January 2016 saw the passing, at the ripe age of 94, of Kitty Kallen (1921-2016), one of the great big-band singers and solo stars of the 50s. Retrospective pays tribute with a satisfying and generous compilation of her very best.
The Philadelphian songstress enjoyed a remarkable quarter-of-a-century-long career during which time she was among the most accomplished of all big-band singers before renewing her vocation with even greater success as a solo artist and becoming one of the big stars of the mid-50s. Little Things Mean A Lot, the title of Retrospective’s summary of Kitty Kallen’s recorded legacy, was the million-selling No.1 of 1954 – the biggest hit of the year – which brought her superstardom. Before that she had turned in fine performances in front of the bands of Jack Teagarden (Love For Sale), Jimmy Dorsey (four huge smashes including the million-selling No.1 Besame Mucho) and, biggest of all, Harry James. 11 tracks featuring the brilliant James trumpet include No.1s I’m Beginning To See The Light and It’s Been A Long, Long Time and other big hits such as I’ll Buy That Dream (No.2).
Kitty also gives a fine rendering of My Heart Belongs To Daddy with the 1946 Artie Shaw Orchestra. Her later hits include another million-seller, In The Chapel In The Moonlight, and a moving interpretation of My Colouring Book, her last Top 20 entry.