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Shout, Sister, Shout!

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Album Review

The Boswell Sisters were one of the most important vocal groups in the early years of jazz, as heard in this collection of 21 songs recorded between 1925 and 1934. Connee Boswell, a strong lead singer and soloist, was frequently cited by the great Ella Fitzgerald as a major influence. Martha and Helvetia sing harmony along with her. The consistently swinging arrangements include supporting musicians the caliber of Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Carl Kress, Bunny Berigan, and Dick McDonough to complement the singers. The delightful "When I Take My Sugar to Tea," the gospel-flavored "Shout, Sister, Shout," and the humorous "River, Stay 'Way from My Door" are all memorable. Both "There'll Be Some Changes Made" and "Hand Me Down My Walkin' Cane" detour into the blues with success. They work magic with two little-known compositions by Fats Waller, offering a sincere rendition of "If It Ain't Love" and the amusing "Old Yazoo." The Boswell Sisters also shine on two songs from the Broadway smash Forty Second Street, including the main theme and a snappy rendition of "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" that swings like mad. The sound restoration of these vintage discs is often remarkable. The only shortcoming of this excellent compilation is the omission of composer credits.


Formed: 1925 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Vocal

Years Active: '20s, '30s

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...
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