Connee Boswell and the revived "Original Memphis 5", 1957

by David Tenner

Since there has been some talk here of Connee Boswell in the 1950's, I would just like to mention the album "Connee Boswell and the Original Memphis Five in Hi-Fi" that was made in 1957. She is on seven of the twelve tracks; the others are instrumentals with a new "Original Memphis Five" which included Billy Butterfield on trumpet, Gene Traxler on bass, and Tony Sbarbaro on drums and three survivors from the "old" Original Memphis Five: Jimmy Lytell, Miff Mole, and Frank Signorelli.

On paper, this looks like a great combination, and it has its champions: See Will Friedwald's praise, quoted by Albert at
http://www.network54.com/Forum/27140/message/1195740023/Connections+of+Connee+Boswell+to+Bix. "But after the partial success of the Oliver album, Boswell created her last important work, the apex of her entire career: 'Connee Boswell and the Original Memphis Five In Hi-Fi' (1956, Victor). It began as a project to record the ailing jazz giant Miff Mole. 'He was a great trombonist of the twenties,' she told Rich Conaty; he 'had been very sick and they didn't expect him to live. Finally he got a little better and [Victor] finally decided to ... call and ask me if I wanted to do this Dixieland album. They were going to get as many [of the Original Memphis Five] as they possibly could'...In a telephone conversation shortly before his death in 1972, Jimmy Lytell said that of the thousands of records he'd made, 'that one with Conne Boswell' was easily his favorite."

OTOH, I am aware that some in this forum do not care much for Connee Boswell's singing in the 1950's; and the Miff Mole of 1957 was not the adventurous Miff of 1927 or 1940. http://www.network54.com/Forum/27140/message/1489254283/Two+versions+of+%26quot%3BA+Good+Man+Is+Hard+To+Find%26quot%3B+with+Mole+solos He was, as mentioned, not in the best of health, and on some tracks where we might expect a solo from him, instead we get Sbarbaro's kazoo...

(Incidentally, if they really wanted as many of the "old" OM5 as possible, one wonders why they didn't get Phil Napoleon. Though I am certainly not going to complain about Billy Butterfield.)

But anyway all of the tracks are available online so that you can judge for yourself:

(1) When My Sugar Walks Down the Street (with Connee): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leHgEz_pyx8

(2) Say It Isn't So (with Connee): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGacXvAGcro

(3) At the Jazz Band Ball (instrumental): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiMHEengZ0o

(4) Japanese Sandman (with Connee): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3dA00Knj8I

(5) Make Love to Me (with Connee): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y5jWr-bDhM

(6) My Honey's Loving Arms (instrumental): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5wUGN8hyVk

(7) Pagan Love Song (instrumental): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaR36rpDJmM

(8) Giannina Mia (with Connee): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjH_5zZf1_0

(9) Singin' the Blues (instrumental this time...): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2r1qPpP15Q

(10) All of Me (with Connee): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wy01zRctwdU

(11) I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate (instrumental): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km0RO9kEGXk

(12) When the Saints Go Marching In (with Connee): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fcSPBADz3A

Posted on Apr 4, 2017, 9:13 AM

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