- Dean Thiessen
You Can't Say I Didn't Try - Connie Boswell
This is a very special song. Give it a listen and keep reading.
If you google search "You Can't Say I Didn't Try by Connie Boswell" this is the only video and web hit in general. Is this because I am a SEO genius and I have millions of followers like you on social media?... no. It's because this song is really rare and thanks to Bonnie and her recent trip to New Orleans we are some of the very few musicians who are performing this amazingly rare Connie Boswell composition.
Here is Bonnie's fascinating story in her own word (with me interrupting throughout) of how she came across this song and why it is so special.
“I first heard this song in 2014. I was in New Orleans with Company B Jazz Band for a Boswell Sisters showcase that featured bands from around the world who performed the music of the Boswell Sisters.
If you've never heard the Boswell Sisters they are a vocal trio from New Orleans who had a legendary music career from their teenage years in the 1920's until 1938 when Connie started her solo career.
On one of the evenings I was able to watch the fabulous Debbie Davis performing at the Spotted Cat which is an absolute gem of a venue right in the heart of Frenchman street. I happen to be standing next to Cynthia Lucas who on top of being a Boswell fan and historian, is a dear friend of Company B Jazz Band and was one of the reasons we were able to go down to perform in New Orleans in the first place.
If you love early jazz you must check out Company B Jazz Band. They are a tribute to the amazing vocal trios (Including the Boswell Sister) of early jazz and tour globally.
When Debbie began performing this song. I remember being absolutely floored by the song as I too was trying my best to believe 'forgetting was fun'. I turned to Cynthia and told her how much I loved the song and she offered to show me the original recording which is where I learned the song from!
I was later able to learn from Debbie, Cynthia, and Randall Riley that this song was very likely recorded during the songwriters strike after the second World War, and then wasn’t actually released until 1949 (despite being recorded in 1945.) To the best of my knowledge there were only 1000 copies of this record made and due to the delayed release many details of the record including the musicians playing behind Connie are unknown (again, to the best of my knowledge)
Debbie and I are the only people currently performing this song. Additionally, our version of “You can’t say I didn’t try” (recorded and filmed on February 14th 2021) is the only recorded version of this song on YouTube. It’s pretty special to have the privilege to perform this interesting piece of jazz history and with our performances of this song we hope we can keep it alive."
Thanks for reading! If you like this blog post make sure you are subscribed to my email list to stay updated on future gigs, including live-streams, and other special announcements. If you have more insights into this song and its history please contact me or Bonnie so we can fill in more of the blanks around this song.