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The Boswell Sisters

Definitely the most talented and arguably the all-around best jazz vocal group of all time, the Boswell Sisters parlayed their New Orleans upbringing into a swinging delivery that featured not only impossibly close harmonies, but countless maneuvers of vocal gymnastics rarely equalled on record. Connee (sometimes Connie), Helvetia (Vet), and Martha Boswell grew up singing together, soaking up Southern gospel and blues through close contact with the black community. They first performed at vaudeville houses around the New Orleans area, and began appearing on local radio by 1925. At first, they played strictly instrumentals, with Connee on cello, saxophone and guitar; Martha on piano; and Vet on violin, banjo, and guitar. The station began featuring them in a vocal setting as well, with Connee taking the lead on many songs (despite a childhood accident that had crippled her and left her in a wheelchair).

Word of their incredible vocal talents led to appearances in Chicago and New York, and the Boswell Sisters began recording in 1930 for Victor. By the following year, they'd moved to Brunswick and reached the Hit Parade with "When I Take My Sugar to Tea," taken from the Marx Brothers' film Monkey Business and featuring the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra in support. The trio continued to work with many of the best jazzmen in the field (including Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, and Bunny Berigan), and appeared in the 1932 film extravaganza The Big Broadcast with Bing Crosby and Cab Calloway. The Boswell Sisters hit the top of the Hit Parade only once, in 1935, with "The Object of My Affection" from the film Times Square Lady. One year later however, both Martha and Vet retired from the group in favor of married life.

Connee had already made a few solo sides for Brunswick as early as 1932, and she continued her solo career in earnest after the Boswell Sisters parted. She hit number one twice during the late '30s, with the Bing Crosby duets "Bob White (Whatcha Gonna Swing Tonight?)" and "Alexander's Ragtime Band," and continued recording into the '60s. ~ John Bush
full bio

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Comments

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I love this music, too... It makes me want to dance.
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I just love these girls this music just. Sends me
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I must have lived a life during this period because I love this era of music and I'm only 35. The girls are great! Gotta love pandora!
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I love all the old songs so many memories I am 83 and still dancing Ruth turanchik
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gmtwest
If Bobby McFerrin didn't listen to these amazing girls, I'd be really surprised.
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I'm embarrassed to say I've never heard of them but thanks to Pandora, I now know of them. Fabulous voices and music!
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merykies7
one of the best old music around
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vivian.42010
I love The Andrews Sisters..... These ladies are good too.
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The first of the femaie close harmony groups and still the best.
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alias246
I'm so sorry about your mom, Joanne. Mine is 90 and every day with her is so precious.
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my mom of 91 died yesterday and i was brought up with all this beautiful music having a day of memories of her sing all day long
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arendyred
It would have been wonderful to have lived in this era.
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mrz_harmon
This was my first time hearing the Boswell sisters here on Pandora and now I know what I have been missing..... . i t really takes you back to those times
. Love it!
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texasholdemj o n e s
And Wiki calls their entry low importance. Let's change that.
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sebrodieusa
if I died listening to the Boswell Sisters and the Andrews Sisters, my life would be complete.
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one word, FANTASTIC!!! !
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Now I can prove to a couple people : I DID NOT LIE ABOUT THE BOSWELLS !!
I'm not sure that my hyperbole over the last 20 years has done them justice!
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pharvey22
I sang in a trio for years that did big band music and one of the groups that we loved to copy was The Boswell Sisters....s u c h fun songs to sing and amazing arrangements . Love hearing them on Pandora!
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So many old great "Jazz" singers...Lo v e em..
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I've been hearing about the Boswell Sisters for ages, but Pandora is the first place I've gotten to hear them. Don't know why it didn't occur to me to check 'em out on YouTube, but I'm sure appreciating Pandora a whole lot for finding music I'm either not familiar with or have been trying to find!
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If you want to have a fun time, listen and watch the Boswell Sisters do "Heebie Jeebies" (sp?) on YouTube.
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I found them on the Annette Hanshaw station, beautiful
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sassyjan
the sisters are fab
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I first learned about the Boswell Sisters from a Jazz group, CANUS lead by Tony Blodgett who play music in the style of the Boswells. They do an excellent job of duplicating the harmony and sounds. CANUS is from Victoria BC and appear in many West Coast Jazz Venues. I wish Pandora had a CANUS station.
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ablackwelder 1
I never heard of this group before until I added the Puppini Sisters to my list! They sounded great!
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tobo59
Sounds like something I've been missing in my music collection. I am glad to have them, now.
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I really like them too! So glad I found them on my "Tommy Dorsey" station!
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Hmm... I've never heard of them. they're good! I found them when i created the Andrews sisters radio.
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crashcousecr a c k h e a d
I read that Ella Fitzgerald's idol as a young girl was Connee Boswell, and you can surely hear the influence in her earlier recordings.
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Actually, The Boswell Sisters first recorded for Okeh records in 1925 in New Orleans. They were the very first jazz vocal group recorded and pretty much invented the genre. No one that came after them ever equaled the tightness and originality they had. The first nation wide radio hook up featured them and landed them a regular national show in 1930. By the next year, 8 or more "Sister trios" (some white, some black) were imitating the new sound.
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They have such a lovely sound!
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I love their sound, not too sure their better than the Andrew Sisters or the McGuires, but sure are good
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I didn't think The Andrew Sisters could be beat, but compared to the Boswell Sisters, their voices are shrill and there really isn't much of a comparison. I love their voices, their harmonies, their style.
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good good play more
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My neighbor turned me on to this group, and she's right...they ' r e better than the Andrew AND the McGuire sisters. Enjoy!
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Man, can they harmonize!

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