Singing the Blues
Want to hear Connee Boswell full of the feeling and passion that only a mature woman can express? Sepia 1077 “Singing the Blues” is the CD that delivers all this and more. Most of these songs have never before appeared on CD and are a revelation: soft, sweet, saucy Connee Boswell is one red-hot torch singin’ mama!
After a recording hiatus in the late 40s, Connee burst upon the scene again with a Dec. 19, 1951 session that included “Begin the Beguine”, “Believe it Beloved”, “I Know What it Means to be Lonesome” and “Somebody Stole My Darlin’ from Me”. Her vibrato is heavier, the sound huskier but still full. Even in her “second” voice, she is still the incomparable CBoz.
Her torch song “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire” has a passion that is almost arresting in its authenticity. This and “My Little Nest of Heavenly Blue” are performed with Artie Shaw’s Gramercy Five. The duet between Connee’s scatting and Artie’s clarinet is a classic that recalls her work with the Boswell Sisters.
The Lawson-Haggart backed songs from Connee’s first album, “Singing the Blues” are barn burners. “Singing the Blues,” “You Need Some Lovin’,” and “I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues” are rich in both orchestration and Boswell blues. Everything from this EP is downright yummy.
Sister Constance jumped on the multi-track craze popularized by Patti Page and several of these songs appear on this CD. “If I Give My Heart to You,” which features both a double track and an echo response, hit number 10 on the charts in 1954.
Not everything on the CD would make it into a “greatest hits” collection. But a remarkable number of these songs made the charts: quite a feat considering that Connee had been recording for almost 30 years.
Perhaps the greatest treat for this reviewer was Connee’s rollicking version of “Don’t Believe Everyone’s Your Friend.” You can hear the progression from the Boswell Sisters New Orleans swing right to modern rock and roll performed as only CBoz can. If this song doesn’t make you want to jump up and dance ask someone to bury you!
If you have this fabulous collection on vinyl you will notice the remastering has lopped off some of the dynamics the needle can coax. But Sepia has done an excellent job and this CD plays with great clarity and fullness even on high-end equipment.
Buy it. Nuff said.