The 28th volume of Jonzo's series of albums chronicling Bing Crosby's recordings covers six sessions Crosby cut in July and December of 1940. The most popular solo recording artist of the year, Crosby was beaten only by the big bands of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, but the latter achieved much of his popularity through an emerging boy singer, Frank Sinatra, who would become Crosby's first major rival, and whose performance of "I'll Never Smile Again" bested Crosby's biggest hit of the year, "Only Forever." The second half of 1940 also marked a second important change in Crosby's career, since "Only Forever" was his last big hit to have been co-written by composer James V. Monaco. As of the December session, with "It's Always You," from the upcoming Crosby-Bob Hope "road" picture Road to Zanzibar, Crosby's personal lyricist, Johnny Burke, was paired with Jimmy Van Heusen instead. "It's Always You" probably would have become a hit if it hadn't been for a dispute between the radio networks and ASCAP that led to the banning of songs sponsored by that licensing agency for most of 1941. As it is, there are relatively few chart entries among the selections here, only "That's for Me" and "Along the Santa Fe Trail," in addition to "Only Forever." The rest is a typical mixture that includes much Western-styled material, a Hawaiian session, and remakes of earlier Crosby hits such as "Please" and "I Found a Million Dollar Baby," as well as the four-part patriotic cantata "Ballad for Americans." The singer is in good voice, but he is often singing second-rate songs, notably when he appears to be doing favors to friends by making recordings of their compositions. Unlike other Jonzo volumes, this one doesn't contain alternate takes, making it more listenable for casual fans.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann