Sophie Tucker – Bigger And Better Then Ever (1956)

FrontCover1.JPGSophie Tucker, original name Sophie Kalish, also called Sophie Abuza, (born Jan. 13, 1884, Russia—died Feb. 9, 1966, New York, N.Y., U.S.), American singer whose 62-year stage career included American burlesque, vaudeville, and nightclub and English music hall appearances.

Born somewhere in Russia as her mother was on her way to join her father in the United States, Sophie Kalish grew up in Boston and then in Hartford, Connecticut, where her mother ran a restaurant. Her father had changed the family name to Abuza after his arrival in the United States. From her childhood she wanted to be an entertainer, and she began by singing in the family restaurant, in part to escape waiting on tables and dishwashing. In 1906 she changed her name to Sophie Tucker and landed a few singing jobs.


Her professional career began in 1906 when, after a successful amateur appearance, she opened in a blackface routine at the old Music Hall in New York City. In 1909 she appeared with the Ziegfeld Follies. Tucker traveled the vaudeville circuits from coast to coast for more than 20 years and also made occasional appearances in England, where she gained a substantial following. Her brassy, flamboyant style, set off by her warm and ample presence, was perfectly suited to both sentimental ballads and risqué songs, and she became a great favourite of audiences. In 1911 she first sang “Some of These Days,” which became her trademark. Tucker’s first appearance at the Palace Theater in New York City, which was considered the summit of success in vaudeville, came in August 1914. It was in 1928, at the Palace, that she was first billed as “The Last of the Red-Hot Mamas.” She also appeared in numerous editions of Earl Carroll’s Vanities and the SophieTucker04.jpgShuberts’ Gaieties and in such shows as Louisiana Lou (1911), Round in Fifty in London (1922), Charlot’s Revue (1925), with Gertrude Lawrence, and Cole Porter’s hit Leave It to Me (1938). For a time in the 1920s she operated her own New York club, Sophie Tucker’s Playground.

In the early 1930s, when vaudeville was beginning to seem passé, Tucker turned to nightclubs, while many of her fellow vaudevillians either attempted the movies or slid into oblivion. She made several films, including Honky Tonk (1929), Broadway Melody of 1937 (1937), and Follow the Boys (1944), but she preferred live audiences, and she played to them with great success for more than 30 years. She also made occasional television appearances, mainly on The Ed Sullivan Show, during the 1950s and early ’60s, and she was an active performer until 1965. Her autobiography, Some of These Days, was published in 1945. (

And her´s a very special album by Sophie Tucker. Sophie Tucker tells stories about love and life:

Mother Sophie came to us, speaking words of wisdom ….

Sophie Tucker was accompanied by Ted Shapiro:

Ted Shapiro (October 31, 1899 – May 26, 1980) was a United States popular music composer, pianist, and sheet music publisher.

Shapiro was born in New York City. He became a Tin Pan Alley songwriter and accompanied notable star vaudeville singers of the day, including Nora Bayes and Eva Tanguay. In 1921 he was hired as accompanist and music director for Sophie Tucker. Shapiro worked with Tucker for the rest of her life,[1] appearing at the piano on stage with her, exchanging banter and wisecracks between songs. Shapiro also wrote a number of songs for Tucker.

Ted Shapiro became a member of ASCAP in 1924. His biggest hits were the holiday standard “Winter Weather” from 1941, and “If I Had You”, first published in 1928, which continues to be covered by new recording artists and used in movie soundtracks into the 21st century. His other successful tunes and songs include “He’s Home for a Little While”, “A Handful of Stars”, “To You”, written with Tommy Dorsey and Benny Davis, “Far Away Island”, “Sitting in the Sand A-Sunnin'”, “Now I’m In Love”, “”You’ll Be Reminded of Me”, “Starlight Souvenirs”, “This is No Dream”, “Dog on the Piano”, “Puttin’ On the Dog”, “Waitin’ for Katy”, and “Ask Anyone in Love”.

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Ted Shapiro was one of at least three children of Joseph and Jennie Shapiro. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Kovno, Russia (now Kaunas, Lithuania). He was married twice, the first time being to Joan Max of Miami, FL and the second to Susan Seippel Shapiro.

Some of his songs were written in collaboration with his wife Susan Shapiro (b. November 4, 1923), an accomplished jewelry designer, who owned and operated a store called Trifles and Treasures on Kane Concourse in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. Ted adopted Susan’s three children: John, Lynn and Jennifer. John and Lynn are Susan’s biological children, while Jennifer was adopted. He was loved and adored by them.

Ted Shapiro died at age 80 in Bay Harbor, Florida. (by wikipedia)

This is an really impessive album recorded by an old Lady with a lot of experiences in her life.


Sophie Tucker (vocals)
Ted Shapiro Orchestra


01. Take A Look At Yourself (Maurzda/Montgomery) 4.48
02. Be As Big As The World You Live In (Maurzda/Studer) 4.17
03. Open Your Heart, Open Your Mind (Maurzda/Bailey) 4.55
04. With Your Life You Can Do What You Will (Maurzda/Montgomery) 4.16
05. I’m Bigger And Better Than Ever (Maurzda/Shapiro) 2.33
06. Love Is My One Bad Habit (Maurzda/Shapiro) 3.22
07. The Fountain Of Youth (Maurzda/Studer) 4.14
08. I’m As Modern As Tomorrow And As Old As Yesterday (Maurzda/Montgomery) 3.50
09. Sophie’s Matrimonial Mart (Maurzda/Studer) 5.55





Soul Asylum – Change Of Fortune (2016)

FrontCover1.jpgChange of Fortune is Soul Asylum’s 11th full-length studio album and the long-awaited follow-up to their 2012 studio release Delayed Reaction. It was released on March 18, 2016. It is their first album released on Entertainment One. (by wikipedia)

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Alternative Rock band Soul Asylum has been a force to be reckoned with for thirty-five years. Influenced by local area Punk legends such as Suicide Commandos, the band led by Vocalist/Guitarist Dave Pirner forged their own sound and quickly hit the tour circuit in their home state. Then, in 1984, their dreams came true when signing on with Minnesota’s own Twin/Tone Records to release their debut album Say What You Will…Everything Can Happen. Sleeping on floors and not eating the best food, the band continued on for many years, releasing four more studio albums before really breaking into the mainstream with their 1992 Columbia Records debut, Grave Dancers Union. Anchored by hit singles such as “Somebody to Shove,” “Black Gold,” and of course, “Runaway Train,” Grave Dancers Union has since gone triple platinum.

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Following up their commercial success strong in 1995 with Let Your Dim Light Shine, 1998’s Candy from a Stranger would be their final record of the millennium and with an uncertain future. Taking time to reassess what they wanted, tragedy struck in 2005 when long-time Bassist and friend Karl Mueller passed from cancer. Extremely emotional from the loss, Pirner carried on and returned with Soul Asylum in 2006 with The Silver Lining. A record well-received by fans, Soul Asylum would continue on touring with a few different lineups and has been settled with Drummer Michael Bland, Bassist Winston Roye, as well as Guitarist Justin Sharbono since around 2012. Now following up four years after the impressive Delayed Reaction record, the band is back with Change of Fortune. Released via new label Entertainment One, Change of Fortune is the band’s eleventh overall album and was released as of March 18th.


A record a few years in the making, Change of Fortune is twelve tracks of high energy beginning with “Supersonic” as sound effects bring in an upbeat melody as the group seems to sing about addiction. Next, “Can’t Help It” has a Funk vibe driven by a sharp guitar riff with the banding singing about temptation. Moving on, “Doomsday” has a hair band flavor, but with Soul Asylum sensibilities with Pirner’s unique vocal inflections while he sings of the inevitability of the end of the world coming, but not now, so live it up. Cellos lead into “Ladies Man.” This track has a Pop-like feel as the melody progresses, then, listening to the lyrics, the tongue-in-cheekiness comes through by the end, “He’s a ladies man/and she’s a lady…man.”

“When I See You” takes some light, retro Electronica and mashes some Pop to come up with a catchy tune that has a confessional feel as the message of being the person you really are. A high-tempo anthemic beat is “Moonshine.” This track has a fun melody, but there seems a bit of uncertainty as Pirner wonders if the good time is genuine, or helped with drink. Going harder, “Make It Real” has a drum-driven melody with the guitars shredding in the accompaniment. The group seems to sing of someone who spins a web of stories that there is no possible way they can make true. Returning to the Funk flavor, “Dealing” has an “I told you so” vibe to the beat with the head-bobbing drumline as the guitar slides in as the group seems to continue the last track’s theme, but taking it further with the person being out.

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“Don’t Bother Me” has a mid-tempo, “take it in stride” melody, literally. This song has an Alternative Folk/Pop beat that accompanies the lyrics that talk about rolling with the punches of life. Pirner’s voice gives “Morgan’s Dog” the Black Comedy, story-esque delivery it needs with the mid-tempo, Folksy melody. This track just needs to be experienced. The album’s title track, “Change of Fortune,” is a Ska-esque intro followed by an Alternative/Psychedelic melody with a hip, laid back vibe where the band sings of life not always being one-note. Change of Fortune draws to a close with “Cool,” a funky finale with tasty riffs as the band wants to know if they are cool enough for their ladies.

Soul Asylum’s long career has had extreme highs and lows to channel those feelings into a fun, sometimes confessional set of songs that are relatable without being preachy. This latest effort sees the band expand their horizons and push the envelope in a variety of different directions. In all, it is successful and Soul Asylum should finally get the attention they deserve as one of the best Alternative Rock bands of the last three decades. (by Jason Rhode)


Michael Bland (drums)
Dave Pirner (vocals, guitar)
Winston Roye (bass)
Justin Sharbono (guitar, background vocals)

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01. Supersonic 3.01
02. Can’t Help It 3.01
03. Doomsday 2.59
04. Ladies Man 3.23
05. Moonshine 4.03
06. Make It Real 2.19
07. When I See You 3.47
08. Dealing 4.05
09. Don’t Bother Me 3.28
10. Morgan’s Dog 3.36
11. Change Of Fortune 2.56
12. Cool 2.55

All songs written by Dave Pirner