Twenty of Bing Crosby's best-loved songs from the early '30s turn up untarnished on Charly's Portrait of Bing Crosby. It's a fun ride down memory lane, highlighted by a lively version of "I'm an Old Cowhand" and the classic "You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me." If you like the music of this period, get nostalgic for old movies, or still find yourself whistling the songs from old cartoons, you'll be in your element here. At this stage in his career a quickly rising star, Crosby was still a crooner; the warm, deep baritone of his later efforts isn't always in evidence here. While Crosby's voice is clearly the lead instrument, he's nearly upstaged by the Mills Brothers on a few songs, notably "Dinah" and "My Honey's Loving Arms," where all manner of horns are impersonated. The Dorsey Brothers also get some real swingin' arrangements under the soaring voice of Crosby on "Somebody Stole Gabriel's Horn" and "I'm an Old Cowhand." The songs are recorded with a variety of backing orchestras, including those led by Lennie Hayton, Jimmie Grier, Guy Lombardo, Bernie Krueger, and Frank Trumbauer. The love songs are perhaps the best settings for Bing Crosby, as he wilts over the lyrics on songs like "June in January," "Shadow Waltz," and "Here Lies Love." Portrait of Bing Crosby is a well-preserved picture of the artist as a young man. The only knock against the disc occurs on the last song, "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," which is inadvertently cut short.
AllMusic Review by Dave Connolly
Track Listing - Disc 1
feat: The Mills Brothers
Track Listing - Disc 2
feat: Connee Boswell