While I sit here, eagerly listening to Jericho Sirens, you know, the new Hot Snakes album, I feel an urgent need to mentally frolic over this goofy-ass Bing Crosby cover from 1957 titled, New Tricks… I mean, just look at that dog’s disapproving glare! And the characteristic hat and pipe?! It’s just too much! Well, after you’ve had a good laugh, just think… that dog is dead now. What, you think dogs can live to be 60 years old?! What world do you live in, and how do I get there? But in all seriousness, New Tricks… is a pretty straightforward Bing Crosby record. Nothing too flashy, and a lot more of the same shtick that made Mr. Crosby the household name that he is. Buy it for the cover, but that’s about it. RIP funny dog.
Little more is common thread between the bass-baritone troubadour, Bing Crosby, and early 90s pop-hop hooligans, House of Pain save for their Irish-American heritage, and their longevity in pop music history. Bing’s Shillelaghs and Shamrocks boasts traditional fervor, ripe with Irish folk-lore (or so the back sleeve prompts), where as HOP’s Shamrocks and Shenanigans boasts pub-brawling, head-knocking, fine malt beer-drinking, aggressive hip hop by three guys looking to draw blood, and get paid doing it.
Although at seemingly opposite ends of the musical rainbow, both are little pots of entertainment gold, and whether you’re a fan of the straightforward Bing-and-sing-along-Crosby, or the radio-friendly, malt lyric-spiked-shamrock shake-drinking shenanigans of early 90s House of Pain, nothing says, “thanks for running those nasty snakes out of town, St. Patrick” like Shillelaghs and Shamrocks and Shenanigans.
Not only is Bobcats Blues by Bob Crosby a riot of a blues album, its cover art is the best I’ve seen nearly all year! Released on Coral Records in 1956 (according to allmusic.com, although I believe this to be false), Bob Crosby and his merry band of saucer-lickers combine brass-happy jazz with the upswing ruckus of big band blues. Better known for their Dixieland ways, the Bobcats remain ambiguously cool while reminiscing the big band sounds of yesteryear (think the Dorsey Brothers, Les Brown or Glenn Miller on three pots of coffee).
This cat-astrophicly cool cover will remain, proudly I might add, on display in the PG office for the foreseeable future. With its combination of great, upbeat background jazz-infused blues, together with its amazing “cats on parade” cover, I strongly suggest you run out and adopt this album as soon as humanly possibly. Although Bob’s older brother Bing stole much of the family’s spotlight, mom and pop Crosby can’t help but view Bobcats Blues as the family’s crowning achievement.