Bing Crosby

The Chronological Bing Crosby, Vol. 23: 1938

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The period July 11 to December 2, 1938, was a typical one in Bing Crosby's recording career. As he had been for most of the 1930s and would be throughout the 1940s, he was the country's top solo singer as well as being a successful radio personality and movie star. The latter aspect of his professional life provided a synergy with his recordings, as he made musical films and then recorded studio versions of their songs for release when the movies opened. Thus, the first session here finds him recording a trio of numbers specially written for him by composer James Monaco and lyricist Johnny Burke for his recently shot film Sing, You Sinners, which opened in August with one of the songs, "I've Got a Pocketful of Dreams," breaking into the hit parade in September and hitting number one in October. Similarly, the third session consists of four songs written by composer Ralph Rainger and lyricist Leo Robin for Paris Honeymoon, which premiered in January 1939, with its songs "I Have Eyes" and "You're a Sweet Little Headache" placing in the hit parade in February and March. In between these sessions, both of them with Crosby's radio accompanists, John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra, came a first-ever session with the band led by his brother Bob Crosby. This one produced the best-remembered song on the album, Harry Warren & Johnny Mercer's "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby." Crosby got an early crack at this soon-to-be standard, which was introduced by Dick Powell in the film Hard to Get in November, and by December he had another chart-topper with it. A fourth session included on the album is a bit of an oddity, with Crosby tackling three songs from Victor Herbert operettas, presumably in anticipation of the December opening of the next Nelson Eddy-Jeanette MacDonald film, Sweethearts. The marketing idea is sound, but the material is a bit too rangy for Crosby, who nevertheless finds ways to hit the high notes, though without giving convincing interpretations. Still, this is an album of strong material from a singer at the top of his game. It is also an album pitched largely to collectors, featuring only 15 different songs out of 25 tracks, the other ten being very similar alternate takes.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:38
2 2:36
3 3:05
4 2:47
5 2:48
6 2:56
7 2:56
8 2:44
9 2:54
10 2:53
11 2:52
12 2:49
13 2:50
14 3:04
15 3:00
16 2:44
17 2:42
18 2:48
19 2:52
20 3:05
21 3:02
22 2:51
23 2:53
24 3:12
25 3:16
blue highlight denotes track pick