|Bing & Friends Christmas|
|No production credits|
|Released on 1999|
|no chart information|
|Find it at GEMM|
[high resolution scan]
F ollow me in merry measure, while I tell of yuletide treasure. Bing & Friends Christmas features 20 Christmas songs from Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra and, of course, the Big Bingaling himself. Enough to yuletide you over for a while, though it’s a mixed bag. You see, what SleighBells (yes, that’s really the label’s name, as opposed to Mittens, which is more of a cat’s name, as in “Mittens is due for a squeezin’”) did was fuse Christmas songs from Rosemary Clooney recorded in the 70s with archival recordings from Bing, Bing and Frank, frank and bings, Bing and little Lindsay, and swirled it together into a yule-tidy pile of Xmas cheer. Of course, in the inconvenient world of reality, only Bing and Rosemary were actually friends. The Clooney bin contains mostly spare, cheesy arrangements of Christmas classics sung remarkably well (I say “remarkable” because it’s probably not easy to feel inspired when your musical director is playing a plastic organ with 36 keys). Hers may be the definitive version of “Suzy Snowflake,” until I hear another version anyway (noting that no two versions are ever exactly alike). As for Bing, his “White Christmas” still gives me chills and you gotta dig that cool “Rudolph.” A duet with son Lindsay, “Hitch A Ride With Santa Claus,” is also pretty catchy in a "Santa's Beard" kind of way. Frank’s bits are just that: mostly short cameos and one winning turn on “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.” This disc is just someone else’s attempt to cash in on the Crosby Christmas legacy, though at least they were generous about it. The people who bought the Clooney disc without any Bing in it; now they got scrooged. (Dry note at the end of the review: The 1999 SleighBells release is altogether different from the 10-track Direct Source release of the same name.)
BING CROSBY -- vocals (1,5,9,10,12-20)
ROSEMARY CLOONEY -- vocals (2,4-6,8,11,18)
FRANK SINATRA -- vocals (3,7,12,14,17-20) J. Fred Coots -- probably piano (7)
Lindsay Crosby -- vocals (13)
return to the XMAS collection
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