Kay Starr launched her solo career on Capitol Records in the mid-'40s and stayed with that label for a decade. Then, in 1955, she moved to RCA Victor. This discount-priced two-fer CD contains her first two long-players for her new label: The One and Only Kay Starr and Blue Starr. In those days, albums and singles were considered to be separate markets, and the songs featured on singles usually were not included on albums released around the same time. So, Starr hits like "Good and Lonesome" and "Rock and Roll Waltz" are not found here, though the compilers have added as bonus tracks Starr's first two RCA A-side singles, "Turn Right" and "For Better or Worse," and her final RCA single from 1959, "I Couldn't Care Less." The One and Only Kay Starr finds her in typical pre-rock form, using arrangements that call upon rhythm & blues and jump blues to support her emotive singing. The selections may include such standards as "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" and "My Buddy," songs associated with balladeers of the 1920s and '30s, but Starr's approach updates them to the torchy style of the mid-'50s, as she gives them the kind of melodramatic readings typical of her male counterpart, Johnnie Ray. Blue Starr is more of a concept album, the concept being songs of love gone wrong. But that doesn't keep the tempos down, nor does it prevent the singer from having a little fun here and there, her histrionics justified by the lyrics to songs like "You're Driving Me Crazy (What Did I Do?)." As indicated by these two albums, Starr's basic style didn't change just because she spent five years with a different record company. (She would return to Capitol in 1959.) And that's all to the good.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann