Teresa Brewer

The Songs of Bessie Smith/The Cotton Connection

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With her campy charm and her somewhat nasal delivery, Teresa Brewer merged the world of swinging big band divas and '50s pop. The outcome wasn't always high art, and with the re-release of The Songs of Bessie Smith and The Cotton Connection, Brewer does little to distinguish herself from the ocean of big band-oriented pop that was prevalent during her time. Hanging a fresh approach to standards and light pop songs over the course of a career that produced more than 40 records was difficult, and there are many moments when the music is more than campy kitsch. Even given the enlistment of Count Basie and band, Brewer's square renditions of songs like "Gimme a Hogfoot (And a Bottle of Beer)" are simply laughable.

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