Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Crosby-Clooney Show, Pt. 3

Reprinted in the January, 2009, Old Radio Times.

The Crosby-Clooney Show
Excerpts from Bing Crosby –– The Radio Directories (out of print)
compiled by Lionel Pairpoint
reprinted by permission

Buddy Cole described his side of the shows in a taped message to ICC member Stan White in the early 1960s:

" ...Eventually the big bands faded out as you know and one day Bing called me and asked me to go to CBS with him and a small group. He said “just you, I won't do this unless you'll do it.” That's just about the way Bing put it and I was naturally just thrilled out of my skull! And so we started with Mr. Crosby recording all of these tunes. That was in 1954 and we've been on the air continually except for one period of 9 months and one period of a year some place along the way.
"I started with Rosemary Clooney in 1953. She was on another network (NBC) but eventually she came over to CBS and we put Crosby and Clooney together and that’s the way it is today. I’m so thankful for this Crosby show that got started and I would break my back to stay on it all of my life. I wish I could be assured of that, I might have a little more hair than I have right now - but it’s a wonderful show to do. I go into a studio to record a basic track with Bing, or with Rosemary or both if they are doing duets. Now what I mean by that is just the rhythm, just the bass, guitar and drums and I’ll play piano or celeste or as little as I have to put in to give them some background. We do maybe 4, 6, 8, 10 – I’ve done as many as 20 songs in a day with Bing. A lot of these were head arrangements, not written. I write every one that I possibly can, you have to for things that are concerted, because then we come back at our leisure the next day or two or three days later. We play these things back through a speaker or on a headset and then set about adding instruments and other sounds. We can add - we can multiple all the electric guitar, organ, kettle drums, shot guns, chimes, whatever you want to add, sometimes we even sing!

"That’s why we are able to maintain a pretty good balance on the show. I have a pretty good control over it. I don’t have anyone telling me this and telling me that. They take my suggestions and I’m a damned bug on sound to the point where I'm likely to upset a few people if I'm not careful. But anyway, that is the way we do the show and at this point I would say we have between 250 and 300 tunes in the can with Bing and about 200 odd with Rosemary plus about 40 duets. These can be drawn upon at any time and Murdo Mackenzie puts the shows together. He gets the dialogue, and every word that Bing has ever uttered into the tape recorder microphones is filed away where he knows right where to get it. If he needs a “Yes” or a “No” or a “Thank You” or a “Go to Hell”, he's got it catalogued. Then we'll tape these tunes other times and we'll edit them, make them one chorus or change the introduction or sometimes fill in a thing instrumentally or run underneath the dialogue. There's lots of things we can do and thank God I know about them because a lot of just plain musicians don't know what a microphone does on a piece of tape or what you can do. It's always been a hobby of mine. I've had a disc recorder ever since I can remember, one of the acetate disc things and then I had one of the first Ampex tape machines which came out (which Bing got for me) . . .


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