From the Vault...


Bing Crosby
"Top O' The Morning/His Irish Collection"

© MCA/Decca Records

Year of Release: 1996

track listing
  • When Irish Eyes
    Are Smiling
  • MacNamara's Band
  • Galway Bay
  • Top O' The Morning
  • Rosaleen
  • How Can You Buy
  • It's The Same
    Old Shillelagh
  • Too-Ra-Loo-La-Loo-Ral
    (That's An
    Irish Lullaby)
    (First Version)
  • The Rose Of Tralee
  • Dear Old Donegal
  • Danny Boy
  • St. Patrick's Day Parade
  • I'll Take You Home Again
  • The Donovans
  • Where The River
    Shannon Flows
  • Eileen
  • With My Shillelagh
    Under My Arm
  • My Girl's An Irish Girl
  • That Tumbledown Shack
    In Athlone
  • Two Shillelagh O'Sullivan
  • The Isle Of Innisfree
  • Who Threw The
    Overalls In
    Mrs. Murphy's
  • Did Your Mother Come
    From Ireland
  • Too-Ra-Loo-La-Loo-Ral
    (That's An
    Irish Lullaby)

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    Bing Crosby
    "Top O' The Morning/His Irish Collection"

    Bing Crosby -- Probably considered the first "icon" in music, before Sinatra, before Rock & Roll, and before Elvis came along. (The first icon in my opinion would probably be Al Jolson.) Bing's music was legendary, for his pop songs, and especially his Christmas recordings. Of his pop recordings, comes this week's review of Irish songs. The Top O' The Morning/His Irish Collection are recordings from 1941 to 1952. The songs in this collection are from those years, but not in chronological order by year. Despite that, there are the standard Irish songs here, as they would be recorded by Bing, as well as countless other artists, and of being the Irish nationality.

    Among the most enjoyable and popular songs in Bing's wide-ranging repretoire were the "Irish" favorites that he often featured on is radio program and recorded for Decca Records during the 1940's and 1950's. Bing was very proud of his Irish-American heritage (his maternal grandparents came to the United States from Country Cork), and he visited Ireland on a number of occasions after he became an international radio and recording star.

    "Top O' The Morning" is one of those Irish recordings (and a very popular Irish phrase), and it would be an appropriate title for this collection. This song also has another popular Irish phrase -- "How do you do?" And of course, both of these popular phrases would have to be pronounced in typical Irish accent fashion. Two other popular Irish songs are here by Bing, the famous "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," and the other, that would be one of Bing;s signature songs - "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's An Irish Lullaby)" (There are two versions of the latter song here: The "first original version," from 1944, and the second, from a year later.) The 1945 version would be the most popular. This song would be from his Academy Award winning role as Father O'Malley in the movie Going My Way. And let us not forget one true Irish song that everyone should know is here by Bing -- "Danny Boy." There's even a song about the most popular Irish holiday -- "St. Patrick's Day Parade."

    Another term in music that Bing used (and most other singers), were the use of whistling. "Rosaleen" has this. There are many songs here that really didn't ring memory bells for me, since I did have an interest in this era of music, and from the era of Old Time Radio. More or less, this was considered the Big Band Era, being music from the 1940s. The style of the Big Band sound isn't really here in this collection; maybe on a few songs, like "It's The Same Old Shillelagh." To recollect Bing's musical style here, would be be labeled in later years as "Easy Listening." Although many songs I may not have recognized, Irish music has been popular for many. And from this particular section of music, Irish music is well defined and recorded here by Bing, as this 23-song collection represents.

    Irish and Irish-type songs were a natural for Bing's melodic voice and easy-going style -- whether traditional Irish airs such as "Danny Boy" and "The Rose of Tralee," modern favorites by contemproary Irish composers like "The Isle of Innisfree" and "Galway Bay," or pseudo-Irish creations of the "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" variety. From the winsome ballad "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" to racous drinking songs like "Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy's Chowder" and "It's The Same Old Shillelagh," Bing had an infectous way with anything that had a tinge of the Irish green or a bit of the blarney about it.

    Bing recorded two original studio albums of Irish music - When Irish Eyes Are Smiling and Shillelaghs And Shamrocks. The songs from these two albums are contained in this collection. Two songs from this collection appear for the first time on compact disc: "Top O' The Morning" and "Rosaleen." "Top O' The Morning" was once included in a long-deleted series of MCA LPs honoring Bing's film career called "Bing's Hollywood," but "Rosaleen" only appeared briefly as a 45 rpm single record some forty years prior, and consequently, is completely unknown to most of Bing's fans. (MCA Records would take over the Decca label, and it's recordings.)

    Bing Crosby achieved a total of four albums that reached #1 on Billboard's albums chart: Going My Way (1945), Merry Christmas (1945), The Bells of St. Mary's (1946), and St. Patrick's Day (1948). These "albums" were originally recorded as single 78 rpm records. In locating the songs from these "albums," they were found in various Bing Crosby CD compilations. His box set, His Legendary Years 1931 To 1957 is a great history of his recordings. Of course, not all the songs from his #1 albums were in this box set. He recorded many albums throughout his career, spanning half a century of fifty years.

    But then there are the mentioning of how Bing Crosby was abusive to his children. He had 4 sons from his first marriage. Gary Crosby, Bing's eldest son, wrote a highly critical memoir, Going My Own Way, after Bing Crosby's death, in 1977. Phillip Crosby (Bing's youngest son) disputed Gary's claims about their relationship with their father. Other siblings confirmed of their father's punishable discipline, of being both physical and verbal. In Bing's will, he established a "blind trust" - being that his sons would receive an inheritance until they reached 65 years old. However, most of his sons didn't live that long. Lindsay Crosby (age 51, 1989) and Dennis Crosby (age 56, 1991) both died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Gary Crosby (age 62, 1995) died of lung cancer. Phillip Crosby (age 69, 2004) died of a heart attack. His other 3 children were from his second marriage: 2 sons, and a daughter. They are all currently living.

    Many claimed that Gary's book was false, and for publicity. Every parents' discipline towards their children differs. But it's Bing Crosby's music is what made his name. Top O' The Morning/His Irish Collection is a great set of Irish songs and favorites. Bing had an unmistakable voice. His career as a singer has given him his claim to fame. His "easy listening" songs and Christmas songs are best remembered. He was from the Old Time Radio Era, having his radio programs, and his movies with Bob Hope were also popular. Bing Crosby died in 1977. An avid golfer, he collapsed at the La Moraleja golf course, of a heart attack. He was 74 years old.

    His real name was Harry Lillis Crosby Jr. But he will always be rememered as "Bing." Bing Crosby. He was the first multimedia star, and one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses from 1930 to 1954. He made over seventy feature films and recorded more than 1,600 songs. His Irish collection is a great set of his many musical works.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MCA/Decca Records and is used for reference purposes only.

    Previous Review: #1772
    Soundtrack--Hair-The Original Broadway Cast Recording
    Next Review: #1774
    Mandisa--Out of The Dark