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Connee Boswell, 1934: "Isn't It a Shame?"

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Even though Ella Fitzgerald insisted that Connee Boswell was her first and perhaps greatest influence, Connee hasn't been given her due. Perhaps because there hasn't been a proper reissue of her solo recordings (as opposed to the well-deserved attention given to the recordings she made with her sisters) listeners don't pay enough attention to her solo work. For me, she is the poet of yearning--consider the first chorus of this recording and of IN A LITTLE SECOND-HAND STORE--and then she moves from deep pathos and loss to a lighter, more jazz-like approach for the second chorus. It's not only great singing; it's wonderful acting and dramatization, making us forget that the song isn't terribly deep on its own. Listen, and listen again:

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This story appears courtesy of Jazz Lives by Michael Steinman.
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