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Price: £ 12.95

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The Andrews Sisters : Says My Heart

CD:PPCD 78123 / CASSETTE: / RUNNING TIME: 58:00

The most commercially successful female vocal trio present 20 stylish close-harmony classics. With Jimmy Dorsey, and Vic Schoen

Says My Heart << sound clip
Why Talk About Love?
Love Is Where You Find It
It's Easier Said Than Done
Oooooh Boom!
Oh! Faithless Maid
Lullaby To A Jitterbug
Joseph, Joseph
Tu-Li-Tulip Time
Shortenin' Bread
Bei Mir Bist Du Schon
Just A Simple Melody
Billy Boy
Where Have We Met Before? << sound clip
Ti-Pi-Tin
From The Land Of The Sky Blue Water
Sha-Sha
Oh! Ma-Ma! (The Butcher Boy)
Hold Tight, Hold Tight << sound clip
Pross-Tchai (Goodbye)

If you were able to browse through the vast number of record company catalogues produced since 1930 (presuming you could find them all!) and check the roster of artistes, it would soon become apparent to you that there was never a time when a female vocal trio was not included. The earliest would be the Boswell Sisters, with records issued from 1930 until 1936. The Pickens Sisters were also there, from 1932 to 1934. Then, very much later, in 1946, we find the Dinning Sisters, and by the time popular music had become big business there were the DeMarco, Fontane, McGuire and Beverley Sister acts. But bridging the large gap from 1936 to 1946 were three girls who must surely rank as the best-known trio of all time, and commercially the most successful – The Andrews Sisters.

They were all born in Minneapolis, LaVerne in July 1915, Maxene in January 1918, and Patti in February 1920, to a Greek restaurant owner and his Norwegian-born wife. In 1926 (when Patti was only six years old!) the girls began singing at amateur nights in local theatres, and even managed to get heard on the radio. Their father didn’t exactly approve of all this, but mother offered them encouragement, if only to get some peace from her quarrelsome daughters. They disagreed on just about everything except one – music. They were entranced by the Boswell Sisters’ close harmony singing, and would always try to be near a radio when they were scheduled to broadcast. In 1932, when still only teenagers, the sisters toured the vaudeville circuit with a band led by Larry Rich. Although the youngest, Patti sang the lead parts and solos, serving as a very personable leader and the one who acted as a spokeswoman for the trio. They joined the Leon Belasco band in 1937 and Patti’s leadership was soon in evidence when they cut four titles with the band in March of that year, two with vocals by the trio, and two with Patti already doing a solo turn. Radio was quick to take advantage of this new talent and one night later that same year, during a broadcast from the Hotel Edison in New York they were heard by Dave Kapp, brother of the famous Jack. Dave immediately signed them to a contract with Decca Records and they made their first record in October. Then, on November 24, they were in the studios again, and hit the jackpot with a song that was to destined to become exclusively their own, and which went on to sell a million copies – Bei mir bist du Schon. With the success of this record they rapidly became a household name, and it served as a wonderful Christmas present for the three girls after so many years of hard work and struggling to gain recognition. Then before they could catch their breath, they were in the studios again in February 1938 when they cut another great title, Ti-Pi-Tin – there was no holding this infectious, bubbly trio.

1938 was the start of the big-time for the Andrews Sisters, with their signing to appear with Phil Baker on the ‘Dole Pineapple Show’, and although the series ran for only one season there were plenty of opportunities for guest slots on other broadcasts – they were now very much in demand. Personal appearances accounted for a lot of their time between radio dates and continued into 1939. At the end of April in that year, they played the New Haven Arena in Connecticut and on the same bill was the Glenn Miller Orchestra. For the first week of May, the girls toured with Miller, taking in one-night stands in Massachusetts, Vermont and Philadelphia, and finally the Georgetown University Senior Prom in Washington. Miller must have been immensely impressed with the trio for he had them join the band again when he took over from Paul Whiteman on the Chesterfield Show on December 27. They stayed together for thirteen weeks when the girls left, only because of prior commitments. There could have hardly been anything better than broadcasting weekly with the Miller band. Such was the popularity of the Andrews Sisters by 1940 that when the impending marriages of Patti and Maxene threatened to break up the trio, and family problems meant that only Patti was able to sing on the January 30 broadcast, fan mail jumped to ten times its normal amount. The problems were quickly resolved, and radio audiences placated for the remainder of the season until March 21 1940, the date of their last broadcast together, when Miller and the girls had to go their separate ways.

1940 was a momentous year for yet another reason, when they made their screen debut in the 20th Century Fox film ‘Argentine Nights’, co-starring with the zany Ritz Brothers – there must have been mayhem on the studio lots! In 1941, Universal Pictures signed the girls to a contract and they appeared in three Abbott & Costello movies. It was in the first of these that they sang the now famous ‘Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy’, the hit always used in later years by various impersonators. They were great favourites of Bing Crosby, made many recordings with him and frequently guested on his radio show. They also had a guest spot in the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope film ‘Road To Rio’, in which they sang ‘You Don’t Have To Know The Language’. By chance, this 1948 movie was their last, but by this time they had appeared in fifteen pictures.

On March 6 1974 at New York’s famous Shubert Theatre, in a stomping evocation of the era of boogie-woogie and jitter-bugging, Maxene and Patti made a triumphal come back in a show called ‘Over Here’. An ecstatic audience heard them reprise many of their old hits with assistance from Janie Sell. The show ran a whole year, proving the popularity of The Andrews Sisters.

GEOFF MILNE



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