19/12/2019 6:21 pm  #76


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

I got this disk in the mail a couple of weeks ago but am only now getting the chance to listen. Comparing this to a couple of these other Philharmonic release (Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley, mainly) I'd venture this posthumous collaboration may be the best of the lot. It's not something I'll probably come back to regularly, but Bing's vocal versatility works in the album's favor - while many of these arrangements are somewhat overwhelming, Bing's vocals never sound weak in comparison. This would be a good candidate to include one or two tracks in a holiday playlist for mixed company. The "lively" sound would be great as background music for a holiday party or gathering (which I don't mean as a backhanded compliment! Christmas part mix music is an essential part of the season in my opinion https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cool.png
)

 

22/12/2019 2:44 am  #77


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Yesterday I listened to the new CD that arrived of Bing At Christmas.  I actually wrote a review yesterday then the whole thing disappeared when I hit some key on the keyboard.  Have no idea what I did to make it vanish but it was gone and I was so mad I didn't bother re-writing it all. 

So today, with calmer head, I'll give a brief fast review.  

First the positive, I really enjoyed the beautiful stereo orch. background on those songs taken from Bing's '40's recordings.   Though I do think some of the vocals have come from recordings he made for radio, as some of them just sound slightly different than the Decca original vocals.   The stereo backing on Bing's '40's & '50's vocals really brings it up to date.   Good job, but qualified with the following complaint.  

In fact my MAJOR complaint is that I wish they had allowed Bing out of the closed door dungeon when they recorded the orchestra with mics in the studio with the orchestra.   In other words Bing's voice is BURIED on EVERY SINGLE SONG!!!!   It really gets bad when the so-called "background" singers start blaring in their parts, Bing seems to disappear.  And those PainNotTonic singers are horrific, they completely wipe out Bing's vocal, Bing might as well have been recording his part from the house next door.   And instead of those "tenors" I much would have preferred a girl singer of today or even a electronically added "duet" with Dois Day or Judy Garland on Have Yourself Merry.. or a duet with Nat King Cole on Christmas Song, all with new orchestration but with Bing loud and in front along with the duet partner.   A single girl singer would have been a better singing partner than the so-called tenors.  They just interrupted Bing's great song when they started vocalizing.

And while the stereo sound on the songs Bing recorded in the '60's was nice (still WAY TOO LOUD) I see no reason in the world why these ALREADY beautiful stereo songs were re-done with the exact same arrangements as the original stereo recordings.   Makes no sense, what was the point of re-doing the already perfect stereo original  "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" (the new version sounds EXACTLY like the original, why bother?).   WInter Wonderland is differently arranged from the original stereo but again, why bother?   It would have been much more welcome if they had stuck to stereo re-orchestrating nothing but original '40's and '50's mono Christmas records.   That would have been nice to have stereo versions of all original mono older records.  Of course, all this goes without saying that the vocals should stand out and way in front of the orchestra BACKGROUND. 

This loud orchestra CD with extremely soft sound on the vocals reminds me of just how the original "Return To Paradise Islands" album sounded BEFORE the mix was FINALLY corrected about 10 years ago when the CD was released.   That was a case when the new version was a big improvement over the original Reprise album, you could finally hear Bing ABOVE the orchestra not buried by it.  

This is what needs to be done to this new CD, it has to be re-mixed and put Bing's voice LOUD and out FRONT of the orchestra, the orchestra and those lousy "background" PainNoTonic singers need to be potted WAY WAY down, better yet, removed.  The normal background singers were fine but once again need to be potted WAY WAY down and Bing's voice needs to be WAY WAY louder out front of the orch. and the "background" singers.  

They should have put a picture of the London Orch. on the cover of the CD as that's what seems to be mainly featured here, Bing's is just an afterthought, Bing added just to make sure of bigger sales no doubt..

Last edited by Archiefit (22/12/2019 3:01 am)

 

22/12/2019 4:58 am  #78


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

I haven’t and will not be buying this CD. At my age (85) it doesn’t seem worth it and to whom do I leave my collection of Bing material?
Anyway, I’ve been sending out emails with Bing’s “Secret of Christmas” which has become my favourite non religious title.
Anyway, from bushfire ravaged Australia, I wish all of you and your families all the best for Christmas and hope that twenty twenty will be a much more peaceful year.

 

22/12/2019 9:14 am  #79


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Mary Crosby has been on Radio2 this morning on the Good Morning Sunday show. Some of Bing's letters to servicemen were read out and Mary gave a very nice interview and said that she will be spending Christmas with Kathryn and the family at the Hillsborough home. Extracts from the new album were heard with the whole of the Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy being played. You will be able to hear it on BBC I-player shortly. It comes on about 30 minutes from the end.

 

22/12/2019 10:45 am  #80


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

It’s available on the BBC iPlayer now - starts around 2hrs 25mins into the show...

 

23/12/2019 3:19 am  #81


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Secret of Christmas is also my favorite Bing Christmas song aside from White Christmas.   I really love that song (Secret...), I wish it were more well known, as it deserves to be.

I've also wondered the same thing, what's going to happen to all my Bing after I's gone.   Rotten thought, but I guess after I've gone to that Big Holiday Inn in the sky I won't care, unless I could take it with me.  That'd be nice.   Congrats on being 85, I had no idea you were a senior senior, you sure do great job on this board.   I remember my Dad didn't even want to know about DVDs, it was all he could do to figure out how to put a VHS in the machine.  

 

23/12/2019 10:51 am  #82


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Thanks Archiefit.

 

23/12/2019 12:58 pm  #83


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Hi Ron,
Sorry to read you are denying yourself the pleasure of listening to the new Bing at Christmas CD. Did you know that (almost) all the tracks are available on YouTube? So you don't have to buy the CD to listen to this new production, a bit of curiousity is enough.https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


As you, I have no idea what to do with my Crosby collection when I am gone. It would be nice to find some tips about this somewhere - up to now I haven't found any serious advice concerning leaving collections.
At 66 though, I may still have a lot of time. Looking at the age of the oldest people on the planet, I theoretically have over 50 more years to go! https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png

Last edited by frans (23/12/2019 12:59 pm)

 

23/12/2019 1:35 pm  #84


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Hi Archiefit,
 
I enjoy reading your often interesting posts. Yet your review of the 'Bing at Christmas' CD puzzled me. It is not that I want to critisize your review; everybody is entitled to her or his own opinion of course.
 
The point that intrigued me is you mentioning an overall unbalance between Bing's voice, orchestra and background singers. You are not the only one complaining about this; the one negative review on British Amazon states the same, and through the years I came across several reviewers of  'modern' Crosby recordings with similar opinions.
 
When I listen to the CD, I hear an orchestra and background singers recorded in high fidelity together with Bing's voice tracks, as best as possible separated from the original accompaniment.
 
According to my ears and equipment (of average quality, not using an equalizer or any other personalised settings) Bing's voice, orchestra and background singers are very well balanced. I can hear every word he sings quite clearly, well separated from the orchestra and background singers. Nowhere, in my opinion, is his voice 'drowned' in too loud accompaniments.
 
I also hear a distinct sound quality difference between stereo recordings like Bing's 1962 Christmas recordings and the new orchestrations. No wonder I think, as the recordings are 57 years apart and sound recording developments haven't stood still. I agree that the arrangements do not differ much, but I do believe the new recording has it's merits sound quality-wise.
 
Do you perhaps use personalised playback settings when listening to the CD which might let the album sound not as intended? Again, I am not critisizing, I respect your opinion, but I am trying to understand how you arrived at your conclusions, which obviously seem to go beyond matters of personal taste (which of course I will not argue about).
 

Last edited by frans (23/12/2019 1:36 pm)

 

23/12/2019 8:31 pm  #85


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Thanks Frans and I think maybe the local library might be interested - must go check them out.

 

23/12/2019 8:47 pm  #86


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

frans wrote:

  - - - -
At 66 though, I may still have a lot of time. Looking at the age of the oldest people on the planet, I theoretically have over 50 more years to go! https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png

Frans, you are clearly a born optimist!  A male of exact age 66 would have an average expectation of life of 17.54 years based on a sample of males in England over the period 2010 - 2012. It is probable that this may have improved a little since then, and there will be variations between countries, though not greatly within Europe.





 

     Thread Starter
 

24/12/2019 4:08 am  #87


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

I was not inclined to buy the new CD but after hearing a couple of tracks I was hooked. Publicity for the CD in Australia has put Bing back on the front page of our The Sydney Morning Herald. I can hardly believe it. Yippee!

 

24/12/2019 9:55 pm  #88


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Richard Baker wrote:

Frans, you are clearly a born optimist!  A male of exact age 66 would have an average expectation of life of 17.54 years based on a sample of males in England over the period 2010 - 2012. It is probable that this may have improved a little since then, and there will be variations between countries, though not greatly within Europe. 

Hi Richard, yes, I confess: I like to accentuate the positive! Why go for the average in stead of aiming at the highest possible? Health depending, of course.

Just joking  ... https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png
On a more serious vein, I do use these sentences from time to time though, when people are adamant in telling me that children are the future and should take priority above anything (or anyone) else. For me, that is an unseemly discarding of people of other age groups. One age group is no better than the other and, despite different needs, should not receive priority over others, in my opinion (and only that).




 

 

28/12/2019 1:24 am  #89


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

The notes which accompany many of the Crosby CDs I have add to the pleasure they provide me. I love the selection of pictures which came with Bing At Christmas, especially the snapshot of Bing in the snow. The next two are intriguing. Would they be photos of the masters from the 1947 recordings? I wonder when the photos were taken and if it was the usual practice for Decca to take such photos. Where would those discs labelled LM4376 and LM4374 be now?

 

28/12/2019 7:19 am  #90


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

I'd have to say on this album I do prefer the versions of the songs recorded in the 40s better than the originals (if it were mixed better), but the ones that were taken from post-1960 aren't as good as the originals in the slightest. Even the Little Drummer Boy duet sounds the exact same. I can at least tell the difference on Merry Little Christmas, Winter Wonderland, and Do You Hear What I Hear. Though this release is good to being new fans in by having the recordings not sound so dated making Bing able to sing to modern audiences without them being distracted by the oldness of the recording.


Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.
 

29/1/2020 7:32 pm  #91


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

I'm a bit late to this party, but I wasn't late to purchasing the CD, thanks to my still being on Malcolm's email list, despite my inactivity as a Bing discussant the last few years.  My wife and I ordered two copies, one for us and one for a friend's Christmas gift.

Perhaps I haven't listened to the album hypercritically, but I have found it rather a delightful experience -- even though I'm usually a rather stodgy "originalist" when it comes to music and other things.  I certainly don't think anyone should think of this new album as any sort of replacement for any of the original tracks we may know from studio recordings or from radio. I think it mainly should be regarded as a vehicle for letting new audiences hear him, or for listeners who have been away from Bing for decades, to hear him again.

Obviously, one might expect the orchestra, and sometimes back-up singers/choruses, to be much more forward in the mix, relative to Bing, than would have been heard in recordings of the 40s or 50s. Maybe because I knew the songs well enough, Bing being nestled deeper in the mix didn't keep me from hearing-and/or-knowing what he was singing.  And while I might not love all of the back-up singer arranging, most of it seemed pretty good to me, letting a little fresh air into the orchestrations,  As much as I appreciate the role of the Ken Darby Singers in some of the original versions of some of the songs -- they in fact tend to transport me back to childhood walks with my family through Christmas-decorated department stores, while Bing's carols streamed from 10-inch loudspeakers installed in the store ceilings -- I am a bit afraid that being subjected to listening to the Darby crowd continuously might wear the eardrum right out of most human beings. ;)   Alternate choral groups, or no choral back-up, can be a welcome alternative at times, especially if we can still go back to the Darby version when we want to.

I didn't start out as a fan of the Bowie/Crosby drummerboy song, but it has grown on me. Perhaps learning how unlikely it was to ever have been filmed or recorded (considering that Bowie couldn't stand the original Drummer Boy song and his alternate lyrics were written in the hour or so before he and Bing performed it for a TV special filming segment) has affected my appreciation.

My standard for a remix of a deceased vocalist with modern accompaniment is not one of those mentioned already in this thread.  It is the duet between Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie Cole doing "Unforgetable."  While it could never replace Nat's classic original, it -- very deservingly -- became a classic in its own right. It is probably too early to know if any of this album's tracks has begun to move in that direction.  I don't know if any of these tracks were released as "singles" as the Nat/Natalie "Unforgetable" was.  I don't know if what we used to call "singles" even get released anymore for that matter. Maybe what gets the most likes on social media is what amounts to a single now.

If I took the time to compile my own list of tracks, for my own CD of favorite Crosby Christmas songs, I probably wouldn't include anything from this new CD.  I would probably only include originals. I probably would include some songs that others of you might not include, like the school song version of "Bells of St. Mary's" from the movie, the recording of "Snow" including Peggy Lee, and I might even conclude with "June in January" fading between the 1930s and 1970s versions as a coda to all of the other songs of the season. Still, I like this collection with the London Symphony Orchestra.  It is more Bing for people to listen to.  I think most people who get to hear it will think it sounds very good.  Some of them are going to get caught in the Bing fandom vortex, too, and want to listen to more and more Bing and want to learn more about Bing, too.

Last edited by Steve Fay (29/1/2020 7:40 pm)

 

22/5/2020 7:16 am  #92


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

This CD did well at leas ton iTunes from what I can tell and that makes me wonder, will they release another overdub like this whether Christmas or non-Christmas? They could easily make another Christmas one and it'd sell, but I wonder how well one would do of his hits. If they did a hits compilation or just a compilation, they should stick with the 40s and 50s, but beyond or mostly before should not be done. I'd say the most you could do where the tracks would possibly sound better than the originals would be to use maybe 1938-1957 as the track year basis'. Although most of his early performances are some of his best, taking the vocals out would yield a similar result to the bad sound on the vocals of White Christmas here.

Continuing on the idea of a non-Christmas comp, this would be the perfect time to actually update the arrangements. On the Bing At Christmas release they should've kept the main arrangement similar on most of the tracks, especially White Christmas, but on some the updates worked. On the Christmas CD as well all the recordings are iconic, so it's harder to change the arrangements without it being too noticeable. If they did a compilation of his 40s hits, it'd actually be a great time to update the arrangements, as not as, to the general public, iconic like the Christmas ones. I've thought about some tracks that would work good for a compilation, and I'll list them below, although it is only a rough order. If there were multiple recordings I'll specify which, or I'll specify if it's a radio version.

1. Stardust (1939? version)
2. San Fernando Valley
3. Road To Morocco
4. Sunday, Monday, Or Always (This one they could appropriately use a group like the Pentatonix for, or just finally add an orchestra to it.)
5. It's Been A Long, Long Time
6. Don't Fence Me In (a chance for a group like the Puppini Sisters to show up)
7. I Can't Begin To Tell You
8. I'll Be Seeing You
9. Around The World
10. Gone Fishin' (No real specific version for this one with Satchmo)
11. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive (Another possible vehicle for the Puppini Sisters)
12. You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby
13. Swinging On A Star (A vehicle for a group like the Tenors to join in)
14. Where The Blue Of The Night (1945 version)

I was looking to the Bing At Christmas CD tracks for inspiration on how to sort and choose the tracks, but for a compilation of Bing 'standards.'


Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.
 

03/6/2020 5:15 am  #93


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Modern Bing Fan, I love your suggestions for the Puppini Sisters singing with Bing. What a novelty that would be. I'd not heard of them until last month when Howard Leader played one of their records on his Sunday afternoon program. I reckon they'd also team well with Bing and Bob on 'Road to Morocco'.

 

03/6/2020 9:34 am  #94


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Possibly another Christmas album, but I love the idea of a greatest hits with the orchestra, as they've done with Elvis, Buddy Holly etc. 

 

 

07/6/2020 1:02 am  #95


Re: Bing and London Symphony Orchestra at Christmas

Graham Pascoe wrote:

Modern Bing Fan, I love your suggestions for the Puppini Sisters singing with Bing. What a novelty that would be. I'd not heard of them until last month when Howard Leader played one of their records on his Sunday afternoon program. I reckon they'd also team well with Bing and Bob on 'Road to Morocco'.

I modeled it after the Bing At Christmas CD, so I included groups like the Puppini Sisters and the Tenors as they were on the CD, so if you don't mind a listen of Jingle Bells or The Twelve Days Of Christmas from the Bing At Christmas CD, or you could use YouTube to find these version if you don't have the disc, you might be able to hear them. I say might because the Andrews Sisters vocals are still in those songs along with the Puppini Sisters.


Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.
 

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