Who Are The Maxwell Girls?
Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy's Chowder by The Maxwell Girls
By Jeff Ksiazek
Published January 12, 2022
After releasing the Irish Music 16mm Soundie Films online exhibit in 2017, several people asked the Archives for more information about The Maxwell Girls, the band featured in the "Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy's Chowder?" film. This early music video from the 1940s showcases the band performing between several scenes bringing the Irish American themed comic song to life. There is very little information to find online about them, but in the hopes of learning more about The Maxwell Girls, here is what we've uncovered so far.
The video for "Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy's Chowder?" by the Maxwell Girls was included in the Songs of the Irish Music Album released by Castle Films, which specialized in the 16mm Soundie format. The album remained active in the Castle Films catalog from 1946 to 1953.
The January 3, 1942 edition of Billboard noted that the band also recorded a Movie Machine film of the song "Hoiriger Schottische:"
The Maxwell Girls, instrumental group known to the night club patrons in New York (they have been a long time feature at Radio Frank's), create a merry atmosphere against a Bavarian setting singing Hoiriger Schottische. The number is lively and gives the costumed patrons in the cafe scene a logical reason for a jolly dance.
And the Some Liked It Hot: Jazz Women in Film and Television, 1928-1959 website shows The Maxwell Girls also recorded On a Sunday Afternoon in 1941, which credits the Connie Maxwell Orchestra. This film was directed by John Primi, who directed and edited other musical shorts for the likes of Bob Crosby and His Orchestra.
Even though they're on the periphery of Irish music in America, we would love to learn more about The Maxwell Girls (and presumably Connie Maxwell). Please contact the Ward Irish Music Archives if you have any information.