Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bing...Birthday!


Welcome to the annual "Bing Crosby's Birthday" blog. I know I've only been blogging since last year, but this is what you have to expect, folks. To celebrate this year we rejoice in the grand news that the 1960 album Bing and Satchmo has been released on CD. We will now pause for general rejoicing, dancing in the street and cake.

Bing and Satchmo is a grand group of songs produced by Johnny Mercer with special attention to the musical history and comradery of the two stars. Bing and Louis did their duets in a New York studio June 28 & 29 of 1960. Billy May's orchestra and the chorus did their work about a week earlier in Hollywood. Louis' trumpet solos were on a third date, yet the whole thing sounds like one grand party.

The 14 tracks include Muskrat Ramble, Sugar, Preacher, Dardanella, Let's Sing Like a Dixieland Band, Way Down Yonder in New Orleans, Brother Bill, Little Ol' Tune, At the Jazz Band Ball, Rocky Mountain Moon, Bye Bye Blues and Lazy River.

A particular favourite of mine is Dardanella written in 1919 by Fred Fisher, Felix Bernard and Johnny S. Black and making period stops on Billboard since that time. It's a dandy arrangement with bells, and a light flow from the ubiquitous background singers of the era (bless their hearts) a perfect counterpoint to the "Road"-like vocals from Bing and Satchmo.

As long as you've decided to settle down with that birthday cake, how about watching Mr. Crosby and Mr. Armstrong in Pennies from Heaven and High Society. Now, that's the way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Happy Birthday!

5 comments:

  1. Loved Bing's tone. Great straight man too. Speaking of pennies and Armstrong, do you know the film "The Five Pennies" starring Danny Kaye? That was a stupid question, wasn't it? Me, asking you if you knew of a movie! Well, I'm gonna cross my fingers and hope that you've never seen it, so that I can send you a copy of the DVD. Kaye is my favorite performer of all time. There was nothing the man couldn't do.

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  2. Brian! Of course I know that story about Red Nichols and the Five Pennies. But do I own it? No! Have I seen it in this century? No! Would I like to? I'd love to!

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  3. I recently saw "Pennies From Heaven" for the first time. Interesting movie, but highly entertaining. As for "The Five Pennies"...I, too, am a fan.

    Happy Birthday, Bing...thanks for the great post, CW!!

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  4. Email me your info and I'll mail you the DVD.

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  5. Those 2 were great together. I know in "High Society" they have a little duet. And "Gone Fishin" is another great song of theirs.

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