...I´d like to thank Bing Crosby, a life-time camper and the greatest singer of them all, for helping to make this record possible..."
,,Sensational record offer! $4.98 value for only §1.98- 28 great camping songs...  After listening to Bing and the Childrens sings, we feel sure you´ll agree that here is something completely new and exiting to offer your campers.... to make this album a unique and cherished souvenier of your 1961 camp season..."
The instrumental arrangements were very often with banjo, the children chorus have often additional parts. But  In The Good Old Summertime Bing´s voice is omittet and chorus sings alone with a whistling part.


29/10/2013 12:55 pm  #4

Re: On the Sentimental Side

Dieter wrote:

"Sensational record offer! $4.98 value for only §1.98- 28 great camping songs...  After listening to Bing and the Childrens sings, we feel sure you´ll agree that here is something completely new and exiting to offer your campers.... to make this album a unique and cherished souvenier of your 1961 camp season...".

Dieter, either there were two versions or yours has a sticker that mine lacks. I have no reference either to the special offer for $1.98 or the quote about 1961 camp season.

If, as you suppose, the vocal tracks still exist separate from any of the Halloran or children's chorus overlays, it would seem likely that something could be done, though I have reservations about the whole "Singalong" style - I think Bing was capable of much better. They were popular, but I suspect more for "hearing" than for "listening". Music to accompany other activities and not requiring too much attention. 

The two albums "On The Sentimental Side" relatively recently issued for the first time, and which Anton has reviewed, and "On The Happy Side" are possibly marginally better than the preceding singalongs. But I do wish that Bing had devoted his time and talents to something more demanding and more deserving of his talents, on what is little better than musical wallpaper. Very, very nice to have that warm rich voice on the records despite the material, but oh, what a waste.


29/10/2013 12:56 pm  #5

Re: On the Sentimental Side

Another Crosby; David of Crosby Stills and Nash fame (no relation) once said prior to the CD re-issue age that as an artist you could only hope that even 10 percent of the music you make remains relevant in the future. Of course the CD re-issue age did come along and as a result companies now issue everything they can get a market for. This has had significant benefits for fans and artists alike, providing the opportunity to get recordings long lost.

I am in the fortunate/unfortunate position that I was not on this earth when the origional sing-a-long albums came out, and therefore can only view these with a current perspective, and like a lot of music, of all generes, what was current and popular at the time, does not always transcend or age well with age. Just as the vast majority of punk music will sound dated and a bit silly to todays ears, there will still be a percentage whom love it. I view sing along albums in a similar way.

My own personal view of  On the Sentimental Side is that it is meticously recorded/remastered, and contains a long of songs that I was familair with and can hum along to (which i guess is the point) and I can fully understand that after a releasing recordings for 30 odd years that there was an effort to try something fresh, but to be honest when I listen to a Bing album, I am generally wishing to listen to his voice above everything else and this is not always possible burried under a chorus.  It's certainly an album of (historical?) interest and Bing is in great voice throughout. It is my favourite of the sing-along albums but even so this has been an album played infrequently since purchased and I tend to listen to the bonus tracks with Buddy Cole more.

That said, there will be many people I'm sure whom love this album as much as I love others, and thus it remains a relevant release and an important part of the Bing story.


19/2/2014 7:46 pm  #6

Re: On the Sentimental Side

To me as a "new" Bing-Crosby-Fan all those singalong-albums have ONE problem: Too much choir, too less Bing.

Unfortunately many of these songs only exist as "singalong-versions" and not as complete Bing-songs without long choir-parts.


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