Bing Crosby

The Radio Years, Vol. 2

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GNP Crescendo's release of The Radio Years, Vols. 1-2 in 1987 (the volumes were available separately or together) wasn't the debut of these mid-'50s recordings, but for the first time master discs from Crosby's own collection were used, resulting in clear performances and, for the most part, excellent quality. Informal and gently swinging on most of the selections (a natural considering the high novelty content on his shows), Crosby shines on favorites such as "It's Only a Paper Moon," "Everybody Loves My Baby," and "That Lucky Old Sun." Thirteen of the 25 tracks are duets with special guests on the show, such as Bob Hope on "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake," Jimmy Durante on "You Gotta Start Off Each Day With a Song," Maurice Chevalier on "Lois," and Peggy Lee for "On a Slow Boat to China" and "Cuanto le Gusta." Inferior material on the second volume -- like "Zip a Dee Doo Dah," "Vaya con Dios," and an unfortunately dramatic reading of "On Top of Old Smokey" with Burl Ives -- make it less essential than the first, but both are essential buys for Crosby fans.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
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blue highlight denotes track pick