Bing Crosby recorded over 2000 songs, had just under 400 chart hits including over forty which reached number one, and had his own radio show for over twenty years. It may not be the largest catalogue of material in recorded music history but it has to be close.
Collectors' Choice has issued six new CD’s which touch on the highlights of his fifty year career.So Rare: Treasures From The Crosby Archive contains 36 rare and unreleased tracks from the family’s personal treasure trove and has issued them as a two CD set. It may not appeal to the rock ‘n’ roll generation but it provides a number of missing pieces from one of the premier mid-twentieth century pop stars.
Crosby spent almost five years as a vocalist for bandleaders Paul Whiteman and Gus Arnheim. He went solo in 1931 with his own radio show and the initial track, “Just One More Chance,” is his initial performance from his first show. The second track is Bing talking about his first radio show.
The tracks travel the length and breadth of his career. “Where The Surf Meets The Turf” was a private recording made for the De Mar Turf Club. “I’ll Be Seeing You” was recorded during World War II for an Allied Expeditionary Forces Broadcast. “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” was a 1954 private recording for the staff of the Shriners Hospital For Crippled Children. There are a number of tracks which are labeled as rejects from The Bing Crosby Show sessions form the mid-fifties. He used to fish with a group known as The Clams and his “Anthem Of The Clams" was privately printed as a 7” yellow vinyl 45 for its members. The albums final track “That’s What Life is All About,” was taken from a live 1976 concert performance where he was backed by Nelson Riddle and his orchestra.
The sound has been cleaned as well as the original technology of the day will allow. Many are mixed in stereo for the first time which will be a treat for Crosby collectors.
In The final analysis So Rare: Treasures From The Crosby Archive is a fine addition to the Bing Crosby catalogue. Whether he was the greatest pop singer of his generation is open to interpretation but this release certainly adds more material to the discussion.