When listening to this CD, it'll be hard to picture the reality that the LP was never released in its own time, in fact making its debut here and now. The history is weird, set forth in the accompanying booklet, so I won't go too far into it, but it took Crosby archivist Robert Bader to locate the masters for a buried rumor that even collectors and aficionados weren't sure really existed in any form whatsoever, doubting it had even been attempted. Leave it to Collectors' Choice Music, then, to bring the sing-along gem to the public finally.
The band and background singing elements had been recorded in England and shipped to America for Crosby's dub-in but abandoned despite what appears to have been fairly serious considerations. For decades, then, controversy floated among the fans, but nothing concrete could ever be pointed to until Bader decided to put the matter to rest, searching high and low before finally finding a box with Crosby's voice alone and in which could faintly be heard, through the crooner's headphones, the Brit set-up tracks that allowed the melding of the two and ushered forth the creation of this CD. Thus, amid an Olympian task of re-presenting the gent who basically influenced Sinatra, Bennet, Williams, and a whole generation of pop singers, we're being treated to a history that never quite happened! Ponder the irony of that.
Mitch Miller. If you're old enough, you'll recall that name. I do. Born in '53, I distinctly remember the immensely popular Sing Along programs that I and the family awaited weekly along with the Ed Sullivan, Red Skelton, and other entertainment. The entire sing-along concept is now hopelessly corny, but, in the day, it sold like a fiend: Miller had 23 Top 40 LPs, 16 of which sold a million or more copies! Thus, Crosby decided to capitalize on the idea and the emotional aspect of On the Sentimental Side features tracks he'd long chrished, from the traditional My Bonnie up to the Irving Berlin compositions he was the cardinal interpreter of.
Mr. Bader completed compositing the cuts for the original LP (featuring the Ivor Raymond Orchestra & Chorus) just this year (2010) and then 5 additional tracks were added with the imperishable Buddy Cole group behind Crosby. I don't know why this event didn't make the cover of Rolling Stone (well, actually I do, and you don't want to hear my view of that rag; it's quite impolite), Goldmine (which has recently become even more pathetic than it traditionally has been) or, hell, even People or Entertainment Weekly, but it didn't. Repair that deficit and check into this unusual item. It's not his best, it's certainly not his worst (is there such a thing?), but it's definitely a hallmark of bygone times and, as items like this are surfacing more and more as influencers of the 'weird folk' movement, you just might find yourself more into it than you'd expected.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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