“I am still Crazy over those Boswell Sisters. Bless their hearts. They are from my home town, you know? Fine Girls. They think I am the Last word.”
— Louis Armstrong letter to friend, 1933
It would seem criminal to start the Spotlight feature with anyone but trio that perhaps created the jazziest interpretations of the popular music of the 1930s, the Boswell Sisters. Stars of record, screen, and radio, those “syncopating harmonists from New Orleans” simply could not sing a bad song (and could even make a bad song good). With over one-hundred recorded tunes and an established career in radio from 1930 until their untimely break-up in 1936, and an inimitable style that has never been matched, they were among the greatest musical stars of the Great Depression.
Martha Meldania (born July 9, 1905), Constance Foore (born December 3, 1907), and Helvetia George “Vet” (born May 20, 1911) Boswell, born to Meldania Fooré and Alfred Clyde “A.C.” Boswell made up the Boswell Sisters. Martha and Connie were born in Kansas City, and Vet was born in Birmingham, but the family moved to New Orleans when the children were young. The sisters had an older brother, Clydie (born 1900), who died tragically in 1918 during an influenza outbreak. Around the time Vet was born, young Connie was either involved in a coaster wagon accident or stricken with polio, leaving her completely immobile for a short time, and unable to walk properly for the rest of her life.