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Wednesday’s Wise woman … Connee Boswell

January 23, 2013


Connee Boswell (1907-1976 ) was singer songwriter born in Kansas City and raised in New Orleans. With her sisters, Martha and Helvetia in the 1930’s she performed as the Boswell Sisters and became a highly influential singing group; making records and radio performances.  It is said that she was one of the greatest female jazz singers and had a major influence on Ella Fitzgerald.  Connee, in turn was influenced by the African American singer Mamie Smith and and sang in her style on the record Crying Blues.  

While the Boswells enjoyed local notoriety it was not until they moved to New York and where they were able to make national Radio broadcasts and sign up to other record companies that they became famous.  Then they employed a manager and performed for the ‘soundies’ likened to our music videos played at cinemas as a promotional features for later performances.
In 1936 her sisters retired and Connee continued a successful solo career with Decca.
Due to a childhood malady, it was not known whether it was as result of polio or a fall, Connee always sang from a wheelchair or in a seated position.  During the war Connee was not able to travel to overseas to give motivating concerts to the troops. The Army didn’t think a singer in a wheelchair would boost the morale of the soldiers!


The Boswells 
Connee performed regularly with Bing Crosby and Eddie Cantor and made several hit records with them both.
Although Connee’s career did slacken off during the 1950s; she did continue to make records and television appearances.  

Connee Boswell died in 1976 of stomach cancer

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