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Music Review: Bing Crosby – El Señor Bing (Deluxe Edition)

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Bing Crosby’s love of Spanish music was never a secret, so it stands to reason that his loving homage to the art form found on El Señor Bing is vibrant and crisp. Recorded for his own label, Project Records, this album has been reissued and is making its CD debut as a Deluxe Edition packed with a few surprises by the good folks at Collectors’ Choice.

For Crosby, his love affair with Latin songs began with a few recordings he made with Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra in the late 1920s. By the 1930s, he was performing with The Rhythm Boys at The Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles and by 1936 he had a Merrie Melodies cartoon character, Bingo Crosbyana, to exemplify his love for all things Latin.

El Señor Bing makes great use of the deep tones of Crosby’s voice, but it’s the accompanying Billy May Orchestra that really makes things soar. The reissue still puts Crosby’s vocals front and centre for the most part, but the generous selection of mono bonus tracks really digs out the full May sound.

El Señor Bing was recorded on June 22 and June 23 1960 in Hollywood, but it wasn’t officially released until October of 1961.

As a complete album, El Señor Bing isn’t one of Crosby’s strongest efforts but it does well to convey his affection for Latin music all the same.

“In the Still of the Night,” the Cole Porter number, is giving light splashes of horn and delicate percussion. It melts into the senior’s home favourite “I Could Have Danced All Night” with tenderness and the same flourishes of horn keep the track moving.

“Heavenly Night” is another number of note. Done with galloping percussion, “Heavenly Night” is derived from “Cielito Linda” and flows nicely into the Xavier Cugat-inspired “My Shawl.”

Along with the original tracks from El Señor Bing, the Deluxe Edition delivers a set of recordings that flesh out the set. Included are six bonus tracks from Crosby’s 1950s CBS radio sessions, giving Buddy Cole’s group some time to work out a few Latin punches. There’s also a little fun to be had with Crosby’s rendition of the Perry Como hit “Papa Loves Mambo” and a few other surprises.

Overall, this Deluxe Edition of El Señor Bing from Collectors’ Choice hits the mark. The work from Collectors’ Choice has always done well to bring some classic recordings to life and I’ve always enjoyed their work. From the impeccable liner notes to the beautiful artwork, this reissued version of El Señor Bing is a must-have for true collectors.

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