Bing with a Beat



I know a lot of you wiseacres think this title has something to do with Der Bingle being such a strict hands-on disciplinarian with his sons! B-uh-uh-BAH! This 1957 collection of Dixieland jazz, universally acknowledged as his finest long-player, goes a long way to explaining his appeal before “Road” movies, White Christmas and his a-bah-bah-bah-bysmal version of “Hey Jude” defined him for the rock generation. The first popular vocalist who didn’t have to croon through a hazard cone to be heard, Crosby used the electronic age to achieve a new kind of intimacy with his audience, one that could now include lip-reading and swing jazz of the sort he resumes here. You’ll hear his customary easy air but you’ll also hear some grit accumulate in his throat when he belts out an extended “ahhh” on “Dream a Little Dream of Me” or calls out, “You ain’t just dreaming, you is awake,” to Scobey. Thanks to Bluebird’s remastering, the Beat sounds like it was recorded yesterday and was still kicking the convivial Mr. C up the ass inside his cold and musty grave. In a word, Bing-glorious!

Serene Dominic writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to

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