Hit the Road With Bing and Bob: From Bali to Zanzibar

by: Bing Crosby/Bob Hope

Neatly issued between Bing Crosby's centenary (May 3, 2003) and Bob Hope's 100th birthday (May 29, 2003), this two-disc set excerpts the musical moments from the first six of Crosby and Hope's "road" pictures, Road to Singapore (1940), Road to Zanzibar (1941), Road to Morocco (1942), Road to Utopia (1945), Road to Rio (1947), and Road to Bali (1952). (Geoff Milne's liner notes conveniently forget the existence of The Road to Hong Kong [1962], which is not yet available to repackagers like Jasmine Records since it is still under copyright in Europe and they would have to license the material and thus pay for using it, if they could even get permission.) The tracks are drawn from the actual soundtracks, so that the music is often interrupted by comic dialogue. Crosby, of course, gets the lion's share of the singing, and his personal songwriting teams -- Johnny Burke and either Victor Schertzinger or James Monaco on Road to Singapore, Burke and James Van Heusen on the rest -- provide most of the tunes, several of which ("It's Always You," "Moonlight Becomes You," "Personality," "But Beautiful") became hits, though not necessarily for Crosby. Dorothy Lamour, the constant love interest in the series, is featured frequently, sometimes with her own solo songs ("You're Dangerous," "Constantly," "Personality," "Would You?," "Experience," "Moonflowers"), sometimes in duets or trios, always effectively. Hope is more comedian than singer, of course, but his duets with Crosby are some of the films' highlights, especially "The Road to Morocco" and "Put It There, Pal." And his comedy, which often spoofs the premises of the films themselves, remains hilarious. This album is no substitute for watching the movies, but it does contain the audio tracks of some of the best moments. ~ William Ruhlmann

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