SFTRI 578, first pressing
Sympathy for the record industry
Released: June 1999

For my second #thirdmanthursday I bring "The Big Three Killed My Baby". An original Sympathy for the Record Industry 7". This one was also reissued in 2011 by Third Man Records as TMR-117. Throughout this post we will compared the original to the TMR reissue. There's not a lot of differences though.

Fronts look like this:

Side by side they're very similar. The contrast on the TMR version is higher, but that is probably due to aging. The front features a polaroid of a young Jack and Meg standing in front of what looks like an engine. Listeners of the Striped podcast will have know that the image they're standing in front of is the image of the engine of a Tucker 48 – a car company that went bankrupt in 1949. The car was very innovative for it's time with many novel features such as a central headlight that would light up turns of more than 10 degrees. The polaroid is laid on top of a red background that looks like a blueprint and tire tracks.

The irony is dripping. The big three killed my baby. The big car companies killed my baby. And here the people killed a car company.

Backs look like this:

A few differences here. The SFTRI 578 and Sympathy for the Record Industry is missing on the TMR version. Oddly they decided to shorten the "Recorded at Ghetto Recorders by Jim Diamond in Detroit, MI" (which the first two 7" and self-titled album was) to "Recorded in Detroit, MI". Not sure why they would change that. The backs feature the same red blueprint but at the bottom right corner on the SFTRI version is "The Symbol for Sympathy" and on the TMR version obviously the TMR logo.

The labels on the records are obviously different. The SFTRI version features the SFTRI label on the front, but on the back there's a print of the what looks like the Tucker engine again.

Ok the music. The A side is The Big Three Killed My Baby, which is also the third track on their self-titled debut album and the B-side is Red Bowling Ball Ruth. Which for unknown reasons, according to Ben Blackwell in the Striped podcast, never made it on to the record. According to Ben, Red Bowling Ball Ruth is about an actual red bowling ball that Jack had lying around his house, which he scored from an abandoned bowling alley in Detroit. Both tracks are great and Red Bowling Ball Ruth would certainly have fitted the album very well.