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A Bing Bonanza

Bing Crosby's legacy cemented by group of reissues

So Rare: Treasures from the Bing Crosby Archive

Scan the vocal section of any sizeable record store (if, that is, you can actually locate a bricks-and-mortar record store) and you’ll likely conclude that Bing Crosby has fared less well than, say, Sinatra or Fitzgerald or Vaughan in terms of CD releases. Fact is, a plethora of Crosby discs exists, but the vast majority are compilations constructed around his major hit-making years during the 1930s and 1940s.

Harder to find is Crosby material from the 1950s onward, for a couple of logical reasons. His recorded output slowed during this period (remember that Crosby was about a half-generation older than singers, like Sinatra and Fitzgerald, who are often considered his peers, and hit his popularity peak earlier). Also, he ended his longtime association with Decca during the ’50s and, clever businessman that he was, maintained control of much of his subsequent work, essentially leasing his services to a wide variety of labels both major and minor, understandably resulting in spotty rereleases. Yes, two of Crosby’s finest mid-’50s efforts, Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings with Buddy Bregman from 1956 and the following year’s exceptional Bing With A Beat have surfaced on CD, as has Fancy Meeting You Here, his delightful, round-the-world romp with pals Rosemary Clooney and Billy May from 1959. Beyond that sturdy trio, reissues have been haphazard at best.

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