posted 07/04/05 07:42 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
First of all, let me start by saying I'm a big fan of not only Bing but Frank Sinatra, but am I the only one disappointed by Bing's output for Mr. Sinatra's Reprise label? Don't get me wrong some great (and some of my favorite tracks) including "The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game", "Mr. Booze", and "Style", but he should have turned out some great albums. Specifically, I was extremely disappointed in "Return to Paradise Islands" especially considering it featured the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. To be truthful, I neaver cared for Bing's earlier Hawaiian songs, but I found this whole album dreadful.
posted 07/05/05 01:57 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
As has been mentioned on another recent thread, Bing's Reprise period is a disappointment, in that the signing held such promise. Everyone knows how much respect Frank had for Bing, and he's quoted as saying that the signing was a "proud moment for the whole organization". The best thing about the signing as it turned out was the fact that it allowed Bing to be a sort of musical member of the Rat Pack for a time, taking part in many recordings with Frank, Dean, etc. I'm sure that the "Paradise Islands" LP was but one of what were to be several solo projects for Bing, but when Frank sold the label to Warner Bros., he no longer had any control over the AandR, and Bing was left in the dust. I've read that Bing was dropped by the label along with a number of other Sinatra signings that Warner's thought were not salesworthy. What puzzles me about this, if true, is the fact that Crosby singles continued to be recorded on Reprise and released in trickles up through 1967. A puzzle. I hope Mr. Giddins can address himself to this, and figure it out for his book.
Incidentally - I LIKE "Return to Paradise Islands" - While Bing is not in best voice throughout the LP, he is standout on certain tracks: "Adventures In Paradise" is a GREAT Crosby performance, and Riddle's orchestration is stunning. I also like "Forevermore", "Return To Paradise", and "Keep Your Eyes On The Hands".
posted 07/05/05 08:19 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Bing's recording of "Younger Then Springtime" with Morris Stoloff on the "South Pacific" Reprise Rep. Theater LP is one of his greatest recordings.
posted 07/05/05 09:32 AM Central Time (US) no email address given
Maybe "Return to Paradise" is the type of record that grows on you. The first time I listened to it I was disappointed but later on I kind of like it. I agree about "Younger than springtime" - Bing's version is really great. Interesting to hear that Bing was dropped after Sinatra sold Reprise. Information like this put things in another light. I don't want to think about the albums Bing might have recorded if Sinatra had kept Reprise. It's unfortunate he didn't do more recordings than he did after the sound technology changed. More albums like "Fancy meetin you here". And making more albums with a theme or red thread. Strange as he was off to a good start with "Le Bing". Or "Songs I wish I had sung"... The Bregman and Scobey album was great. But then he fell into those medley and gang-songs albums. Even though he later also made the country album and "That travelin two-beat" something was missing in many of the records. Like it only was a bunch of songs thrown together - good and bad without any real thought behind it (IMO)? On Reprise it might have turned out different.
posted 07/05/05 10:18 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I don't know if Bing was "dropped" from Reprise or whether he chose to return to indepedence once his contract was up. Mo Ostin and Sonny Burke made the managerial decisions at Reprise.
posted 07/05/05 05:53 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Ostin and Burke notwithstanding, Warner Bros. cut the Reprise artist roster and re-structured the label considerably. I don't think Sonny Burke had much interaction with Neil Young or Frank Zappa!
posted 07/06/05 04:21 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
'Return To Paradise Islands' is in my view spoiled by the mix. Bing's voice should have been brought out and the rhythms less obvious. I think 'Adventures In Paradise'is marginally superior to the other tracks because the balance is better. Nevertheless, I too found myself liking the album more each time I played it because, I think, I started to compensate mentally for its imbalance.
However, I agree with Ron that 'Younger Than Springtime' is amongst Bing's finest recordings.
posted 07/07/05 02:39 AM Central Time (US) no email address given
"Return to Paradise" was later released in Japan (in the 80s) and I recall it was said the sound was improved. This is how I was able to finally find the record - the japanese re-release. I remember how happy I was when I in one single store during the early 80's found a whole bunch of re-released Reprise albums looking exactly as the originals - the same covers and everything. I got some of the Reprise rep Theatre musicals and quite a few Dean MARTIN albums along with "Return to Paradise" and even Gary Crosby's "Happy bachelor" (on another label). As if this wasn't enough they had a case full of radiomaterial LP's (Spokane etc) so I believe I bought more than 30 new LP's all at once. Somebody in this recordstore had a great musical taste. But boy did I have problems getting it home. Especially as I was on a businesstrip and had to get it on the plane too. I was running late and had to find a cab to get me to the airport in a hurry - but it was well worth the sweat. Anyway, I read somewhere (maybe in one of the reviews by Stringbean in Bingang?) that the sound was a lot better on these Japanes re-issues when compared to the original REPRISE releases. Maybe they brought Bing's voice more up front as I can't recall it being that bad?
A guy in the store even called me months later when they got more Crosby albums and through them I also got tapes of Bing's Philco shows. Those were the days! That was a great store that unfortunately doesn't exist anymore. Only a few years later it had already changed and sold nothing but the latest rock and pop records.