Category Archives: Album Cover Art

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Wooden Head

I disappeared down an internet rabbit hole and emerged not only unscathed but with an interesting cover. Wooden Head is best described as the Turtles contractual obligation album. They had broken up and owed their record label an album. The result was Wooden Head, which was a somewhat sketchy compilation album of out-takes and the like.

Frontmen Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan had left the band to work with Frank Zappa. Until Wooden Head was released in 1970, they were obliged to use a pseudonym, the Phlorescent Leech and Eddie; later shortened to Flo and Eddie.

The first time I saw the cover I immediately thought of the 1989 Crowded House album Woodface. Whether or not Nick Seymour’s cover was inspired by this one, is a mystery for the ages.

The cover was done by Kittyhawk Graphics aka DeanTorrence of Jan and Dean fame. It’s unclear if the Little Old Lady From Pasadena was involved.

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

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Denny McLain

I went down a YouTube rabbit hole and watched a pretty good documentary about Denny McLain. McLain was the last pitcher to win 30 games and won 2 Cy Young Awards. He was also a egenerate gambler and wannabe bookie. His pitching career flamed out by the age of 28. He also played a mean organ:

If you’re feeling like a lounge lizard, here’s the whole damn album:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Salome

There ain’t no femme more fatale than Salome. I posted Aubrey Beardsley’s take last Saturday. Let’s get operatic with a trio of covers for recordings of the Richard Strauss opera, Salome, whose libretto is a German translation of Oscar Wilde’s play. The aformentioned Beardsley illustration was done for the book of the play but not for the opera. The mind reels.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Brother’s Keeper

Art Neville’s memorial service was yesterday, hence this week’s selection. Like most Neville Brothers studio albums Brother’s Keeper is a mixed bag. They were always at their best live but it has many highlights including Brother Jake and last week’s Odds & Sods theme song, River Of Life.

The cover art is brilliant. It’s by Alison Saar an African American artist from Los Angeles who is primarily a sculptor.

The back cover features a photograph by Larry Williams.

Here’s the whole damn album in the YouTube playlist format.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Button-Down Mind Of Bob Newhart

The Button-Down Mind Of Bob Newhart was a sensation when it was released in 1960. It firmly established Bob Newhart as one of comedy’s bright lights. It also won Newhart several Grammys.

The cover is not terribly distinguished. I’m mostly posting it because of the title. Bob Newhart is not the only one with a button-down mind. That describes Robert Muller as well. I’m not even sure if he loosens his tie before going to bed. I’m going to spend my day watching Bobby Three Sticks’ testimony and I’ll report back to y’all. Here’s hoping Gym Jordan says something that provokes the former head Feeb.

Dig the crazy diagram of Bob’s mind:

Here’s the opening track of the LP; much of which is unavailable on the YouTube.

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Happy Trails

Gary Duncan, a founding member of Quicksilver Messenger Service, died at the age of 72 a few weeks ago. The San Francisco based Quicksilver were one of the original jam bands. Their  influence has grown in the last twenty years. Quicksilver’s 1969 live album Happy Trails was one of the jammiest jam band albums of all.

The cover was something of an oddity at the time. It looks more like the cover of a book by Zane Grey or Holly Martins instead of an album by a psychedelic rock band. That’s why it’s so cool. The back cover is swell as well.

Here’s the whole damn album:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: If You Can’t Stand The Heat

I whinged about the heatwave on Monday. I use the Britism whinged (whined to us Yanks) because that post led to this search: “album covers heat.” It turned up a 1978 album by the English rock band, Status Quo. I had no idea that they’d stuck around into the 21st Century, but they were always more popular in the UK than stateside.

The cover photo for If You Can’t Stand The Heat was taken by John Shaw whose work adorns 49 album covers including records by Adrastos favorites Wings and Jethro Tull:

I wonder if they thought about Harry Truman when they shot this cover. I did when I found it.

Here are the two singles from the album:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Stars and Stripes Forever

One thing our readers don’t know about me is that I love military bands. They’re a standard feature of Carnival parades and I get a thrill every time I see one. In addition to having the best uniforms, the Navy and Marines have the best  bands. It’s the legacy of Lt. Commander John Philip Sousa, the March King.

Most Sousa album covers feature the man himself looking stern and imposing. I’ve opted for a less conventional cover by Jim Flora that does not feature the man and his mustache:

Are you ready to march?

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Best Of Brahms

I have no idea why this 1972 compilation album has bacon and eggs in a skillet on the cover. Did they think it resembles Johannes Brahms or conductor William Steinberg? Beats the hell outta me.

All I know is that grim times call for comic relief as well as a good breakfast.

Best of Brahms does not eggist on the YouTube. One of the compositions excerpted was Brahms’ 4th Symphony so here’s the whole damn thing:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Bayou Cadillac

This 1989 album by Cajun music gods Beausoleil features some swell pictures by New Orleans based photographer Rick Olivier. He specializes in photographing artists from the Gret Stet of Louisiana and has done many album covers. This is one of the coolest.

Here’s the Bayou Cadillac Medley:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Tumbleweed Connection

Tumbleweed Connection was Elton John’s third studio album. It was released in 1970 in the UK and 1971 in the US.  Concept albums were big at the time and this record is infused with country and western/Americana themes. It remains one of my favorite Elton John albums.

The cover evokes rural America BUT a closer look at the signs indicates that it was taken at a railway station in Sussex. It’s an indelible image from photographer David Markham.

The YouTube playlists are a mess so here are my two favorite tunes from the album instead:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Leon Redbone

Leon Redbone was a world class character. He burst on the music scene with his retro stylings in the late 1970’s and kept at it until his death last week at the age of 69.

Redbone was as mysterious and enigmatic as a Le Carre character. His web site even claimed that he was 126 when he passed. They could not let down the side.

The best thing I’ve ever read about the man and his music was published in the Oxford American last March. Meghan Pugh’s piece was titled Vesel Of Antiquity. She nailed Leon Redbone’s style and mystique.

Redbone’s album covers were always interesting. Below are two of them side-by-side:

In lieu of the albums, here’s a poorly lit 1981 live performance by the man, the myth:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest

The Fugs were an underground band formed in 1964 by poets Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg. This is the first time I’ve selected an album in this space because of its title: It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest. It makes me laugh every time I think of it. There are worse reasons than that, y’all.

Here’s the album in the YouTube playlist format:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Bob Kames

Bob Kames nee Kujawa was a polka musician operating out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he was, apparently, a local legend. I’d never heard of him until my friend Marko Romano suggested one of the Bobster’s campier album covers. I went in another direction but I’d like to thank him for putting some polka into my life.

Here are two album covers:

What’s not to love about a happy organ, beer, and the chicken dance?

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: