After dropping down the list of the ten top pop singles artists in the U.S. in 1947, 1948, and 1949, Bing Crosby returned to number one for the last time in 1950 by placing 14 tracks in the Billboard chart during the year, the first four of which are included here, among them the Top Ten hits "Quicksilver" and "Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy." Actually, the 46-year-old singing veteran didn't change his approach any in the 11 recording sessions held over four months from the fall of 1949 to the spring of 1950. He remained eclectic, applying his warm baritone to a variety of material including Irish music, country & western, swing, and Dixieland, while cherry-picking songs from current Broadway musicals and Hollywood movies, the latter including his own upcoming film, Mr. Music. He also collaborated with other popular stars, notably the Andrews Sisters and bandleader Russ Morgan. There is a dearth of standards among these 23 selections, although a few of the songs, in particular "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" and "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo (The Magic Song)" (from the animated Walt Disney version of Cinderella) have remained familiar. (For Crosby, both were B-sides.) In part, this may be ascribed to whoever was picking songs for the singer at this point (his longtime mentor, Jack Kapp, having died earlier in 1949). Crosby cut two tunes from the Kurt Weill musical Lost in the Stars within weeks of its October 30, 1949, opening on Broadway, but they were the forgettable "Stay Well" and "The Little Grey House," not the show's title song, which has become an evergreen. It would have been perfect for Crosby, who never did record it. Better choices were made from another Broadway entry, Johnny Mercer's Texas, Li'l Darlin', but the show itself was a flop, taking its score down with it. At least Crosby, working for the second of two sessions here with Morgan's sweet band, had some fun with the Western-flavored material from the musical. The same could be said for "Quicksilver," not one of the best songs he and the Andrews Sisters got to do. He also sounded quite animated on "Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy" and the Dixieland session ("The Dixieland Band," "Jamboree Jones") held with Bob Haggart & His Orchestra. Crosby fans, at whom this volume in the lengthy Jonzo series is aimed, will care less about the quality or popularity of the recordings, however, than in the inclusion of three tracks, "Sorry," "This Could Be Forever," and "My Own Bit of Land," that are making their debuts on CD, and that the compilers were unable this time to come up with any alternate takes or outtakes, though at least a couple of the latter are known to exist.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann