Kay Starr

Spotlight on Kay Starr (Great Ladies of Song)

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Spotlight on Kay Starr (Great Ladies of Song) Review

by arwulf arwulf

Capitol presents a salute to vocalist Kay Starr consisting of 18 polished performances recorded between 1952 and 1962. An exceptionally fine jazz singer with life-long ties to country music, Kay Starr was born in Oklahoma to an Irish mother and a full-blooded Iroquois father in 1922. Raised in Texas and Tennessee, she began singing with violinist Joe Venuti in 1937, performed with Glenn Miller and Bob Crosby in 1939, and with Wingy Manone and Charlie Barnet during the years 1943-1945. Her first involvement with the Capitol record label was with the Capitol International Jazzmen in 1945. On the strength of this (and a couple of hit records with Barnet), Starr became a solo act in 1946, was signed by Capitol the following year, switched to RCA in 1955, and returned to Capitol in 1961. Parallels can be drawn between the careers of Kay Starr and Dinah Washington, two powerful singers who influenced each other even while working for rival companies during the '50s. Examples of this interesting and largely unrecognized dynamic include their respective renditions of "Wheel of Fortune" (Starr's was recorded on January 17 and Washington's on January 18, 1952) and "What a Difference a Day Made" was recorded by Kay Starr with both Venuti and Barnet, and much later by Dinah Washington with strings. Capitol's Spotlight on Kay Starr may serve as an excellent introduction to or a convenient sampling of this woman's stunning achievements during the golden age of vocal pop that existed between the Korean War and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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