Saturday, August 21, 2010

Belated obit for singer Donna Brooks

Bethlehem EP

Dawn LP

from: The Washington Post Jul 17 2009

Louise Smith [aka Donna Brooks] Singer

Louise Smith, 83, who as a young woman was a singing comedienne and jazz vocalist, died June 16 at Inova Fairfax Hospital of respiratory failure. She was a Springfield [Virginia] resident.

Starting in the mid-1940s, Mrs. Smith worked for many years under the stage name Donna Brooks. She performed with a U.S.O. troupe that entertained military personnel in Panama and on the Borscht Belt circuit of Jewish clubs and resorts. One specialty of her act was rendering pop standards with Yiddish lyrics.

She began a career as a jazz singer by the early 1950s and joined her future husband, pianist Alex Smith, on a tour of nightclubs in the Northeast. They married in 1956 and settled in the Washington area in 1959 after he joined the U.S. Army Band. Through the early 1970s, she continued to perform with him in small jazz groups at military clubs in the area.

She was born Louise Angert in Philadelphia, where she attended the Curtis Institute of Music and trained as an operatic soprano.

Survivors include her husband, a retired Army sergeant major, of Springfield; a daughter, Jennifer Smith of Leesburg; and two grandchildren.

A daughter, Susan Smith, died in 1978.

Hear here: The title track from Brooks' 1956 LP, I'll Take Romance 

Thanks to Jeronimo!


Dexter de Sah said...

omg - I've never seen that bethlehem lp Wow

Bill Reed said...

Sorry for the confusion. Not an Lp but an EP. Tracks: Gone with the Wind, Things We Did Last Summer, What More Can a Woman Do, Lullaby of the Leaves. Recently went on ebay for 245.00. Too rich for my blood!

jeronimo said...

Just found that Alex Smith recorded/composed in 1956 a tune called 'Donnybrook'...a tribute to Donna?
Bassist and drummer are the same as one the Brooks LP, including Norm Marnell (ts) and Ed Mattson (tp)


Dexter de Sah said...

UGH It's one of those things that's impossible to find. I'll never get it

Bill Reed said...

Jusr released as a CD maxi-single in Japan on Solid Records. Extensive liner notes by Keizo Takada