Category Archives: Album Cover Art

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Spirit Of The Boogie

It’s time to get funky at First Draft. This 1975 album from Kool & The Gang really brings the funk. Here’s what James Brown had to say about the band:

“They’re the second-baddest out there…They make such bad records that you got to be careful when you play a new tape on the way home from the record store. Their groove is so strong you could wreck.”

Good gawd, y’all.

I couldn’t find out who the album artist was but it’s a terrific package of African and/or African influenced artwork. We begin with the cover. Where else?

The back cover is nearly as good:

Not only was the LP originally released on Dee-Lite records, it’s a delight to listen to. I’d never heard it before and was pleasantly surprised by the musical range shown by Kool & The Gang. There’s traditional soul as well as hardcore funk. Good gawd, y’all.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Dark Horse

In 1974 George Harrison was at a turning point in his career. He had begun a lucrative and enjoyable side hustle as a movie producer. He started his own record label, which was named for his first release on it. He was the first Beatle to tour extensively as a solo artist. The tour was something of an artistic disaster and I witnessed it first hand. George had a bad case of laryngitis, which was devastating to his voice and disappointing to his audience.

There’s an interesting story behind the album art of Dark Horse. Here’s an extended excerpt from the Wikipedia entry:

The Tom Wilkes-designed front cover of Dark Horse features a 1956 Liverpool Institute high-school photograph presented inside a lotus flower, behind which a dream-like Himalayan landscape extends to the horizon, where the “deathless Yogi of the Ancient of Days”, Shiv-Goraksha Babaji, sits.While some observers have seen pointed similarities with the Beatles’ iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover image, Harrison’s choice of artwork reflected his enduring admiration for Terry Gilliam‘s animation on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. In the photo, a thirteen-year-old Harrison is pictured in the centre of the top row, his face tinted blue; school teachers appear dressed in long-sleeve tops bearing a superimposed record-company logo or Om symbol. Wilkes and Harrison disagreed over the size of the Babaji image, which the designer apparently disliked and wanted to reduce in size. 

Inside the gatefold cover, around the edges of a tinted photo of Harrison and comedian Peter Sellerswalking beside a Friar Park lake, text asks the “Wanderer through this Garden’s ways” to “Be kindly” and refrain from casting “Revengeful stones” if “perchance an Imperfection thou hast found”, the reason being: “The Gardener toiled to make his Garden fair, Most for thy Pleasure.” A speech balloon over the photograph contains the words “Well, Leo! What say we promenade through the park?” This line was taken from the Mel Brooks movie The Producers, a favourite of Sellers and Harrison. 

It’s cover art time.

Here’s the back cover whereon George resembles an urban nomad.

It’s gatefold time.

Finally,  here’s the whole damn LP via the YouTube.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Saturday Night Fiedler

Rumor has it that I like puns. So did long time Boston Pops maestro Arthur Fielder.

Are you ready to boogie down? Me neither.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: No Respect

I haven’t posted a comedy album cover in this space for quite some time. The drought ends with Rodney Dangerfield’s classic 1980 LP No Respect. The back cover is better than the front but back covers don’t get no respect.

It was hard being Rodney.

Here’s the whole damn LP in two bites:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Switched On Santa

Switched On Bach was featured in this space not long ago. It’s time to give Father Christmas equal time.

Here are some random tracks from Sy Mann’s 1969 LP:

Have yourself a Moogy Little Christmas, y’all.

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Cheesy Swedish Christmas Covers

Tis the season for bad album cover art and this is the place for it. In fact, this week we feature crappy Swedish album covers. I am not making this up. Why the hell would I?

We begin with a meat focused cover. If you’re a vegan, please avert your eyes:

This one could be subtitled Three Awkward Swedes In Santa Suits:

Dueling accordions? Crazy, Santa Baby.

That is all.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Hollywood Town Hall

The Jayhawks are one of my favorite bands. They are not, however, known for their album art. I do quite like this wintry, snowy, ice peoply cover, which was shot in Hollywood Township, Carver County, Minnesota.

Musically, Hollywood Town Hall put the Jayhawks on the map. FYI, most of the keyboards on the album are played by Heartbreaker Benmont Tench.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Chet Baker

Trumpeter/Singer Chet Baker was the Jazz matinee idol of the Beat generation. He was handsome as all get out and as cool as a cucumber. Album covers from his prime reflect his status as the Marlon Brando/James Dean/Dean Moriarty of Jazz. Here’s a sampler:

It’s time for some cool Jazz from 1956:

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Home Cookin’

I did a search for albums with food-inspired covers. That’s how I stumbled into Home Cookin’. Jimmy Smith was the master of the Hammond organ; one of my favorite instruments. He also apparently liked diner food; as do I. Although food from 1959 would be a mite stale now.

If you’re ready for some tasty organ licks (not the lewd kind) here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube playlist format:

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;