Most of Kathy's Decca recordings
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 05/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kathy Kirby was a regular performer on British television during the sixties (and to a lesser extent subsequently) but her achievements on record were modest, with just five hit singles. It seems that Kathy was more interested in her television career than her records, which is fair enough. Fortunately, she recorded singles and albums over many years (up to the early seventies), thus ensuring her legacy is preserved for future generations. This compilation focuses on the early part of her career from 1962 to 1965, after which Kathy recorded for Columbia. Here, you can find all the hits early singles and most of their B sides, together with all the tracks from Kathy's two Decca albums.
Kathy's powerful voice is not to everybody's liking, especially on the up-tempo songs, but I enjoy her music. Kathy's biggest hit was Secret love, with which she had her only UK top five hit. Kathy's up-tempo re-interpretation is more dramatic than Doris Day's original. I prefer the original but Kathy demonstrated that there is more than one way to sing this song. There is a line in the song about shouting from the highest heights and it seems that this inspired Kathy's interpretation of the song, which some people may find overpowering. I've heard many versions of this song by pop, jazz and country singers, but while many are based on the original arrangement, I've never come across another like Kathy's version.
Kathy's other UK hits were Dance on (which just missed the top ten), Let me go lover (which just made the top ten), You're the one (a top twenty hit) and I belong (only a minor hit despite being the British entry and runner-up in the 1965 Eurovision song contest). Like Secret love, all these hits were up-tempo.
While Kathy's powerful voice is given full rein on the up-tempo songs, she shows that she can sing ballads too (those that she doesn't change into up-tempo songs). Indeed, Kathy is a superb ballad singer.
In this compilation, the first 16 tracks of CD 1 are a straight re-issue of Kathy's first LP (16 hits from stars and garters, from 1963). The remaining four tracks on CD 1 were originally released as the first four tracks of Kathy's second LP (Make someone happy, from 1965). The remaining six tracks from that 10-track album form the final six tracks of CD 2, although one of the original tracks (Havah nagilah) is re-titled here (Get happy) in line with its translated lyrics.
For completists, the tracks to look for include the following
Originally released as A or B sides of singles - No regrets, I'll try not to cry, The way of love, Oh darling how I miss you, Where in the world, That wonderful feeling of love, Spanish flea, Till the end of time, Adam Adamant, Will I never learn?
Originally released as EP tracks - Shangrila, That old feeling, Reach out for me, There's no other love, One day, Sometimes, My only love and I won't let you go.
There may also be Decca tracks never previously released, as well as the recordings made for Pye, Orange, President and Columbia. You'll find many of the missing Decca tracks on two Vocalion compilations (Hits rarities and lipgloss, More rarities and lipgloss) although those compilations also include plenty of tracks that are in this compilation. A third Vocalion compilation (My thanks to you) contains many of Kathy's Columbia recordings. Pye, Orange, and President only released five singles between them. I don't know if any of those recordings have been released on CD.
Despite her once high public profile, Kathy's music was limited to occasional compilation releases, usually on budget releases, for a long time. As Kathy had one of the most distinctive voices in the sixties, this was a travesty, but I'm glad to see that the situation has improved considerably since then and there is now a much wider choice. But if you haven't heard Kathy before, listen to her sing before buying - just to be sure you enjoy her powerful voice. If you do, you're in for a real treat."