The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings (1954-56) (#245)

Mosaic Records Limited Edition Box Set


The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings (1954-56) (#245)
"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


A Treasure Discovered!

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 BingCrosby:
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

  • Booklet
  • Audio Quality
  • Photography
  • Sample Session Notes
Gary Giddins is among the leading jazz commentators today and the author of Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams. His extensive essay on Bing in the early '50s and the sessions contained in this set is enlightening and essential reading. The second volume of Giddins's Crosby biography, Bing Crosby: Swinging On a Star, 1940-1977, will appear in 2012.

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.


Click here to write a review

  Bing Unbound
I was hesitant to purchase this after reading the tepid review on AMG. However, Im glad I did, as it dovetails quite nicely with their Rosemary Clooney CBS Collection. What I learned after sitting down and listening to the whole set is that, like Frank Sinatra, he truly came alive in a small group. And again, just like Sinatra, he excelled at the Great American Songbook. There are only occasional missteps among the recordings. Gary Giddins liner notes are equally competent and remind people of the importance of Bing Crosby in bringing magnetic tape recording to the entertainment industry i.e. standardizing laugh tracks and sweetening, pre-recording shows. We are also treated to discussions of his personal life at the time. Informative without being intrusive. This is Bing Crosby in his prime and a worthwhile investment. Crosby is finally and posthumously freed from the trite image of him as syrupy crooner and pop singer. Crosby was and is jazz.
  Don't believe the other reviewer...Buddy Cole swings on organ!
Can't imagine why anyone would diss Buddy Cole's work on organ; if you'd like to hear one of the most amazing albums in the world, pick up the Rosemary Clooney "Swing Around Rosie" set, which has the Buddy Cole Trio (Buddy on organ throughout) as backup; if you can find a more fun (and isn't that what jazz is, overall, supposed to be?) jazz vocal album, I'd love to know about it! And while you're at it, don't forget to buy this set...just fabulous. By the way, Mosaic, how about a "Mosaic Singles" edition of the two LPs ("Some Fine Old Chestnuts" and "New Tricks") which used some of the tracks from these sessions, along with other great recordings from the same copies of those LPs are getting a bit tired, elderly, and worn (thank goodness for open-reel, cassette, and now CD-R)!
  Bing's Great - Buddy Cole's terrible
Had I known that Mr. Cole would be constantly switching between piano, celeste and the most awful, cafeteria-style organ playing (for those who remember cafeterias with organ players), I would have reconsidered this set. What made Cole think his cheesy organ fills were good accompaniments? Did Bing allow his band to do drugs while playing? Anyway, Bing is great. Don't miss the Collector's Choice CD of Bing and Rosie on these same radio shows. They swing a lot more than these.
  Great set - Get it
Prior to this set, when I thought of Bing Crosby, I thought of his Christmas albums and the many greatest hits cds you see all over. No more. This set highlights the talent that made Bing famous in the first place. Bing sings a cross section of the American songbook with real enthusiasm and imagination. Add to this great backing musicians and the professionalism and attention to quality which is the hallmark of Mosaic sets.
  A Cornerstone
This set was my first purchase from Mosaic in December of 2009. I'd heard about Mosaic's reputation and penchant for exceptional re-mastering of quality music. Jazz fans marvel at the sturdy boxes, the simple yet handsome booklets which accompany the set and provide a wealth on information, etc. etc. This set delivers in all of these departments. Gary Giddins' notes on Crosby are a great read and concise. And then there's the music itself: the most relaxed and free that I've ever heard Crosby. Let's put it this way: I used to write him off as a main influence of Sinatra (my deity, who is himself deserving of the Mosaic treatment), but far too old fashioned. Listening to his gentle yet playful swinging backed by trio or quartet, and I finally understand the master that was Der Bingle. A must buy.
  Like an Aging Baseball Player
Like an aging baseball player who has lost speed on his fast ball, Bing Crosby had developed so many other facets in his technique that by the 1950's he was better than ever. This is a splendid album, especially for those who think he only sang slow ballads and Holiday-oriented songs after he turned 50. Others below have noted the great sound and presence of the entire album. As with all Mosaic products, the booklet is highly infomative. One can hope that Gary Giddins, who wrote most of the text, will give adequate space in Volume 2 of his great Crosby biography to the contents of this album. (It is due out in 2012.) I found the small group acompanying Bing to be unobtrusive and supporting. His singing was the sum of many parts. The more you listen to him on this album, the more you will realize this fact. Don Seitas; Mill Valley, CA
  Masterful !
It was said that Bing's songs were "musical comfort-food." How very true that is. This collection is comforting in a somewhat different way. Whereas Bing's more popular genre catalogue evokes musical imagery of a time that will never again be, this collection is, perhaps, the most timeless of Crosby's work. It is of such high recording quality that it literally almost sounds as if it could have been recorded circa 1980. Anyone who enjoys the musical comfort-food of Crosby will find themselves one day needlessly uncomfortable if they do not buy this set.
  Album Bing Crosby1923 to 1928 4 records 10"
It is Decca Records Stardust album of bing Crosby ,Album # A-678. If any one knows what it is worth please let me know.the album is black ,blue and has his picture on it,and 1 song is stardust,Deep purple,moonlight and Shadows. PLease if the collectters now any thing about this please let me know . Thanks again. Thanks
  Yes, Bing was a jazz singer.
If anyone ever doubted that Bing was a jazz singer, this set certainly proves that he definitely was. Just listen to his whistle solos on "Honeysuckle Rose" or "Sunday". They rank right up there with the best jazz solos ever recorded. Wonderful set, Mosaic! Finally, Bing takes his rightful spot.
  what a set
If you are a fan of Bing and ever wondered if there was anything "new" out there other than a different "greatest hits" disc,the answer is YES! Here is a set of tunes sung by Bing that will no doubt make you smile. I've been a Bing fan for years and it is rare to find something new. The best part of these recordings is the exceptional sound of the transfers.They sound as if bing recorded them yesterday.He is in fine form on all of these tunes.The small group of Buddy Cole lets Bings voice really shine through.I'm sure there are many fans who have been listening to Bing longer than I have,but I think we would all agree that playing this set of discs at a "decent" volume is as close as you can get to having Bing in your living room.The care that was taken to transfer the tapes to disc is obvious.Everyone involved in this project deserves a standing ovation.PLEASE go back to that vault and see if there are any more gems left to be discovered!!!
  A Revelation!
What a tremendous set this is! As a long-time Sinatra/Bennett/Cole fan I knew of Bing's reputation, and his admiration by singers like Sinatra & Armstrong, but I'd never heard much that excited me, until now. This is wonderful jazz singing all the way around. Bing's voice has such an incredible likeableness to it, warm and conversational. The songs and the arrangements are first rate as well. I can hardly overstate how much I would recommend this set to any serious fan of jazz/popular singing. It is already among my favorites.
  It's like listening to melted chocolate
It is hard to say something that has not been said, but I think my amazement at opening this set was the sound. The way Crosby positioned himself at the mic helped, but the transfers are amazing. I have come to the conclusion that both Crosby and sinatra during the 50s could have recorded an album of swearwords and I would have bought it. In Crosby's case, it's like listening to a vocal cello. The quartet backing is perfect to hear his voice gliding over the rhythm; no strings or big arrangements get in the way. Today's singers would do a lot to learn from Crosby's phrasing, even on a simple rather bland tune of "Keep it gay." I will hopefully write a paper on this material soon enough. Dave C. Bahr
  Bing Crosby- The King of Pop Revealed In A New Light!
This is perhaps one of the most significant collection of Bing's work I have heard in many years. With well over 2,000 commercial recordings, Mosaic has done something remarkable with this 7 CD set. These recordings are absolutely crystal clear as if the man himself with the capable Buddy Cole was in your living room. Over 160 songs, many never commercially released by Bing, heard for the first time in over 50 years and sounding as fresh as the day these recording were made. Bing is so relaxed on these sets that he glides from one tune to another demonstrating why he charted over 380 times and had 41 million plus sellers. The up tunes, the ballads, and so many other songs reveal that he was truly the every man of the Great American Songbook. He could sing any song and sing it well and this great collection is a bargain when you consider that this is a limited edition and while it took Bing's widow and kids 30 years to do something to help us remember Bing in a tangible way, I was delighted with this purchase and highly recommend it. Great songs sung by the finest singer and entertainer of the 20th century.
  A Must For Collectors!
This is perhaps one of the most incredible collections of Bing's efforts in the mid 1950's where he clearly demonstrates he still has the chops to be America's First Citizen of Popular Music. The quality of the transfers is exceptional and Bing's voice along with Buddy Cole & Company's nice assist makes this a truly remarkable package which is a value at any price. I highly recommend this set to anyone who collects Bing or wants to learn why he was the most popular recording artist of the 20th century charting over 380 times over the course of 50 years in the business.
  Mr. Rhythm
This set is making me see Bing Crosby in his full stature for the very first time. He was not only a historical innovator during the 1920s and early 30s, but a *creative musician* whose best postwar work remains fresh and vital. His reworkings of the "as-written" time values and syncopations on the songs in this Mosaic set are often nothing short of stunning; he obviously had an amazingly elastic sense of time. Once you get past the first couple of sessions (which are at least very good), things really start to cook, both on the rhythm tunes and ballads. I can't believe this material went largely unissued for over 50 years. To answer the question, "was Bing Crosby really a jazz singer?" - the answer is an unqualified "yes!" Highly recommended.
  A real surprise
I never knew Bing Crosby was so loose! What a great sense of rhythm and a KILLER low register sound in his voice!. It's too bad today's keyboards weren't around at the time of these sessions, sometimes the organ sounds like something out of a funeral home. The arangements would sound much better played on a contemporary instrument. I've never been disappointed by a Mosaic set and this is no exception. (I'm only miffed that the tracks on these CDs aren't in CDDB iTunes database, I want to put these cuts on my iPod!) Guess I'll have to start checking out some of Bings other non-Xmas records. I didn't realize he was so great till I got this set.
  Outstanding singing, outstanding sound
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. This Mosaic package easily takes its place alongside "Fancy Meeting You Here" and "Bing With a Beat" as some of Crosby's most artistically satisfying 1950s work. "Moonglow," "I'm Confessin" and dozens more are here, serving as ageless reminders that Bing Crosby was simply one of the finest pop-jazz singers of all time. Regarding the Buddy Cole Trio backings: as a former pianist/organist, I can attest that Buddy Cole commanded tremendous respect among other keyboard pros. If you aren't demanding the jazz chops of Jimmy Smith, Wild Bill Davis or Bill Doggett and can appreciate fine technical command, you will hear some outstanding pop Hammond organ playing on many of these sides. I enjoy different schools of jazz ranging from Dixie/trad to West Coast cool, but I want to thank Mosaic for issuing this Bing Crosby set and embracing a more catholic approach to what constitutes a "jazz" or "jazz influenced" reissue.
I am amazed at the quality of these recordings: clean, bright, clear-as-a-bell, with scarcely a hint of tape hiss. Sounds like they were recorded a decade ago rather than 50+ years ago. How did Mosaic do it? Bing Crosby is in fine voice; and his interpretations of the songs are admirable. My only quibble is with the backup of Buddy Cole, who often sounds less than inspired; and his use of an old electronic Hammond organ is sometimes annoying. But there is so much good material on these discs, that I can sincerely recommend them to anyone who loves good singing.

The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings (1954-56) (#245)
The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings (1954-56) (#245)
Limited Edition: 20,000 copies
7 CDs - $119.00

Customer Reviews:

"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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