Day In Day Out : Bob Crosby©2008JCMarion


Bob Crosby was born in Spokane, Washington in August of 1913. He was the youngest of seven children among them of course was Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby, one of the most famous performers the world has ever known. Bob went into music also, and toiled in the shadow of his more reknowned brother. He was a vocalist at first with Anson ("Dancin' With Anson") Weeks and then with the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra. He started his own band in the mid thirties and became well known for the band and its smaller unit The Bob cats who specialized in Dixieland Jazz. After military service during World War II he became a radio personality with his own show plus the Club Fifteen program on network radio.

During the late thirties to the mid forties, Bob Crosby had more than thirty records that made the best seller charts for Decca including "In A Gypsy Tea Room", "Whispers In The Dark", and "Day In Day Out" with Helen Ward on vocal which all hit the number one seller in the country. He even recorded with brother Bing in 1940. He appeared in a number of motion pictures in the early forties such as "Reveille With Beverly", "Presenting Lily Mars", "Kansas City Kitty" and "See Here Private Hargrove". With the end of the big band era for most of the wartime units in 1946, it became something of a struggle to maintain popularity among listeners. Bob Crosby continued to record, and with his radio exposure he remained a "name" in American music.

In 1946 Crosby went to Boris Morros independent label ARA Records in Hollywood, and his first outing for the label was "Java Junction" and "Come With Me Honey" with The Town Criers on vocal released on # 103. Next came "It's Anybody's Spring" with Peggy Lee and "On The Atcheson Topeka And Santa Fe" on # 114, followed by "Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow" and "In The Valley" with vocals on the songs by Bonnie Lou Williams on # 129. The record became a top fifteen seller despite a hit version by Vaughn Monroe. "The Same Old You" with Bob on vocal, and "Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" with Quig Quigley on # 131 was next, then "Cement Mixer" made famous by Slim Gaillard with Gordon Polk on vocal and "When Did You Learn To Love" on # 137, and the final side for ARA "Big Fat Ma Skinny Pa" with Quig Quigley coupled with a song by Wingy Manone called "The General Jumped At Dawn" on # 143.

Late in the year Bob Crosby and his band moved over to Decca Records and recorded a big song from the year "Give Me Five Minutes More" made famous by Phil Brito, and "I've Never Forgotten" on Decca # 18909. Bob's version of the song was good enough to get to the top ten in the nation. Other records for Decca with Bob on vocal included "It's Better To Be Yourself" and "Give A Broken Heart A Break" on 18909, and then more than two years later another top ten seller with "The Pussy Cat Song" with Patty Andrews on # 24533 coupled with "Don't Worry About Strangers" with the Andrews Sisters in December of 1948. A short stay with Columbia Records yielded a top twenty seller with Marion Morgan on vocal on the song "Maybe It's Because" (with "Be My Little Bumble Bee" on the flip side) on Columbia # 38504.

In 1949 and into the following year Bob Crosby recorded a number of songs for Decca's subsidiary label Coral Records. "High Society" and "Muskrat Ramble" on Coral # 60020, was followed by "Run Rabbit Run" / "Skater's Waltz" on # 60028, "Do You Ever Think Of Me?" / "Mama's Gone Goodbye" on # 60056, "Up The Chimney Go My Dreams" on # 60085, "Panama" / "Swinging At The Sugar Bowl" on # 60098, "Wolverine Blues" / "Little Rock Getaway" on # 60099, and "Washington & Lee Swing" / "Peruna" on # 60100. Most of the vocals were done by Bob fronting his band or small groups. "When My Sugar Walks Down The Street" and "If You Can't Get A Drum With A Boom Boom Boom" on # 60171, was followed by "My Scandanavian Baby" and "Heart Of Stone" on # 60211, "Washington Post march" and "Stars And Stripes Forever" on # 60217, "Dixieland Band" and "Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea" on # 60224, "Sugar Foot Strut" and "At The Jazz Band Ball" on # 60225, "Come Back Sweet Papa" and "Dixieland Shuffle" on # 60226, and "Play A Simple Melody" and "A Little Bit Independent" with vocals by Georgia Gibbs on # 60277 which got to the top twenty five best sellers in the country.

In late 1950 continuing on Coral Records "Watching The Trains Go By" / "Rainbow" on # 60312, "King Cotton" / "Hands Across The Sea" on # 60340, "The Thunderer" / "High School Cadets" on # 60341, and into 1951 with "Destination Moon" and "What have You Done" on # 60370, a cover of Tony Bennett's "Because Of You" and "9 : 20 Special" on # 60440, "St. Louis Blues" and "Loveless Life" on # 60535, "Memphis Blues" and a cover of Joe Darensbourg's "Yellow Dog Blues" on 60536, "Beale Street Blues" and "Joe Turner Blues" on # 60537, and "Way Down South Where The Blues Began" and "Aunt Hagar's Blues" on # 60538.

During these years in the early nineteen fifties Bob Crosby also made appearances in motion pictures, sometimes playing himself such as in "When You're Smiling", "Hollywood Goes To Bat", "Two Tickets To Broadway", and "Road To Bali". He also made appearances on the Sunday evening musical variety show The Colgate Comedy Hour, and The Michael Todd Revue and Ed Sullivan's Toast Of The Town.

In late summer of 1951 Bob Crosby had one last charted record, his first for his newest record label, Capitol with "Shanghai" a top twenty seller. "Naughty Waltz" was on the flip side on # 1525. Other Capitol recordings by Bob Crosby in the early fifties were "I Don't Mind" and "L'Amour Toujours" on # 1576, "I'm Waiting Just For You" and "Lonesome And Sorry" on # 1595, "Hobo Boogie" and "Tales Of Hoffman" on # 1751, "Ask Me" and "The Oklahoma Hills" with vocal by The Dinning Sisters on # 1766, "99 Out Of 100" and "Hors D'Oeuvre" on # 1778, and "I Was Never Loved By Anyone Else" and "Sans Souci" with Gisele MacKenzie on vocals on # 1826. Continuing for Coral Records with "Bouquet Of Roses" and "Just A Little Loving" on # 1850, "A Crying Shame" and "Savoy Blues" on # 1894, and finally "The Bucket Song" and "Cathy" with Cathy Crosby on Coral # 1988.

In 1952 Bob made a big move when he replaced Phil Harris as the leader of the band on the Jack Benny radio program where he remained until the show went off the air in 1955. He also has his radio and television shows with his daytime TV show into 1957 and then at prime time in the evenings for one last year. His final appearance on the screen was in the Red Nichols biopic "The Five Pennies" in 1959. He spent the sixties and early seventies heading a reunion band featuring The Bobcats playing for dancers across the country. He was less active after that and passed away in 1993. Bob Crosby although he was often in the background because of his more famous brother, showed that he was a talent that could and did provide entertainment for so many through the years. He is fondly remembered by many of those people.

The Bob Crosby musical legacy is carried on by many cds of his music. Most of them are from the mid thirties to the early forties, before the time of the emphasis of this writing. However there are some that highlight his many efforts during the Interlude Era. "And Then Some" from Halcyon (UK) in 2001 has 42 tracks on two cds. "The Bobcats" on Soundies from 2001 concentrates on the late forties. Others are "Proper Intro" from 2004 on the label of the same name with 25 tracks, "March Of The Bobcats" from Living Era in 2006 has 26 tracks, another Living Era release called "Stomp Off Let's Go" from 1994 has 24 tracks, and "The Bob Crosby Orchestra" from Hindsight (UK) and features June Christy and Polly Bergen on 16 tracks. Finally there is a new cd called "Bing With Bob Crosby And Friends (Judy Garland, Andrews Sisters, and others) with 24 tracks on Sounds Of Yesteryear out in 2008.

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