Sing It, Sister!

Today I’m thankful for two “sister” groups from the ’30s and ’40s:  The Andrews Sisters and The Boswell Sisters.

I discovered the Boswell Sisters by reading, of all things, an interview with Donald Fagan of Steely Dan.  He mentioned that Connee Boswell was one of his formative influences as a vocalist.  I’m always up for hearing new music so I looked up some of their songs.  They were unique in that they’d switch parts in the middle of a verse, or whenever they felt like it.  They jumped around vocally, so that one sister was never stuck on just one part.  They stopped really performing as a group around 1938, but Connee did a lot for the USO during the Second World War.

If you’ve ever heard “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” you’ve heard the Andrews Sisters.  I don’t know as much about them off the stage as I do the Boswells, but their arrangements are usually just fun to listen to.  It’s difficult not to sing along.  Enjoy!

I claim no rights to these videos or songs.

A Bunch of People Making Noise

Today I’m thankful for choir.

I’ve been singing since I was five.  I have a good, strong voice and can sing a lot of different styles.  I learn quickly by ear and can harmonize pretty much instantly.  To go with that, I can’t read music at all.  Like, if my life depended on sight reading something I would die.  I keep up because I’ve got a good ear.

Singing crazy hard music with a bunch of people who can really, really sing is an accomplishment.  We have to listen, and function as multiple sections of one organism.  It all has to coordinate.  If my section screws up our arpeggios we leave another section out to dry.  Actually, it requires a measure of trust, that the other people have learned their stuff and won’t make the rest sound crappy.  When everything works we produce a massive sound that audiences enjoy and make the effort to come and hear.  It’s pretty cool.