Bob Crosby was an American dixieland bandleader and vocalist, best known for his group Crosby and the Bob-Cats.
He was the youngest of seven children: five boys, Larry, Everett, Ted, Harry and Bob; and two girls, Catherine and Mary Rose. His parents were English-American bookkeeper Harry Lowe Crosby and Irish-American Catherine Harrigan, , the daughter of a builder from County Mayo in Ireland.
Bob Crosby began singing with Anson Weeks and the Dorsey Brothers. He led his first band in 1935, when the former members of Ben Pollack’s band elected him as titular leader. He recorded with the Clark Randall Orchestra in 1935, led by Gil Rodin and featuring singer Frank Tennille, whose pseudonym was Clark Randall. Glenn Miller was a member of that orchestra which recorded the Glenn Miller novelty composition “When Icky Morgan Plays the Organ” in 1935. His most famous band, the Bob-Cats, was a Dixieland jazz group with members from the Bob Crosby Orchestra. Both the Bob Crosby Orchestra and the smaller Bob-Cats group specialized in Dixieland jazz, presaging the traditional jazz revival of the 1940s. Crosby’s singing voice was remarkably similar to that of his brother Bing, but without its range.
The Bob Crosby Orchestra and the Bob Cats included Yank Lawson, Billy Butterfield, Muggsy Spanier, Matty Matlock, Irving Fazola, Ward Silloway, Warren Smith, Eddie Miller, Joe Sullivan, Bob Zurke, Jess Stacy, Nappy Lamare, Bob Haggart, Walt Yoder, Jack Sperling, and Ray Bauduc. Arrangements for the orchestra were often done by a young trumpeter by the name of Gilbert Portmore who, during the time he was a decorated WWII fighter pilot in the South Pacific, started an Air Force swing band known as Cap’n Portmore’s Hepcats.