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Sep 03

KAY STARR – ‘Comes A-Long A-Love’

Popular13 comments • 3,464 views

#3, 23rd January 1953

A gutsy, danceable swing tune – just a hint of throat in Kay Starr’s voice to make it sexy, even though here she’s playing older sister, thumping you between the shoulders, telling you to pick yourself up. I’ve got a cold today and I appreciate it – thanks Kay! I wonder if this style seemed dated in 1953 – to my ignorant ears it sounds a very typical swing tune and (with the benefit of foresight) there’s not much coming up that sounds like it. But to my knowing 2003 ears it sounds a lot more modern than the songs that surround it.

7

Comments

  1. 1
    Doctor Mod on 29 Oct 2006 #

    While I’ve only heard this particular song a few times, Kay Starr’s “Side by Side” was one of the first songs I could sing along with as a child. Her voice had a certain sharpness about it that made it sound a bit perky and even cheeky, but altogether fun. Many of her recordings (like those of Patti Page or Mary Ford) took advantage of studio technology with double tracked vocals, so that she was singing harmony with her own lead–nothing special about it now, but it was quite novel in the early 50s.

    The sense of fun here sets it apart from other early 50s number ones, many of which are just too lugubrious for their own good. I quite agree about this sounding more “modern” that most other titles from this period. What I hear in “Comes A-Long A-Love,” though, could have found a place a decade later. Perhaps it’s the sharp-edged vocal, but after listening to this, I could almost imagine a young Cilla Black singing it. It might have suited her.

  2. 2
    Doctor Mod on 30 Oct 2006 #

    All things being relative, it was a 7 for its time. Most of the other early 50s #1’s are truly something less.

  3. 3
    Tom on 30 Oct 2006 #

    The marks aren’t “for the time”, though, they’re “at the time of listening” – so 7 may be generous, 6 would be closer, but then I’ve not listened to it for a while. I might give it a play at the club next week actually.

  4. 4
    Marcello Carlin on 18 Oct 2007 #

    Is Kay Starr the only Red Indian artist to reach number one?

  5. 5
    intothefireuk on 3 Nov 2007 #

    The name seems to ring distant bells but I don’t recall actually hearing this tune before I started reading ‘popular’. It’s big, bright & breezy but not very substantial (a blueprint for modern pop ?) aimed squarely, I would imagine, at the dancefloor.

  6. 6
    wichita lineman on 26 May 2008 #

    Kay’s playing older sister alright – someone else’s older sister who you might be a little intimidated by; she sounds like a good dancer. Most of this single’s modernity is in the syncopation. Pretty much everything in the charts around it sounds like something out of music hall or Zeppo’s bit that spoilt the Marx Brothers films. The brass, bass, and the neatly rhythmic title make this pretty irresistible, and a solid 7. Anyone know if it’s a cover of something on the ‘race’ chart?

  7. 7
    rosie on 26 May 2008 #

    Marcello @ 4: Depends what you mean by Red Indian. Kay Starr is – she’s still alive, of course, like Al Martino, Jo Stafford and Eddie Fisher, which might put these early charts into some kind of perspective – three-quarters Iroquois and one quarter European, so she’s not the only full-blooded Native American to top the British charts. I haven’t made a study of which performers had Indian blood but certainly Marvin Rainwater did, and so of course did Jimi Hendrix. There’s almost certainly others.

  8. 8
    Eli on 19 Dec 2010 #

    I’m fairly sure it wasn’t a cover, @wichitalineman. A truly joyful record, that is still heard occasionally today – it was used in that British romcom, ‘Confetti’.

  9. 9
    crag on 13 Apr 2011 #

    Got time on my hands so:
    Desert Island Discs Watch(Up to 11/04/11)
    Vic Oliver(Comedian/Actor)1955.

  10. 10
    Erithian on 17 Sep 2011 #

    Just discovered this fantastic clip of Kay Starr performing with Les Paul’s band in 2005 (a song we know better via Morecambe and Wise though!) Love the way everyone involved is thoroughly enjoying it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5gFaOp5K7Y&feature=related

  11. 11
    wichita lineman on 22 Jun 2013 #

    The NME says: ‘”Comes” gets an invigorating vocal from Kay Starr who socks the number over with a big beat. The Mooney outfit lends able support but one background phrase is monotonous and could have been varied for better effect.’ They much preferred the b-side, Three Letters.

  12. 12
    wichitalineman on 21 Jul 2013 #

    Happy birthday to Kay, 91 today! Here she is at her feisty best in 1960, a great clip but it goes horribly out of sync halfway through:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWedA7BYOEo

  13. 13
    Erithian on 3 Nov 2016 #

    So farewell then Kay, who leaves us at the age of 94 today. I think that leaves Doris Day as the earliest UK Number 1 solo artist still with us.

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