Bob Cats

The Complete Bob Cats, Vol. 2: Jazz Me Blues

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In 2008, Sounds of Yesteryear reissued 84 sides recorded by Bob Crosby's Bobcats between November 1937 and July 1942. This unprecedented effort shone the retrospective spotlight on an ensemble that was more compact and in many cases jazzier than the Bob Crosby Orchestra. The second volume, entitled Jazz Me Blues, is the most modestly proportioned of the three volumes, with only 20 tracks recorded between February 6, 1939, and February 28, 1940. The delightfully varied song list mingles traditional jazz standards ("Mama's Gone, Goodbye," "Mournin' Blues," and "Jazz Me Blues") with swing arrangements of period pop tunes and four settings of poems by William Shakespeare! Some of the vocals are credited to Marion Mann. Born and raised in the great Northwest, the five Crosby brothers were christened Larry, Everett, Harry, Ted, and Bob. Most Americans paid close attention to Harry, otherwise known as Bing, but Bob achieved considerable renown over the years and outlived his more famous sibling. A decent vocalist in his own right, he was smart enough to gather in and maintain a team of skilled jazz musicians like clarinetist Irving Fazola, trumpeter Billy Butterfield, bassist Bob Haggart, drummer Ray Bauduc, and a series of excellent pianists who included Joe Sullivan, Jess Stacy, and Bob Zurke. The Sounds of Yesteryear label's triplicate series of Bobcat reissues concludes with a 39-track torpedo-weight double disc that follows the group into the harrowing early months of U.S. involvement in the Second World War.

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