Category Archives: Album Cover Art

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Love Me Or Leave Me

I did a search for Doris Day album covers. They were all flattering head shots and not terribly interesting. The cover of the soundtrack album of Love Me Or Leave Me was as atypical as her performance as torch singer and tough broad Ruth Etting. Does this look like a “professional virgin” to you?

Here’s a glamorous lobby card as lagniappe:

Finally, here’s the whole damn album:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

A friend of mine recently criticized me for rarely posting heavy metal covers in this feature. It’s true: I’m not a fan of the music BUT the genre does have its share of cool covers. This week’s entry is one of them.

1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was Black Sabbath’s fifth studio album. Here’s how the cover was, uh, covered in the album’s Wikipedia entry:

Drew Struzan (who would later create the iconic cover to Alice Cooper‘s Welcome to My Nightmare LP) was the artist requested to do the cover painting, under the direction of Pacific Eye & Ear’s Ernie Cefalu. The idea behind the artwork was to depict a man dying a horrible death on the front cover, and on the back cover the same man dying a “good” death. It depicts a man on a bed, seemingly having a nightmare or a vision of being attacked by demons in human form. At the top of the bed is a large skull with long, outstretched arms and 666 (the Number of the Beast) written below it. The other side of the album features the opposite of the front cover, as shown here. Inside the gatefold sleeve there is a photo of the band members shown over a photo of a bedroom. In his autobiography Osbourne enthuses, “I fucking loved that cover.”

I fucking like the cover. I’m not wild about the gatefold so I skipped it. Sorry, Ozzy.

Here’s the title track:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Blues After Sunset

Since it’s the second week of Jazz Fest, it’s time to feature a New Orleans artist. Henry Butler was a much-loved pianist and all around nice guy who died last year at the age of 69.

The cover design of 1998’s Blues After Sunset was a throwback to the jazz album cover art of the 1950’s. Fittingly, the great Herman Leonard, who did the photography on many such albums, took the cover photo of the man and his piano.

Here’s a somewhat bedraggled scan of the back cover:

Finally, here’s the whole damn album via YouTube:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: One Size Fits All

I spend a lot of time in my formative years listening to Frank Zappa. I was attracted to his oddball sense of humor and his wry and sardonic stage patter. Wry and sardonic sums me up quite well. Above all else, I loved his tricky music and the virtuosity of the musicians who worked with FZ.

One Size Fits All is my favorite Zappa album. The songs are tight, well-constructed, and perfectly arranged. It’s one of the last albums released using the Mothers name. It’s also one of the best bands Zappa ever assembled: the vocals by George Duke and Napoleon Murphy Brock are to die for. One Size Fits All flat-out rocks.

The cover art is by Cal Schenkel who designed 16+ Zappa covers. He was FZ’s artistic alter ego and described his style as “ragged surrealism.”

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Waiting For Columbus

Little Feat’s 1978 double LP Waiting For Columbus is one of the greatest live albums of all-time. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who has seen any of the band’s iterations over the years. Little Feat flat-out rocks, especially when the Tower of Power horns join in on the fun as they do on this album.

The cover art is by Neon Park who began life as Martin Muller and did all but one of Little Feat’s covers until his death in 1993. Cheerful tomatoes became a recurring motif on Little Feat album covers and the band even named their record label Hot Tomato Records.

If you’re ready to rock, here’s the 2002 CD re-release complete with 10 extra tracks.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: High On The Hog

Grim times call for comic relief hence this week’s selection. What’s funnier than a bunch of Southern hippies astride a hog nursing her piglets?

After the success of the Allman Brothers Band, the record labels beat the bushes for Southern rock bands. One of the groups that fell out of the tree was Black Oak Arkansas. They were self-described rednecks who were popular for a few years with their Southern-fried boogie sound.

1973’s High On The Hog was their biggest hit. It features the song Jim Dandy, which became the theme song for their grottily charismatic front man Jim Dandy Mangrum. It’s unclear who or what he was rescuing.

Here are the front and back covers of this gatefolded LP featuring the memorable porcine illustration by Joe Petango.

The quality of the interior gatefold picture isn’t great but you get to see BOA in the backwoods. Boy howdy.

I won’t subject you to the album itself but here’s BOA to the rescue live:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Gimme Some Neck

Ron Wood has not only been a rock star for longer than many of you have been alive, he’s also an accomplished artist as you can see from the artwork on his 1979 solo album, Gimme Some Neck. What’s not to love about an album with a punny title?

The music is pretty darn good as well. Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube playlist thingamabob:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Letter/Neon Rainbow

I’ve had letters on my mind this week hence this selection. The Letter was a surprise #1 hit for the Box Tops in 1967, which led the record company to rush The Letter/Neon Rainbow into release. For the Alex Chilton fans out there (myself included) a major bummer: none of his songs appear on this album. But the boxy-n-toppy cover is pretty darn swell:

Here’s the whole damn LP:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Red Sails In The Sunset

Red Sails In The Sunset was Midnight Oil’s commercial breakthrough in Australia. It was also the first time they charted in the US. The Oils got their foot in the door with this 1984 release but they kicked it in with their next album, Diesel and Dust, which is when they set proverbial beds afire.

Red Sails In The Sunset was recorded in Tokyo and features a cover by noted Japanese  artist Tsunehisa Kimura. Later releases of the album included the title and band name at the top of the cover.

Here are the original Australian LP cover and back cover:

Are you ready to rock? Here’s the CD re-release of this fine album:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Naturally

Naturally was J.J. Cale’s first album. It was recorded in the wake of Eric Clapton’s hit version of Cale’s After Midnight. Here’s Cale’s description of how the record came about:

Cale, who was languishing in obscurity at the time, had no knowledge of Clapton’s recording of “After Midnight” until it became a radio hit in 1970. Cale recalled to Mojo magazine that when he heard Clapton’s version playing on his radio, “I was dirt poor, not making enough to eat and I wasn’t a young man. I was in my thirties, so I was very happy. It was nice to make some money.” Cale’s friend and producer, Audie Ashworth, encouraged Cale to record a full album in order to capitalize on the success of his song.

The quirky cover art featuring a gentleman raccoon is by Tulsa painter Bill Rabon.

Here’s the whole damn album:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Strange Affair

It’s Ash Wednesday, the day after Carnival’s finale. One is supposed to repent and my legs, in particular, are penitent. Penitent and sore, which is why it’s time to repeat a musical pun I made three years ago and declare this Wishbone Ash Wednesday.

1991’s Strange Affair was the veteran prog rockers 16th album. I’m particularly fond of Ian Harris’ cover as it’s so pulpy that it looks like a refugee from Noir Alley:

Here’s the title track with a modified cover from a 2003 re-release.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Al Hirt At The Mardi Gras

It’s that time of year so let’s set the Wayback Machine to 1962 with a live album from Al Hirt. The cover, via Discogs, is a bit old and beat up but so am I.

It’s selected tracks time, baby:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Sidney Bechet

New Orleans born and bred woodwind genius Sidney Bechet lived a large portion of his life in exile in Paris. And I’m not talking Paris, Texas, which was as segregated as New Orleans. Bechet left the Other Paris to Wim Wenders and Ry Cooder.

We have two early album covers this week. They’re not vinyl LPs, but 10″ shellac albums. The first one dates from 1948 and features a cover by  Jim Flora:

The second ten-incher dates from 1952 and features art by Burt Goldblatt:

Since the albums aren’t online in their entirety, here are two contemporaneous tracks:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Struttin’

Urban roosters are popular in New Orleans right now. The Meters were ahead of the trend with the cover of this 1970 LP released by Josie Records.

Struttin’ was the first Meters albums to feature vocals. The back cover promotes their first two releases, which was not uncommon back in the day. Dig the crazy striped bell bottoms.

Here are two tracks from the album:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Book Of Dreams

1977’s Book of Dreams was one of the biggest selling Steve Miller Band albums ever. The winged horse cover was created by Kelley-Mouse studio and was the first of five equestrian SMB album covers.

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube playlist format:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: I Love Paris

The French jazz pianist, songwriter, and Oscar-winning film composer Michel Legrand died recently at the age of 86. His long list of film credits can be seen at IMDb.

1954’s I Love Paris was Legrand’s first album. It was re-released many times over the years with more than a few covers. Here are four of them;

Here’s the album in two parts with a variation on the original cover:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Peter Gunn

Peter Gunn was a detective show starring Craig Stevens that ran for 114 episodes between 1958-1961. It’s best remembered for its creator, Blake Edwards, and the marvelous music of Henry Mancini. The theme song has been recorded many times over the years by a wide variety of artists.

Let’s rumble, private eye style:

Finally, here’s a prog rock ringer:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Winter In America

It’s been cold so I ran a search for winter album covers and came up with Winter In America. This 1974 album is a collaborator between the late, great Gil Scott-Heron and his old friend jazz pianist Brian Jackson. The cover art is by another friend of the duo’s Eugene Coles.

Here’s a nifty inner sleeve collage designed by Peggy Harris:

I’d never heard this album until this week. It’s pretty darn good.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The New Lee Dorsey

This 1966 album by New Orleans R&B singer and auto mechanic, Lee Dorsey, was produced by Allen Toussaint who also wrote 11 of the 12 tunes. The backing band was a combo you might have heard of: the Meters.

The full album is not on YouTube so the big hits will have to do:

 

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Gone To The Dogs

Dr. A and I closed out the holidays by watching the AKC dog show on the tube. We’re cat people who also love dogs. Della was horrified and retaliated by snoring loudly while she slept during the festivities. Holy protest snoring, Batman.

Our dog show evening has inspired a dog album cover morning. I picked the covers regardless of whether I like the music or not. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.