Saturday, September 22, 2012
Miss Sophie Tucker
I have to admit, I first heard about Sophie Tucker from Bette Midler, telling those bawdy Sophie jokes as part of her act. But those jokes were enough to have me looking up who she was, and I have to say I was surprised. It seems Miss Sophie Tucker was a wonderful Russian Jew, big and bold and in your face. Thought to be too risque for the producers, they asked her to play the shows in blackface. She did, although she never loved it. In fact, it was arriving to play dates in New York City when the suitcase carrying her makeup go lost, and she went on as herself. The audiences still loved her, and she never put on the blackface again.
Stylistically, she took much more from the Jazz singers of the day, making the performance big and bold. She began he career in vaudeville, traveling and doing all the shows she could. She took lessons from some of the best African American singers and songwriters, truly developing her craft. She practiced the unfortunately named art of "Coon Shouting", but I prefer to think it just singing Blues and Jazz. I will start with a clip of Sophie performing "Staying Young" on the Ed Sullivan Show. Sophie was 72 years old.
In 1926, Sophie had a wonderful recording of "Washing The Blues From My Soul". She certainly had her own style, wonderful to hear.
I love the big and bold woman she was, singing the 1928 recording of "I Know That My Baby's Cheatin' On Me". Notice how she turns it around, and proudly announces she cheating on him, too!
Sophie is perhaps best know for her 1927 recording of the great song, "Some Of these Days".
1944 in the film 'Follow The Boys,' Sophie does her bit for the boys in the Army and the Navy. Her bit is filled with sly double entendre and flirtation.
Hope you enjoyed hearing some of Sophie's music. You can purchase The Very Best of Sophie Tucker on iTunes and Amazon.