Bringing the Hawaii-centered Bing Crosby release back from its 1963 debut, this time with 6 bonus tracks blended in, Collectors' Choice Music has added the title to its ongoing resurrection of the Crosby canon. Whereas Bing's latin venture, El Señor Bing (here), boasted Billy May in the arranging seat, Return to Paradise Islands inducted the enormously popular (for 50 years!) Nelson Riddle for a more pastoral sound. Riddle was ever Romantic, lush, and as much with his killer work with Linda Ronstadt in the 80s as with Crosby in the 50s. This release is no exception to his legacy.
For the added tracks, Buddy Cole & His Trio make another appearance, as they had in the El Señor bonuses, one cut a false start on Return to Paradise with studio chatter, a peek into what goes on in the studio as records are made. Probably the most interesting aspect of the variegated Crosby ethnic releases was the fact that the crooner was genuinely fond of the musics he embraced. None of this effort was a matter of pandering to fad or trying to broaden out the fan base, Bingo truly dug the styles he edged up to.
And it may be that the Buddy Cole cuts reveal this even more. They brim over with more swing than Nelson mustered, and Crosby seems significantly more galvanized. This doesn't speak pejoratively of the Riddle numbers, which were meant to be almost baroque in their balladry, but there's a vim and pep to the Cole materials that doesn't much arise in the classic LP proper. Hawaiian music has always carried a lot of the cherished mello-tones that made singers like Crosby and Tormé famous—hell, a lot of slack key music is purest wistful sentimentality—so the affinity was natural the and result very very popular back in the day. Whether this reissuance will fit in with the small renaissance of interest in Hawaiian modes remains to be seen, but it certainly is nice to have it available for the opportunity.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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