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My Favorite Irish Songs

Bing Crosby

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Album Review

If they make a Hallmark card for it, Bing's got an album for it. In fairness, Christmas and St. Patrick's Day are the only two holidays that prompt reissues of Bing Crosby's music, like the budget-priced My Favorite Irish Songs. This disc sells for about half the price of a regular compact disc, which seems fair since it runs about half as long (29-plus minutes). The choices here are good; it's unlikely Bing himself expressed any predilection for these Irish songs over others he'd recorded, so listeners are left to presume these are the favorite Irish songs of the compiler, Bob Zipkin (best not to think about it). These were originally recorded throughout the '40s, many with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra, which always handled Bing's voice in a sympathetic setting. The songs recorded with Trotter are generally deep, thoughtful, and resonant, hovering between sentiment and sadness; these include "The Rose of Tralee," "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," "Danny Boy," "Galway Bay," and "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby)." The disc also features a few boisterous but good-natured songs, bordering at times on parody, like "MacNamara's Band" and "Dear Old Donegal." Compared to the Irish music of true Celtic origin now available, Bing's Irish music has a distinctly American sound to it, with references to swing and put-upon accents that sometimes sound disingenuous. But Bing did play an important role in popularizing Irish music, and many of these songs are still remembered fondly. As with a lot of Bing Crosby budget-priced repackagings, the sound quality shows the limits of its day and liner notes are nonexistent, but that all comes with the savin' o' the green.

Biography

Born: 03 May 1903 in Tacoma, WA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Bing Crosby was, without doubt, the most popular and influential media star of the first half of the 20th century. The undisputed best-selling artist until well into the rock era (with over half a billion records in circulation), the most popular radio star of all time, and the biggest box-office draw of the 1940s, Crosby dominated the entertainment world from the Depression until the mid-'50s, and proved just as influential as he was popular. Unlike the many vocal artists before him, Crosby grew...
Full Bio

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