Kay Starr started her solo career on Capitol Records in the mid-'40s and stayed with the label until 1955, when she moved to RCA Victor. In the face of rock & roll, she scored a number of hit singles on RCA, including the chart-topper "Rock and Roll Waltz" and "My Heart Reminds Me." But RCA wasn't able to help her cross over to the album market, and after five years, four LPs, and 15 singles, she returned to Capitol in 1959. This discount-priced two-fer CD combines her third and fourth RCA LPs, and it concludes with three bonus tracks culled from her singles, such as the novelty "Flim Flam Floo," the B-side of "My Heart Reminds Me." Rockin' With Kay, originally released in 1958, finds a 35-year-old Starr trying to split the difference between the new rock styles and the more traditional pop with which she was more familiar. The selections include such standards as "Rockin' Chair" and "How Deep Is the Ocean," but the arrangements mix swing and rock elements, using horn charts as often as electric guitar solos, and Starr sings in a throaty, emotional style. 1959's I Hear the Word is a gospel collection, and Starr sounds perfectly at home taking on raucous versions of spirituals. "Rock-a-My-Soul" reveals that there's more than one way to rock, and Starr is happy to try the reverential over the secular one. I Hear the Word is actually the most accomplished of her four RCA albums, even if it was recorded at a time when she was ready to leave the label.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann