Great Moments With Bing Crosby and Friends

by: Bing Crosby/the Charioteers/Connie Boswell

This two-and-a-half-hour collection of airchecks spans 13 years of Bing Crosby's radio career, 1937-1950, and is drawn largely from his stints as host of the Kraft Music Hall and Philco Radio Time series. For the most part, Crosby sings, always accompanied by John Scott Trotter & His Orchestra, often by a vocal group. There are also moments of banter with announcer Ken Carpenter, including commercials for Kraft and Philco. And there are duets and trios with many guest stars, among them Connee Boswell ("Hut-Sut Song," "Manhattan," "Between 18th and 19th on Chestnut Street"), Peggy Lee ("Maybe You'll Be There," "I've Got a Crush on You"), Louis Armstrong ("Lazy Bones"), Judy Garland ("Connecticut," "Maybe It's Because"), and Bob Hope ("Put It There, Pal"). Crosby collectors will want to seek the set out because of the large number of songs Crosby sings here for which he never made commercial recordings: "Hut-Sut Song," "Maybe You'll Be There," "Sentimental Journey," "Lazy Bones," "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," "Night Train to Memphis," "Thank Your Lucky Stars," "I Used to Love You But It's All Over Now," "Whistle While You Work," "Maybe It's Because," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "Maria Elena," and the closing song, "Goodnight Irene," featuring special lyrics and sung by Crosby, Garland, and Hope. While Crosby's recordings and films remain readily available, his radio work -- to which he devoted much of his time during his career -- is not as well remembered, and this collection helps remedy that. The non-chronological (and virtually random) sequencing may give nostalgic listeners pause due to the conflicting historical references, but the bounty of special performances makes the album valuable. ~ William Ruhlmann

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