Sunday, March 27, 2022


In 1942, Bing Crosby’s “Deep in the Heart of Texas” lodged itself deep in the hearts of Texans and just about everyone else. The horn-heavy ditty painted a pretty picture of the Lone Star State, with its “big and bright” stars at night and “wide and high” prairie sky; and the chorus even featured a few infectious hand claps. In fact, the song was so popular that it bordered on infamy.

“You don’t know your hymns like you ought to. You don’t try to know ’em,” a Tennessee pastor scolded his congregants in July 1942. “But every last one of you can sing with perfection ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas,’ hand-clapping and all.”

A decade later, the catchy track was still causing mild societal issues—this time, across the pond. When the BBC broadcast it during a “music-while-you-work” program, factory employees couldn’t resist the urge to partake in the clap-happy chorus.

“Some hammered enthusiastically with their tools on anything handy—generally expensive machinery. Others were so busy clapping they forgot to perform some essential operation as the assembly belt went by,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in November 1952.

To prevent such pandemonium from happening again, the BBC banned the tune from the program. “Deep in the Heart of Texas” wasn’t the only jaunty song added to that particular do-not-play list. In general, the BBC was exasperated with American songwriters for churning out so many hits with interactive elements—“whistles, shouts, shots, handclaps, and other effects”—that could harm workplace productivity...

Sunday, March 13, 2022


St. Patrick's Day is a compilation album of phonograph records by Bing Crosby released in 1947 featuring songs with an Irish theme. This includes one of Crosby's most-beloved songs, "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral" which was number four on Billboard for 12 weeks, and topped the Australian charts for an entire month, on shellac disc record. This version, the 1945 re-recording, was released earlier in another Crosby album, Selections from Going My Way.

Billboard liked it:Aiming at maximum holiday sales, this package of five platters brings together 10 Erin faves cut at varying times by Bing Crosby, getting vocal assist on some of the sides from the Jesters and the King's Men, while the music making belongs to Bob Haggart, Victor Young and John Scott Trotter. Der Bingle in good Erin form for each of the sides and song selections are tops ... Photo of the smiling Bing on the album cover, with notes on the singer and the songs in the accompanying booklet.

Down Beat was not impressed however saying:Bing's album, despite his usual graceful ease of interpretation, lacks his old fullness of voice. If Crosby is going to keep on making records with his evident sloppiness and lack of interest, it would be better if he would stop now and let his millions of fans remember him by his older and far better discs.

The album quickly reached No. 3 in Billboard's best-selling popular record albums chart in March 1947 and was still selling well the following year when it reached No. 1 in the same chart on 20 March 1948. It was 18th in the annual chart of top selling record albums for 1948.
Original track listing

These previously issued songs were featured on a 5-disc, 78 rpm album set, Decca Album No. A-495.

Disc 1 (23495):
A. "McNamara's Band"
B. "Dear Old Donegal" 

Disc 2 (23786):
A. "Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy's Chowder?" George L. Giefer December 6, 1945 the Jesters, and Bob Haggart and His Orchestra 2:27
B. "It's the Same Old Shillelagh" Pat White December 6, 1945 the Jesters, and Bob Haggart and His Orchestra 2:44

Disc 3 (23787):
A. "Did Your Mother Come From Ireland?" 
B. "Where the River Shannon Flows" 

Disc 4 (23788):
A. "The Rose of Tralee" 
B. "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" 
Disc 5 (23789):

A. "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral" 
B. "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" 

Saturday, March 5, 2022


According to The Hollywood Reporter, Crosby played semipro baseball as a young man, and that enduring love of the game manifested as a $2.25 million buy-in for a 25% stake of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1946. (He likely would have become a baseball owner years earlier; 1944 marked the death of baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who steadfastly refused to allow anyone from horse racing, which he considered shady, from getting involved.)

The biggest moment in Crosby's tenure: The Pirates played in the 1960 World Series, which they stretched to a seventh and decisive game. Crosby, who had a knack for attending games that the Pirates lost, considered himself something of a curse on the team, so he skipped Game Seven and asked an employee to make a kinescope (a pre-videotape recording method) of the game. The Pirates won when Bill Mazeroski hit a home run at the very end of what's been nicknamed "The Best Game Ever," and no recordings of it were thought to have survived ... until 2010, when that well-preserved kinescope was found in the wine cellar of Crosby's old estate...