Few names in what has been curiously called 'pop' music (basically a meaningless term: 'popular music', what the hell does that mean?) have stood out more than crooner Bing Crosby's. This CD, a deluxe reissue from the very cool Collectors' Choice Music label, an enterprise that meritoriously took up where Rhino has tended to leave off in such matters, demonstrates why the guy was huge in his day, making movie after movie, teaming with Bob Hope, getting his own radio shows, and issuing many best-selling LPs. Collectors' Choice, however, hasn't just reissued this Latin flavored disc but added a gigantic 16 cuts to the original 10.
Collectors love versions, and the first 10 bonus tracks here are the alternate mono versions of the 1960 release, earlier shelved for the stereo collection and available for the first time now. The LP was arranged and conducted by Billy May, as were the mono versions, but the remainder feature Buddy Cole & His Trio, and many of the cuts are internal twofers, two songs doubled up into one. As was so often the case with pop music back then, much of the material is a matter of classics, standards, and Tin Pan Alley.
Crosby is in top form here, smooth, mellow, and sonorous. The band swings gently, punctuated in multiple levels arranged extremely well, and the listener is treated to a more anglo take on cha cha, samba, salsa, and various Latino flavors. For fans of swing, big band, Vegas, show tunes, and the forum of styles the WWII generation grew up with, this is a bonanza, complete with a booklet historying the whole enchilada with extensive information. But to anyone in love with the modalities of south of the border sonorities, we have a cornucopia here that ties recent resurgences in interest back to the time when our parents were laying an ear to a ferment of jazz, blues, Cubano (hey! is that Ricky Ricardo I see peering over the shoulder of a certain pipe-smoking singer as he inspects his charts?), E-Z Listening, and other forms just as the rockers (Holly, Orbison, etc.) were getting ready to shift gears for the British Invasion. El Señor Bing, then, is a moment caught in time before the wavefront hit.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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