Saturday, October 24, 2020


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.

This next Bob Thompson arranged and Malcolm Lockyer conducted album would feature Bing in a more traditional album, Holiday In Europe. Which is Bing’s European themed version of a travel album. The album was released in 1962 by Decca after being recorded in October of ‘60 and May of ‘61. It features European songs with some of the lyrics on some of the songs were written by Bing himself. He would overdub to the orchestral track on this album, but would still be a successful album quality wise. This album his been released by SEPIA last year with 14 bonus tracks including a session track. I find myself to enjoy this album quite a bit.

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...

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