Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

November 16, 2017

BING CROSBY, “GOOD & RARE, Volume 3” (Sepia UK, CD)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 5:40 pm

BING CROSBY, “Good & Rare, Volume 3” (Sepia Records, UK, CD, issued 2016)


During his 50-year recording career Bing Crosby made a staggering number of recordings, a figure made even more impressive when one factors in his decades of radio broadcasts. Crosby also recorded a staggering variety of music during those years, reflecting not only his wide and diverse tastes but also his desire to satisfy different audiences…and also as a singer who worked in a wide variety of formats, and like Elvis, he was someone who recorded many songs for each of his many films. This was also a period when a song that looked to become a hit would be recorded by a number of vocalists, each bringing his/her unique spin to it (and, from a business perspective, looking to carve out their own piece of the pie). And let’s not forget that Crosby was an artist who recorded “concept albums” long before the term existed.

Sepia Records in the UK has done a fine job bringing back into print, in chronological order, Crosby’s  lesser-known late 40’s and early-to-mid 50’s recordings in 10 separate volumes, and those volumes were cherry-picked for quality rarities in the first two GOOD & RARE albums. Thus, I was quite pleasantly surprised when getting this album and finding out that it was NOT another trawl through the 50’s Decca obscurities, but instead a 30-year collection of super-rarities, all fascinating and many of them being demos with just a pianist and a guitarist. I’ve included some brief comments on each track below to let you know its origin. For the Crosby aficionado, this album is one rare treat after another. For the Crosby novice–and probably most regular readers of this blog do not actively collect Crosby recordings or listen to his radio shows in their spare time, I’m guessing–this collection is a fine cross-section of odds’n’sods which should show anyone the mastery that Crosby brought to his performances in any era. Do I even need to say that Crosby is surely the only human being who recorded with both Bix Beiderbecke and David Bowie?

Those who’d like to explore Crosby’s body of work further without spending any money can go three places:

A. The Crosby family website (at offers a Crosby Internet Radio, which you can put on while working or washing the dishes or whatever and get a steady stream of Crosby

B. You can listen to Arne Fogel’s stunning radio show THE BING SHIFT (to be found at….Fogel is THE Crosby fan and archivist, so the show is dedicated to DEEP cuts from Crosby’s 50 year recording career….it’s also featured at the Crosby Family website

C. You can listen to and download a few years worth of the early 60’s BING CROSBY AND ROSEMARY CLOONEY (George’s aunt) daily radio show, which was (along with YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR) one of the last shows on CBS radio…Bing and Rosie were not only people who loved working together, they were close friends, and the warmth and good humor and affection between the two is a joy to hear….as are the small group musical performances under the musical direction of keyboard player Buddy Cole (in his own right, a lounge music legend, who is here what my late mother would have called “jazzy”–as opposed to hardcore “jazz”)….on each show, Bing usually takes one song solo, Rosie takes one song solo, there’s one duet, and there’s an instrumental number from Buddy, all held together by the banter between Bing and Rosie and announcer Ken Carpenter (who’s kind of in the Don Wilson vein)….here is a link to 220+ twenty-minute episodes

For about ten dollars you can also get the album itself, which includes superb notes from Crosby authority Malcolm MacFarlane (author of BING CROSBY DAY TO DAY and also an Oxford University Press volume on Rosemary Clooney’s late-period career). Here’s the link to Sepia’s listing for the album:

1. OL’ MAN RIVER (1928, alternate take, w/ Paul Whiteman Orch.)
2. POOR LITTLE G-STRING (1929, unused film recording)
3. SONG OF THE DAWN (the song Bing would have sung in the King of Jazz film–it was sung by John Boles instead–had he not spent the night before in jail!)
4. A BENCH IN THE PARK (1930 radio recording with Rhythm Boys)
5. EVERYTHING’S AGREED UPON (1930 radio recording with Rhythm Boys)
6. AFTER SUNDOWN (alternate tk of song from ‘Going Hollywood’, w/ Marion Davies)
7. LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEART (1934, alternate take)
8. RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET (1935, alternate take)
9. IT’S EASY TO REMEMBER (1936, from the film Mississippi, with W. C. Fields, this is the film version, not the Decca record version)
10. THE MOON GOT IN MY EYES (1937, trio demonstration record)
11. ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS DANCE (1937, trio demonstration record)
12. LAUGH AND CALL IT LOVE (Demo Version A)
13. LAUGH AND CALL IT LOVE (Demo Version B)
14. WHERE IS CENTRAL PARK? (1938 demo, written for but not used in Sing You Sinners)
15. BEWARE! I’M BEGINNING TO CARE (1939 demo, written for but not used in East Side of Heaven)
16. EAST SIDE OF HEAVEN (demo for title song from film, quite different from Decca version)
17. SING A SONG OF SUNBEAMS (demo of song used in East Side of Heaven)
18. WHEN THE MOON COMES OVER MADISON SQUARE (1940 demo of song used in Rhythm on the River)
19. DUKE THE SPOOK (1943 private recording for military flyers)
20. SONG OF THE SEVENTH AIRFORCE  (1944 private recording for military flyers)
21. SONG OF THE FIFTH MARINES (1944 private recording for Marines)
22. NIGHT AND DAY (1944 alternate version of the Cole Porter song)
25. MOUNTAIN GREENERY (23-24-25 are all alternate versions of songs from the 1956 album “Bing Sings While Bregman Swings”)

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