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The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings (1954-56) (#245)Mosaic Records Limited Edition Box Set
"Like buried treasure reclaimed from the past, this remarkable set is like no other Bing Crosby collection ever released. Here is the great crooner and a quartet led by his longtime accompanist Buddy Cole, occasionally augmented by a few wind instruments, in a thesaurus of 160 songs recorded in the most informal of circumstances at 16 sessions, during a period (1954-56) when Bing was in exceptionally good voice." - Gary Giddins, liner notes
Limited Edition: 20,000 copies
7 CDs - $119.00
Bing Crosby changed singing forever. He was fortunate to introduce his artistry to singing as one element of a perfect storm that included significant advancements in microphone and music recording technology. Singers could perform more intimately, more conversationally, with greater latitude for the singer to incorporate subtle nuances.
He became the world's first "king of all media" (when "all" meant music recordings, radio and movies) and the vast popularity of his records rivals those by Elvis and the Beatles.
Radio Masters - Collections Never Before On Record
Yet, despite reissue after reissue, and numerous greatest hits compilations and collections, one entire treasure trove of his musical output has remained almost completely forgotten, until now. The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings 1954-56 presents, for the first time complete, 160 masters recorded with Buddy Cole for Bing's daily CBS radio show from 1954 to 1956. Aside from 16 tracks that found their way onto LP, the vast majority of the jazz tracks have been locked in Crosby's vault for more than 50 years, making this one of the collections fans don't want to miss.
An added bonus is that, relieved of the need to create music that could lead to identifiable hit records, Bing could select any song he chose to sing. After all, it was "just for the radio." The result is that the collection is a virtual catalog of the Great American Songbook, featuring numbers from Broadway, film, Tin Pan Alley, the blues, and well-known jazz standards.
Loose and Hip
For listeners more familiar with Bing Crosby the pop artist, these collection is not lush, orchestrated easy-listening affairs. Stripped down to a jazz quartet, these songs sound loose and hip, more like the Bing that thrilled earlier Jazz Era fans who were blown away not only by his vocal abilities but also by his concept of the vocalist's role in interpreting music.
With big band music out of fashion, Bing Crosby's interest in recording in front of a small combo helped these songs achieve a more modern feel, with swinging interplay between singer and band more evident than on many of his commercial recordings. There may be no better way to appreciate how many components of singing he controlled - his breathing, how he created resonance, how he could switch from hitting hard to whispering, his command of slurring and enunciation, and his hip approach to comedy and novelty.
Crosby himself reigned supreme for more than half a century. By the time of the performances on this collection, he held enough power that he could demand the opportunity to record his 15-minute radio show, even though the networks and sponsors would have preferred a live broadcast. The joke was that Bing could record twenty shows in a week and spend the rest of the month on the golf course, but by pre-recording the show he and Buddy Cole had the opportunity to perfect the recordings in the studio. Their process was to lay down a number of music tracks quickly - sometimes four, six, or as many as 20, keeping them loose, relaxed, jazz-inflected and spontaneous.
For his part, Buddy Cole, who shared Bing' Crosbys interest in working with new technology, contributed arrangements that are a big part of why this collection will communicate with jazz listeners. His partners on these dates were Vince Terri on guitar, Don Whitacker on bass, and Nick Fatool on drums, and they were adept at every style Bing wanted to conquer. Most of these songs were not otherwise recorded by Crosby. They include "The Lady is a Tramp," "I Got Rhythm," "'S Wonderful," "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," "My Baby Just Cares For Me," and too many others to mention.
For Mosaic's release, the jazz recordings have been meticulously restored from the original tape sources. Our deluxe box set collection includes an exclusive booklet, with a new essay and track-by-track appreciation by Gary Giddins, many photos form Bing's career, and all that swinging music.
Read More About Bing Crosby:
Track Listing, Personnel & Recording Dates »
"For many of us, those records have long stood out as defining moments in an outstanding window of time when Bing seemed on the verge of luminous renewal as a recording artist…This set increases the mid-50s Crosby trove exponentially. More than half a century has passed, but this is an inheritance that was well worth waiting for.” – Gary Giddins, edited from liner notes
- Audio Quality
- Sample Session Notes
Crosby expert Martin McQuade contributes a fascinating essay on the evolutuion of tape recording and Crosby's pivotal role in it as an entrepreneur and visionary. McQuade has curated Crosby exhibits and retrospectives at Hofstra University, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and other prestigious organizations. He co-wrote with Peter Hammar "Bing Crosby's Magnetic Tape Revolution" (University Of Rochester Press).
These performances were taped in a recording studio on fifteen occasions during 1954-56. The versions that were put into the radio show and broadcast were dubbed from the original tapes and often edited. Producer/archivist Robert S. Bader dug deep into the vaults to eventually find the original session reels with the full versions in pristine condition. Bob McKenny was the original recording engineer and blend and sound he achieved on these sessions is superb.
Photo Copyright © Protected
The photographs for this booklet were drawn from Bing Crosby's vast personal archive of photographs and documents.
(F) June 20, 1955 – (O) August 23, 1956
At this point, it’s time to turn this splendid set over to the listener, if only because with the June 20 session, an unmistakable consistency settles in as Bing and the quartet find precisely the right level of inspiration. You get a sense of the heightened interaction as Bing revises the lyric on Nice Work if You Can Get It to comment on Buddy’s two-handed arpeggio, and croons the first 16 bars of How Long Has This Been Going On with just piano accompaniment. You hear it in the give-and-take between them on Deed I Do, and in the solid embellishments with which Bing saves Cocktails for Two, a song born to be parodied, and personalizes Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Vince Terri breaks out a bit on this, too). The Cole Porter songs merit particular mention, as Bing invariably gets a kick out of the witty lyrics, even if he does change cocaine to perfume in I Get a Kick Out of You; It’s All Right with Me, in particular, is one of the gems of the collection—a sublime, conversational approach backed by a terrifically inventive quartet arrangement, complete with a rubato interlude for the vocalist. True, a few of the newer songs are hopeless; no one could salvage Wake the Town and Tell the People, a 1955 hit for one Mindy Carson, or would choose to revive Blue Star, the theme to the Richard Boone television series Medic, which brought a modicum of success to singer Felicia Sanders. Yet these are few and far between, and as 1956 dawned, Bing basically said to hell with them.
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"For starters, the audio quality is nothing short of stunning; the original recordings were brilliantly engineered over 50 years ago, giving Bing's voice an almost palpable presence. But it's his masterful interpretations of Great American Songbook classics that set this collection apart."
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