A Note From Maxine Starr

Last July, I opened a post by asking, among other questions, “Who was Maxine Starr?”

All I knew as I typed the question was that she had recorded one of the 45s I’d pulled out of the mystery box that morning, “(I’ll Be With You) In Apple Blossom Time” b/w “Love Is.” And some digging around on the ’Net that morning brought me no more real information (beyond finding a few copies of the record for sale at various online outlets).

Well, today, I know that Maxine Starr is living in Colorado and still sings and teaches voice.

How do I know? Because she stopped by the Echoes In The Wind archives blog last week and left a note. She wrote:

“Believe it or not, Maxine Starr is alive and well and living in Colorado! While searching for my recording of ‘The Wishing Star’, a friend of mine came across your blog and forwarded it to me. I’m not sure how he found it, but he did.”

In July, when I wrote about Starr and the single on the New-Hits label I’d found in the box in my study, I could find no real clue as to when the songs were recorded: no date on the record, no hard information online. The sound was that of the early 1960s, and I ended that portion of the post by saying, “So we don’t know a lot about this one, not even a recording date. But I’m going to guess around 1962, just on a hunch.”

I feel pretty good about that, as Starr said in her note this week that: “Love Is” and “Apple Blossom Time” were recorded in June of 1962. She added, “The record received ‘split airplay’ on the radio stations which diluted the chance for one side to really take off.”

“Apple Blossom Time” was tagged as the A Side of the single, but as I noted in my post last July, I found one record shop in northern England selling the single on the basis of the B Side, which it tagged as a “Northern Soul” record. (That’s a description that sometimes baffles me, as deciding what’s Northern Soul and what isn’t seems to be dependent on the judgment of the audience more than on any intrinsic qualities of the record.)

Starr noted that the New-Hits label also released the previously mentioned “The Wishing Star,” which was the theme from the 1962 film Taras Bulba, a tale of Cossacks in Ukraine that starred Yul Brynner and Tony Curtis. That record was backed with “Sailor Boy.” Starr added that New-Hits was a subsidiary of Newtown Records, which she noted was Patti LaBelle’s first label: “She recorded ‘I Sold My Heart to the Junkman’” for Newtown, Starr said.

As is the case with “Apple Blossom Time/Love Is,” there are a few copies of Starr’s version of “The Wishing Star” available out there. One copy that she has in her collection is intriguing: “I happen to have an unplayed demo version of ‘The Wishing Star’ which was pressed on the London Label as they were interested in distributing it, but nothing came of it. I don’t think they ever mass pressed it and I think my copy is a ‘one of a kind’ recording.”

Here’s a YouTube video of Starr’s version of “The Wishing Star.”

And we’ll close this with a repost of the single from my mystery box. Thanks for the note, Maxine. It’s truly a pleasure to hear from any of the performers I write about.

“(I’ll Be With You In) Apple Blossom Time” by Maxine Starr
“Love Is” by Maxine Starr
New-Hits 3009 [1962]

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2 Responses to “A Note From Maxine Starr”

  1. AMD says:

    Fantastic! So she was trawling the web for a copy of her own song? That’s just amazing.

  2. Yah Shure says:

    That *is* great when an artist chimes in! Thanks for posting Maxine’s note. The New-Hit label must have had a very small roster if Maxine’s two singles had consecutive catalog numbers.

    The late Steven Rappaport of the Ran-Dells sent me a message back in the original Napster days: “Hi, do you have…” (Napster’s IM kept cutting off the remainder of a message following a quotation mark, but I recognized his name.) Steven was looking for a dub from one of his group’s obscure singles which had followed their lone hit, “Martian Hop.” He came across the song I’d posted and asked if I had its flip side, “Beyond The Stars,” the group’s only recording on which he’d sung lead. Steven said it had long been a “mini-dream” of his to hear a clean copy.

    I hope that he was able to hear it after I posted his song, but unfortunately, I never heard back from him. I would have loved to have been able to send him one of my clean copies of the original 45.

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