In 1932, the second year of his solo career, Bing Crosby was advancing on many fronts. While maintaining a short radio program several days a week, he appeared live in concert, at first in New York and then on tour. He also signed to appear in his first important role in a motion picture, The Big Broadcast. And he continued to be a major recording star for Brunswick Records. The 23 tracks on the 11th volume of Jonzo Records' Chronological Bing Crosby series chronicle a six-month period in Crosby's recording career from April to October 1932. Four of the tracks are outtakes and one, "Sweet Sue, Just You," was released more than 40 years after it was made. The other 18 recordings were released on singles during 1932 and 1933, and ten of them made the bestseller charts, including two, "Please" (sung in The Big Broadcast) and the Depression-era anthem "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," that hit number one. This was a period of frequent record releases, and the importance of making records to Crosby is shown in his scheduling sessions along his tour route, with the first ten tracks here coming from four sessions in Chicago in April and May, the "Please" session specially recorded in San Francisco in September, and the rest when Crosby was back at home in New York in October. The selections include such vintage standards as "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Some of These Days" as well as newly written soon-to-be standards like Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is the Ocean?" and "Let's Put Out the Lights and Go to Sleep." But even when the material is not memorable, the performances often are, both because Crosby is usually in good voice and because he is being accompanied and inspired by a clutch of excellent jazz musicians, most prominently his regular guitarist Eddie Lang, but also such hot players as Frank Trumbauer, Lennie Hayton, and Tommy Dorsey. Not every song or performance is a winner, but as a portrait of the early days of Bing Crosby's solo singing career, the collection is invaluable.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann