Simultaneously the country's top record seller and biggest box office star, as well as a popular radio host, 41-year-old Bing Crosby in late 1944 and the first quarter of 1945 could be considered at the top of his game. This disc, recapitulating his seven recording sessions over four months, December 1944 to April 1945, is a typically mixed collection that includes five chart hits (Irving Berlin's "All of My Life"; "Yah-Ta-Ta, Yah-Ta-Ta [Talk, Talk, Talk]," a duet with Judy Garland; "You Belong to My Heart" and "Baia," two songs from the Walt Disney film The Three Caballeros, featuring accompaniment by the Latin rhythms of Xavier Cugat's band; and Rodgers & Hammerstein's "If I Loved You" from the Broadway musical Carousel), songs associated with Crosby's films ("I Promise You" from Here Come the Waves; "I'd Rather Be Me" from Out of This World, which featured only the singer's voice), and standards ("These Foolish Things," "Just One of Those Things"), along with a few re-recordings and novelties. Crosby, spending much of his time during this period either on his own radio show or other radio programs, may have been singing too much; at times, his voice sounds tired on these tracks, with occasional thin notes and incidents of vibrato. But he is as usual in command of his interpretations. Of course, this is a collector's collection (its selections mastered from old 78s), and it will be more useful to collectors than to more general consumers. Fans will note that eight tracks, a full third of the disc, are being given their CD debuts, and not only won't mind that several songs are presented in multiple takes, but will positively revel in the variations, especially the "blow-up" version of "You Belong to My Heart," which finds Crosby anticipating his cue, then singing improvised lyrics that conclude with "I wish to Christ that I'd never come in where I did."
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