The Boswell Sisters

Listen to the Boswell Sisters on Swing City Radio

The Boswell Sisters were one of the most influential female singing trios of the Swing Era. Martha Boswell, Connee Boswell and Helvetia "Vet" Boswell hailed from New Orleans. The Boswell Sisters are remembered for their unique harmonies and ground-breaking arrangements. Simply said, they were HUGE in the United States during 1930's.  The trio was also known for fusing a wide range of styles, vocalization and instrumentation into their music. Their collaborations with the popular  musicians of their day including the: Dorsey Brothers, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, had a huge effect on the development of Big Band Music.

Martha, Connie, and Vet grew up with formal, classical musical education. But in addition to that, their mother would take her daughters regularly to see the leading African–American performers of the day at the Lyric Theatre. These experiences would later influence their "sound". In interviews, the sisters remembered driving around New Orleans listening for new and interesting sounds, which they often found outside African–American churches and barrooms.  As the Boswell girls got older, Vet took up the banjo and Connie the saxophone. Martha continued playing the piano but focused on the rhythms of ragtime and jazz.

Listen to "The Object of My Affection" by The Boswell Sisters from 1935

In 1925, they made their first record for Victor Records. After touring with a vaudeville company through the Southern portions of the United States, the sisters arrived in Los Angeles in October 1929. They began appearing on radio programs and recording music for movies.

Their unique approach to reworking melodies and their improvisational styles had mixed reviews in the beginning.  But, as we all know, most ground-breaking artists go through that and after relocating to New York City in 1930, the Boswell Sisters soon attained national attention. They began making national radio broadcasts including a program on CBS that ran from 1931 to 1933.

Also in 1931, The Boswell Sisters signed a contract with Brunswick Records and made recordings from 1931 to 1935. While recording for Brunswick, They were granted great artistic control and took greater liberties in their music like regularly changing style, tempo, lyrics and time signatures.

In 1936, the group signed to Decca, but after just three records they broke up. Connie Boswell continued to have a successful solo career as a singer for Decca. In the 1940's, she changed the spelling of her name from Connie to Connee.

The Boswell Sisters chalked up 20 hits during the 1930's, including their number-one song "The Object of My Affection" in 1935.They also appeared in movie during this time as well.  When you get down to it, The Boswell Sisters were among radio's earliest stars. They were an influence to other artists as well, like Ella Fitzgerald and  The Andrews Sisters

The Boswell Sisters in a movie clip.  Abe Lyman makes a cameo appearance.

You can hear the music of the Boswell Sisters right here on Swing City Radio.

Connect with Swing City Radio

Listen To The Weekly Podcast

Swing City Radio - Tote Bag

Your Thoughts


Email *

Message *