Bing Crosby

The Chronological Bing Crosby, Vol. 17: 1935-36

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Recorded November 12, 1935-March 24, 1936, the period covered by the 17th volume of Jonzo's Chronological Bing Crosby series was not one of the singer's most active as a recording artist. Around the time he completed filming Anything Goes, he spent two days in the recording studio, cutting the newly written (i.e, non-Cole Porter) songs from the film, "Sailor Beware," "My Heart and I," and "Moonburn," as well as a couple of Christmas songs, one of which, "Silent Night, Holy Night," would be among his most perennially successful recordings. The other major hit of the sessions was "Red Sails in the Sunset," a chart-topper, though Crosby also scored a hit with a cover of "On Treasure Island," one of four chart versions competing with Tommy Dorsey's number one recording of the song. Crosby devoted most of his attention in the winter of 1935-1936 to taking over as host of the Kraft Music Hall radio show, but he returned to the studio in March for a session that produced the hit "The Touch of Your Lips." As usual, the album provides alternate takes, in some cases more than one, usually with only slight variations, such that only 13 different songs are represented by the 25 tracks, making this very much a collector's item. Crosby is in good voice and has the excellent backing of an orchestra led by Victor Young on the first November 1935 date and the one in March 1936. But for the most part, the material is not outstanding, making this an uneven collection from a purely listening viewpoint.