Still the country's top solo recording star, as well as being a popular movie star and radio show host, Bing Crosby was typically busy during the second half of 1939, documented on this volume of his chronological recordings. Having completed filming of The Star Maker, the bio-pic on turn-of-the-century songwriter Gus Edwards, in June he was still cutting studio versions of the movie's songs, including a duet with Connee Boswell on "An Apple for the Teacher," which went on to become a Top Ten hit. Then there was a vocal version of a tune written by bandleader brother Bob Crosby's pianist, Bob Haggart, "What's New," an off-hand ballad of romantic loss that became his biggest hit among these recordings. Typically, there was a also a variety of other material, including Hawaiian songs and 1920s Gershwin show tunes. Back at work in September, Crosby did his first-ever recording session with the Andrews Sisters, covering Harry James' "Ciribiribin" before returning to his radio show, "The Kraft Music Hall." Later in the fall, he filmed the first of his popular series of "road" pictures with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour, Road to Singapore, and in a December recording session cut songs from the film including another major hit, "Too Romantic." As usual, this volume includes not only the released takes of the songs, but also alternate takes when available, among them "blow-ups" during which Crosby can be heard cutting up in the studio after making an error. Unlike other volumes, this one reveals no salty language, although the singer lets loose a couple of oaths of "Holy Jesus!" during a rejected take of "Between the 18th and the 19th on Chestnut Street" that closes the disc. Crosby is in excellent voice in this period, although the material varies widely in quality.
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