Santa Cros -- The Voice of Christmas

Posted by Steven Lewis on October 10, 1998 at 21:08:07:

The new MCA compilation of Bing's winter holiday recordings, "The Voice of Christmas," has arrived and brought with it some serendipity for me. Nearly all the selections on these two discs I had already in my collection, but the value of the discs lay in the initial release of two long-lost Bing holiday recordings -- his 1935 private recording of "Silent Night" backed by the Georgie Stoll Orchestra and his first try at "White Christmas" for Decca in 1942.

Bing crooned "Silent Night" in Feb. 1935 for a private charitable group, and it was never released commercially. This version, which I heard today for the first time, is quite different from the three other versions of "Silent Night" in this collection and is far and away my favorite.

The first time Bing recorded "White Christmas" for Decca in 1942 he didn't sing "your" in the last sentence. Instead, he sang: "May all Christmases be white." Since Bing didn't go by the letter of the Irving Berlin lyric, this was interpreted as a mistake and the take was scrapped. Fortunately, this long-forgotten take has now been resurrected and is in better shape that the 1942 version that was released commercially. In fact, I prefer this 'flawed' version. Not only does it sound better than the official release, but Bing gives a distinctly different interpretation, which I found more appealing.

The CD package contains a 12-page insert written by "Wig" Wiggins (who still has no email address) of the ICC and includes a history of the Merry Christmas album, which Wig says will now be renamed "White Christmas."

Despite Wig's statements to the contrary, these discs do not represent "all" of Crosby's winter holiday recordings for Decca. "The Voice of Christmas" does not even include "Faith of our Fathers," which has long been a staple of the "Merry Christmas" album. One of the Decca songs omitted still has not been released on CD and is destined to become the December audio selection.

Posted by Lee Rotter on December 04, 1998 at 15:10:15:

Last year I bemoaned on this message board about a need for a new Bing Christmas release from MCA which would include all of Bing's Christmas stuff in one place. Well, lo and behold, this year here it is. I can't complain. (Well, I might have placed the songs on "Voice of Christmas" in a different order with a more variety from one song to the next. But I see the way "Voice of Christmas" did it was in a chronological order, first with Bing solos, then with Bing duets. But to have all of Bing's Christmas music in one place is just what I've always wanted for years.) Also the fact that Target stores brought out a Bing Crosby doll for "White Christmas" was something I didn't think I would see the likes of last year. Fortunately, the anti-Bing reports and books are dying off, and what's left is what was all that mattered in the first place, Bing's undeniable talent, a truly original singing style, a great flair for comedy and a real wit and wordsmith. Just listen to Bing's radio shows and you can hear just how funny Bing is, in his ad-libs, and his natural and easy going way. No one is that good of an actor all the time, I believe Bing was as nice in person as he was on the radio. I'm sure he wasn't perfect, but no one is. Bing has always been the coolest and a real original. It's not up to anyone to "hip" Bing up, it's up to the people to get hip to Bing. He's already there. Keep On Bingin'

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