Bing Crosby- Bing! His Legendary Years....How's the sound?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by evanft, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. evanft

    evanft Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Taylor, MI, USA
    This looks like a great Bing comp, but how's the sound? I've only seen a couple opinions here, but they were all very positive.
     
  2. evanft

    evanft Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Taylor, MI, USA
    Anybody?
     
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    Record label?

    Record number?

    LP or CD?

    Old or new?

    Bootleg or legit?

    Song titles and recording dates?
     
  4. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

  5. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Bing! His Legendary Years from MCA/Decca is an excellent comp - in fact, the best there has been so far. From best extant sources including session discs where possible. No the mastering is not 100% as I'd like, but it's profoundly preferable to heavily processed dubs from often ghastly Decca 78s you'll find on the myriad public domain releases, and just might be the best we'll ever hear. There is also a good booklet and solid track selection. If interested in the music or exploring the history of popular musics, grab it. :thumbsup:

    If interested in more vintage Decca era Bing, also grab Top O' The Morning - His Irish Collection on MCA/Decca, which was produced in similar quality at around the same time.

    Steve has mastered a Bing Crosby disc of rarer songs for MCA, Bing Crosby Sings Again, likewise a solid recommendation.
     
    Hotdog likes this.
  6. vanmeterannie

    vanmeterannie Forum Resident

    I hate to be the naysayer, but while there seems to be very little hiss removal, the declicking seems - seems, this is just my impression - to dig into his voice when he hits a low note and is close to the microphone. But it might be that his voice broke that way, I don't know, since I don't have any original 78s to compare it to.
     
  7. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Yes I think I hear what you mean, but I suggest it's between his voice and the fact it does have a somewhat stereotypically "digital" timbre about it, possibly the processing. We kinda have to be glad of the clarity we get in this well intended production and live with the compromises. While again it's not my idea of ideal, it's still better than most pre-tape sound one encounters on LP or CD reissues and, alas, we really aren't likely to get it any better than this. It'd be great, but it really doesn't look likely at this point.
     
  8. vanmeterannie

    vanmeterannie Forum Resident

    Oh, I totally agree. I was just mentioning it so it was said, and again I reiterate it might be something other than declicking. I think it's very, very good overall, and you're right, it's probably my favorite pre-tape mastering job overall, and definitely my favorite pre-tape major label remastering job.
     
    Hotdog likes this.
  9. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Another Bing suggestion to anyone who enjoys classic pop is his later album with Rosemary Clooney called Fancy Meeting You Here. It's a pleasant, lively and even vibrant jaunt with zippy Billy May arrangements in sound to match (it was a Living Stereo LP and is in quite decent stereo sound on CD). If one can find it.

    Just pulled it out again. Fine selections at that. :) It's not an easy thing, I think, to sequence something like this. There are hundreds of "hits" to consider, and a massive number has to be left off. It'd be tough to me, since I tend to like a lot of the less well-known '50s or early to mid-'30's whereas many of the most famous are in between. Then there's the point that you want to show some diversity whereas by pure popularity the comp would be more homogenous. They did a pretty good job of striking a balance and packed the CDs. I like how they included the "blow up" of Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams and included Around The World from 1956, 'cause mum had a Decca 45 of that I remember enjoying too.

    To grouse some, I'm a bit surprised how under-represented Bing was and is on CD. Seems there's more of his records on public domain labels than the labels he helped "make." Might be more surprised but for the situation with Nat, as it took Bear Family of Germany to represent his recordings far better than "the house that Nat built" has ever done. Like the Capitol Masters 4CD box for Nat, this 4CD box seems to be the best Decca/MCA/UMG will do for an artist that played such a huge part in putting Decca on the map. They needn't feel they owe it to anyone to have the stuff out there if they're so sure it couldn't be profitable, but I guess it would be nice to see 'em having pride and passion about it.
     
    Hotdog likes this.
  10. vanmeterannie

    vanmeterannie Forum Resident

    Part of it too may be that now Bing is that guy in old movies who sang "White Christmas"...I don't know, in my opinion, that there's a realization any longer of how important he was in the overall development of popular music. This is again just my opinion.
     
    Hotdog likes this.
  11. Brian W.

    Brian W. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    "Legendary Years" is a great compilation, but as for sound quality on the earlier (pre-1944 or so) recordings, the "Chronological Crosby" series has it beat.

    "The Chronological Crosby" or "Jonzo" series comprises 51 factory-pressed CDs available through the International Crosby Circle, containing every existing take of every song Bing Crosby recorded, chronologically, from 1926 through early 1951. Included are many alternate and unissued takes.

    Early volumes were mastered by John. R.T. Davies, considered one of the best and most knowlegable mastering engineers of pre-tape-era material. After John became too ill to continue with the project (somewhere around Volume 25, I think), his protege Ted Kendall took over. They are declicked/decrackled, but not de-hissed. Distortion evident on many of the tracks on "Legendary Years" is absent on the Jonzo series.

    The early tracks like "Out of Nowhere" and "Just One More Chance" sound miles better than what is available on Legendary Years. John Davies obtained pristine 78s for many of the disc dubs.

    The Chronlogical series has now been taken over by Sepia Records in the UK, continuing where Vol. 51 left off. It's been retitled "Through the Years," and the first volume is now available in stores.

    Reference:

    http://community.mcckc.edu/CROSBY/jonzo.htm
     
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  12. Brian W.

    Brian W. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    That's completely true, as far as perception goes, anyway. Rosemary Clooney once said, "I can't believe the ocean has just rolled over Bing."

    And his voice wasn't at its peak when he was doing his television specials. His peak voice years were about 1935 to 1942.

    The book his son Gary wrote didn't help, either. Though if you read the ENTIRE book, you walk away saying, "Gee, Bing wasn't such a bad guy." Not the impression of a crazed, abusive father at all. But all the press extracted from the book was the "beatings." Forget that these things took place in the 1930s and 1940s, when almost all fathers punished their boys with a belt or a switch.
     
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    Bing is a God. He was popular music from 1931-55.

    I like his Decca stuff because of the rich vocal quality those RCA ribbon microphones gave his voice. "Decca Joe" Perry produced all Bing's LA sessions from 1934 to the end of the 1940s and that's no mean feat.

    Problem is, Decca shellac in the 1930's was really bad news; noisy and carelessly pressed. Sometimes special needles are needed to get the good stuff out of the old records but for those of you who want to try, Bing on Blue Decca 78s are about as cheap as a pack of gum (maybe cheaper). Try a few and see.

    By the way, Bing actually saved the record business in 1934 when he agreed to support Decca founder Jack Kapp's crazy idea of lowering the price of singles from a dollar to 35 cents and getting a royalty for records sold instead of a flat fee. Bing's name and his artistry saved the recording industry. All the other artists signed to Decca after Bing did. Without him, Jack Kapp wouldn't have had a chance in hell of making Decca work and the Great Depression would have wiped out phonograph records for good.

    If you want to hear the voice of Jack Kapp and Bing together (along with Victor Young, Connee Boswell, Bob Crosby, etc.) you need to find the Bing Crosby Christmas CD I did. The last track is called something like "Christmas Greetings To Decca Records Employees in 1940" . Listen to the reverence in Jack Kapp's voice when he introduces Bing. Jack Kapp knew Bing from when he signed him to Brunswick in 1931. Kapp was the A&R man at Brunswick/Vocalion and knew an up and coming thing when he heard it..

    Carry on.
     
  14. Batears52

    Batears52 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Near Baltimore, MD
    Other than vague memories of a few "kiddie" records I had, Bing's Merry Christmas album is the very first "record" I remember. I was born in '52 - it was everywhere!

    Steve, your post is truly amazing! Your knowledge of the business & especially its history is incredible. It goes without saying that we all appreciate your approach to mastering & the wonderful albums you've done over the years. (That's why we're here!) But this kind of stuff is just a terrific bonus! It's great to read things that don't always have to do with EQ settings & other technical information. I learn from posts like these & really appreciate the "history lessons". Thank you!

    Dexter
     
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  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    Hey, thanks.

    I've not heard any Bing on CD so I have no idea how any of this stuff sounds, sorry.
     
  16. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    But one CD to avoid if you want the best sound is "Bing Crosby's Greatest Hits" which is rechanneled.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    The ASV Living Era "I'm an Old Cowhand" CD is essential if you want a selection of him singing western movie standards from that time period.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. vanmeterannie

    vanmeterannie Forum Resident

    His stuff from the 1930s is just incredible in terms of being ahead of it's time, being flat-out...well, sensual, and being instantly relevant to my ears today in comparison to a lot of music from the same era. Admittedly I'm not a Bing nut and I'm basing this on the box we're talking about, a handful of old 50s era Decca LPs I have of reissued material, and the really early stuff I have on the Columbia LPs that came out in the late 70s.
     
  19. vanmeterannie

    vanmeterannie Forum Resident

    I know; I have my 78 rig just patched straight into an EQ unit, and it kills me on some records like this just to hard filter at 4 or 5k, considering how much information is actually on the disc sometimes, but they can be very, very noisy, you're right. But then I'm only using a 2.2TE and I gather with a larger stylus on the 30s stuff you can do better than what I'm using (not to derail the thread...)
     
    cracklehead likes this.
  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    Some Hollywood cut Decca's used a really weird stylus. It pays to experiment.

    Remember, Decca didn't have it's own studio in Los Angeles until around 1944 or so. Before that they used this place called "Recordings, Inc." Don't know much about them except they used wacky cutting styli. But when you find the right tip, wow, it really comes into focus..
     
  21. You're right a larger stylus is needed for those Decca and Brunswick sides. I've gone as far up as a 3.5 mil stylus on some of them.
    There's a newer CD out called The Definitive Collection that contains two of his Brunswick sides, "Stardust" and "Where The Blue Of The Night..." in excellent sound. Those two tracks are a model of how they ought to be. The Brunswicks are problematic and weren't even that well represented in the "Legendary Years" box set, even though the rest of that set is good.
     
  22. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    I got this set on National Record Store Day used for a complete "song" and am just getting thru Disc 1. I am amazed at how gruff his voice is on some of these early cuts! Is it because they old 78's didn't play back in high fidelity that they didn't care about this? But, sweet as his young sound is I am hearing a lot of low-middle to lower range "clams" on these cleaned-up gems.

    I'm sure I will enjoy the whole thing when I'm done listening to it. Seems to have a great booklet with copious liner notes.
     
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    Someone just "liked" this post, thanks! Reopened, love Der Bingle.
     
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  24. janschfan

    janschfan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, Tn. USA
    This is AWESOME!! What a voice, and what phrasing & delivery...I just picked this set up at McKay's, here in Nashville, and am expanding my horizons..No wonder Louis Armstrong loved him.....
     
    Hotdog likes this.
  25. Hotdog

    Hotdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    England, UK
    Was it new or second-hand?
     

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