Boswell Sisters: Shuffle Off To Buffalo


Shuffle Off To Buffalo


Connee Boswell (vocals), Vet Boswell (vocals), and Martha Boswell (piano, vocals)


That's How Rhythm Was Born (Columbia 66977)

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Connee Boswell (vocals), Vet Boswell (vocals), Martha Boswell (piano, vocals), Mannie Klein (trumpet), Tommy Dorsey (trombone), Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet), Dick McDonough (guitar), Artie Bernstein (bass), Stan King (drums).

Composed by Al Dubin & Harry Warren


Recorded: New York City, April 11,1933


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

“Shuffle Off To Buffalo” was one of three Busby Berkeley song-and-dance productions in the film 42nd Street, released exactly one month before this Boswell Sisters version was recorded. Even for a song so new, arranger/vocalist Connie Boswell saw no reason to stick to the original song’s style or melody. The song’s herky-jerky train rhythm is jettisoned in favor of a fast streamlined express train sound, and throughout the introduction and first chorus, we hear only small pieces of the melody, and lots of variation all around it. Connie knew that she and her sisters Vet and Martha were a unique section in their own right and they could do riffs and shout choruses to equal the brass and reed teams of the big bands. On the opening and closing choruses, they perform remarkably intricate variations on the theme with stunning precision. Unexpected tempo changes were also a Boswell trademark, and on this recording the tempo slows down right in the middle of the verse, setting the stage for Connie’s solo chorus (which includes much more of the melody and probably provided some temporary relief to producer Jack “Where’s The Melody” Kapp.) Getting all of the elements perfect was an important part of the Boswells’ artistic success and it’s worth noting that there are two issued takes of this track available and the only audible difference between them was not in the vocal parts or execution of the arrangement, but in Dick McDonough’s improvised guitar responses within the verse.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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