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.

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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. (britannica.com)

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.

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Personnel:
Sophie Tucker (vocals)
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Ted Shapiro Orchestra

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Tracklist:
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

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Sophie Tucker – Her Latest And Greatest Spicy Songs (1955)

FrontCover1.JPGSophie Tucker (January 13, 1886– February 9, 1966) was a Ukrainian-born American singer, comedian, actress, and radio personality. Known for her powerful delivery of comical and risqué songs, she was one of the most popular entertainers in America during the first half of the 20th century. She was widely known by the nickname “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas”.

Tucker was born Sofya Kalish (in Russian, Софья «Соня» Калиш) in 1886 to a Jewish family in Tulchyn, Podolia Governorate, Russian Empire, now Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine. (“Sonya” is a nickname for “Sofya”, the Yiddish form of the name Sophia.) They arrived in Boston on September 26, 1887. The family adopted the surname Abuza before immigrating, her father fearing repercussions for having deserted the Russian military. The family lived in Boston’s North End for eight years before settling in Hartford, Connecticut, and opening a restaurant.

At a young age, she began singing at her parents’ restaurant for tips. Between taking orders and serving customers, she “would stand up in the narrow space by the door and sing with all the drama I could put into it. At the end of the last chorus, between me and the onions there wasn’t a dry eye in the place”.

In 1903, around the age of 17, Tucker eloped with Louis Tuck, a beer cart driver, from whom she would later derive her professional surname. When she returned home, her parents arranged an Orthodox wedding for the couple. in 1905, she gave birth to a son, Albert. However, shortly after Albert was born, the couple separated and Tucker left the baby with her family to move to New York.

SophieTucker03After she left her husband, Willie Howard gave Tucker a letter of recommendation to Harold Von Tilzer, a composer and theatrical producer in New York. When it failed to bring her work, Tucker found jobs in cafés and beer gardens, singing for food and tips from the customers. She sent most of what she made back home to Connecticut to support her son and family.

In 1907, Tucker made her first theater appearance, singing at an amateur night in a vaudeville establishment. It was here that she was first made to wear blackface during performance, as her producers thought that the crowd would tease her for being “so big and ugly.” By 1908, she had joined a burlesque show in Pittsburgh but was ashamed to tell her family that she was performing in a deep southern accent wearing burnt cork on her face. While touring later that year, luggage including her makeup kit was lost, and Tucker was allowed to go on stage without the blackface.

She then stunned the crowd by saying, “You all can see I’m a white girl. Well, I’ll tell you something more: I’m not Southern. I’m a Jewish girl and I just learned this Southern accent doing a blackface act for two years. And now, Mr. Leader, please play my song.” Tucker also began integrating “fat girl” humor, which became a common thread in her acts. Her songs included “I Don’t Want to Get Thin” and “Nobody Loves a Fat Girl, But Oh How a Fat Girl Can Love.”

In 1909, Tucker performed with the Ziegfeld Follies. Though she was a hit, the other female stars refused to share the spotlight with her, and the company was forced to let SophieTucker04her go. This caught the attention of William Morris, a theater owner and future founder of the William Morris Agency, which would become one of the largest and most powerful talent agencies of the era. Two years later, Tucker released “Some of These Days” on Edison Records, written by Shelton Brooks. The title of the song was later used as the title of Tucker’s 1945 biography.

In 1921, Tucker hired pianist and songwriter Ted Shapiro as her accompanist and musical director, a position he would keep throughout her career. Besides writing a number of songs for her, Shapiro became part of her stage act, playing piano on stage while she sang, and exchanging banter and wisecracks with her in between numbers. Tucker remained a popular singer through the 1920s and became friends with stars such as Mamie Smith and Ethel Waters, who introduced her to jazz. Tucker learned from these talented women and became one of the first performers to introduce jazz to white vaudeville audiences.

In 1925, Jack Yellen wrote one of her most famous songs, “My Yiddishe Momme”. The song was performed in large American cities where there were sizable Jewish audiences. Tucker explained, “Even though I loved the song and it was a sensational hit every time I sang it, I was always careful to use it only when I knew the majority of the house would understand Yiddish. However, you didn’t have to be a Jew to be moved by My Yiddishe Momme.” During the Hitler regime, the song was banned by the German government for evoking Jewish culture.

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By the 1920s, Tucker’s success had spread to Europe, and she began a tour of England, performing for King George V and Queen Mary at the London Palladium in 1926. Tucker re-released her hit song “Some of These Days”, backed by Ted Lewis and his band, which stayed at the number 1 position of the charts for five weeks beginning November 23, 1926. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA.

Tucker was strongly affected by the decline of vaudeville. Speaking about performing in the final show at E. F. Albee’s Palace in New York City, she remarked, “Everyone knew the theater was to be closed down, and a landmark in show business would be gone. That feeling got into the acts. The whole place, even the performers, stank of decay. I seemed to smell it. It challenged me. I was determined to give the audience the idea: why brood over yesterday? We have tomorrow. As I sang I could feel the atmosphere change. The gloom began to lift, the spirit which formerly filled the Palace and which made it famous among vaudeville houses the world over came back. That’s what an entertainer can do.”

In 1929, she made her first movie appearance, in the sound picture Honky Tonk. During the 1930s, Tucker brought elements of nostalgia for the early years of 20th century into her show. She was billed as “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” as her hearty sexual appetite was a frequent subject of her songs, unusual for female performers of the day after the decline of vaudeville.

SophieTucker05.jpgOn November 4, 1963, Beatle Paul McCartney introduced the song “Till There Was You” as having been recorded “by our favorite American group, Sophie Tucker.”

In 1938, Tucker was elected president of the American Federation of Actors, an early actors’ trade union. Originally formed for vaudeville and circus performers, the union expanded to include nightclub performers and was chartered as a branch of the Associated Actors and Artistes.

In 1939, the union was disbanded by the American Federation of Labor (AFL) for financial mismanagement. However, Tucker was not implicated in the proceedings. The AFL later issued a charter for the succeeding American Guild of Variety Artists, which remains active.

In 1938–1939 she had her own radio show, The Roi Tan Program with Sophie Tucker, broadcast on CBS for 15 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She made numerous guest appearances on such programs as The Andrews Sisters and The Radio Hall of Fame. In the 1950s and early 1960s Tucker, “The First Lady of Show Business”, made frequent television appearances on many popular variety and talk shows of the day such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show. She remained popular abroad, performing for fanatical crowds in the music halls of London that were even attended by King George V. On April 13, 1963, a Broadway musical called “Sophie”, based on her early life up until 1922, opened with Libi Staiger as the lead. It closed after eight performances.[citation needed]

SophieTucker06Tucker continued to perform for the rest of her life. In 1962, she performed in the Royal Variety Performance, which was also broadcast on the BBC. She appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on October 3, 1965. For the color broadcast, her last television appearance, she performed “Give My Regards to Broadway”, “Louise”, and her signature song, “Some Of These Days”.

Tucker was married three times. Her first marriage was to Louis Tuck, a beer cart driver, with whom she eloped in 1903. The marriage produced Tucker’s only child, Albert. In 1906 the couple separated, and Tucker left Albert with her family, supporting them with money from her singing jobs in New York. They were divorced in May 1913. Albert was raised by his maternal aunt, Annie. Annie and Sophie had a close relationship and kept in touch with weekly letters.

Her second marriage, to Frank Westphal (1917–20), her accompanist, and her third marriage, to Al Lackey (1928–34), her manager, both ended in divorce and produced no children. She blamed the failure of her marriages on the fact that she had been too adjusted to economic independence, saying, “Once you start carrying your own suitcase, paying your own bills, running your own show, you’ve done something to yourself that makes you one of those women men like to call ‘a pal’ and ‘a good sport,’ the kind of woman they tell their troubles to. But you’ve cut yourself off from the orchids and the diamond bracelets, except those you buy yourself.”

Tucker died of lung cancer and kidney failure on February 9, 1966, aged 80, in New York City. She had continued working until the months before her death, playing shows at the Latin Quarter just weeks before. She is buried in Emanuel Cemetery, in Wethersfield, Connecticut, her home state.

Tucker’s comic and singing styles are credited with influencing later female entertainers including Mae West, Rusty Warren, Carol Channing, Totie Fields, Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, Ethel Merman, “Mama” Cass Elliot of The Mamas & the Papas, and most notably Bette Midler, who has included “Soph” as one of her many stage characters. She also influenced Miami-based radio and television host-cum-singer Peppy Fields, sister of noted pianist Irving Fields, whom Variety and Billboard magazines called the “Sophie Tucker of Miami”.

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Probably the greatest influence on Sophie’s later song delivery was Clarice Vance (1870–1961). They appeared many times on the same vaudeville bill. Sophie made her first recordings in 1910, and Clarice made her final records in 1909. Clarice had perfected and was known for her subtle narrative talk-singing style that Sophie later used to her advantage when her vocal range became increasingly limited. At the time that Clarice Vance was using the narrative style it was unique to her among women entertainers.[6]
Legacy

Tucker is briefly mentioned in the lyrics of the song “Roxie” from the musical Chicago (“And Sophie Tucker’ll shit I know/To see her name get billed below/Roxie Hart”) and was cited as the main influence for the character Matron “Mama” Morton.

A popular music revue, Sophie Tucker: The Last of the Red Hot Mamas, developed by Florida Studio Theatre (FST), in Sarasota, celebrates Tucker’s brassy and bawdy behavior, songs, and persona. Developed in-house by artistic director Richard Hopkins in 2000, it has enjoyed several productions across the country, including theatres in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and Toronto. Kathy Halenda, who originated the role of Tucker in the production, returned to FST for a limited engagement of “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas” in March 2012.

William Gazecki produced a 2014 film documentary, The Outrageous Sophie Tucker (by wikipedia)

And here´s her bitter-sweet album from 1955 ….it´s aural bio about her life (love and sex of course) … all the victories and all the tragedies …

On side two is another Sophie Tucker specialty. “Mister Siegel” is a telephone lament done partly in Yiddish in which a young lady in “trouble” threatens to cause problems if Siegel “don’t make it legal by me.” …

And yes … she was a real hot red mama … and yes she was a glamour girl … a diva …. in this times.

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Alternate frontcover from Canada

Personnel:
Sophie Tucker (vocals)
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unknown orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. It’s Never Too Late (To Have A Little Fun) (Yellen/Daughtery) 2.50
02. Vitamins, Hormones And Pills (Yellen/Daughtery) 3.12
03. Inhibition Papa (Yellen/Daughtery) 3.38
04. (There’s No Business Like) That Certain Business (Yellen/Daughtery) 3.38
05. Sophie Tucker School For Red Hot Mamas (Yellen/Daughtery) 3.22
06. Mister Siegel (Yellen/Daughtery) 3.14
07. Never Let The Same Dog Bite You Twice (Yellen/Fain) 2.47
08. Horseplaying Poppa (Yellen/Fain) 3.51
09. I’m Living Alone And I Like It (Yellen/Daughtery) 2.38
10. Make Him Say Please (Yellen/Daughtery) 5.06

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