Pop vocalist Kay Starr rose to prominence in the late 1940s and early 1950s. THE ULTIMATE KAY STARR is a 24-track compilation that showcases Starr's memorable voice, including "Get Me To The Church On Time," "Walk On By," and "I've Grown Accustomed To His Face."
The Ultimate Kay Starr, British EMI's collection of Kay Starr material from her lengthy Capitol years, presents a solid track selection, though annotation errors abound and the compilers attempt to pass off Capitol versions of her biggest hits -- "The Rock & Roll Waltz," "Wheel of Fortune" -- as the real things. Starr's Capitol recordings were generally excellent, brassy sides, angling toward the pop audience but with plenty of power and swing to attract jazz fans. Although she usually charted with inoffensive pop covers like "Ghost Riders in the Sky," "Changing Partners," and "Singing the Blues," Starr sang dozens of superior songs as well: "On the Street Where You Live," "Side By Side," "On a Slow Boat to China." She also showcases her Billie Holiday influence with versions of "Lover Man" and "When a Woman Loves a Man." (The latter is accidentally listed as the Percy Sledge chestnut "When a Man Loves a Woman," and Starr's version of the Leroy Van Dyke country hit "Walk on By" is mistakenly attributed to Bacharach/David.) As for the perennials, "Wheel of Fortune" is a faithful remake (though still a remake) and "The Rock & Roll Waltz" comes complete with a chintzy synthesizer. ~ John Bush