Kay Thompson

Queen of Swing Vocals and Her Rhythm Singers 1933-37

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Kay Thompson (1909-1998) was known for several different accomplishments, including writing the best-selling Eloise children's books, serving as a vocal coach at MGM to stars such as Judy Garland, and leading a successful nightclub act of the late 1940s and early '50s, Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. Among her less-remembered activities are her occasional appearances in recording studios and her frequent appearances on radio shows of the '30s. This collection attempts to redress that by resurrecting Thompson's nine commercially released recordings of the mid-'30s (eight under her own name, plus "Take a Number from One to Ten," on which she served at the vocalist with Tom Coakley's orchestra), tracks that have been compiled previously on the Box Office CD The Golden Years 1934-1954, but in much inferior fidelity, plus a previously unknown 1933 test pressing, "My Galveston Gal," and airchecks from radio programs such as The Dodge Show, The CBS Saturday Night Swing Club, and The Royal Gelatin Hour. As the inclusion of the credit "Her Rhythm Singers" in the album title indicates, Thompson frequently led her own vocal group in the '30s, and she made inventive vocal arrangements for it. She is sometimes heard on her own on these tracks, singing ballads in an expressive alto. But she and her singers also provide some jaunty vocals on uptempo songs to the accompaniment of horn-dominated bands on the cusp of the Swing Era. There are frequent hints of the vocal style Thompson would infuse into the work of her charges at MGM in the '40s, but this is still an early, somewhat subdued Thompson for the most part, including none of her own compositions and only some of her arranging talents. The refurbished sound quality is remarkably good, however, and the album is a welcome addition to the tiny catalog of Thompson's available recordings.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:05
2 2:01
3 3:08
4 2:41
5 2:59
7 3:09
8 3:16
9 2:47
10 3:05
11 3:04
12 2:43
13 3:16
14 4:04
15 2:31
16 1:47
17 2:52
18 5:08
feat: Jack Jenney
feat: Jack Jenney
feat: Jack Jenney
feat: Jack Jenney
23 2:32
24 1:08
25 1:54
26 3:02
27 5:10
blue highlight denotes track pick