Category Archives: Album Cover Art

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Swing From Paris

I have a soft spot for both gypsy jazz and early album cover art. This 1953 LP scratches both itches as it were.

Note that the image on this video is a variation on the cover above:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Aaron Copland

The great 20th Century American composer Aaron Copland specialized in writing shorter pieces for the ballet and theatre. This inspired some swell cover art. Here are two examples:

Keith Emerson the E in ELP was a huge Copland fan so the band used to perform several Copland pieces. In fact, both Hoedown from Rodeo and Fanfare for the Common Man were frequent set openers.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Impressions

The Impressions were one of the most politically engaged bands of the 1960’s as well as one of the most soulful. In fact, co-founder Jerry (The Iceman) Butler was first elected a Cook County Commissioner in 1985 and still serves on the board. Curtis Mayfield stuck to making music until his death in 1999.

It’s hard to imagine two more contrasting album covers than 1964’s Keep On Pushing and 1968’s This Is My Country. Both albums featured a civil rights anthem as the title track.The earlier album reflected the optimism of 1964 and the second album the despondency of 1968. Same band, wildly different times.

It’s title track time:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Electric Music for the Mind and Body

I wrote about Country Joe McDonald last Saturday so it’s only right to discuss his band’s 1967 album, Electric Music for the Mind and Body. The band’s name combined McDonald’s nickname with that of Barry (The Fish) Melton: Country Joe and the Fish. I did not know until researching this LP that co-leader Barry Melton has been a public defender in Mendocino County in California for many years. I guess he can usually tell when something’s fishy.

Here’s the hippie dippy front cover, which designed by Jules Halfant. Groovy. man.

Here’s the back cover.

The whole damn LP is available on YouTube. It’s pretty darn good, especially Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, which was a track that got lots of FM airplay.

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Curfew Covers

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu imposed a curfew during the run up to Hurricane Nate. He kept changing the times but left it in place until we were obviously in the clear. It was simultaneously annoying and confusing. It did, however, give me the idea for this post as did Michael Tisserand who posted the first cover on social media. Thank you, sir.

The next one comes from a Calypso artist who apparently needed to check someone else’s watch:

The last cover is the weirdest of a weird bunch. Oy, just oy.

Let’s hear some Calypso, mon:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: McLemore Avenue

The great soul keyboard player Booker T. Jones was blown away by Abbey Road:

I was in California when I heard Abbey Road, and I thought it was incredibly courageous of The Beatles to drop their format and move out musically like they did. To push the limit like that and reinvent themselves when they had no need to do that. They were the top band in the world but they still reinvented themselves. The music was just incredible so I felt I needed to pay tribute to it.

And that’s how the Booker T. & the M.G.s album McLemore Avenue came to be. It’s loaded with  instrumental versions of Beatley goodness. The Fab Four not only inspired the album,  Abbey Road inspired  Joel Brodsky’s photographs and the album title: 926 East McLemore Avenue was the address of the Stax studio in Memphis.

This swell 1970  tribute to the Beatles holds up to this very day.

Here’s the front cover. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The back cover:

And here’s what’s inside the gatefold:

Here’s the whole damn album:

 

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: A Few Small Repairs

A Few Small Repairs came out twenty years ago and was recently re-issued in a fancy new edition.  It was Shawn Colvin’s commercial breakthrough, became a big damn hit, and won several Grammys. Who doesn’t like a break up album, after all?

I’ve always loved Julie Speed’s album cover even if I wasn’t up to speed on who did it until recently. It turns out that Speed is a friend of Colvin’s; the latter saw the painting and it inspired her to write Sunny Came Home.

The album is only available in the YouTube playlist format so I decided to post just the videos for Sunny Came HomeGet Out Of This House, and You and the Mona Lisa:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Atomic Rooster

Atomic Rooster was a British prog-rock band best known to me for their swell name and the fact that Carl Palmer was their first drummer. Atomic Rooster also had some terrific roostery album covers beginning with their debut album. Here’s a sampler beginning with their 1970 eponymous LP featuring a mutant rooster:

Not all their album covers featured roosters but those are the ones I like the best. Next up are covers from two compilations, which are cockier than hell, which rhymes with cockrell:

Ready for some mutant rooster music? Here’s Atomic Rooster’s debut album in its entirety:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Switched-On Bach

Switched-On Bach was revolutionary when it was released in 1968. It brought the original Moog synthesizer to the masses.  It also has a swell cover with a hint that Walter Carlos would eventually become Wendy: Trans-Electronic Music Productions Inc.

Here’s some Carlosian lagniappe:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Total Eclipse

I have a confession: I watched the eclipse on the tube with the other boobs. I ventured out briefly to shadow gaze but it was insanely hot so  Oscar and I watched CBS and the Weather Channel. Della didn’t give a shit because it wasn’t about her. So it goes.

The sum total of my contribution to eclipse mania is to post this 1974 Billy Cobham album cover two days after the fact. Hey, at least it’s a great album made by great players including Cobham on drums, John Scofield on guitar, Michael Brecker on woodwinds, and Randy Brecker on trumpet. It’s fusion at its finest. The cover is swell as well.

The back cover is good but doesn’t eclipse the front:

Finally, here’s the whole damn album. Play it loud:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Soft Machine

I’m reading Dave Weigel’s brilliant history of prog rock, The Show That Never Ends. One of the earliest prog bands were the Soft Machine who took their name from the title of a book by beat generation icon William S. Burroughs.

The cover of their eponymous 1968 debut album had moving parts as described at Discogs:

Circular cut-out in sleeve, revealing rotating ‘clockwork image’ card insert- through which the band members can be viewed on a further inserted full-color backing sheet.

The older brother of a friend of mine had the LP. I recall messing about with it much to his displeasure. Kids do the darndest things.

Here’s the cover:

Here’s the gatefold featuring the band and a woman’s butt:

Here’s the whole damn LP. Despite the blank look, if you click on play, it, well, plays;

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Bad Company

I’ve selected Bad Company’s debut album because the cover spawned the logo that the band uses to this day. The logo was designed by Hipgnosis and still  adorns Simon Kirke’s drum kit as well as providing a backdrop for their live shows.

I prefer the cover of the single of Can’t Get Enough to the LP back cover, so here it is:

Here’s the whole damn album via YouTube:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Mighty Quinn

Another Wednesday, another Sixties psychedelic album cover. I’m familiar with the loopy grandeur of Manfred Mann’s hit version of Bob Dylan’s The Mighty Quinn but I’d never seen the album before. It has a wicked cool cover by Victor Moscoso who got his start as one of the Fillmore poster artists. Moscoso has persisted and thrived since he executed this album cover in 1968.

The back cover is nothing to write home about. It’s a pity that the band is not depicted in Eskimo regalia sitting outside an igloo. Now that would be cool.

It was not exactly a shocker that this album isn’t online. Here’s the smash hit title track:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Walt Disney’s Musical Monkeyshines Meets Trumpcare Instant Analysis

I’ve done more than my share of strange posts over the twelve years I’ve been blogging. This mashup may well take the cake but somehow it works. The title may be awkward but these are awkward times.

There were plenty of monkeyshines on Capitol Hill yesterday. The motion to proceed to debate the mystery Trumpcare bill passed in the Senate. That’s not the whole ballgame but the bad guys have the momentum right now. If anyone from Nevada is reading this post, it’s time to go off on Senator Dean Heller who tops the list of most endangered GOPers in 2018. I’ll be calling Double Bill Cassidy’s office again but he’ll do what he’s told by the leadership.

This is not the time to give up. Keep calling your Senators. They need to understand that they will pay a price for this vote. Senators *still* do not know what they’re actually voting for. If this weren’t so deadly serious, it would be funnier than a barrel of monkeys or the Marx Brothers’ flick Monkey Business. It’s time to send a big FUCK YOU to congressional Republicans for their health care votes. And what the hell is skinny repeal? It’s got nothing to do with Blake Farenholdt, that’s for sure. If he fought a duel with Collins or Murkowski I have no doubt who would prevail. It wouldn’t be the congresscritter who was once malaka of the week.

A word about John McCain. Every time I go soft on him, he does something terrible. I felt tremendous compassion for him over the de facto death sentence that was his diagnosis. I had planned to make his 2016 primary opponent Kelli Ward malaka of the week for crudely urging McCain to step aside. I deleted that post during McCain’s ludicrous speech after he voted AYE on the motion. If he was really concerned about the institution and “proper order” he would have given that speech *before* the vote and then voted NAY. I rarely yell at the teevee but I did Tuesday afternoon.

Shorter Adrastos:

This is the first time I’ve morphed an Album Cover Art entry into an instant analysis post and it will probably be the last. Lots of things are unprecedented in 2016.

Here’s the cover art. That’s all I got for you.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The King Tito Puente

In 1968, everyone had psychedelic album covers even the King of Salsa, Tito Puente. In Spanish-speaking countries, of course, the tile was El Rey. Whatever you call it, it’s a swell record with a groovy cover, baby or is that  bebé ?

The good news is that the music isn’t a psychedelic knock-off but Tito’s classic mix of Cuban-Jazz and Salsa. It will make you wiggle in your chair. The entire album is not online but here are a few choice selections.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Romeo’s Escape

Romeo’s Escape was Dave Alvin’s attempt to make a hit album. Things didn’t go as planned but it’s a helluva record with a swell collagey cover.

The album is only available on YouTube in the playlist format. It’s worth dealing with:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Crazy Horses

The Osmonds were effectively one of the first boy bands. I recall seeing them on the teevee when I was a kid. My mom liked The Andy Williams Show and the Osmonds were frequent guests. I preferred the talking bear myself.

The reason I’m doing an Osmonds LP cover is that I stumbled into a swell feature in the Guardian’s art section: how we made it. The piece on Crazy Horses was great fun as is the album art. The best bit was Jay Osmond’s description of their meeting with Elvis Presley:

When we met Elvis at one of his shows, he said: “Hey guys, I wanna show you something.” He opened up one of his closets and showed us all these jumpsuits. “Now that’s what you should be wearing,” he said and introduced us to his designer, Bill Belew, who did a jumpsuit for each of us, with accents in our favourite colours.

It’s time for the album art, which has an ecological Mormon white trash thing going on:

Here are the boys performing the title track of the album. And, yes, they’re wearing the aforementioned jump suits:

 

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Batman Soundtrack

I still have the Bright Knight on my mind. Here’s more evidence of that:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Jim Kweskin’s America

Jim Kweskin was a respected folkie in the Sixties. He got involved with a semi-cult in Boston that was founded by the harmonica player in his Jug Band, Mel Lyman. There was a hair-raising story about the Lyman Family by David Felton in Rolling Stone in 1971. It was one of the magazine’s early forays into investigative reporting and it remains a helluva yarn.

The Lyman Family did not have an apocalyptic end a la the Manson clan or the Heaven’s Gate cult. Mel Lyman died in 1978 and members of the family founded a construction company, which is still active in Los Angeles. Jim Kweskin is a VP of that company: Fort Hill Construction.

Jim Kweskin’s America was recorded in 1971 during the heyday of the Lyman Family. It has a much longer official title as you can see from the cover. Richard D. Herbuck was a pseudonym for Mel Lyman. One cannot make this shit up. So it goes.

I’m not sure who did the album design but it’s a pretty good Sgt. Pepper inspired photo montage.

Here’s the album in the You Tube playlist format:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult is one of the best band names ever. Their cover art was always pretty darn good as well. Here’s a sampler in chronological order for a change.

Finally, a scatological parody of the previous cover:

If you fear the reaper, here’s a song that asks you not to.

You would be well-advised, however, to fear the farter…