Tuesday, October 17, 2017

AUDIO ASPIRIN: SWEET VIOLETS

Saturday, October 14, 2017

40 YEARS AGO TODAY

The year 1977 began poorly for Bing. In March 1977, during a televised concert to celebrate his fifty years in show business, he fell backwards into an orchestra pit headfirst. He ruptured a disc in his back, and was hospitalized for a month. After recovering, he made appearances all over the world, from Norway to England to tape a Christmas special, which featured David Bowie the famous Christmas duet. After taping the special, he recorded his final album, Seasons.

Bing’s next stop was the London Palladium for a two-week engagement. Then he and his band went to Brighton where they performed their final performance on October 10. The next day Bing was a guest on the Alan Dell radio show, where he sang eight songs with the Gordon Rose Orchestra. Later that day he posed for photos for the Seasons album. The next day Bing headed for Spain to play golf and die.


On the afternoon of October 14, 1977, Bing was playing at the La Morajela golf course near Madrid, Spain. He finished 18 holes with a score of 85, and with a partner, defeated two Spanish golf pros. After his last putt, Bing bowed to applause and said, "It was a great game." He was about 20 yards from the clubhouse, when he collapsed from a massive heart attack. His three golfing companions remarked that he did not look tired and was even singing around the course, though he seemed to be favoring his left arm near the end of the game. They thought he had slipped. They carried him to the clubhouse, where a physician attempted to revive him, to no avail. Bing Crosby was dead on arrival, at the Red Cross hospital. He was 74.

A few hours after learning of her husband’s death, Kathryn issued a statement, "I can’t think of any better way for a golfer who sings for a living to finish the round." Their son Harry, 19, and the family’s former butler, Alan Fisher, flew to Spain to accompany Bing’s body back to LA.

The most widely heard voice of the 20th Century and maybe all time was silenced on that fateful day on October 14, 1977...

Friday, October 13, 2017

ATTENTION: NEW BING RELEASES

After a seemingly desert of Bing Crosby recordings, there are now two new Bing Crosby CDs coming up on the horizon. Please support these issues so there will be more...


Two New Bing Crosby CD Releases From the Bing Crosby Archive & UMe



October 14 marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of Bing Crosby. HLC Properties, Ltd., the Crosby family company, announces the release of two new entries in the Bing Crosby Archive CD series. New Tricks: 60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition and Among My Souvenirs: More Treasures from the Crosby Archive will be released on December 8, 2017, through UMe. Kathryn Crosby, Bing's widow is the executive producer of the series. She notes, "It's gratifying that forty years after Bing left us we're still able to bring both familiar and unfamiliar recordings to new generations of listeners." Bing's son Harry added, "It's very satisfying to be able to keep my father's music available, and to bring him into the digital world with such an expansive catalog. He was a pioneer on the technical side of the music industry, so it's important to keep him current. The Crosby family is very pleased to partner with UMe on this project."

The original 1957 twelve-track New Tricks LP has been freshly mastered from the original session tapes and expanded with twelve bonus tracks, including nine that have never previously been released. Bing is accompanied by Buddy Cole and His Trio, and the small group setting is a wonderful showcase for his voice on such standards as "Georgia on My Mind," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," and "Chicago." New Tricks is the fourth and final 1950s Decca Crosby LP to be reissued in the deluxe format by the Bing Crosby Archive. In 2013 Bing's first LP, Le Bing: Song Hits of Paris (1953), received the deluxe treatment. Some Fine Old Chestnuts (1954) and Songs I Wish I'd Sung the First Time Around (1956) were released in deluxe editions in 2014.

New Tricks: 60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
(Original album, remastered)
1. Alabamy Bound
2. When I Take My Sugar to Tea
3. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
4. Georgia on My Mind
5. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)
6. If I Could Be With You
7. Avalon
8. Chinatown, My Chinatown
9. You're Driving Me Crazy
10. On the Alamo
11. Chicago
12. Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise
Bonus Content:
13. Rain
14. Church Bells
15. I'll Remember Today
16. My How the Time Goes By
17. Chee Chee-oo Chee (Sang the Little Bird)
18. Surprise
19. All the Time
20. Gigi
21. Tammy
22. Big D (with Lindsay Crosby) Take 2
23. Allegheny Moon (with Lindsay Crosby)
24. More Than You Know

Among My Souvenirs: More Treasures from the Crosby Archive is a 2-CD collection of 35 previously unissued recordings spanning Bing Crosby's entire career. The set, newly compiled by Crosby archivist Robert S. Bader, is comprised of recordings made between 1932 and 1977, and includes outtakes, live recordings, and radio and television performances, many featuring songs not previously part of the voluminous Crosby discography. Among the rarities: a 1968 recording with Diana Ross and the Supremes; some recently discovered concert recordings from 1956, and a track from Bing's final American concert in 1977. Among My Souvenirs is a companion volume to the 2010 Bing Crosby Archive release, So Rare: Treasures from the Crosby Archive.

Among My Souvenirs: More Treasures from the Crosby Archive
Disc 1:
1. Please
2. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
3. The Day You Came Along
4. Bing & Jack Oakie at Paramount
5. Boo Boo Boo
6. Roll Along Prairie Moon
7. I've Been Floating Down the Old Green River
8. Hello Hawaii
9. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
10. You Forgot Your Gloves
11. A Horse That Knows the Way Back Home
12. She Is the Sunshine of Virginia
13. What Do You Do in the Infantry?
14. Good Morning Mr. Zip Zip Zip
15. I've Told Every Little Star
16. Oh, But I Do
17. Minute Maid Radio Jingle (Extended Version)
18. Alabamy Bound (with Lindsay Crosby)

Disc 2:
1. Be My Life's Companion
2. Undecided
3. Please Mr. Sun
4. Moonlight and Roses (with Bob Crosby)
5. Tell Me Why
6. Dream a Little Dream of Me
7. Eternally
8. True Love (Live at Fall River)
9. In a Little Spanish Town (Live at Fall River)
10. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You) (Live at Fall River)
11. Big D (with Lindsay Crosby) Take 1
12. Old Cape Cod
13. The NATO Song
14. Among My Souvenirs
15. I Left My Heart in San Francisco
16. Paint Your Wagon Medley: I'm on My Way/I Talk to the Trees/I Still See Elissa/They Call the Wind Maria (with Diana Ross and the Supremes)
17. Send in the Clowns (Live at Concord Pavilion)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

SIMPLY GREAT MUSIC

Hello friends and fans of great music!

I have started a facebook group dedicated to great music of our lives called Simply Great Music. It will feature whatever people want to share, but it will also contain a lot of Bing Crosby! We are looking for new members so please join here:

Simply Great Music

Hope to see you there!



Friday, August 25, 2017

PAST OBITS: GARY CROSBY

Today marks 22 years since Bing's oldest son Gary Crosby died. Here is what the NY Times was saying about it in August of 1995...

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 25— Gary Crosby, the eldest son of Bing Crosby, died on Thursday at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. He was 62.

The cause was lung cancer, said Mr. Crosby's manager, Paul Volpe.

Although Mr. Crosby tried to follow in his father's footsteps as a singer and actor, his career was largely confined to television parts. But he was part of the first double-sided gold record in history, joining his father on "Sam's Song" and "Play a Simple Melody" in 1950.

His greatest claim to fame came in 1983 with his autobiography, "Going My Own Way," in which he accused his father of abusing him. The younger Crosby had a weight problem and he wrote that his father would weigh him every week as a boy and whip him with a cane if he had gained weight. He later recanted much of what he wrote.


Gary Crosby and his siblings, Lindsay and the twins, Philip and Dennis, formed their own singing group in the 1950's but had little success. The brothers, Crosby's sons from his first marriage to Dixie Lee Crosby, were better known as Hollywood "bad boys" who were constantly getting into trouble because of their drinking.

Gary Crosby acknowledged that he was an alcoholic in 1967. Lindsay committed suicide in 1989 and Dennis in 1991.


Gary Crosby made his acting debut when he was 9, playing himself in "Star-Spangled Banner" in 1942. The film starred his father and Betty Hutton. After several more acting parts, he concentrated on his education, graduating from Stanford University before returning to Hollywood to play in a series of films in the 1950's, never in starring roles. They included "Holiday for Lovers," "A Private's Affair" and "Mardi Gras." His most recent film was "The Night Stalker" in 1987.

On television, he was best known as Officer Ed Wells on "Adam 12," which ran from 1968 to 1975. He also played Eddie on "The Bill Dana Show" from 1963 to 1964 and had a regular role on "Hunter" in the mid-1980's. He made guest appearances on a number of shows, including "Twilight Zone," "Matlock" and "Murder, She Wrote."

He is survived by a son, Steve, of Santa Barbara, Calif., and his brother Philip...

Monday, August 7, 2017

FEELS GOOD, FEELS RIGHT

One of my favorite albums that Bing did in later years was this album. It is hard to believe it is 41 years old now!

Feels Good, Feels Right is a 1976 vinyl album recorded by Bing Crosby for Decca Records during four morning sessions in 1976 at Decca Studio No.3, Broadhurst Gardens, London. He was accompanied by Alan Cohen and his Orchestra. Cohen also did all the orchestral arrangements.  All of the tracks recorded in July were issued on the LP with the addition of "What’s New?" recorded on August 17. The other three tracks recorded on August 17 were issued for the first time on a Decca double album called “Bing – 1931” and “Bing – 1975-76”. The expanded album was first issued on CD by London Records in 1988 as No. 820 586-2.
Reception

Billboard was not impressed saying: “The spirit’s willing, but Bing’s tired pipes aren’t what they once were despite his choice of nine splendid standards and three more recent tunes recorded last summer in London. One must overlook faulty intonation, an inability to sustain notes and an overall feeling of fatigue in this program produced by Kevin Daly and with orchestra conducted by Alan Cohen. For Crosby filberts, however, the LP will hit the mark."

Bert Bishop, writing for BING magazine felt that the album was "...a superb surprise bonus that keeps us reeling in amazement at the resurgence of our new, top-form, Bing. Yes, let's not lose sight of the fact that Bing is singing better than he was, and this LP is as good an example as any to prove the point". Bishop described the orchestrations as "...mostly traditional without losing sight of the contemporary big band sound and there’s no doubt that the modern recording techniques do full justice to every member of the orchestra", and concluded by writing that "In several recent recordings Bing has given us verses which must be quite new to many listeners and happily, that’s a prominent feature of the presentation of the ballads to which Bing brings his unique vocal nuances on this LP."


Track Listing:
1. "Feels Good, Feels Right"
2. "Once in a While"
3. "As Time Goes By" 
4. "Old Fashioned Love"
5. "Time on My Hands"
6. "The Way We Were"
7. "There's Nothing That I Haven't Sung About"
8. "The Night Is Young and You're So Beautiful"
9. "Nevertheless"
11. "What’s New?"
12. "When I Leave the World Behind"

Additional tracks on Decca double album
13. "That Old Black Magic"
14. "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" 
15. "At Last"

Reportedly, as song writer Johnny Mercer laid dying in 1976, the last record he listened to was Bing's version of "When I Leave The World Behind"...



Friday, July 28, 2017

RIP: RUTH PRIGOZY - BING CROSBY AUTHOR

Writing about movie director Alfred Hitchcock, Ruth Prigozy once noted, “He gets to the heart of human experience.”

Prigozy, a longtime Hofstra University film and literature professor — who died July 16 at the age of 87 — did the same through the enthusiasm she exuded for her subjects, say former students and colleagues.

At barely 5 feet tall, Prigozy was nevertheless an outsized presence in her field. Over 41 years at Hofstra, she published books or led academic conferences on numerous titans of the arts, including Hitchcock, singer-actor Bing Crosby and, her prime focus, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“ ‘Spitfire’ is kind of cliché, but her stature was small and her personality certainly made up for it,” said Michelle Jonas Sroka, 37, a Los Angeles public relations and marketing consultant who first took Prigozy’s class in 1998 and would form a 20-year friendship with her.

“She was passionate about what she taught and . . . wanted us to see its relevance to everyday life,” Jonas Sroka said.

Prigozy died in her sleep after a series of recent mini-strokes, said daughter Susan Prigozy-Duffy, of Sound Beach. She had lived with her daughter for the last three years, after some time in Florida and many years in Manhattan.

Before that, Prigozy raised her family in Great Neck, not far from Fitzgerald’s inspiration for “The Great Gatsby.”

“She took people on tours of the Gatsby sites,” said Prigozy-Duffy, 57. “She’d do it for free. They didn’t have to pay her.”

Ruth Prigozy was born and raised in Brooklyn, graduating from James Madison High School and Brooklyn College. She worked in advertising in the 1950s, before obtaining her master’s from New York University in 1962 and doctorate from the City College of New York in 1969.

That year, she began teaching at Hofstra, where she gravitated toward Fitzgerald’s work. Prigozy was considered a leading scholar on the author when she helped found the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society in 1992.

In a 2012 interview with Hofstra, Prigozy said it was “the language” that drew her to Fitzgerald: “There are passages that make you stop. You feel you have to read them over again.”

The society allowed her to travel across the world, including Cuba and Nice, France, for conferences and symposiums. At home, Prigozy was also a tireless organizer of events that brought scholars together.

“She was a dynamo, never sat still,” said Natalie Datlof, the former executive director of the Hofstra Cultural Center. “And always inclusive with students. She wanted everyone to be excited about the things she was excited about.”

That extended to friends and family. A film and theater buff, Prigozy loaded her daughter’s DVR with classic films and urged people to see the Broadway play “The Boy from Oz” starring Hugh Jackman, which she attended 22 times during its run in 2003-2004.

Jonas Sroka, who worked as Prigozy’s assistant at the Fitzgerald Society, said she had a “motherly” quality.

“She was really invested in what we wanted to become, making sure we became these perfect human beings with intellect and morality,” she said.

Prigozy retired from teaching in 2009 and from the Fitzgerald Society in 2013. She was predeceased by her husband, Hofstra professor and Mark Twain scholar Stanley Brodwin.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by a son, Ted Prigozy, of Fort Myers, Florida; sister, Florence Kerstein, of Las Vegas; and a granddaughter.

A private funeral service will be held and a public memorial is being planned for the fall...

Monday, July 17, 2017

A BING CROSBY HOME


This is the 11,000 sqft, 40-room French chateau, where Bing Crosby lived with his wife (at the time), Kathryn and their three children. Kathryn still owns the home through an estate trust, although she does not live there.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

PHOTO OF THE DAY: BING THE FREEDOM MAN

On this 241st Independence Day, let's sing a song of freedom with Bing! This excellent screen shot if from Bing's 1942 epic musical Holiday Inn. Happy Independence day one and all...