Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong|
Bing & Satchmo
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
For the very first time on CD, this album by Bing Crosby and Satchmo has not been available since the late Fifties. Accompanied by Billy May and his orchestra, this album was produced by Johnny Mercer and includes comments... more »
Listen to Samples
For the very first time on CD, this album by Bing Crosby and Satchmo has not been available since the late Fifties. Accompanied by Billy May and his orchestra, this album was produced by Johnny Mercer and includes comments by great songwriters. Includes a special never-before-released Bonus Track.
Armstrong & Crosby's Only Full Length Studio Album..Finally
Greg Van Beek | West Bend, Wisconsin | 03/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bing Crosby & Louis Armstrong...backed by Billy May's Orchestra. It doesn't get any better than this! And now..FINALLY..this classic 1960 studio album has been lovingly restored to all its stereo brilliance and released in its entirety by DRG Records, in conjunction with EMI/Capitol. It seems fitting, too, that it should make its debut in 2009, the centennial of the man who hand picked the songs for this project (and contributes a cameo vocal on "Lazy River"), the great Johnny Mercer.
Every track from this historic musical summit is here, even including a bonus cut that was recorded during the sessions, but only originally released on a 1963 benefit album for the United Nations. Never before, save for a long out of print & impossible to find 1990 Australian release on the AXIS label, has this album been issued so completely on CD. For those who think they've heard all of Billy May's finest charts, you're in for a real treat!
The partnership of "Mr. Satch & Mr. Croz" is in itself legendary. They met back in the late 1920's and remained friends until Armstrong's death in 1971. They made their first recording (and film) together in 1936, and Armstrong was a staple of Crosby's late 1940s & early '50s radio shows. It was from a 1951 Crosby show that their first hit single originated, "Gone Fishin'". Five years later came arguably Crosby's best film musical, HIGH SOCIETY, featuring the musical tour de force "Now You Has Jazz", the best record of these two icons together on film and a song that remained in Crosby's repertoire up to his death in 1977 (he last performed it in concert 4 days before his death).
The success of HIGH SOCIETY, and a September 1959 Crosby TV special featuring Armstrong, became the impetus for this album, recorded in late June / early July 1960 for MGM Records and Crosby's own label Project Records. Crosby owned the masters, and sold them to Capitol Records in the 1970s, where an abridged version was released following Crosby's death in 1977. A handful of tracks appeared on two so-called 'greatest hits' packages of both Bing & Louis respectively in the early 1990s on the Curb label. This version contains the original cover artwork from the 1960 MGM LP release, as well as the original album track line up.
And what gems these songs are, with special material for each penned by the equally legendary Johnny Mercer himself. "Muskrat Ramble", with an elaborate arrangement that sounds as if it's the opening number for a mammoth television special, starts things off, followed by an absolutely sublime rendition of "Sugar", with Crosby's voice sounding every bit like the 'liquid gold being poured from a cup' as Satchmo once described it, while his trumpet solos soar in the background. "Dardanella" makes effective use of Bing's deep resonant voice, the timbre of which was unequalled, and you'd be hard pressed to find a more definitive reading of "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans" than the one heard here by these two jazz icons. A 1939 tune penned by Armstrong called "Brother Bill" is clever and infectiously funny throughout (with Bing referring to he and Armstrong as 'two nimrods'). "At The Jazz Band Ball" could be a sequel to "Now You Has Jazz" in the way it further elaborates on the origins of jazz. Mercer's own composition, "Rocky Mountain Moon" is owned by Crosby. His vocal on it is classic Crosby...smooth, easy, deep, rich and gorgeous. In all, both men were in fine voice for this project. Every bit as good as they sounded on "Gone Fishin'" nine years earlier... with the added benefit of stereo sound here.
The album packaging is first rate, with a lengthy essay by noted jazz expert Will Friedwald and period photos throughout the booklet (including a rare pose of Mercer & Crosby rehearsing for the latter's October 1960 TV special). This is an album that should please not only fans of the vocal talents of Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong, but also those legions of fans of arranger / conductor extraordinaire, the masterful Billy May.
Don't miss this one...grab it while it's still in print. It hasn't been around in such a complete form for nearly 50 years!
Luis Flores | Sunny California | 03/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
I first became aware of this great album back in 1997 when I stumbled across an old vinyl album by the same title. Since then, I have been attempting to piece together this album from the very best sources possible. I spent more than 10 years looking for mint sources. I purchased a still sealed vinyl copy, a sealed reel to reel tape and a minty mono record. I spent a lot of money transferring these sources in order to have this album on CD. I also spent a lot of money tracking down the individual CD's which contained one or two songs from this album. How much money have I spent? Over $150 for sources alone, not including the transferring, postage, etc.
Why would I spend so much money?
The review by Mr. Van Beek says most of it. To me, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong are a vocal duet made in heaven. The contrast in the voices makes for some truly wonderful listening. The arrangements by Billy May are amazing and I love the backing choir in the songs.
As far as I know the original 'Bing & Satchmo' album was only re-issued once in Australia when they coupled it up with another Crosby LP. The CD released in Australia was on the Axis label (CDAX 701597). It was also re-issued in various illegitimate forms, including a CD from Moscow entitled "Bing and Louis". I never heard the Axis release but ALL of the illegitimate releases were plagued by horrible sound quality.
So, is this CD worth it? Without a doubt - yes! The packaging is great and the sound quality is pristine. It's definitely not audiophile quality but if you have an EQ available, it's easy to tailor it to suit your needs. The sound quality issue is really only a minor gripe. It is much more crisp and bright sounding that any of the sources I managed to collect over the years and it does sound very good. It was also (thankfully!) not brickwalled by the mastering engineer (aka mastered loudly). The dynamics are well preserved and that's a real rarity in these times. I just wish someone like Kevin Gray or Steve Hoffman could re-do this fantastic album. Until that happens, this is the version to have!
Get this version now while you still can!"
Hoc Stercus | Hudson, NY USA | 03/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My first impressions on listening to this CD led me to think, "Pleasant....enjoyable....good natured fun." It's the kind of music you might hear in a neighborhood tavern where everyone is having a good time with no special agenda or anything to prove. It's the musical equiavalent of having on a pair of comfortable slippers. But then I began to ask myself, how many of our current musicians could carry off the on-spot timing? How many of our current musicians could sing this music without a digital correction device nearby to adjustthe off-key notes? Not too many I suspect. In many ways I see this album as a master class in how to make music sound so pleasant and relaxed that you forget all about production values and just simply enjoy the performance."