Category Archives: Album Cover Art

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.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Nuggets

Nuggets was a trailblazing “various artists” album compiled by Lenny Kaye. He dug deep into the archives and produced an album of psychedelic rock and garage band tracks that was a hit in 1972. The album’s punny subtitle says it all: Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era.

Nuggets influenced the punk and new wave bands later in the decade and led to a series of Nuggets albums. It has nothing to do with chicken or the NBA team of the same name.

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube for your post-Christmas listening pleasure:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Captain Kangaroo Christmas

I’m too old to have watched Mister Rogers but I have fond memories of Captain Kangaroo. I don’t recall hearing any of his Christmas albums, but even at that young age I was more interested in listening to the Beatles. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Frank Zappa also grew up watching Captain Kangaroo. He had a particular fondness for a supporting character, Mr. Green Jeans. He used the character’s name twice in song titles but changed the spelling of the name just in case CBS felt litigious. The son is the song I like best:

 

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Tijuana Christmas

I’ve been known to post wacky Christmas album covers in this space. This one has an obvious political subtext in the age of Trump.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Creedence Clearwater Revival

CCR’s eponymous 1968 debut album cover featured a then fashionable psychedelic border/arch surrounding the band in the woods. They *were* among those who created roots rock, after all,

Creedence Clearwater Revival is an oddity in the CCR catalog as it features so many cover versions. John Fogerty didn’t explode as a songwriter until its follow-up, Bayou Country.

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

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Forbidden Fruit

I still have Nina Simone on my mind. Her 1961 album, Forbidden Fruit, has an unusual cover. Most of Nina’s album covers feature her sultry beauty and all around badassery. This cover has an Adam and Eve thing going on.

Try as I might, I couldn’t find out who designed the album cover, but I did find the whole goddamn LP on the YouTube:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Raven

I’m still contemplating my McRaven/Poe pun from Monday afternoon. It’s why this week’s album cover is the soundtrack of Roger Corman’s 1963 production called The Raven. It’s not an adaptation, it’s inspired by the Poe poem.

The Raven features Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, and Peter Lorre as mad scientists and a young Jack Nicholson in a supporting role. What’s not to love about that cast?

The soundtrack was composed and conducted by Les Baxter. We seem to have gone from nevermore to nevertheless.

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: An Evening With Richard Nixon

Are you ready for an extra dose of the Weekly GV? Ready or not, here it comes. Gore Vidal viewed Tricky Dick with an appalled fascination. It resulted in Vidal’s 1972 play, An Evening With Richard Nixon.

I’ll let the Wikipedia entry describe it:

The play is a wry examination of the career and Presidency (up to that pre-Watergate point) of Richard M. Nixon (Irving). As it starts, two pundits, a William F. Buckley-like Pro (Rupert) and a Gore Vidal-like Con (Estredo) are debating the worthiness of Nixon. Unable to settle their differences objectively, they magically convene a tribunal of deceased, past Presidents — Eisenhower (Sterling), Kennedy (King) and Washington (Newman) — to review the Nixon career and pass judgment. The rules are strict: anything we observe in the central playing area, which is dedicated to historical recreation, is taken from actual public record; every word spoken by anyone is what that person actually said. This applies especially to Nixon, whose words, we are assured, remain in their original context. Only Pro, Con and the Tribunal speak freely in the immediate present. And of course, they have much to say.

I’ve only read the text, I’ve never heard the LP and it’s not online. But the album art by animator Paul (Sky Bear) Gruwell not only rocks, it rules.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

The real world is a scary place right now so I’m focusing on the benign world of Sparky Schulz and the Peanuts gang this Halloween:

Here’s Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack: