Thursday, September 14, 2017

AUDIO ASPIRIN: A FLIGHT OF FANCY

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...


Friday, June 23, 2017

NEW CD: THE BIBLE STORY OF CHRISTMAS

Sometime in 1955, Omer Westendorf (founder of World Library of Sacred Music) wrote to several famous Catholics to find a narrator for a recording project. Among those names were Loretta Young, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Rocky Marciano, and Bing Crosby. Bishop Sheen replied that he was too busy, and there were no replies from Ms. Young and Mr. Marciano. Bing Crosby made inquiries about World Library of Sacred Music through the Los Angeles Chancery Office. He made no formal reply and just sent a tape of the narration. Bing made the recording on August 6, 1956, and sent it to Omer Westendorf in Cincinnati. Where the narration was recorded is unknown.

The organ background was provided by Betty Zins Reiber, a longtime editor at WLP. According to Bing Enterprises/HLC Properties LLC, Bing donated his services and did not accept any payment. The music on the album was arranged by Han Van Koert (1913–1976). The complete score of the album was published by WLP in 1958.The recording of Bing Crosby reading the Gospel of Luke 2:4 has not been used in any other project and is exclusive to World Library Publications.

“It’s truly a wonderful thing to have an American icon in your vault, and after all this time we get to share it with the world. Bing Crosby and Christmas have always been synonymous.”
—Ron Rendek, Senior Music Editor, World Library Publications

“At the time the recording of the carols was taking place, Omer, the choir, and all involved in the project were honored that Bing Crosby had accepted Omer's invitation to narrate the Christmas gospel between the carols. I am delighted to hear that the recording is being re-issued so that it will be made available to a new audience.”
—Betty Zins Reiber, accompanist for the Bonaventure Choir

“When my Dad bought World Library Publications in 1972, he knew he was getting the best in church music, but I don’t think he realized this gem between Omer Westendorf and Bing Crosby! We are excited to celebrate sixty years of Omer’s vision and to share this treasure of his work with Bing Crosby.”
—Mary Lou Paluch Rafferty, Owner and Publisher of J.S. Paluch Company/World Library Publications

Questions can be directed to Larry VanMersbergen, 1-847-233-2806 or VanMersbergenL@jspaluch.com


Available on CD and LP.

Ordering information:
007403 The Bible Story of Christmas narrated by Bing Crosby CD $10.00 (USD)
007405 The Bible Story of Christmas narrated by Bing Crosby Limited Edition LP $25.00 (USD)

wlpmusic.com or call 1-800-566-6150
also available at Amazon.com