Old singers, unlike old soldiers and old ballplayers, don't always fade away. The better ones--like Frankie Laine and Kay Starr--hang in there, secure in the knowledge that warmly nostalgic audiences will continue to delight in the golden songs of an earlier era.
Sometimes they do more. Tuesday night at Pasadena's Ambassador Auditorium, Laine and Starr reprised their many hits with a vitality that dramatically emphasized how much life and energy and spirit there was in popular music in the antediluvian days before the rock era.
And, in Laine's case, a convincing connection with the present was established in his effective interpretations of "Jambalaya" and "I Won't Miss Her at All" from a coming new album of country songs.
The country connection makes sense for Laine, the acknowledged master of high-spirited, Western-themed material. His ability to bring melodramatic set pieces like "High Noon," "Rawhide," "Cool Water" and "Mule Train" to reasonable credibility has surely been one of the marvels of pop music.