Kay Starr was associated with Capitol Records for most of her chart career, but left the label for the ostensibly greener pastures of RCA for a four-year stint in the late '50s. While there, she scored a number one hit with "The Rock and Roll Waltz," an old-fashioned waltz that cleverly capitalized on the rock & roll craze without actually rocking, and cut an odd assortment of quasi-rock & roll numbers and novelties to go with her more typical traditional pop efforts. The Essential RCA Singles Collection rounds up Starr's chart hits and failed singles from this period, beginning with her first single for the label, "If Anyone Finds This I Love You," a maudlin drama about an orphan that features a singing child and resolves in a bombastic ending. "My Heart Reminds Me," Starr's remake of "And That Reminds Me," was her only other Top Ten hit for RCA, but she waxed a number of minor hits, including the simplistic, repetitive faux rock & roll of "Jamie Boy" and the religious pop of "The Good Book." "Stroll Me," a dance song, represents another effort to sell Starr to the youth audience in the wake of "The Rock and Roll Waltz," but she also sang traditional pop songs like "Bridge of Sighs" and "The Things I Never Had." The collection includes two previously unreleased songs, one of which is a rendition of the pop oldie "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams." The Essential RCA Singles Collection, despite its uneven quality and disorienting merry-go-round of musical styles, fills in some significant gaps in Starr's catalog and offers the original hit recording of "The Rock and Roll Waltz" instead of the Capitol re-recording that appears on many packages.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Adams