Category Archives: Album Cover Art

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Words Don’t Fit The Picture

Sometimes I select an album cover because it’s odd. Hence this 1972 Willie Nelson album with a photograph by Jimmy Moore.

Here’s the title track:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ginger Baker’s Air Force

Legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80.  You’re probably wondering why this isn’t an R.I.P. post. Here’s why:

If you don’t believe me, check out the 2012 documentary Beware of Mr. Baker.

Here’s Martin Sharp’s front gatefold  for Baker’s 1970 aerial extravaganza:

Here’s whole damn album via the YouTube:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Robert Hunter, R.I.P.

The Grateful Dead’s primary lyricist Robert Hunter died last week at the age of 78. He wrote all of the band’s lyrics until Bob Weir teamed up with John Perry Barlow.

Hunter refused to reveal what his lyrics meant; preferring to leave it up to the listeners imagination. In any event, his lyrics were ellipitical and even elusively allusive. They were perfect for the Grateful Dead:

“Well I ain’t often right but I’ve never been wrong
It seldom turns out the way it does in the song
Once in a while you get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right”

Hunter also had a long and interesting solo career. Here are the covers of his first two solo records:

Here’s Hunter’s second solo album in its entirety:

One of my favorite Garcia-Hunter songs is Ripple:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Roger and Out/Dang Me

Dr. A and I have been watching, and enjoying, Ken Burns’ County Music. One of the better stories in the film involves Roger Miller and how he decided to give up recording and focus on songwriting. But he gave it one more shot. Hence, the original title of this 1964 album: Roger and Out. It became a hit and was released with a new title: Dang Me.

Here’s the whole consarn album:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ric Ocasek, R.I.P.

Ric Ocasek recorded 7 solo albums: I have half of them. They’re overlooked and underrated but they’re good. He is obviously better known as the quirky front man of the new wave supergroup The Cars.

Ric Ocasek died the other day at the age of 75 according to most sources. His passing is not in dispute but his age is: I’ve seen it listed at 70 as well. I suspect that he’d be fine with that. Ric Ocasek was always in on the joke. His ironic detachment is what made The Cars’ video catalog so special: he knew that what he was doing was ridiculous. Rock and Roll is supposed to be fun. The Cars were always fun.

Here are covers from solo albums released in 1991 and 1997:

Now that I’ve posted two solo album covers, I’m going to mess with you and post some videos by The Cars in no particular order. Like Ric Ocasek, I’m always in on the joke:

At long last a solo video from the Fireball Zone album:

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ol’ Yellow Eyes Is Back

I’m a slacker Star Trek fan. I don’t speak Klingon and I wasn’t aware that Brent Spiner had recorded an album of standards in 1991: Ol’ Yellow Eyes Is Back.

The album title is a play on Sinatra’s Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back. Spiner’s eyes were yellow when he played Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation and subsequent movies.

The album cover is unremarkable. I picked it because of the punny title and Star Trek connection. The music is pretty darn good as well.

Here are some selected tracks:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Pedro Bell, R.I.P.

Pedro Bell’s cover artwork for George Clinton and his family of funk bands helped create their mythology. Bell called his art “scartoons,” I think of it as funk surrealism.

Pedro Bell died recently at the age of 69. The best tribute to an artist is to feature their work. Here are three of Bell’s album covers:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Filet Of Soul

For the second straight week, we have a contractual obligation album: Jan & Dean’s 1966 LP Filet Of Soul, which I selected for the punny title. The original record was rejected by the Liberty Records and was not released until 2017 as Filet Of Soul Redux.

Here are the covers side-by-side:

What I’ve heard of both albums is terrible so I’ll spare you any music. Some of the songs are available on the YouTube. I would have rejected the original masters as well. Ugh.

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: