The Rosemary Clooney CBS Radio Recordings 1955-61 (#258)

Mosaic Records Limited Edition Box Set

 

The Rosemary Clooney CBS Radio Recordings 1955-61 (#258)
"Clooney opened her mouth, and out came this piece of silk chiffon that hung and drifted through the air. She was not complicating the text in any way, shape, or form. The story was very clear. Musically, she just floated through the time. I went, ‘Oh, that’s how you do it!'" - Linda Ronstadt
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies

5 CDs -  $85.00

ADD TO WISHLIST

These Lost Recordings Reveal Why Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole and Art Tatum Were All Fans Of Rosemary Clooney



Jazz purists are probably busy lowering that one, arched, skeptical eyebrow right now.

But the fact is Rosemary Clooney was more than just a favorite of mass radio audiences. She was a favorite of a lot of highly respected musicians who found her easy, natural, charming approach to popular songs irresistible.

Her talent was often awash in overly-produced (and in the early days, gimmicky) middle-of-the-road material, designed to entertain suburban housewives. But her personal taste tended more toward authentic compositions by America's great songsmiths. And in a stripped-down setting, she could positively glow.

Rosemary's record producers might have reined her in with iron fists, but her good friend Bing Crosby let her record what she wanted to record for the radio shows he shared with her. And those recordings appear - most for the first time since they were broadcast -- on our new Mosaic box set, "The Rosemary Clooney CBS Radio Recordings 1955-61."

A Missing Treasure Trove Rediscovered

Twelve tracks showed up on the Coral Records LP, "Swing Around Rosie." Two additional tracks appeared as bonus material on the Japanese CD of the same title. But the rest -- 90 recordings - have never been available until this limited, collector's edition set.

With Bing's longtime musical collaborator Buddy Cole on piano, organ, and other keyboards, plus guitar, bass, and drums, they are an ideal setting for appreciating her extraordinary voice. And a lovely way to revisit some exceptional compositions by Cole Porter, Billy Strayhorn, Johnny Mercer, her friends the Gershwins, and others. Plus music made famous by Joe Bushkin, Illinois Jacquet, Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and more. With theater and cabaret numbers always popular, she could choose from Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Cy Coleman, and others. The radio shows were a blank canvas for great songs and singing.

Rosemary would be the last person to claim status as a jazz singer. She felt she didn't possess the inventiveness most jazz musicians strive to achieve. In fact, she thought her singing matched her looks - in her view, quite plain. Ordinary. Like anyone's. But that wholesomeness and straightforward approach were what made her an individual. One-of-a-kind. A genuine artist. And you know what else? The girl could swing.

Her Old Kentucky Home

Born into a troubled family in Maysville, Kentucky, she and sister Betty found a way out. Together, they became The Clooney Sisters, performing regularly on the radio in Cincinnati. Rosemary was 18, Betty just 15, when they began recording and touring with singer Tony Pastor. (Brother Nick Clooney became a newsman, columnist, TV host, documentary presenter, and more recently, an actor in his son George Clooney's feature, "The Monuments Men.") Columbia Records' A & R man, Mitch Miller, began favoring Rosemary over Betty on recordings with Pastor, and eventually, favoring her over Pastor himself. When Betty moved back home to raise horses and a family (occasionally recording and making appearances), Rosemary had the spotlight to herself.

With growing success, Rosemary got opportunities at material more to her liking. And when those songs started charting too, it became clear she was a star.

Meets an Idol, Seals Her Future

Paramount Pictures called her to test for the movies. At the studio, she met a man who was her musical idol: Bing Crosby, busy shooting "The Road to Bali" at the time. Shy and awkward, Rosemary barely knew what to say. Quiet and reserved, Crosby wasn't much warmer. But there was a bond. Almost immediately, she began appearing on his radio show. Crosby became a father figure to the girl who was 25 years younger but whose singing style was molded in his image.

Their radio collaboration was a constant despite many recording label switches. Radio suited them both. Bing could bang it out and hit the golf course. Rosemary, who was pregnant almost constantly through the era, would breeze through as many numbers as possible in a session and get back to her life. Sometimes they used the same Buddy Cole tracks for their individual renditions. (You'll find 160 of Crosby's solo tracks on Mosaic's 7-CD set, "The Bing Crosby Radio Recordings 1954-56.") Those recordings would get spread across the shows featuring Bing's and Rosemary's playful banter.

The pace probably improved the result. Without frills and fluff, you concentrate on Rosemary's voice. She shared Bing's understanding of how to use a microphone and the human vocal anatomy to create intimacy and personality in a performance. There was nothing accidental or haphazard about the mood she created with every song.

A Storyteller

And there's no question she was doing more than singing notes and words. Rosemary was an unparalleled storyteller. Her precise intonation and spot-on sense of rhythm took full advantage of any song that gave her the leeway to swing the beat and pop the lyric.

What's refreshing is, throughout her career she was self-deprecating about her talent and embarrassed by her acceptance into the musical community. It probably confused her that Ella Fitzgerald was a colleague and friend. And never dawned on her that her singing made her so very likable by fans and stars together.

Our Mosaic set includes five CDs. Transfers were from the original mono analog tapes conforming to Mosaic's typical exacting standards. Our exclusive booklet includes an essay by acclaimed biographer James Gavin and many rarely-seen photographs.



Read More About Rosemary Clooney:
Track Listing, Personnel & Recording Dates »





  • Booklet
  • Audio Quality
  • Photography
  • Sample Session Notes
MOSAIC RECORDS BOOKLET
James Gavin, an author and music journalist who has written acclaimed biographies on Lena Horne, Chet Baker and Peggy, contributes a wonderful essay on Rosemary Clooney, her life and her music. Gavin’s notes are built on a great knowledge of the American Songbook and insights gathered during his two-decade friendship with singer.
SOUND QUALITY

Robert Bader, who produced our BING CROSBY CBS RADIO RECORDINGS 1954-1956, has restored these 105 tracks from the original Bing Crosby Enterprise masters for radio. Malcolm Addey has mastered them for CD, retaining all the warm and nuance of the original sessions.
PHOTOGRAPHY

Photo Copyright © Protected
Rosemary Clooney
The Clooney family has opened up its archives on Ms. Clooney to make available to us an array of images from studio and television session to live performances and publicity shots. They convey a warm portrait of this unassuming talent.
SAMPLE RECORDING SESSION

(I) THE FORD ROAD SHOW – 1958
br> Musicians knew that her singing had deepened on every level. Clooney proved it in her last set of recordings for The Ford Road Show, which left the air in the summer of 1958. Four songs by Rodgers and Hart – “Blue Moon”, “I Wish I Was In Love Again”, “You Took Advantage Of Me”, and “This Can’t Be Love” – found her swinging in several tempos, ever attuned to Hart’s witty turns of phrase. She connected with the disillusionment of “Love, Look Away” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song, and revisited “Tenderly” with more feeling than ever.
br> Having come from rural Kentucky, Clooney could relate to Willard Robison’s “Moonlight Mississippi”. In the ‘20s and ‘30s, bandleader-songwriter Robison – born in Shelbina, Missouri – spoke wryly and movingly of backwoods American life in tunes like “Old Folks,” “Round My Old Deserted Farm,” and “Peaceful Valley.” To Buddy Cole’s soft church-organ backdrop, Clooney sings knowingly of a place where everything moves as “slow as molasses that drips from a can.”
br>”We’ll Be Together Again” touched her more deeply than almost any other song she sang on The Ford Road Show. Frankie Laine wrote the lyric in 1945 to the music of Carl Fischer, his musical director. Nine years later, Fischer was dead at 42. As she sang, Clooney thought of his girlfriend, Patti Page. “Carl’s death devastated Patti,” she recalled in 1993. “I saw this person that she loved so much taken away from her, and it was kind of a strange lesson. Carl was so young. I felt it as strongly as if it had happened to me. And indeed, it has, since then.”



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The Rosemary Clooney CBS Radio Recordings 1955-61 (#258)
The Rosemary Clooney CBS Radio Recordings 1955-61 (#258)
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies
5 CDs - $85.00


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