"I'm the only guy in the business who made it without any talent." That self-disparaging statement (entirely untrue in an entertainment marketplace that has always teemed with heavily promoted overpaid nothings) was made by Bing Crosby's little brother Bob Crosby, leader of a successful big band and a smaller unit known as the Bob Cats. It's All Over Now
, the concluding volume in a three-part tribute to this traditional Dixieland and Chicago style swing band, covers the Bob Cats' Decca recording output from February 1940 to July 1942. The old-fashioned jazz approach, which was also present from time to time in the larger orchestra's charts, was the cornerstone of the Bob Cats' sound. At least it was until around 1940 when Crosby hired Jimmy Mundy
to write relatively modern arrangements for the big band and modified the sound of the Bob Cats by showcasing vocalists other than singing bandmembers like guitarist Nappy Lamare, here featured on "Don't Call Me Boy" and "You're Bound to Look Like a Monkey When You Get Old," as well as saxophonist Eddie Miller
, who joins Lamare in mouthing the words to "'Way Down Yonder in New Orleans." In addition to wholesome Marion Mann
, this portion of the Bob Cats story features the voices of Connee Boswell
, famous brother Bing and Bob Crosby himself. This 39-track collection, in fact, is positively saturated with vocals by the Crosbys. This means that with the exception of excellent Dixieland numbers like "That Da Da Strain," "Sweethearts on Parade," "It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary," and "Tin Roof Blues," this leg of the Bob Cats saga is heavily sweetened with pop vocals. The consensus among jitterbugs, the early-40s record buying public, level-headed big-and historian George T. Simon
and Bob Crosby himself is that Bing's little brother wasn't all that captivating of a singer, no matter how hard he tried and regardless of how many Bob Cats' records were dominated by his tonsils. The pop vocal trend certainly hastened the demise of the original Bob Cats, an excellent swing band that was eventually done in by the selective service as one by one many of the key players, excepting 300-pound clarinetist Irving Fazola
but including Bob Crosby himself, were conscripted for service in the Second World War. There would be postwar reunions and reconstituted Bob Cats bands, but the original group was the real deal, and the three-part retrospective released in 2008 by Sounds of Yesteryear is perhaps the best way to understand and appreciate who they were and what they accomplished together during the years 1937-1942.