Before there was Frank Sinatra, before there was Dean Martin, and before there was Sammy Davis Jr., there was Bing Crosby. Most of the pre-rock ‘n’ roll crooners patterned or were at least influenced by him.
He sold hundreds of millions of records world wide during the course of his nearly fifty year career and placed close to 400 titles on The American Best Seller Charts. Oddly during the CD era Sinatra and Martin’s music has continued to sell well, while Crosby’s has been largely ignored.On The Sentimental Side hopes to rectify that situation, as it is one of six new releases which gathers together rare and unreleased material.
This particular release traces its history through Mitch Miller, who between 1957 and 1963 released a series of sing along albums which capitalized on the popularity of his hit television show Sing Along With Mitch and the Gang.This type of album sounds like a bad and antiquated idea, but sixteen of them sold a million copies a piece. Bing decided to jump on this popular band wagon and released a series of sing-along albums that became known as the Join Bing and Sing series. The final album in this series was never released for some reason and spent almost a half century collecting dust.
On The Sentimental Side was a labor of love. The instrumental tracks were recorded in London during March of 1962 and the vocals in Hollywood during June but had never been combined or mixed in any way. They have now been united for the first time.
The twelve performances are all medleys. The material is typical Crosby as it spans the first half of the twentieth century and includes many traditional songs. Medleys such as “My Bonnie/The Band Played On,” “Beautiful Dreamer/The Last Rose Of Summer,” “Tom Dooley/The Old Grey Mare,” “Look For The Silver Lining/Say It With Music,” and “Remember/Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet” is the type of material which Crosby was so good at interpreting.
The five bonus tracks are single songs and were recorded with Buddy Cole for various radio programs. The best is his Irish classic “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral” which originally was sung in the movie Going My Way.This performance was taken from February of 1960. The other bonus songs are “Because,” “Love’s Old Sweet Song,” “Smilin’ Through,” and “Whither Thou Goest.”
On The Sentimental Side fills in a long missing gap in the Bing Crosby catalogue. It may not be the best of the six new releases, but for Crosby fans it may be the most important.
Article first published as on Blogcritics.org