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

I’ve always appreciated Bing Crosby. I appreciate how he revolutionized pop singing. Without Crosby, there’d be no Sinatra, Eckstine or Bennett. I appreciate his relaxed, pitch-perfect style and enjoy his jazz-oriented albums like “Bing With A Beat” and “Bing & Satchmo.”

So when Robert S. Bader of Bing Crosby Enterprises came by Mosaic one day with the idea that Mosaic would be the perfect vehicle to release a mountain of previously unreleased studio recordings by Bing with Buddy Cole & His Trio made for Crosby’s 1954-56 CBS radio program, I was very interested. The idea of tapping into uncompromising material without commercial trappings by great singers who’ve experienced great success has always intrigued me. It led me to explore and release Capitol transcription sessions by Nat Cole, June Christy and Peggy Lee.

To me, Bing Crosby recording great songs he’d never recorded by the likes of Cole Porter, Fats Waller and the Gershwins with just a quartet backing was too enticing to ignore.

But I was unprepared for what I experienced a week later when Bader sent me CDRs of all the material to review and choose from. I took them home on a Friday night. The following morning, I popped in the first CD. It started with fare in keeping with Crosby’s pop success like Irving Berlin’s Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep” but I was drawn into the real genius of Crosby – his immaculate pitch and his relaxed but deliberate phrasing with the lyric. Clearly, this man didn’t take his gift lightly; he worked at his art. Before long, he was digging into jazz favorites like “I Want To Be Happy” and “Keepin’ Out Of Mischief Now” and I was hooked, mesmerized by his artistry and command.

After a massive dose of Bing Crosby, I got it! My appreciation turned to awe.

Michael Cuscuna

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