Moby Grape were a fairly successful San Francisco rock band in the 1960’s. Their story is like something out of Behind The Music but they weren’t big enough to be noticed by VH1. It’s a pity because the story is
grape great and their music was pretty darn good too.
I’ll let the Wikpedia entry on Wow/Grape Jam do the heavy lifting:
Wow/Grape Jam is the second album by the rock band Moby Grape, released in 1968. It is different from mostdouble album releases in that it was released as two different albums in separate covers, but packaged together and sold for the price of a single LP. Grape Jam was originally intended to be given away as a free bonus album with Wow.
The cover art for Wow is pretty swell and the Wikipedia entry goes into detail so I don’t have to:
Artwork of the Wow album (design and illustration) was done by Bob Cato. Cato proposed a surreal image without any input from the band. Cato was influenced by various Victorian woodcuts. According to [band member] Peter Lewis the title was left off the cover because “What was in the box was more important than the box.” It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Recording Package in 1969.
Time to say Wow, man:
More Sixties stuff after the break. Wow, man.
The Grape Jam part of the LP package is more typical of the psychedelic art of the era:
Below is a pretty swell concert poster showing how popular Moby Grape was in the Bay Area. The Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood opened for them:
Here’s the standout track from Wow. It’s got a genuinely killer title:
4 thoughts on “Album Cover Art Wednesday: Wow/Grape Jam”
I am ashamed to admit that I am unfamiliar with the Grape, aside from Omaha, which I first heard when it was covered by The Golden Palominos.
Any opinion re Skip Spence’s Oar? I find it rather beautiful, though sad and haunting given Mr. Spence’s personal deterioration.
I loved Walk Hard, and psychedelic album covers always remind me of the Dewey Cox “album” Sir Ringe the Marshmallow Elephant. I assume the fake album came in a gatefold jacket, for purposes of cleaning herb and subsequent prolonged staring.
Moby Grape got a fair amount of play in the late `60s, and probably should have gone on to do better things, but, geez, turning down a spot in Pennebaker’s “Monterey Pop” because their manager wanted Lou Adler to cough up a million bucks for it? Throwing away that sort of advertising is like mounting a scope on a hunting rifle to shoot yourself in the foot. It was idiocy with a kind of perverse precision to it.
Still and all, I liked some of what Moby Grape did, and “8:05” is still one of my favorites.
@montag: Poor and delusional management is one reason they never broke through. It would have helped if the members had been able to harness the crazy instead of being dragged down by it.
@SG: Oar is at the very least a minor classic. Beck is obsessed with it and I don’t mean Jeff.
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