Bing Crosby claimed that this dozen-song collection was among his favorites, namely because he was able to call all the shots. In the liner text, Crosby -- who was already well into his fourth decade as a multimedia entertainer -- refers to the Bob Scobey-led project as "the album I had always wanted to make." Modern listeners may not be familiar with Scobey's work, however prior to World War II, the instrumentalist-turned-arranger was hailed as the 'King of the Dixieland Trumpet,' forming his own Frisco Band upon returning from military service in 1946. Likewise, as a sizable contributor to the Dixieland revival of the late '40s and early '50s, Scobey was the perfect choice for the collaboration. Although he hadn't fully retired, by 1957 rock & roll had irreparably altered the landscape of popular music, leaving Crosby's unmistakable crooning style passé. Since he was not a concurrent contender for the charts, the vocalist indulged his own considerable tastes and talents. Rather than having material specifically penned, Crosby and Scobey were joined by arranger Matty Matlock and together they chose a handful of numbers that will inevitably be familiar, highlighted by outstanding readings of "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and "Some Sunny Day." Head and shoulders above the rest is a spirited rendition of "Mack the Knife," easily rivalling Louis Armstrong's memorable version some eight-years later. Another zenith is the lesser-known "Last Night on the Backporch," as Der Bingle equals, if not arguably bests, Brit-vocal diva Alma Cogan's interpretation of a tune that became a signature in her tragically short career. Bing With a Beat (1957) was remastered and reissued as part of BMG/Bluebird's First Editions series and unlike many of the other entries, there are no bonus performances. That said, the audio quality is impeccable and the 12-page booklet contains rare photos from the recording session and an essay from jazz critic Will Friedwald.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer