Sophie Tucker, A Collection Of Songs She Has Made Famous, Decca DL 5371, 1951
I’ve actually never seen anything like this. And that’s in 40 years of record shopping. In fairness, most of those years I never would have given a second though to something like this. Without even describing the music or the saucy lyrics, this is a 10″ vinyl record, the same size as the shellac 78 RPM records that are only good for about 100 plays. In fact, the only label information I found about this record is that it originally came out in around 1948 on a 78, but with only six songs. This would have been about the same time as the vinyl LP record hit the market. Decca probably just added two more songs (the last two songs do sound different than the first six) and reissued the album on a 10″ vinyl record. It’s just such an unusual format though as the 12″ LP became the norm.
Musically, it’s just a hoot! Sophie Tucker, who called herself The last Of The Red Hot Mamas, was the original Bette Midler. Bawdry, brash and able to get away with some pretty dirty double entendres, she really was a true original. Paul McCartney gave her a nod at The Beatles’ 1963 Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium, when he was introducing Till There Was You by saying it has been recorded “by our favorite American group, Sophie Tucker”. While that wasn’t true, she never did record it, it was still a great line and something I’m sure the 77 year old who was near death at the time would have found amusing. Incidentally, Ms. Tucker had her Royal Command Performance at the same London Palladium in 1926, only the royalty changed…
I don’t know how long the 10″ 33 1/3 record was made, or even why. There’s very little information out there on them. It could have been simply that people were slow to replace equipment that could play the modern 12″ vinyl LPs from, and 10″ was the size of records they were used to buying. It was the need of classical orchestras to have the 20 minute recording time a 12″ record provided to play a complete piece uninterrupted that really forced the change. A 10″ record only holds about 15 minutes of music, so it wouldn’t have been something that was going to last very long. Either way, finding this and hearing a 65 year old record is pretty special.
Cost: $2, $638 Remaining