Duane Keilstrup Broadcast Archives
February, 2019

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This Week's Classics & Curios Show:

"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"

Episode 332


“Tonight on Broadway” brings more of Connee Boswell, along with singer Bobby Doyle, accompanied by Ray Bloch and his orchestra. Romance is the theme with songs like "I'd Be Lost Without You," "The Old Lamplighter," "The September Song," "Love Doesn't Grow on Trees," "Without You," and "The Whole World Is Singing My Song." The orchestra entertains wonderfully with great renditions of "Rhythm in Swing" and "Espan Harlem."

Connee Boswell is widely considered one of the greatest jazz female vocalists. She once said, "I'll be singing the way I always have. It's natural for me to belt out songs as they come to my mind, and I never sing a song the same way twice."

She was a major influence on Ella Fitzgerald who said, "My mother brought home one of her records, and I fell in love with it. I tried so hard to sound just like her."

News of Connee's passing in 1976 brought accolades from the world of entertainment. Bing Crosby called her "a great lady with boundless courage and divine talent." Patty Andrews added: "If it weren't for the Boswell Sisters, there would never have been the Andrews Sisters." Frank Sinatra called her "the most widely imitated singer of all time."

During the peak years of Connee Boswell's career, she hired (then) unknown musicians such as Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Jimmy Dorsey to provide instrumentation for her recordings. During one session, all three added a clarinet background. Connie also gave Glenn Miller his first opportunity to arrange.

During World War II, she tried to get involved with the USO tours but was not given permission to travel overseas. The Army brass thought it might not be a morale-booster to have a singer who used a wheelchair [and did so during her whole career] to perform for the troops. Our soldiers truly lost as a result of that well-intended "lower intelligence echelon" decision.

Troops and listeners all over the world are winners now though as Connee takes the spotlight! She's our jazz and romance singing morale-booster this week with a super show coming to us from October 28, 1946..