The Hit Makers! Les Paul and Mary Ford

The 10 inch LP version of The Hit Makers! originated in 1953 and featured eight tracks only. It was a delightful showcase for the brilliant guitar work of Les Paul and the sultry voice of Mary Ford.

My copy of Les Paul and Mary Ford‘s The Hit Makers! is 70 years old, yet you wouldn’t know it by looking at the cover or the vinyl itself. They are still in pristine condition. Having spent half of my working life in the print industry, along with several years as owner of a record and audio store, I have an appreciation for these elements that perhaps extends beyond the music itself. The design, the quality of the cover stock, the superb colour rendition achieved both on the pink cover and purple record label all speak of attention to detail that is seldom encountered these days.

The 10 inch LP format was a short-lived affair. Columbia had introduced the long-play format in 1948, and moved from the shellac 78 format to vinyl composition that was suitable for the Microgroove process. As for size, the stamping plates, the packing crates and the display shelving in record stores were all geared to the 10 inch size dictated by the 78 rpm size. Even in the early ’50s more than 70% of record sales were 78s.

By 1956 the LP had moved to 12 inches; that meant about 25 minutes of music per side, whereas the 10 inch LP was confined to 15 minutes or so. Albums in that size are rarities. I found my copy in a garage sale in Vancouver, along with two other 10 inchers, one by Cozy Cole and the other by Harry James. They’re not for sale, not at any price; I already have enough coffee money.

I do love the music that Les Paul created. His innovations in guitar playing and in multi-track recording are legendary. The Gibson Les Paul solid body guitar that came out in 1952 was heavily influenced by his input, and the many revisions and editions of that guitar were taken up by guitarists in every genre, including the rock and roll Les Paul Standard played by Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones. Other Les Paul players were the likes of Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Peter Green. It all started with the creative genius of Les Paul.

Take a walk deep into history with The Hit Makers!

Album information

Album release date ~ 1953 via Capitol Records H 416 Mono

Vinyl Playback System

Pro-Ject Debut Pro Turntable with Ortofon 2M Black

Arcam FMJ A19 Integrated Amplifier

Dali Oberon 5 floor standing speakers

Nordost White Lightning cables

Various other accoutrements: IsoAccoustics Platform, IsoAcoustics Orea Bronze, Audioquest cables

Brian Miller

Brian Miller is the Publisher and Editor of Vivascene, which he founded in 2010. A former record store owner, business executive and business writer, he is devoted to vinyl records, classical guitar, and b&w photography.

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