In honor of the birthday of the legendary jazz and pop singer Kay Starr, our song of the day is “Blue and Sentimental.”
About Kay Starr
Kay Starr was born in Dougherty, Oklahoma on July 21, 1922, but soon moved with the family to Dallas, Texas. Her singing talents were recognized when she was quite young; she won many radio station talent contests as a child. She was only 10 years old when she was earning $3 a night singing popular and hillbilly music.
After high school, she moved to Los Angeles and began working with Charlie Barnet’s band. In 1947, she was signed by Capitol Records, though found herself taking a back seat to the more established female singers. In spite of that, she steadily built a solid and long-lasting career as a singer.
Her background in pop, jazz and country-western type music was, and is, unusual, but put her in a position to sing all types of music, though her primary interest and leanings were to sing jazz and she is now considered a “saloon singer” and is known for her emotional power and connection to the songs she sings.
Billie Holiday said that she was “the only white woman who could sing the blues.”
About This Song
“Blue and Sentimental” was written in 1938 by William “Count” Basie, Jerry Livingston and Mack David.
About This Version
Today’s song is from one of Tony Bennett’s best (and maybe least-known) recent albums, Playin’ With My Friends: Bennett Sings The Blues, which was released in 2001. This album contains a mix of duets (Diana Krall, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, and more) and great solo performances. And Tony Bennett can really sing the blues. “Don’t Cry Baby” and “Undecided Blues” are highlights, in addition to “Blue and Sentimental,” today’s song. The chemistry between Bennett and Starr is something wonderful. And Gray Sargent, as always, does some fantastic guitar work.
“Blue and Sentimental,” as well as the entire Playin’ With My Friends: Bennett Sings The Blues, is available from iTunes.