Going Hollywood, Vol. 3: 1940-1944

by: Bing Crosby

Having reached its third two-CD set, Jasmine's Going Hollywood series of Bing Crosby recordings associated with the singer's film appearances remains an enjoyable, if at times perplexing, group of compilations. Compiler Geoff Milne presents a combination of performances culled from the actual motion picture soundtracks and studio recordings Crosby made of songs he also sang onscreen. It's just hard to figure out why Milne picks one over the other, and he offers no comment on his criteria. As it is here, in a selection that traces Crosby's film career from 1940's Road to Singapore to 1946's Road to Utopia (actually completed in 1944, but put on the shelf). Of the 58 tracks, 37 are soundtrack excerpts, 20 are Decca Records studio takes, and one is a radio aircheck. There is no mystery about Milne's decisions in the case of 13 of those soundtrack performances, since there are no corresponding Crosby studio versions for them. These, perhaps most valuable to Crosby collectors, include two songs that were deleted from their respective films before release and are therefore quite rare: "Beware," a song intended for Rhythm on the River on which Crosby affectionately refers to John Scott Trotter, his radio bandleader, here playing piano, as a pachyderm, and "Kinda Peculiar Brown," intended for Dixie. Elsewhere, there is no discernible pattern for where Milne has chosen a soundtrack or a studio take. One can only assume he is making his judgments on a case-by-case basis, deciding, for example, that the movie version of "Too Romantic" is to be preferred over the studio one because of the presence of Dorothy Lamour, or that the sole radio performance of "Sunday, Monday or Always" is better than either the movie take or the a cappella studio recording. Or maybe the choices are to some extent dictated by time limitations, since the set runs close to two and a half hours. In any case, Crosby-philes may get just as much pleasure out of quibbling about what's here as they will out of listening to the album. ~ William Ruhlmann

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