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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

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Boswell Sisters Collection Vol. 4 1932-1934

1. California Medley (Part 2)

3. We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye

4. Sleep, Come On And Take Me

5. Down Among The Sheltering Palms

6. Mood Indigo

7. Forty-Second Street

8. The Gold Diggers' Song

9. It's Sunday Down In Caroline

10. Puttin' It On

11. Swanee Mammy

12. Sophisticated Lady

13. That's How Rhythm Was Born

14. Song Of Surrender

15. Coffee In The Morning (Kisses In The Night)

16. You Oughta Be In Pictures

18. Goin' Home

19. The Lonesome Road

20. Rock And Roll

21. If I Had A Million Dollars

22. The Object Of My Affection

23. It's Written All Over Your Face

24. Dinah

x

Track List: The Boswell Sisters Volume 1

1. Roll On, Mississippi, Roll On

2. Shout Sister, Shout

3. It's The Girl

5. Nothing Is Sweeter Than You

6. I Thank You, Mr. Moon

7. Was That The Human Thing To Do?

8. (We've Got To) Put That Sun Back In The Sky

10. Everybody Loves My Baby (But My Baby Don't Love Nobody But Me)

11. There'll Be Some Changes Made

12. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

13. If It Ain't Love

14. Got The South In My Soul

x

Track List: The Boswell Sisters Volume 2

1. Hand Me Down My Walking Cane

2. Old Yazoo

3. We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye

4. Sleep, Come On And Take Me

5. Down Among The Sheltering Palms

6. Down On The Delta

7. Charlie Two Step

8. The Sentimental Gentleman From Georgia

9. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

10. Louisiana Hayride

11. Minnie The Moocher's Wedding Day

12. Crazy Peaple

13. Mood Indigo

14. Forty-Second Street

15. Shuffle Off To Buffalo

x

Track List: The Boswell Sisters Collection Vol. 3 1932-1933

1. Was That The Human Thing To Do?

2. California Medley Part 2

3. Lawd, You Made The Night Too Long

4. "Ok, America!" Medley Part 2

5. "Ok, America!" Medley Part 1

6. Doggone, I've Done It

7. Hand Me Down My Walkin' Cane

8. Old Yazoo

9. We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye

10. Sleep, Come On And Take Me

11. Down Among The Sheltering Palms

12. Down On The Delta

13. Charlie Two-Step

14. Sentimental Gentleman From Georgia

15. It Don't Mean A Thing

16. Louisiana Hayride

17. Minnie The Moocher's Wedding Day

18. Crazy People

19. Mood Indigo

20. Forty-Second Street

21. Shuffle Off To Buffalo

x

Track List: That's How Rhythm Was Born

1. Rock And Roll

2. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

3. Lousiana Hayride

4. Shuffle Off To Buffalo

5. Sophisticated Lady

6. Song Of Surrender

7. Sleep, Come On And Take Me

8. That's How Rhythm Was Born

9. The Sentimental Gentleman From Georgia

10. Coffee In The Morning And Kisses In The Night

11. Forty-Second Street

12. Minnie The Moocher's Wedding Day

13. The Darktown Strutter's Ball

14. If I Had A Million Dollars

15. It's Written All Over Your Face

16. Charlie Two-Step

17. Trav'lin' All Alone

18. St. Louis Blues

19. Dinah

20. The Object Of My Affection

Comments

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I've been a huge fan of the Andrew Sisters and any tight harmonies, Puppini Sisters et al. I knew nothing of the Boswell Sisters until Bette Midler's "It's the Girl". I started to research them and listen on YouTube. I can only say how glad I got to know and enjoy those incredible performers. Connee's life itself is fascinating.
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The Andrews Sisters were wonderful, but they still don't hold a candle to the Boswell ladies!
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Toe tapping music...Grea t era in music!
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What a unique sound they had back in those days.......L o v e these ladies...
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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!
Report as inappropriate
Man, can they harmonize!

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