Bing Crosby

Only Forever [ASV/Living Era]

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By the year 1940 Bing Crosby was only faintly recognizable as the smarty-pants jazz-pop singer who cut up with the Rhythm Boys, rode like a pilot fish on the Paul Whiteman orchestra and sang a brief scat chorus during an Okeh recording of "Mississippi Mud" with Frankie Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke in January of 1928. Having risen to prominence as a pop idol during the Great Depression, Crosby was now a Hollywood superstar whose repertoire and modus operandi became increasingly attuned to the perceived desires of the mainstream middle class, middlebrow radio, motion picture and emergent television-owning demographic. Living Era's Only Forever presents an almost-but-not-quite chronological survey of Crosby's most successful recordings made between March 22, 1940 and October 26, 1949. Much of the material is sentimental, romantic mood music with lush instrumental accompaniments by John Scott Trotter, Vic Schoen or Victor Young's orchestras and the smaller ensembles of Les Paul and Carmen Cavallaro. "Trade Winds" adopts a Polynesian theme with backing by Dick McIntyre and His Harmony Hawaiians. The more upbeat numbers include "Pistol Packin' Mama," "Don't Fence Me In" and the Xavier Cugat cover "South America, Take It Away!" with feisty support from the the Andrews Sisters; a lively advertisement for "San Fernando Valley"; the million-seller "Swinging on a Star" with vocal accompaniment by the Williams Brothers Quartet; "McNamara's Band," a sort of George M. Cohan-flavored act involving the Jesters and Bob Haggart's orchestra; and "Dear Hearts and Gentle People" with Perry Botkin's String Band and Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires. Glee Clubs bearing the names of "Sportsmen" and Waring are more in tune with most of the tunes reissued here, for despite the occasional energetic outbursts of mirth and merriment, the dominant element on this Crosby sampler is sugar, and lots of it.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:10
2 3:04
3 3:18
4 2:46
5 3:11
6 2:37
feat: Trudy Erwin
feat: Vic Schoen
9 3:13
10 2:31
11 2:33
12 2:38
13 2:54
14 3:14
feat: Vic Schoen
16 2:59
17 2:53
feat: Bob Haggart
feat: Vic Schoen
feat: Fred Waring
21 3:04
22 3:01
23 2:40
24 3:09
25 3:07
blue highlight denotes track pick