Boswell Sisters: profile + selected recordings 1925 & 1930

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selected resources:

Most of the information on musicians, recording dates, location, etc. is from the Boswell Sisters Discography at guymcafee.com. I’ve retained the order of dates used at that site when the info is used here, month/day/year, while continuing to use the order day/month/year elsewhere on the site. In numerous instances I have changed the order of songwriting credits to my customary composer(s) first, lyricist(s) second. I aim to do this uniformly throughout, eventually.

1925 recordings (Victor)

Of the six recordings made in 1925 three were rejected. The remaining three recordings were of two songs written by Martha Boswell, I’m Gonna Cry (Crying Blues) and Nights When I Am Lonely. I haven’t found the first of these, but the second is available at Youtube.

Nights When I Am Lonely (Martha Boswell) – 25 Mar 1925

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In 1930 they moved to New York and began to record popular songs, quickly drawing many top jazz musicians to support their unusual and imaginative vocal arrangements. According to McAfee, the recording of I’m in Training for You, for which I’ve transcribed the lyrics, is one of a group of four songs in the first issued set of broadcast transcription recordings of the Boswell Sisters (on 16 inch disc). One previous set of 1930 broadcast transcriptions was not issued.

1930

We’re On the Highway to Heaven (Joe Burke, Al Dubin) – recorded 20 July 1930 Jackie Taylor And His Orchestra: Jackie Taylor (vln, dir) two unknown (vln) two unknown (c) unknown (tbn) two unknown (cl, as) unknown (p) (bj) (tu) (d) Hollywood

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1930-good-news-gee-but-id-like-to-john-held-1-s1-d18

Good News (1930) was the first of two MGM musical films based on the 1927 Broadway musical of the same name. In the film the song was sung and danced by Gus Shy and Bessie Love, twice, according to IMDb.

Gee, But I’d Like to Make You Happy (Shay/Ward/Montgomery) – recorded 3 October 1930 acc. by Martha Boswell (p) Los Angeles

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Don’t Tell Him What Happened (DeSylva, Brown, Henderson) – 31 October 1930 acc. by Martha Boswell (p) Los Angeles

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Does My Baby Love? (m. Milton Ager, w. Jack Yellen) — Previously recorded on 5 November 1929 by Van and Schenck; issued on Victor 22352, c/w “Dougherty is the Name.” Performed by Gus Van and Joe Schenck (Van and Schenck) in the 1930 “sports drama” musical film They Learned About Women.

Recorded by the Boswell Sisters in 1930 (precise date unknown) — Martha Boswell (p) Everett Barksdale (ann) Continental Broadcasting Corporation, Hollywood

Say…Does my baby love?
Baby, does he love
And, what’s more, lovin’ for nobody but me
Does my baby pet?
Baby, does he pet
And, what’s more, pettin’ for nobody but me

He’s always very kind and willin’
Never makes me beg or plead
Did you ask me if he’s thrillin’
Say, what he ain’t got a girl don’t need

And does my baby kiss?
Baby, does he kiss
And, what’s more, kissin’ for nobody but me

Oh, what a break
Oh, what a break
What a lucky gal I am
When you meet him then you’ll see
Fate has been very kind to me

Has he got It?
Boy, has he got It!
He’s got It in large amounts
That from now on he has It just for me
Is what I want to announce

(increased tempo)
Say, does my baby love?
Baby, does he love
And, what’s more, lovin’ for nobody but me
And does my baby pet?
Baby, does he pet
And, what’s more, pettin’ for nobody but me

He’s always very kind and willin’
Never makes me beg or plead
Did you ask me if he’s thrillin’
Say, what he ain’t got a girl don’t need

And does my baby kiss?
Baby, does he kiss
And, what’s more, kissin’ for nobody but me

Lyric transcribed by doc, c. 2011

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That’s What I Like About You (Walter Donaldson) – 1930, date unknown — with the Jackie Taylor Orchestra

I want to provide the lyrics, but am having difficulty understanding some of the words. While searching online for the lyrics (not a trace found) I came across another song of the same title published in 1931, by Archie Gottler & Horatio Nicholls. This second That’s What I Like About You was evidently popular, being recorded in 1931 by Ted Weems and his Orchestra, Jack Teagarden and his Orchestra, the “Roy Fox Band” with vocal by Al Bowlly, and The Bluejays (Harry Hudson) with vocal by Harry Bentley. I’ve not found any other recordings of the Donaldson song yet.

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I’m in Training for You (m. Abel Baer, w. L. Wolfe Gilbert) — The introduction by an announcer, credited by Boswell Sisters discographer Guy McAfee, has been removed from the audio file used in the video below.

The Boswell Sisters (v), Martha Boswell (p), Everett Barksdale (ann.) — recorded at  Continental Broadcasting Corporation, Hollywood, in 1930. According to McAfee, this is one of a group of four songs in the first issued set of broadcast transcription recordings of the Boswell Sisters (on a 16 inch disc). One previous set of 1930 broadcast transcriptions was not issued. No session date is given for most of the 1930 recordings, including this one.

When I kiss a cutie, no matter who
I’m in trainin’ for you
If I hug a beauty, honest and true
I’m in trainin’ for you

Why sweetheart, you must realize
My arms need the exercise
I’ll be in condition when I get through
I’m in trainin’ for you

Somebody told me that love’s a game
We have to watch every play
So if I’m practicin’, I’m not to blame
I must improve every day

If you see me neckin’ somebody new
I’m in trainin’ for you
Learning every second just what to do
I’m in trainin’ for you

You’re sincere, of that I’m sure
You don’t want no amateur
What I learn from others I’ll teach you too
I’m in trainin’ for you

lyric transcribed by doc in 2010

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*Sources differ as to the cause of her disability. I don’t necessarily favor the view given in this profile.

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