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Alberta Hunter: My Castle's Rockin'.

Many show business personalities have made comebacks, but how many have done so at the age of 82? Alberta Hunter, the legendary blues singer, after a career dating back to the first decade of the century, gave it up to become a practical nurse in 1956. Twenty years later, forced to retire when, as the hospital thought, she reached 70 (she actually was 82, having lied about her age), she was lured back into singing, once again delighting audiences with her special brand of funky blues and bawdy lyrics. This fascinating video combines a 1984 performance at the Cookery in New York's Greenwich Village with a documentary of Hunter's life, with photographs and rare film footage tracing her career. Each decade brought new triumphs, whether singing with King Oliver and Louis Armstrong in Chicago during the 191 Os; dazzling Paris in the 1920s along with Josephine Baker and other performers of Le Jazz Hot," then becoming the toast of London in 1928 while co-starring with Paul Robeson in "Show Boat"; headlining Britain's first movie musical, "Radio Parade of 1935"; and heading the first black USO unit during World War 11 and the Korean War. Devastated by the death of her mother, she turned her back on the world of entertainment and devoted the next two decades of her life to nursing. For those unfamiliar with Hunter's performances or records, this will come as a revelation, especially her rollicking renditions of My Castle's Rockin"'and Darktown Strutters Ball" and the sly, innuendo-packed Handy Man." As a history of blues singing in the 20th century, it will be a welcome addition to music lovers' video collections.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Society for the Advancement of Education
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Rothenberg, Robert S.
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Video Recording Review
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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