Bing Crosby

The Best of Bing [Hallmark]

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This three-CD British budget compilation culls 60 tracks from Bing Crosby's recordings of 1931-44, originally released on Brunswick and Decca Records, and now in the public domain -- in Europe, anyway. The selection isn't quite random, but there is no obvious logic to what has been included and what left out. Forty-eight of the songs were chart records, among them such #1 hits as "Swinging on a Star," "I Love You," and "I'll Be Seeing You," but many of Crosby's most popular recordings of the period are missing. Similarly, the sequencing isn't quite random; in fact, it's roughly chronological, if you start with Volume 2 (most of which dates from 1931-34), followed by Volume 3 (most of which dates from 1935-39), and then Volume 1 (most of which dates from 1940-44). But that doesn't mean that a track from 1944 isn't going to be followed by one from 1931, as happens, for example, at the end of Volume 1, when "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby)" comes right before "Sweet and Lovely." Such juxtapositions are odd not only because Crosby's singing style changed over the years, deepening noticeably and becoming less showy, but also because the sound quality of the later tracks is far superior to that of the early ones. (Most likely, the album was mastered from vinyl transfers.) In practice, then, Hallmark's The Best of Bing is a jumble of Crosby recordings not much better or worse than would have been achieved by picking titles out of a hat. It is neither the singer's best nor worst, just a sampler of the work he did during the period he was America's most popular recording artist.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:29
2 3:01
3 2:42
4 3:20
5 2:35
6 3:00
7 2:25
8 3:00
9 2:50
10 3:06
11 3:00
12 2:32
13 2:41
14 2:40
15 3:11
16 2:51
17 3:12
18 3:05
19 3:11
20 2:58
21 2:52
22 2:51
23 3:05
24 3:06
25 3:07
26 3:03
27 2:39
28 2:54
29 3:09
30 3:11
31 3:07
32 2:49
33 2:51
34 2:58
35 3:15
36 3:03
37 2:33
38 2:47
39 3:00
40 3:07
41 3:01
42 2:55
43 3:09
44 2:59
45 3:09
46 3:01
47 3:02
48 2:35
49 3:07
50 2:45
51 2:44
52 2:52
53 2:51
54 2:29
55 2:38
56 3:05
57 3:09
58 3:15
59 3:01
60 3:11
blue highlight denotes track pick