The Pfister Sisters

Biography by

In the golden era of American vocal music in the 1920s and 30s, there was a female group that ruled the genre and became the progenitor for all female singing groups to follow, from the Andrews Sisters…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

In the golden era of American vocal music in the 1920s and 30s, there was a female group that ruled the genre and became the progenitor for all female singing groups to follow, from the Andrews Sisters to the McGuire Sisters. The group was the famous Boswell Sisters. Their modern incarnation is New Orleans' own Pfister Sisters. The three women, Holley Bendtsen, Suzy Malone, and Yvette Voelker began their singing career in 1980, and have long been a favorite of visitors and locals alike, at venues like the French Quarter Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The vocalists specialize in music from that golden era, but are apt to surprise their audience with a Motown tune or original piece when the spirit moves them.

In honor of their 20th anniversary together singing in the Boswellian tradition, the group put out a CD in 2000 entitled All's Well That's Boswell. Their backup orchestra includes personnel from the New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra, who gave them their first gig those two decades earlier. Also appearing on the CD are well-known New Orleans musicians Amasa Miller on piano, Tom Morley on violin, Tim Laughlin on clarinet, and Charlie Miller on trumpet.

The CD is vintage Pfister Sisters, and Boswell Sisters. The musical artists capture the harmonic sounds of the '20s and '30s on well-known Boswell tunes such as "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Don't Have That Swing," "Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day," and "St. Louis Blues," as well as more obscure gems like "Was That the Human Thing to Do?" and "Shout Sister Shout."

The Pfister Sisters, who are musical blood sisters rather than blood relatives, also recorded a CD in 1995 named after their hometown of New Orleans. New Orleans features a wide range of tunes from the pens of authors as diverse as Duke Ellington and Mac Rebennack, better known as Dr. John. The recording pays homage to the unique cultural heritage of the city on songs such as "The Darktown Strutters Ball." They give their own interpretation of the classic "Chapel of Love," made popular by the Dixie Cups of New Orleans. Their voices are perfectly suited to the beautiful traditional gospel hymn, "What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?"

The group's mix of goldie oldies and golden era tunes has garnered them a loyal following. The act lost the services of Suzy Malone when she moved north. However, the group's new vocalist, Debbie Davies, fit right in to the mellow yet sassy sound of the Pfister Sisters.