Given the disappointing sales of the previous two All-Starr Band live albums, Ringo's star wasn't bright enough to get this release out on a major label or even a conventional label. As a stopgap, it was available only in Blockbuster Music stores for a brief time – at the rock-bottom bargain price of 5.99 dollars – and further volumes were not forthcoming. A shame, actually, for this was the best of the three All-Starr albums up to that point, representing what was probably Ringo's finest all-around group of the 1990s. Recorded in Tokyo's Nippon Budokan Hall, this round robin of golden oldies sounds like a straight transfer of the concert, following the order of the first part of the show with the rest presumably saved for the unissued volume two.
Kay Starr was always a very underrated jazz singer. Because she had a few pop hits and gained a major name in the 1950s, Starr is often overlooked in the jazz world, but most of her vintage records are well worth investigating. This particular out-of-print LP from around 1957 (the date is approximate) features her backed by a string section arranged by Van Alexander. Although most of the songs have to deal with love, the emphasis is on ballads and the strings are heavy in spots, Starr gives a jazz feeling to each of her dozen interpretations. As usual, in spots she sounds eerily close to Dinah Washington. Highlights include "You Always Hurt the One You Love," "Don't Take Your Love from Me," "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" and "Into Each Rain Some Rain Must Fall." Superior singing.
Skyliner was one of Charlie Barnet's most exciting hit records, and quickly became as closely identified with his big band as was Ray Noble's Cherokee. This 1996 EPM Musique Jazz Anthology compilation is one of at least six Barnet albums with the word "Skyliner" in the title. Tracks one through twelve were recorded for the Bluebird label between June 19, 1940 and April 30, 1942. Tracks thirteen through twenty follow Barnet's progress through the turbulent wartime years with a trail of Decca sides cut between July 1942 and February 1944. "Skyliner" comes from a V-Disc recorded on July 13, 1944; "E-Bob-O-Lee-Bob," like "Oh Miss Jaxon" a vocal feature for trumpeter Peanuts Holland, was harvested from a Jubilee broadcast on December 6, 1945. Some of this band's arrangements were written by Horace Henderson, Billy May and by the leader himself. Most Charlie Barnet albums are well worth investigating. This one lives somewhere near the top of the heap.
Most of this CD is the complete output by Curtis Mosby & His Dixieland Blue Blowers, one of the top jazz bands active in Los Angeles in the 1920s. Although the soundtrack from its appearance in the 1929 movie Hallelujah is not here, this disc has the first-time release of two numbers from a scratchy 1924 test pressing. Otherwise, the eight selections and four alternate takes from 1927-1929 are full of spirit and strong musicianship, with highlights including "Weary Stomp," "Whoop 'Em Up Blues," "Blue Blower's Blues," "Hardee Stomp," and three versions of "Tiger Stomp."