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The Essential Bing Crosby (The Columbia Years)

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Album Review

Bing Crosby's period at Columbia represents just a tiny slice of his entire career, but it was definitely an important one. Early-'30s material "Dinah," "Love in Bloom," "Temptation," and especially "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" not only introduced him to a wide audience, but perfectly illustrated Crosby's gradual transition from humming, rhythmic jazz singer to darkly persuasive crooner. The Essential Bing Crosby (fortunately subtitled "The Columbia Years" in case anyone should accuse it of overly lofty aims) reissues 16 sides, recorded from 1931 to 1934, with a similar track listing to 1992's 16 Most Requested Songs but several important substitutions. Though a bare few of his best from the era are notably missing ("How Deep Is the Ocean?," "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You"), the exclusions allow for some intriguing material to see the light, like "Young and Healthy," featuring a buoyant scat routine, and the melancholic "Blue Prelude." Of course, Columbia could have done fans a true favor and released a compilation breaking the 45-minute mark.


Genre: Classics

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...
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The Essential Bing Crosby (The Columbia Years), Bing Crosby
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