This is a one stop place to find news and stories about the greatest singer of all-time, Bing Crosby. From his days with Paul Whiteman to his final performances in 1977, we will examine this remarkable entertainer's life and times!
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
BING AND SCOTCH TAPE
Saturday, December 19, 2020
AUDIO ASPIRIN: CHRISTMAS WON'T BE THE SAME
Monday, December 14, 2020
NEW CD: BING CROSBY - CHESTERFIELD RADIO TIME
A companion set to the Philco Radio Time release (SEPIA 1353), the songs on this 2 CD set are from the Chesterfield radio series and largely drawn from hits by other artists. Most are new to CD including duets with Perry Como, Dinah Shore, Fred Astaire, Bob Hope, Patti Page etc...
1. CHESTERFIELD INTRO
2. A COCKEYED OPTIMIST
3. MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE
4. I'VE GOT A LOVELY BUNCH OF COCONUTS
6. CANDY AND CAKE
7. MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC!
8. A DREAM IS A WISH YOUR HEART MAKES with Perry Como
9. DEAR OLD GIRL with Perry Como & Arthur Godfrey
10. I'VE GOT THE WORLD ON A STRING with Mildred Bailey
11. WITH MY EYES WIDE OPEN I'M DREAMING
12. OLD FOLKS AT HOME with Lindsay Crosby
13. IF I KNEW YOU WERE COMIN' I'D'VE BAKED A CAKE with Beatrice Lillie
14. IT ISN'T FAIR
15. THE LAMENT OF HOMER TRACY with Fred Allen
17. A BUSHEL AND A PECK with Dinah Shore
18. THE TENNESSEE WALTZ
19. THE THING with Fred Astaire
20. YOU'RE JUST IN LOVE with Toni Arden
21. THE NIGHT IS YOUNG AND YOU'RE SO BEAUTIFUL
22. WHISPERING HOPE with Dorothy Kirsten
23. CAN ANYONE EXPLAIN?
24. MOCKIN' BIRD HILL with Les Paul & Mary Ford
26. WOULD I LOVE YOU?
27. I APOLOGIZE
28. THE ROVING KIND with The Cass County Boys
29. ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI with The Cass County Boys
30. WHEN YOU AND I WERE YOUNG, MAGGIE BLUES with Teresa Brewer
1. DIANE with Tommy Dorsey
2. COME ON-A MY HOUSE
3. JUST ONE MORE CHANCE
4. OVER A BOTTLE OF WINE
5. NEVER BEFORE
6. SILVER ON THE SAGE
7. JUNE IN JANUARY
8. THE MORNING SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN
9. BECAUSE OF YOU
10. THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR THE SUNRISE
11. DOWN YONDER
12. CHESTERFIELD JINGLE with Bob Hope
13. SLOW POKE
14. IF YOU CATCH A LITTLE COLD with Patti Page
17. LAZY RIVER with The Mills Brothers
18. PLEASE MR. SUN
19. COME WHAT MAY
20. TELL ME WHY
21. THE BLACKSMITH BLUES
22. WITH A SONG IN MY HEART with Helen O'Connell
23. PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA
24. I'LL NEVER BE FREE with Kay Starr
25. I WAITED A LITTLE TOO LONG
26. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN
27. AT LAST
28. I'LL WALK ALONE
29. A-ROUND THE CORNER
30. CHESTERFIELD FINALE
Saturday, December 12, 2020
PHOTOS OF THE DAY: BING AND CHRISTMAS THROUGH THE YEARS
Bing Crosby was and is definitely Mr. Christmas at this time of the year. No entertainer has sung more Christmas songs or had more Christmas hits than Der Bingle. Here are some great Christmas pictures through the years...
|with Marjorie Reynolds|
|with Frank Sinatra|
|With his 2nd family|
|With Rosemary Clooney|
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
One of my favorite series of LPs of all time was Decca's Bing's Hollywood series. The Bing's Hollywood series was a Decca Records 15-album set by Bing Crosby of commercial recordings of songs used in his films from 1934 to 1956.
Saturday, November 21, 2020
BING ON FILM: DOUBLE OR NOTHING - PART TWO
The film was shot quickly in Hollywood from April 26 to June 15, 1937, and even the though the story was much better than previous lighthearted Bing Crosby romps, the big draw of the movie was the music. Bing opened the film singing “Smarty” – which was written by Burton Lane and Ralph Freed strangely enough and not Bing’s resident songwriters, Arthur Johnston and Johnny Burke. I love how Bing sang the song “Smarty” in the film, competing with an opera singing chef. This is the song that I remember recording with my little handheld recorder. Johnston and Burke wrote a bunch of other Crosby gems for the film like: “The Moon Got In My Eyes”, “It’s The Natural Thing To Do”, and my personal favorite – “All You Want To Do Is Dance”. Unfortunately, Bing never recorded a show stopping number commercially called “After You”. The song was written by Al Siegel and Sam Coslow, and in the film, it was sung by Bing, Martha Raye, Frances Faye, and Harry Barris. Frances Faye, who would emerge as a great jazz singer in the 1950s, played Martha Raye’s sister for the quick musical number, and for a long time I thought they were sisters. The number also marked the first time that Bing and ex-Rhythm Boy pal sang together on film since the Paul Whiteman opus King Of Jazz in 1930. I wish Bing would have recorded the song “After You”, and it looked like Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra recorded the song, but it never became a hit.
The critics enjoyed the film, but for 1937 they were a little critical of Bing:
The New York Times - "It is a tuneful show with three numbers better than average—"It’s the Natural Thing to Do”, “It’s On, It’s Off” and “The Moon Got in My Eyes”—but a show which lacks buoyance and sparkle, perhaps because of unimaginative direction....Although Bing delivers five songs in his customary agreeable voice and makes a pleasant enough suitor for the fair Mary Carlisle, it is really the explosive Miss Raye, the madcap adagio dance team of Ames and Arno and the Calgary Brothers (specialists in inebriation) who provide the brighter moments."
Variety - "Bing Crosby and Martha Raye are teamed again in Double or Nothing which should give the film big first run sendoffs, as their names are potent on marquees. . . This is not the first time that Crosby has carried a heavy load on his broad shoulders. Point is, can he keep on doing it indefinitely? He is strictly a personality, just passing fair as an actor, but his croon is unique and the wide radio exploitation he has keeps him a valuable asset for theaters. He needs carefully selected vehicles in which his share of the entertainment obligations is limited to his particular talents. . . Value of the Crosby warble is dimmed because he sings in nearly every episode in which he appears. Some of it is so casual that his major effort near the end of the picture falls rather flat."
The Washington Post - "That gorgeous rowdy-dow, Martha Raye, divides honor evenly with Bing Crosby, now undisputed king of the musicals, his mere crooner days forgotten...Bing Crosby was never better and this critic thinks never so good, as in Double or Nothing. This is praise with a vengeance. But when you see Monsieur Crosby dancing with Mary Carlisle and warbling such numbers as “Smarty”, “It’s the Natural Thing to Do”, “All You Want to Do Is Dance” and “After You” — well, we’ll wager a plugged nickel against a double eagle that you’ll agree. Bing is one of the few Hollywoodites who ripens mellowly."
The film boasted a great cast of 1930s stars, and one of the most appealing aspect of Bing Crosby’s 1930s movies were the ones when he starred with Mary Carlisle. They definitely have movie chemistry, and in my opinion, Mary was one of the most beautiful actresses of the 1930s. After seeing Martha Raye in this movie, I dug out an old CD I have of Martha’s records. She recorded for Decca in the late 1930s, and her voice was much better than she was given credit for. She definitely had a way with a song. Harry Barris made an appearance as a bandleader as well. Every time I see Harry Barris in a Bing movie I feel sad because he was so talented, and yet because of his drinking Bing had to help him find work and put him in little roles. Harry Barris was so much more talented than the success that eluded him.
Last time around I reviewed a very different movie with Bing’s 1953 Little Boy Lost. The movie Double Or Nothing could not be more different of a movie, but both movies really showcase Bing Crosby’s greatness. With this movie, it not only showed Bing’s growing command of the film screen, but also it showcased his ability to be a fine comedic actor. Bing was not a superstar like he would become in the 1940s, but with every screen role Bing would become more and more of a screen presence. Double Or Nothing was a fun movie to watch, and they do not make movies like this anymore...
MY RATING: 9 out of 10
Saturday, November 7, 2020
BING ON FILM: DOUBLE OR NOTHING - PART ONE
It is amazing how movies can transform you back to a different period in your life. For this review I had the pleasure of watching Bing’s 1937 movie Double Or Nothing. I had not seen the movie in over ten years, but it was one of the first movies I remember watching as a child. Back then I did not have the recordings Bing made for the film, so I had a handheld tape recorder that I held up to the television speaker to record the songs. It is amazing how far we have come in technology since then! When I was younger, I remember watching Double Or Nothing and thought it was a really fun movie. Seeing it now years later, it is just as fun of a movie, and I might have a better appreciation for the talent that was in Double Or Nothing.
The film had its premiere on September 1st, 1937 at the Paramount Theater in New York City. The movie begins with a stranger leaving wallets $100 in them all over the city. In the wallet is an address to return it to. Not everyone returns the wallet, but four honest souls did. They included a performer who hopes to open up a night club (Bing Crosby), a two bit criminal/thief (William Frawley), an ex-dancer who was trying to stay on the right side of the road (Martha Raye), and a clueless buffoon (Andy Devine). Those four people go to the address where they were instructed. It ends up an eccentric millionaire died, and he did not trust his family. What he did trust and believe in was the honesty of strangers. His lawyer tells the four confused people that they will get $5000 to keep. However, the first person who could double that sum within one month, through honest means, would inherit the millionaire’s entire estate. Otherwise, the entire estate would go to the millionaire’s greedy brother who is determined to thwart the plan.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Saturday, October 24, 2020
THE SUCCESS AND FAILURES OF PROJECT RECORDS
Here is another great article from our contributor ModernBingFan0377...
Much in the same vein as a certain Francis Albert in the late 50s Bing would create his own record label mainly to issue out his recordings to other companies. His first project, however, promised much more than that it seems, How The West Was Won. Recorded for Project Records it would be released by RCA Victor, it featured many artists besides Bing including Rosemary Clooney and would go on to inspire the movie by the same name. Although I haven't got my hands on the album I've heard it is very good.
Bing would then go on to ruin a big chunk of it's potential by releasing a string a sing along albums which did good at the time, but did not have a good longevity. He did make up for these sing along albums though with 4 great LPs.
The first of these LPs is Bing & Satchmo. A Billy May orchestrated LP featuring Bing and Louis Armstrong. The only disappointing thing about the album is the lack of chemistry/ad-libbing seen in their radio duets and film duets. The good thing is though is the album becomes more replayable to some people due to the absence of these ad-libs. Billy May did some good Dixieland style arrangements and added to the quality of this album.
After this album of duets Bing would go onto create the ‘El Senor Bing’ album which featured some standards mixed in with some south of the border themed songs mixed together with Billy May’s Latin style of arranging here. I very much enjoy this album although it is divisive among some people. It is divisive because of the choice to make each track a medley of 2 songs, which in some cases can work rather well in my opinion, but I can see why one would think otherwise. One disappointing part though is the fact that the master tapes have apparently been misplaced making the CD release have to use the LP mixes.
The last Project Records album would become the most famous one and the probably the best one. Bing’s I Wish You A Merry Christmas is probably Bing’s best studio Christmas album in contrast to Christmas Greetings and A Time To Be Jolly with a better set of songs than either of those. This time around Bob Thompson, Jack Holloran, and Peter Matz would arrange and conduct the tracks in July of 1962 with Bing recording the overdubs in October of 1962. Despite the variety of arrangers the tracks fit in together well. Bing’s voice is rich and records definitive versions of many of the songs on this album to me. It would be released by Warner but would later and is currently released by Capitol as Christmas Classics expanded with Bing’s Christmas single for Capitol, a Decca recording, and a shortened version of White Christmas from 1957. This would be Bing’s last sessions for Project Records.
I’m not sure if he just decided to stop recording for Project and leasing out the albums or what, but I believe it had to do with his short lived contract at Reprise. It seems he had plans to do more at Reprise besides the multiple collaboration album and Return To Paradise but nothing came into fruition before he left Reprise to become a free agent once again. Bing’s Project Records run would create 4 very solid albums with the rest being sing a-longs. This would be his most heavy recording schedule for many years until he would go to UA and start his albums with Ken Barnes...
Friday, October 16, 2020
REMEMBERING RHONDA FLEMING (1923-2020)
Later in life, she became a philanthropist and supporter of numerous organizations fighting cancer, homelessness and child abuse.
Her starring roles include classics such as the 1949 musical fantasy “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” alongside Bing Crosby whom she later dated, 1957 Western “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” and the noir “Slightly Scarlet” alongside John Payne.
Her co-stars over the years included Kirk Douglas, Glenn Ford, Burt Lancaster, Bob Hope, Rock Hudson and Ronald Reagan, with whom she made four films. Other notable roles included Fritz Lang’s “While the City Sleeps,” “Pony Express” and “The Big Circus.” One of her last roles was in the Don Adams farce “The Nude Bomb” in 1980, and she spoofed herself as “Rhoda Flaming” in 1976 comedy “Won Ton Ton, The Dog Who Saved Hollywood” along a bevy of other vintage performers from Dorothy Lamour to Stepin Fetchit and Rudy Vallee.
Born Marilyn Louis in Hollywood, she attended Beverly Hills High and was discovered by the famous agent Henry Wilson while on the way to school, she told the Warner Bros. podcast. Wilson changed her name to Rhonda Fleming and she was then signed to a contract with David O. Selznick. Her first major part was as a nymphomaniac in “Spellbound,” and she said she was so naive she had to look up the word in the dictionary when she was cast.
Fleming also routinely guest-starred on television in series including “Wagon Train,” “Police Woman,” “The Love Boat” and a two-hour special of “McMillan & Wife.” Along with Maureen O’Hara, she was bestowed the nickname of “Queen of Technicolor” for how well her red hair and green eyes photographed in vivid color.
In 1991, Fleming and her late husband Ted Mann of Mann’s Theaters established Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic for Comprehensive Care for Women with Cancer at UCLA in memory of her sister Beverly, and in 1992, she founded the Rhonda Fleming Mann Resource Center at UCLA. She opened the Reflections boutique to help cancer patients with items including wigs and prostheses.
She also supported Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., where she established the Rhonda Fleming Carlson Inspiration Garden in 2014.
After her sister Beverly died of cancer, she became a supporter of cancer research and with her then-husband Ted Mann of Mann Theatres, established the Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic for Women’s Comprehensive Care at UCLA Medical Center. She also supported the Rhonda Fleming Mann Resource Center for Women with Cancer at UCLA. To further research and treatment for women’s cancer, she created The Rhonda Fleming Mann Research Fellowship at the City of Hope Hospital.
Her sixth husband, Darol W. Carlson, died in 2017.
Fleming is survived by her son, Kent Lane, granddaughter, Kelly Harman (Morgan Harman), granddaughter, Kimberly Coleman, as well as well as great-grandchildren, Wagner Harman (Lindsay Harman), Page Harman, Linden Harman, Lane Albrecht, Cole Albrecht and two great-great grandchildren, Ronan and Kiera Harman. She is also survived by step-children, Candace Voien, Cindy Jaeger, Jill Lundstrom and Kevin Carlson...
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
BING'S DEATH: 43 YEARS AGO
After his final putt Bing bowed to acknowledge the applause of some fans and remarked ""That was a great game of golf, fellas." As he was walking to the clubhouse about 6:30 he collapsed from a massive heart attack. Bing made no attempt to break his fall and landed head-first on the red-brick pavement, producing a large bruise on the left side of his forehead. "We thought he had just slipped," said one of his golfing companions. "Bing had shown no sign of fatigue. He was happy and singing as he went around the course." His 3 golfing companions carried Bing the remaining 20 yards to the clubhouse where a physician administered oxygen and adrenalin without success.
Bing's funeral began at 5 a.m. Oct. 18, 1977 at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California. Bing's will specified that only his wife and 7 children should attend, but Kathryn invited Bing's siblings as well as Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney and Phil Harris. The ABC reporter who covered the funeral, Geraldo Rivera, noted the early morning hour was when the blue of the night met the gold of the day...
Friday, September 25, 2020
AUDIO ASPIRIN: MARIA BONITA
Monday, September 21, 2020
AUDIO ASPIRIN: FRENESI
Friday, September 18, 2020
AUDIO ASPIRIN: THE BREEZE AND I
Monday, September 14, 2020
AUDIO ASPIRIN: GREEN EYES
Monday, September 7, 2020
He also leased the tracks to a USA based label called Anahuac. They remixed the tracks and used some alternate takes (tracks 6, 7, 9 and 10). Bing Crosby himself felt that this improved the album and he wrote to his friend Leslie Gaylor in a letter dated July 11, 1977."The Bingo Viejo record has been remixed and it sounds much better than ever it did before. I don’t know what they did to it but they brought up the vocal a little more and cut down on the background, which made it sound a little more intimate and a little more personal."
The album has never been issued on CD.
The UK magazine The Gramophone reviewed the album saying: "Bingo Viejo" by old Bing Crosby himself is a typically warm Crosbyian salute to south of the border with ten songs sung in English and Spanish which will undoubtedly please his numerous adherents of either tongue. The numbers are mostly familiar ones like Green Eyes, Besame Mucho, Frenesi and The Breeze and I, and the arrangements are less than impressive, particularly the messy accompaniment for Amapola, which almost undermined the Old Groaner’s customary vocal serenity."
Record producer, Ken Barnes, felt that the album was a less successful effort than A Southern Memoir and he considered that the "main fault lies in the choice of some of the songs—notably ‘The Breeze and I’ and especially ‘Spanish Eyes’ which were clearly too rangy for any septuagenarian to sing, although sing them he does...
1. "Maria Bonita"
2. "Green Eyes"
4. "Bésame Mucho"
5. "Cuando calienta el sol"
6. "Eres tú"
7. "La Borrachita"
9. "Spanish Eyes"
10. "The Breeze And I"
Monday, August 24, 2020
BING AND THE FILM CAMERA
Friday, August 7, 2020
PHOTOS OF THE DAY: BING IN THE 1970s
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Friday, July 17, 2020
REMEMBERING: ZIZI JEANMAIRE (1924-2020)
"My mother passed away peacefully last night at her home in Tolechenaz," a town bordering Lake Geneva, her daughter Valentine Petit told AFP by telephone.
Jeanmaire starred in ballets, cabarets, musicals and film, mixing styles but never compromising on the rigour of her classical training.
Many of her roles were created by her husband Roland Petit, the renowned choreographer who died in 2011.
It was her leading performance in Petit's modern interpretation of "Carmen" in 1949, which featured the short-cropped hairstyle that became her trademark feature, that launched her into the spotlight.
The new-look production caused a sensation when it was performed in Paris, London and New York.
Jeanmaire and Petit met in 1933, when they were around nine years old and students at the Paris Opera Ballet. They married in 1954 and had a daughter.
"They became the power couple of Sixties Parisian cultural life, wearing Yves Saint Laurent and collaborating with Andy Warhol," The Telegraph wrote in an obituary of Petit.
Jeanmaire was born in Paris on April 29, 1924, her real name Renee Marcelle Jeanmaire. Her nickname is reportedly rooted in her childhood pronunciation of "Mon zizi" for "Mon Jesus" (My Jesus).
She left the Paris Opera Ballet at 19, saying she wanted to see the world and eventually making her way into Hollywood and New York.
Her leading films roles were in the 1950s, including in the Hollywood musical "Hans Christian Andersen" (1952), about the life of the Danish storyteller, and "Anything Goes" (1956) starring Bing Crosby.
She triumphed at Paris' Alhambra music hall in 1961 with a performance of "Mon Truc en Plumes" -- her legendary costume of huge, pink ostrich feathers designed by Saint Laurent -- and in 1966 danced alongside Rudolf Nureyev for the film version of Petit's ballet "Le Jeune Homme et la Mort" (The Young Man and Death).
Saint Laurent, who dressed her for 40 years, once said she "only had to walk on stage for everything to take life, fire and flames."
Sealing her place in stardom is a reference in the opening line of Peter Sarstedt's name-dropping classic "Where Do You Go to My Lovely" (1969), which says: "You talk like Marlene Dietrich, And you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire."
A public ceremony in her honour will be organised in September, her daughter said...
Monday, July 6, 2020
Monday, June 29, 2020
BING ON FILM: LITTLE BOY LOST - PART TWO
This role for Bing was different than any other movie role to date, but his superb acting should not overshadow the performance of Christian Fourcade as the orphaned boy. Bing’s character could not believe at first that the boy could be his son, because the boy was sickly and meek – but Christian Fourcade not only conveyed that weakness but brought strength to the little boy’s character. As a boy, probably the same age as the character, I was a non-athletic kid with not many friends who lived a lonely life like the boy, so I have always felt a sense of kinship to the boy, even though I was not an orphan. Nicole Maurey, as Bing’s wife, was not in the movie long, but her and Bing definitely had a great chemistry. Bing enjoyed working with Nicole so much that almost a decade later he made sure she would be cast as his love interest in 1960’s High Time. The acting in the Little Boy Lost in general is top notch.
Even though the film was a drama, there was some music in the movie. Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen wrote most of the score. They wrote two French-styled songs “A Propos De Rien” and Cela M’Est EGal”, but the standout song for me was the song “The Magic Window” which he sang to the boy while they were bonding at the zoo. It’s slight song, but a song that has always stuck with me through the years. The movie also included a cute version of “The Dark Town Strutter’s Ball” which Nicole and Bing sing together in French as they are falling in love. I wish Bing would have recorded the song, but he never did except in 1962 for one of his sing-along albums.
The critics seemed to like the film, and it had its New York premiere on September 21, 1953. The following day Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote:
“…here Mr. Crosby is playing a straight dramatic role in a picture of deep emotional content and genuinely tragic, overtones. Except for two or three song numbers that are worked in consistently, there are few other points of contact with the bright and chipper Bingle of old. And yet it must be said for Mr. Crosby that he manages to convey a strong sense of real emotional torment in a tragically wracked character and that he serves as a credible buffer in a candidly heart-socking film..."
I watched this film as a young boy in the mid-1980s, feeling much like the little boy at the orphanage, but now over thirty years later I am viewing the film as a married man with two beautiful children, one being a son, and I can not fathom what Bing Crosby’s character was going through trying to find his son. It is a horror I would never want to face. Knowing now that Bing’s wife Dixie was dying during the making of the movie, makes Bing’s acting even more remarkable in the movie. It is a shame that this film has never been officially released on VHS, let alone DVD, but if you can find a copy to view, this is required Bing Crosby watching. It is a movie that will remain in your mind a long time after watching it.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
BING ON FILM: LITTLE BOY LOST - PART ONE
The movie starts during the beginnings of World War II. Bing plays an American journalist who lives in Paris. He meets a beautiful radio performer (played by Nicole Maurey), and they fall in love and have a little boy. Just as the boy is born the Nazis invade Holland, and it is only a matter of time before France will fall. Bing tries to get his wife out of Paris, but he is called up to join the Allied soldiers. France falls to the Nazis, and Bing is unable to return to Paris and his beautiful family. He still hears his wife on the radio, but one day her broadcasts abruptly stop. Bing later finds out that his beloved wife was murdered by the Nazis for being a part of the French resistance during the war. As you can see this is no happy-go-lucky Bing Crosby film! Bing really never accepts that his wife is dead, but he begins his search for his son who was placed in an orphanage after his mother’s murder. Bing goes to the orphanage where he meets the Mother Superior (played wonderfully by Gabrielle Dorziat), and she hesitates to get Bing’s hopes up but lets Bing meet a boy that could be his son. His potential son was played by Christian Fourcade, making his American film debut and deserving an award for his striking portrayal of the boy. Bing is frustrated, because he can not figure out if the boy is his son or not. Bing tries to stimulate the boy’s mind by singing songs from when he was a baby, spraying the boy’s mother’s old perfume that she wore, and even going to the apartment where they all first lived at before the war tore them apart. At the apartment the boy amazingly remembers things, but he remembers things incorrectly.
Monday, June 1, 2020
SEASONS: A PERSONAL REVIEW
I am here again for another review, today's being Bing's masterful last album, Seasons. I might review Bing's last BBC sessions at one point, but as of now it will just be Seasons. I will give each song a description and review then an overall review at the end.
On The Very First Day Of The Year - A very nice overlook of the year with a very bouncy arrangement from Pete Moore that I find personally very catchy.
June In January - This song is hard to review as it is a great classic from Bing, and personally I can't decide between this one and the original 1934 version.
Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year - This is a wonderful classic, although it's interesting performed as a swinger, that is not a complaint though.
April Showers - Although his '50s version is vocally superior I much prefer the arrangement on this one, so this might be my favorite version of it from Bing. His vocal is a little weak on this one, but being 74 and a few weeks before his untimely and sad death it's still very amazing.
June Is Bustin' Out All Over - A somewhat cheesy song gets given a great performance that makes it less cheesy. Bing's voice is a little weak on the slow parts on this one, but on the faster parts he's great.
In The Good Old Summertime - Another good old chestnut, that is given the same treatment as the previous only it helps the chestnut quality of it and Bing's voice is good throughout.
Summer Wind - I know this is blasphemy to say, but I prefer Bing's performance of this compared to Sinatra's. Bing had a great way to portray his vocal as reminiscing on the past and this song really deserves and rightfully gets that treatment from Bing, Frank's swinger doesn't fit the song as much to me.
Autumn In New York - Another Frank staple I prefer Bing's version of, Frank's Capitol comes very close to me. Pete Moore did an amazing job on the arrangement on this beautiful song.
September Song - Another definitive, to me anyway, version of a great song, that gets given the same reminiscing treatment as Summer Wind and it works out great for this song, Bing's vocal is great on this song. Pete Moore on these slower songs has really outdone himself.
Sleigh Ride - This might have to been my least favorite Christmas song Bing sang, his Decca version is great, but this one? The first 30 second and the bridging parts are pretty good, but the rest of it gets this very dated arrangement that doesn't fit Bing or the song well at all. Crosby's vocal on it is okay, but the arrangement really brings this version down
Yesterday When I Was Young - This song is great, Bing does great on it and it's a great last song for Bing's last album.
Album overview: I gotta say this is one of the best concept albums I own. Besides it being Bing's last album which makes it a staple enough to listen to, it's a masterpiece of an album I'd say, and even Sleigh Ride, my least favorite, has it's charms. By this point he had came a long way from 'I've Got The Girl', and it shows, but in a great way. This album is one that should be known, it's amazing. Most of Bing's album were great in the mid-late 70s, but this, to me, takes the cake for the best one. Seasons is more of a passage through life, than a concept album of seasonal songs. It leads you through the start, a happy beginning, a love lost that is then found again, the middle of life with all it's glories and triumphs, the slowing of the age once you retire and reminisce, with it ending off with a family and friend filled last few years, and then finally looking over your own life. I can't say this is a 10/10 because of a certain winter song, but in my book it's a winner!
ModernBingFan0377'S rating: 9.75 out of 10
My Rating: 9 out of 10
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
GUEST REVIEWER: HERE IS MY HEART
In my search for entertainment while being stuck at home, I've decided to check out some Bing films I haven't watched. The first film on the list is Here Is My Heart.
Here I am 9 minutes in, and so far so good. Bing's performances on "June In January" and duetting on "Love Is Just Around The Corner" with Claire, played by Marian Mansfield, were very enjoyable and arguably better than the Decca recordings. The plot so far is thin, with Bing as Jasper (J.) Paul Jones, a millionaire radio performer, who is going through his bucket list before performing again. He has already done 4 of the 5 'missions' per say on his bucket list. The last one is to present 2 Jones pistols to the U.S. Naval Academy, which were made by John Paul Jones (think Jimmy Van Heusen presenting Van Heusen shirts to Old Navy). He had just sailed out of Monte Carlo and had "saved" a 'damsel in distress', one of the things on his bucket list, and fished in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, another thing on the list. He and the 'damsel in distress' hit it off when Jasper gets a telegram from Jimmy Smith that tells him the 2nd pistol is in Monte Carlo, so they start heading back.
When Jasper gets to Monte Carlo and the hotel he's staying at he gets "rejected" by a girl in the elevator. He goes to his hotel room and finds Jimmy Smith, played by William Frawley, who tells him that Princess Alexandra owns the pistol, but won't sell it to anyone, but a king or queen. Jasper stays in the hotel room and duets with himself on "June In January." A drunken waiter comes into his room with food that was ordered for another room. The waiter passes out after Jasper tells him off and follows him into the hallway. Jasper is mistaken for the waiter once a lady from the correct room comes out and finds him with the food. It just so happens the lady in the elevator was the princess, played by Kitty Carlisle, and keeps under cover as the waitor. Jasper is then sent out to find a tie and he steals one from the drunken waitor. Jasper keeps under cover as the waiter, but he also buys the hotel. The Royal Family staying at the hotel are revealed to be broke.
Jasper begins to give money to the Royal Family. They think he likes Alexandra, and Alexandra has him get tea for her. He sings a bit of "With Every Breat I Take" , and she likes it and has him come back to sing later. He kisses her which gets her mad so she gets a new waiter, which is just him in disguise. Prince Nicki, played by Roland Young, plots with Jasper to get her in love with him. The family wants the "other waitor" back, so he "comes back", but has to take care of the animals. While taking care if the parrots he has a wonderful performance of "Love Is Just Around The Corner" and the maid, played by Cecilia Parker a.k.a. Andy Hardy's sister in many of the Andy Hardy movies, falls in love. Jasper sings "With Every Breath I Take" again and the maid kisses him. Jasper gives away his original gun for the family and he reveals his identity to them. The Princess doesn't like Mr. Jones and leaves. Jasper and Nicki get tipsy after reading a note saying they'll never find her. Jasper goes back to the boat and finds that Claire bought a parrot fom a shop behind the cathedral. Jasper jumps out of the boat and finds Alexandra. Claire and Nicki get together and Jasper and Alexandra get together.
This movie was enjoyable. I would recommend this movie, but Kitty Carlisle's character was too snooty for my liking. The performances on many of the songs were better than the commercial recordings, to my liking anyways. Roland Young as the Prince was a good choice and William Frawley, despite not being in it much, was enjoyab;e when on screen. This movie isn't a masterpiece, but enjoyable for the hour and 16 minutes it's worth...