Although it's been repackaged and reissued many times in many ways, Anita O'Day's pre-Verve output has never appeared so thoroughly (and so cheaply) as on Proper's four-disc box, Young Anita. Beginning in 1941 with her stint in Gene Krupa's popular band with Roy Eldridge, O'Day made an immediate impression, appearing on the hits "Let Me Off Uptown," "Boogie Blues," and "Just a Little Bit South of North Carolina." She had moved to the orchestra of Stan Kenton by 1944, and scored another hit by singing on Kenton's "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine." Solo billing beckoned just after the end of World War II, and although she never hit the charts with the same frequency (the novelty "Hi Ho Trailus Boot Whip" was her only moderate hit), the rest of the '40s and early '50s paved the way for her successes on Verve. In similar company to the contemporary work of Frank Sinatra and Doris Day (as well as most band singers), Anita O'Day's material during the '40s and '50s included plenty of novelties and other songs that never became standards, but her way with a song -- any song -- shines through clearly. Also, the recording quality for her solo sides is very muddy at times (the fault of the original masters, not this release). Aside from the hits, her pre-Verve output can't be recommended ahead of what she did for Verve, but those who need to hear everything from Anita O'Day can acquire a good chunk very inexpensively.