Category Archives: Album Cover Art

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Rick Springfield

I’m just as surprised as you are to see Rick Springfield’s name atop this post. Here’s why: I did a search for “album covers with animals on them”and these doggone covers topped the list. It was destiny or some such shit.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Hair

Hair is on my mind as well as on my head. I’ve done some self-trimming and Dr. A has taken a few whacks at the unruly curls that cluster at the back of my head but I haven’t had a haircut since before Carnival. I wish I could say that I had long luxurious locks, but I do not.

That brings me to this week’s album cover. Its full title is long as was the fashion in 1968: Hair- The American Tribal Love Rock Musical.

I used to have the original Broadway soundtrack album, but it got misplaced in one of my moves. I’m not sure that I’d play it very often in any event. There are some good songs but there’s a lot of filler. The cover, however, is a hairy classic:

I’m also fond of Milos Forman’s 1979 film version. Here’s the poster:

If you’re ready to let your hair down and let the sunshine in, here’s the album in the YouTube playlist format:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Clown

Sad clown? Funny clown? Evil clown? It’s unclear what the great Jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus and designer Marvin Israel were after with this cover. Perhaps it’s crappy clown thrown out of the circus for lazy makeup application. Beats the hell outta me.

Mingus described the title track as follows in the liner notes:

“The Clown” tells the story of a clown “who tried to please people like most jazz musicians do, but whom nobody liked until he was dead. My version of the story ended with his blowing his brains out with the people laughing and finally being pleased because they thought it was part of the act. I liked the way Jean changed the ending; leaves it more up to the listener.”

That sums up my attitude about clowns. They creep me out. The Jean Mingus refers to is Jean Shepherd a writer/actor/radio and tv personality who is best known for A Christmas Story. Holy leg lamp, Batman.

Here’s the whole damn album:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: 1984

In the Rick Wakeman segment of last Saturday’s Odds & Sods, I discussed his comeback album: 1984. It was released in 1981 and was a collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice of Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita fame. It’s almost as if Keith Emerson had collaborated with Oscar Hammerstein.

Oddly enough, Wakeman did not like Orwell’s book but made the concept album anyway. There’s no accounting for taste.

The album art was done by the ubiquitous Hipgnosis:

Here’s Rick Wakeman performing 1984 live:

What? No cape?

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Sammy Awards

I’ve been looking at a caricature of Sammy Davis Jr. for the last ten Fridays. It’s time to see him on a Wednesday.

Sammy Awards has a deeply weird cover featuring the singer as an Oscar-ish statue. It’s unclear if it’s real gold or merely gold leaf. Whatever it may be, it’s weird.

There was method to the Sammy Awards weirdness. All the songs on the album were written directly for the screen and nominated for the Best Song Oscar. They all lost. Sammy was a card.

The album itself is not that weird. In fact, it’s not bad at all but not award winning or losing stuff.

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Aretha

This is not the only album the Queen of Soul released called Aretha. It is, however, the only one with cover art by Andy Warhol.

Here’s an expanded version of whole damn 1986 album via Spotify:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Discoveries

Art Tatum was one of the greatest and most influential Jazz pianists of the 20th Century. Players who he influenced include Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Ray Charles, and McCoy Tyner among others.

Discoveries is a compilation released in 1960, four years after Tatum’s death. The cover art is by the eminent illustrator  Irv Docktor.

I failed to discover Discoveries on either Spotify or YouTube. Here’s a short clip of Art Tatum doing what he did best:

Here’s some lagniappe, Oscar Peterson and Bill Basie with some Tatum talk:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Soul Finger

The Bar-Kays began life as a session band for Stax Records in Memphis. The  original Bar-Kays backed up Otis Redding on his last tour: 4 of them died in a plane crash along with Otis. Nevertheless, the band persisted.

Soul Finger was the band’s debut album and it’s as soulful as all get out. The psychedelic soul cover is by Loring Eutemey. It was 1967, after all:

And now for something completely different. I’m going to experiment with using Spotify here at First Draft. Please let me know if you have any playback issues. This album is well worth a listen.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Billy Preston

Billy Preston is one of two musicians who merited a “with” credit when he played with The Beatles; specifically on the Get Back single. He also had one of the best Afros in music history. It was featured on several of his Seventies releases:

Billy’s hair was also prominently featured on the covers of two of his hit singles:

Since this an odd post, our musical selection is a live album of the same vintage. It features some Prestonized Beatles tunes and Mick Taylor on lead guitar:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: I’ll Remember You

Since the 76th Anniversary of D-Day is 3 days off,  I googled D-Day albums. I did not expect to find anything other than spoken word records. Instead, I found I’ll Remember You by The D-Day Darlings a British women’s choir. They, of course, specialize in the music of World War II and were 2018 finalists on the teevee show, Britain’s Got Talent.

Here are two videos from the album:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Arnold Schoenberg

In addition to being a trailblazing composer, Arnold Schoenberg was a talented painter. Below are two covers featuring the composer’s artwork. The first is a self-portrait, which spoils my chance to make a joke about “long hair music.” So it goes.

Here’s one of the shorter pieces from the first album:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Little Games

I’ve had The Yardbirds on my mind since my friend Sam Jasper posed a trivia question about them on the Tweeter Tube. Here’s the question Jeopardy-style: Who are Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page?

Little Games is the fourth and final album recorded by the original band. Jimmy Page stepped forward as the sole lead guitar player but there was sonic confusion. The Yardbirds were evolving into a proto-Jam band live. This album was produced by Mickey Most who was best known for producing acts such as Herman and the Hermits. The result is something of a musical mess. So it goes.

As you know, I’m inordinately fond of psychedelic covers even when, as in this case, they don’t reflect the music.

Here’s the whole damn album:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Pepper Pot

Jazz saxophonist Art Pepper had a string of album titles that punned on his first and last names including Modern Art and The Art Of Pepper. The goofiest one, 1959’s Pepper Pot, produced this goofy cover by Armand Acosta. Mercifully, the logs aren’t ablaze, they’re just artfully arrayed.

I’ll stop peppering you with puns and post the cover:

Here’s a later recording of the title track:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Fascinating World Of Electronic Music

This entry was inspired by a reader’s tweet in response to last week’s Dave Brubeck cover:

Thanks, Travis.

Kid Baltan and Tom Dissevelt were respected Dutch jazz musicians who were commissioned  to record this 1959 album with a great cover and a clunky title.

Here’s the whole damn album. It may have you dancing like Dieter on Sprockets. Warning: Never touch his monkey.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Time Out

Time Out was a big hit in 1959 and thereafter because of Take Five. It was the only composition not by pianist/band leader Dave Brubeck. Reed man Paul Desmond took home the gold for Take Five. Brubeck’s Blue Rondo a la Turk is just as good.

There are many variations on S Neil Fujita’s cover art. This is one of them:

Here’s the whole damn album. It epitomizes the West Coast cool Jazz of that era. It’s a genuine classic:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Bing & Satchmo

By the time this album was released in 1960, the two American show biz giants had worked together off and on for 25 years. Bing helped Louis break into the movies and the two had a cordial and respectful relationship over the years.

The personal chemistry paid off whenever Bing and Satchmo worked together. It’s evident on this album where they collaborated with band leader/arranger Billy May whose name is on the cover of the original LP but not the reissue. People may have forgotten Billy but not Bing & Satchmo.

Here’s the original album in all its glory:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Alive and Well and Living In A Bitch Of A World

The word that sums up Wayne Cochran is outlandish. He had the biggest hair in rock and roll, influenced the Blues Brothers, and became a televangelist.

Alive and Well and Living In A Bitch Of A World is the longest title ever featured on Album Cover Art Wednesday. I’d call the Guinness Book Of World Records but they’re on lockdown too.

Here’s the front and back covers of this 1970 album recorded with his band the C.C. Riders:

The covers are deliberately blurry. It seems to be a concession to the times. Blurry was big in 1970.

I mentioned Cochran’s big hair and bible thumping. Here’s the proof:

Don’t call that phone number. The White Knight of Soul died in 2017.

Here are some clips of Cochran and his hair live:

Finally, Cochran with his musical hero, James Brown:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Welcome To My Nightmare

Welcome To My Nightmare was Alice Cooper’s first solo album. It was a successful attempt to move Alice/Vincent Cooper/Furnier into the mainstream. In 1975, the mainstream included concept albums of which this was one. What’s not to love about a guest appearance by Vincent Price?

Welcome To My Nightmare 2 was a sequel concept album released in 2011. Here are the two covers together:

Here’s the 1976 concert film:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Nine Lives

Dr. A and I are watching the current season of Ozark on Netflix. There’s an REO Speedwagon sub-plot of all things. Wendy Byrd (Laura Linney) is told that her casino can secure a dental meeting if they hire “The Wagon” to entertain thereby taking us from yacht rock to dentist rock.

Nine Lives was released in 1979. It was the band’s last stand as a hard rock group. It has nothing to do with another Netflix series: The Tiger King. But the cover is almost as sleazy looking.

The back cover is actually kinda cute:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Hey Fela

Another day, another punny title. The late Nigerian musician and political activist Fela Kuti had a long and storied recording career. His albums were known for their wildly creative cover art. Here’s a sampler via OkayAfrica.com:

Here’s a double dose of Fela and his band Egypt 80 live in 1984 and 1987: