Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Public Domain? Yes, Please!: Meet The Boswell Sisters

The Boswell Sisters formed in 1925 as a three-sister singing group from New Orleans, and their jazzy complex harmonies were a local sensation for half a decade before they moved to New York City in 1930. After they moved to the Big Apple things really took off for them and they began recording for Brunswick Records.
 "These Brunswick records are widely regarded as milestone recordings of vocal jazz." – Boswell Sisters, Wikipedia
The three sisters were very actively traveling the USA for shows during the second World War but unfortunately not allowed to visit bases over seas for foreign troop rallying and whatnot due to an unfortunate childhood accident that left the middle sister, Connie, paralyzed and wheelchair bound.

This is a streaming version of "When I Feel Lonely" which is very snappy and was the first song the sisters recorded back in 1925! You can find loads more like this at Archive.org which offers public domain music streaming and downloads. It's a great website!

This is another of their popular songs, from later in their career. I love the way they bop as they sing!

If you have time, this is a nine minute short called "Close Farmony" which is a seriously amazing (albeit mildly bizarre) film about how jazz music saves the farm! The sisters and the farm hand spend the film serenading farm animals, trying to encourage them to produce more milk and eggs.  It's hilarious! The best part is the piano covered in hay.

A few years after the sisters began recording for Brunswick, they split to go their separate ways. Connie (who changed her name officially to Connee at that point) went off to enjoy a prosperous solo career.

So I leave you this Christmas Eve with a beautiful song from Connee Boswell. While I am certainly sad that there are no other voices to harmonize with her, this is still a beautiful version of a holiday classic.

Merry Christmas Eve!