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ModernBingFan0377
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Date Posted:04/30/2020 04:53:22Copy HTML

I don't know if this was mentioned at all last season, but Decca and UMe released a Bing Crosby Christmas album with newly added backing by the London Symphony Orchestra, I thought it was nice, and I was wondering about all of your thoughts.

rsteven Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #1
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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:04/30/2020 06:20:44Copy HTML


Welcome to the Yule log.com, ModernBingFan. I know Chip and I are not usually fans of modern record producers messing around with the original iconic holiday music from the Golden Age of Christmas, but I personally feel this was a worthwhile project for a coupe of reasons. Firstly, since so much of Bing's Christmas recordings were done when the technological aspects of recording were pretty arcane and long before the invention of stereo, a lot of his recordings do not hold up well sonically when compared to so many other giant artists from the Golden Age like Johnny Mathis or Andy Williams. So in that sense, it is exciting to hear some of these new arrangements with modern recording technology that makes them sound a whole lot richer and warmer to our ears. It also has the opportunity to expose his beautiful holiday music to a new generation of fans through new marketing efforts and radio play.


On the other hand, I would rather these labels reissue a new remastering of Bing's highly underrated holiday gem, A Time To Be Jolly, with its original album cover artwork, rather than spend money and effort on these type of releases.  I really look forward to hearing from Chip on this issue as he is such a guardian and curator of all this iconic music from the Golden Age of Christmas.


Best regards,


Steve

ModernBingFan0377 Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #2
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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:04/30/2020 06:41:46Copy HTML

I don't blame you either on not wanting the classics messed with, I really only have 2 complaints about this album.


  1.   They messed up White Christmas. They used Crosby original 1942 recording of White Christmas for the vocals, which is not the most famous version and has a lot of problems in that master, and not the 1947 version. On top of that they spruced up the arrangement too much in my opinion. Although most of the arrangements on this are mostly faithful with a few beautiful openings before the famous beginnings, while White Christmas, his most iconic Christmas recording, has gotten too much added/changed as to where the simplicity of the original recording is lost. Oh and they removed his whistling, which is just unspeakable.

  2. They should have stuck to the Decca recordings to add new backings. The 1962 and 63 recordings felt, to me, like they've lost power with the new recordings, too much reverb might be the problem. It's hard to improve on those recordings as they are of a higher fidelity than the Decca ones. They should've done Silent Night, the 3rd best selling single of all time from Crosby as well, Adeste Fideles, I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day, or his duology medleys of Christmas carols instead in my opinion.

Hopefully, as I heard it sold pretty well this last season, it will continue to succeed and maybe we'll get a sequel after all Bing recorded around 70 different Christmas songs, not including re-recordings.

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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:05/01/2020 02:27:41Copy HTML


I consider A Time To Be Jolly to be Bing's best all-around Christmas album. That's why it is from this great Christmas album from 1971 that I chose a song of his to be represented on the Yule Log telecast, when I created and produced a new Fourth Hour for the program in 2009. And the song that I chose was indeed the title song. When I told his son Nathaniel about me adding his father and this song to the Yule Log broadcast, he was quite pleased -- particularly because it is his favorite Christmas album of his father's too. He further remarked how catchy the song and the entire album was.

I always felt that this Christmas album by Bing, his last, was woefully underrated. It was wonderfully produced, arranged and performed. And it has terrific vocal backing by the Jack Halloran Singers and orchestral backing by Les Brown. This has been an album that I've wanted to get properly remastered and released on CD for some time now; but in this current environment with the major record companies -- especially UMG (Universal Music Group) which owns the copyrights, it would be very tough.

As for that new Bing release last year with the London Symphony Orchestra, while I understand the merits of such a project, the problem is that when folks take license to engage in such an endeavor it can result in something egregious, like way they handled his most famous and iconic song, "White Christmas."



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
ModernBingFan0377 Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #4
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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:05/01/2020 05:51:17Copy HTML

I agree, A Time To Be Jolly is very underrated, I considered it Bing's second best Chrismas studio album with I Wish You A Merry Christmas first (as it is my favorite Christmas album). Although I feel the best performance of the title song of A Time To Be Jolly was in his 1971 Christmas special when it's interwoven with the song "Sounds Of Christmas." The album is catchy though and very jolly. 


I feel that Bing's 1965 recording "Wonderful White World Of Winter" almost fits in as an 11th track in tone and style, and it could easily fit as a bonus track on, if there ever is, A Time To Be Jolly remaster and reissue. They could include his 1973 recording "Christmas Star" and "When A Child Is Born" from his UA sessions. Another few bonus tracks I think it'd be good to include are the Crosby solo tracks from the 1964 album "12 Songs Of Christmas" (that album needs a proper remaster and reissue, I know it a bonus disc on a Frank Sinatra compilation, but the mastering on it could be better.) They could also do a bit of remastering of songs only on Bing's TV Specials (or radio as a matter of fact) like "Christmas Island" from his 1971 special. I would hope they wouldn't put out Bing's 1977 recording of Sleigh Ride on it, it's personally my least favorite Christmas song by Bing, although his 1952 version is mighty fine. I'm surprised during the Crosby Archives reissues they didn't reissue and remaster this album, consider Bing still sells well during Christmas.


Hopefully the Bing At Christmas album will get A Time To Be Jolly released or at least more Crosby albums that haven't been properly released or released at all out, as it did well, at least looking at Billboard and the iTunes charts at the time. Besides the plethora of mistakes on White Christmas as I mentioned (the work on rearrangements really should have been used on the sparse arrangements of Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth if anything), the rest of the album does have good arrangements all around, with even the later 1962 and 63 recorded materials not sounding too bad, although I still stand by my reasons above. The best thing about this album arrangement wise is that on the 1940's and 50's ones it really brings out some Christmassyness, best word I could think of, in the John Scott Trotter and Vic Schoen arrangements that have been lost to time with some of the technological limits of the time. The only other small nitpick about the album is Pentatonix's 'duet' with Bing on White Christmas as they over power him and don't even fit too well with the style. The Tenors fit in a bit better, but I feel 2 versions of The Christmas Song were not needed and we could've used something like Silent Night instead and have them do the chorus part. The Puppini Sisters were the best fit as they are almost spiritual successors to the Andrews Sisters. This album was probably the best ones of these "with the (so and so) Orchestra" as these pre-high fidelity recordings benefit greatly. If we compare this to Sony's Christmas With The Stars and the Royal Philharmonic, the Sony collection really pales in comparison except for maybe the new version of Perry Como "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" with a similar expansion on the opening like with the new Bing one. 





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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:05/01/2020 06:55:23Copy HTML


That is correct what you said about Bing's song "The White World Of Winter," which is exactly why it was the second Christmas song by Bing that I added to the Yule Log telecast via my 50th Anniversary Fifth Hour that I created and produced for the broadcast in 2016. And yes, this song will be one of several bonus tracks that I'm going to include on the CD if I can get the project approved.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
ModernBingFan0377 Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #6
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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:05/01/2020 09:05:45Copy HTML

If you do get the project approved, which would be great, are you going to see if the BCE and the people who run the Crosby Archive would help you out on the release? 

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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:05/01/2020 11:32:54Copy HTML


Yes, and I've asked Nathaniel Crosby, with whom I am acquainted, to write the liner notes if the project ever comes to fruition. I just talked to him recently about it, and perhaps even Harry might do them as well.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
ModernBingFan0377 Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #8
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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:05/02/2020 12:11:51Copy HTML

I was more talking bonus tracks if you get the go ahead to do a release. Although it will be very nice to have them do liner notes, as I felt hyped with the Bing At Christmas album having no liner notes. It had a nice booklet of pictures, but it felt like something was missing with no liner notes. I’m happy you’re trying to get a new release of this both from a Christmas standpoint and a Bing album standpoint. The only other thing I hope, although as I’m guessing it will be released by Real Gone so I doubt it a bit, is the album on streaming, so it gets more attention by streaming audiences.

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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:05/03/2020 02:05:19Copy HTML


Sorry John, RGM releases will never be offered for streaming.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
ModernBingFan0377 Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #10
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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:05/03/2020 02:34:10Copy HTML

That was what I was guessing, I was just hoping for the more modern audiences who are much more prone to streaming, I prefer CDs and LPs, to be introduced to this great Christmas album.

KingofJingaling Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #11
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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:05/30/2020 01:23:34Copy HTML

I'd been wondering about Real Gone and streaming. I assumed that their stuff wouldn't end up on streaming. But then over the years I've noticed some releases showing up on Spotify.


For instance, the Perry Como Complete RCA Christmas Collection is there. Same thing with the Jim Nabors Complete Columbia Collection.


I wondered if the recordings were licensed to RG for a certain period and then the record company gets it back. Or if RG gets a license for physical distribution, but the label gets digital rites after a certain period of time passes.


This is, of course, just wondering on my part after seeing what I assumed were RG releases eventually showing up on streaming.

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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:05/30/2020 02:25:31Copy HTML


Since it is no secret that I have been affiliated with Real Gone Music for many years now, and have been responsible in getting so many of these great classic Christmas albums remastered and released on CD, there's no need to wonder about what you were contemplating in your post; all one has to do is simply ask.

Real Gone Music does not believe in streaming; but rather a real, bona fide, physical product with original album jacket artwork and a CD booklet complete with liner notes and photos. Licensing is contracted for a set period of time; after which, the record companies have capitalized on the work we have done and made available Real Gone Music releases for streaming.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
KingofJingaling Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #13
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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:06/02/2020 11:05:00Copy HTML

"Since it is no secret that I have been affiliated with Real Gone Music for many years now, and have been responsible in getting so many of these great classic Christmas albums remastered and released on CD, there's no need to wonder about what you were contemplating in your post; all one has to do is simply ask."


Thanks, Chip. I wasn't sure what the nature of your involvement might be on the business side of the RG releases. Thanks for the response.


With regard to Bing's "A Time to Be Jolly", it has seen a CD release but it would be easy to pass it by without knowing it. It was released as Bing Crosby Christmas Album from PolyGram/UMG. I'm not sure what kind of mastering job was done with it. It definitely sounds sweet to my ears and is a definite upgrade from my vinyl.


https://amzn.to/2U1hNtl


This is also my favorite of Bing's Christmas albums. It's so much more lush than his previous records.


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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:06/03/2020 02:56:59Copy HTML


Yes Brad, I am fully aware of this CD release and have talked about it many times over the years on the message board. It has been out since its release by PolyGram Records in 1994.

Apparently you got the wrong impression that I was trying to give the album a "first-time" ever release on CD, which was mistaken. I'm trying to do for this album what I've done for several of my other releases, like the Percy Faith and Jim Reeves, which is to give it a *proper* release on CD with a new digital remastering, bonus tracks and, in this case, with the songs in their proper 1971 playing order and with the original 1971 album jacket artwork.

By the way, PolyGram released their CD reissue of this album with several different covers over the years. However, why they never properly remasterd the recording and released it with the songs in their original 1971 playing order and with the original 1971 album jacket artwork is beyond me. But no matter, we'll correct all this if we're granted licensing from UMG.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
KingofJingaling Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #15
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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:06/03/2020 11:18:22Copy HTML

Well, based on everything you've done so far, I'm sure any remastered version will sound and look phenomenal.


And of course, you probably know better than most why they never released it properly. They don't see themselves as custodians of an artistic and cultural legacy. They exist to maximize profit to shareholders and that means get stuff out there that will get people to buy whatever you give them. Of course this is an overgeneralization and there are people at the labels who care about what they do and want to produce and promote the best. But it seems they don't often get their way.

Your work on behalf of Christmas music lovers everywhere is, of course, deeply appreciated.

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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:06/04/2020 01:10:49Copy HTML


That's correct, Brad. And the worst perpetrator of this sordid behavior over the years has been Universal Music. And the granddaddy sin of all was the egregious and horrific 2008 vault fire that destroyed the masters of so many great albums by so many great artists due to *their* negligence.

Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:Bing At Christmas

Date Posted:10/04/2020 03:50:29Copy HTML

Yes gentlemen, A Time to be Jolly is better than his Warner-released 1962 Xmas recordings, although stereo, WB LP sounds rushed, poorly dated arrangements, overdone choir, and only 3 songs sounded really really good. ATTBJ needs remastering to bring out Bing's baritone in the sweet 'I Sing Noel'. 'Do You Hear What I Hear?", with a wonderful arrangement from Ralph Carmichael, I believe was recorded only as a single, a year removed from the Warner-released Xmas LP effort, and the 2019 redo made it sound more harsh. Bing deserves his 70's Christmas (and 60's) releases to be remastered, IMO.

John

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