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Hadda Brooks: Ive Got News for You

This two CD set-“Hadda Swings” and “Hadda Sings”-spans the long career of octogenarian pianist and vocalist Hadda Brooks’. The material ranges from Brooks first recording, “Swingin’ the Boogie,” released in 1945, and finds the “Queen of the Boogie,” back in the studio as recently as last year. Boogie-woogie fans will certainly appreciate Brooks’ two-fisted style, taking it alone or historically teamed with fellow pianist Pete Johnson. Most of this pair’s tunes were recorded in 1958. While the popping boogie-woogies on “Hadda Swings” are almost entirely originals, on the later works Brooks changes the pace, choosing popular numbers “Misty” and “Rhapsody in Blue.” The “Hadda Sings” section opens with her signature song and first hit, 1947’s “That’s My Desire.” A more sophisticated Brooks is heard on this disc as she swings in the style of the times, with vocals somewhat reminiscent of Patti Page. Her piano is often missing on many of the early cuts. Unfortunately, the liner notes don’t credit any of the musicians so we aren’t told who’s playing that fine guitar. (What liner notes do exist are barely readable with design and color obscuring the print.) A treat on this disc is when the late great pianist/vocalist Charles Brown joins Brooks on a touching “Stairway to the Stars,” recorded in 1998.

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