Category Archives: Album Cover Art

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Residents

The Residents are a defiantly obscure band that are impossible to pigeonhole. The best I can come up with is Dada performance art electronica. I’ve never particularly liked their music BUT their art design is a different matter altogether. As the Citizen Kane posters proclaim: It’s terrific.

Below is a representative sample of their album covers. We begin with the Eskimo album. Note that neither the band’s name nor the album title appears. It features their signature eyeball head pieces.

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Speaking of freakish:

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This looks like a cover for the incoming B3 administration. I bet Bannon has one of these hanging on his wall at Breitbart:

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Finally, a residential video featuring their trademark weirdness for weirdness sake:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir are scheduled to perform at the Trumpnaguration. The choir, however, is riven with dissent and singers who refuse to perform for the Insult Comedian and the nutria pelt on his head.

In “honor” of their January 20th gig I did a search for album covers. They’re on the boring side; either featuring the artists they’re working with or Christmas themes. The main image on the Choir’s covers is the temple’s mighty organ. Pipe organ. Below are two representative covers.

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It’s lagniappe time. I stumbled into the LDS version of the Onion: the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer. That’s where I found the parody image below.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Make It Big

Eighties pop icon George Michael died on Christmas Day at the age of 53. I’ve always had a soft spot for George: partially because he’s Anglo-Greek but mostly because of that big voice. He was one of the best of the “blue-eyed” soul singers.

Michael was not known for his album cover art but I found this little gem whilst running a search. It’s a superhero take by Steve Howard on Wham’s Make It Big album side-by-side with the original:

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Superhero Cover by Steve Howard.

I’m not much of a Wham fan so I’ll post two of Michael’s best known collaborations instead:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Merry Stoogemas

I’m not exactly a chirpy holiday chap to begin with but this year I’m so not into it. I had a choice between going Scrooge or Stooge with this feature today. I chose the latter: the Insult Comedian’s electoral college win is a poke in the eye, after all.

The Stooges released their share of of slapsticky holiday albums and 78s over the years. I wonder if Moe ever twisted Santa’s beard? Ah, sweet mysteries of stoogey life.

Three Stooges Xmas

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Here are some stills of the boys as the original Bad Santas. The first one includes my favorite Stooge: Shemp. Any other Shempers out there? Or is that Shempites?

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Let’s conclude this Stoogemas post with some “musical” selections. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: East Bay Grease

I’ve long thought that East Bay Grease is one of the best album titles ever. It’s how Tower of Power described their music in the early days: funky, oily, and greasy.

East Bay Grease was released in 1970 and the album art was designed by Bruce Steinberg.

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It’s back cover time:

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Here’s the whole doggone album. It’s a helluva record:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Pearl Harbor and the Explosions

I don’t recall if Pearl Harbor Day and ACAW have ever coincided before. If they have, my taste level used to be higher. Hey, who’s laughing? Everyone? Oh well, what the hell. Hopefully, this will not be a day that lives in blogger infamy or is that blogfamy?

Pearl Harbor and the Explosions were a short-lived San Francisco new wave band. I had a passing acquaintance with several members. Their lead singer went by Pearl E. Gates *and* Pearl Harbor. She’s best known for adding a u to the Harbour and marrying Clash bassist Paul Simonson before embarking on a solo career.

Pearl Harbor and the Explosions only released one album. The cover art is no big whoop but posting it beats the hell out of watching Ben Affleck bomb in Pearl Harbor.

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Time to be a back cover man:

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Also of interest is this poster from a Halloween gig at the Mabuhay Gardens aka the Fab Mab:

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I found the eponymous album on the YouTube. There’s the E word again. The record is not a bomb, it’s pretty darn good, especially Shut Up and Dance.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Liar

The Jesus Lizard’s kind of noise rock is not my cup of tea. I do, however, dig this cover by painter Malcolm Bucknall. The painting is called Allegory of Death and the album is Liar.

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All I have to say about the music is leapin’ Jesus Lizards. I’m not sure what that means but it has a nice Little Orphan Annie feel to it. It beats the hell out of listening to Jesus Jones.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Spotnicks

The Spotnicks are a Swedish rock band that I’d never heard of until yesterday.  They’ve been around since the early Sixties, which was when they first donned cheesy space suits. What’s not to love about a band whose name is a pun on the Sputnik? And they say Swedes have no sense of humor.

I thought we all needed some comic relief the day before many of you dine with your right wing relatives. Let’s circle the globe with the Spotnicks who are out-a-sight as well as:

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Just to prove I am not hoaxing you, here are a few Spotnicky tunes. They’re sort of a poor man’s Ventures:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Food Glorious Food

In addition to plugging our Food Pantry Fund, I wanted to lighten things up. What better way than presenting some foodcentric album covers? They’re largely from lesser known artists so if you want some spaghetti axe Axl or Slash.

Soup’s on.

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It’s time for the full-English Brahms Breakfast:

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Are you ready for a Manny Albam album?

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It’s time to move from the savory to the sweet: Sickeningly sweet.

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What dessert doesn’t taste better with Whipped Cream?

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For those of you who don’t believe that’s a real song, here it is:

Now that we’ve gorged ourselves on Dancing Little Tramps, it’s time to give back. Please consider donating to our Food Pantry Fund. It’s what Oliver Twist would want:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Scheherazade

All the talk about Donald Trump and the Russians led me to play Google bingo this week. The Russians are known for their classical composers so I searched for those covers. This Rimsky-Korsakoff cover from 1952 was the coolest image that popped up.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: A Spooky Seasonal Sampler

Halloween is next Monday. I thought I’d share a few seasonal album covers with you:

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Chuck Berry

Rock-n-roll pioneer Chuck Berry turned 90 yesterday. Happy Birthday, sir.

Let’s celebrate Album Cover Art Wednesday style:

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Ready for some live Chuck from the hippie era? It’s 1967’s Live At The Fillmore Auditorium complete with an introduction by Bill Graham. Ladies and germs, let’s give it up for Chuck Berry and the Steve Miller Band:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ahead Rings Out

You’ll be shocked to learn that I like puns. You’re not? I can never fool you lot. The title of Blodwyn Pig’s 1969 debut LP Ahead Rings Out was, uh, ahead of its time. Not really but I cannot help myself.

Blodwyn Pig was a spin-off band from Jethro Tull. Tull co-founder Mick Abrahams just wanted to play the blues and he did so quite well from head to tail:

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Still feel like pigging out? Here’s the album in its entirety:

Finally, First Draft is a reader supporter outfit. If you like seeing pigs on album covers, please donate to our annual fundraiser. To learn more CLICK HERE. Thanks in advance.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Queen Of Honky Tonk Street

After the fake Pencian folksiness in the Veep debate, it’s time for a Country music album cover. This 1967 LP proclaimed Kitty Wells the Queen Of Honky Tonk Street. It’s hard to argue with that.

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The album has never been re-issued so the only tune from it on YouTube is the title track:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Jimmy Rushing

Jimmy Rushing was a short, stout man with a big voice. His nickname was Mister Five-by-Five. He was the sort of guy Donald Trump would fat shame but Jimmy would have laughed it off. He’s best known for his time with Count Basie but worked with a string of Jazz luminaries: Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, and Dave Brubeck to name a few.

I’d never heard 1955’s Listen to the Blues before, I was attracted to it by Eric Von Schmidt’s cover art. The record is as every bit good as the cover.

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A ten inch, six song version of the album was released as Showcase in 1957. It has a swell cover too:

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I had to show you a picture of the man himself so here’s the cover of a 1963 album:

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Listen to the Blues is only available via the YouTube playlist format. It’s well worth a spin.

Album Cover Art: Octopus

Gentle Giant were one of the quirkiest prog-rock bands ever. They never quite broke through commercially like their fellow Brits ELP, Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, or Tull but they made a lot of memorable records at their peak during prog’s pre-punk heyday.

Octopus is one of Gentle Giant’s most highly regarded LPs. It’s a concept album with an interesting back story:

In the liner notes to the album’s 2011 reissue, multi-instrumentalist Phil Shulman stated, “The eight pieces (on the album) were originally intended as musical portraits of the band and roadies but found their own identity in the making. The title came from Bobbi, my wife, who recognized eight pieces with very different arms as a fair reflection of the band then.”

Octopus is another album that had different covers in the UK and US upon its release in 1972. I couldn’t find anything definitive as to why this happened but it *could* be that Roger Dean did the cover art in the UK and he’s heavily associated with Yes. The odd thing is that *both* covers are good. The US cover was by Charles White and it was cut into a jar shape when it hit the record stores.

I was lucky enough to stumble into a two-fer scan of both covers. I don’t know who did it but if you’re out there, thanks, mate.

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Mmm, jarred Octopus. It almost makes me want to watch 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea again. Instead, let’s play the album via the YouTube:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Future Blues

I had no idea Canned Heat was still around. I’m not surprised: bands that played at Woodstock have a long shelf life. Canned Heat was your basic blooze-rock boogie band, Southern California style. They weren’t known for their cover art but the package of Future Blues ruled as well as rocked. I hope the moon landing truthers haven’t used it to prove that Neil Armstrong never hit a tee shot on the moon.

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The best back cover scan I could find was of a CD reissue of the 1971 album. It could be subtitled Hippies On The Moon:

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The full LP isn’t online, so here are the first and last tracks of the original album:

 

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Men At Work

I’ve always had a soft spot for the swell Australian band Men At Work. Their sound was influenced by Split Enz and the  ska revival that included contemporaries such as Madness and the Beat. Early Men At Work records featured the vocal stylings and quirky lyrics of Colin Hay and the woodwind playing of Greg Ham. No relation to Badfinger’s Pete or the meat. Mmm, ham.

Their first two albums had wildly different cover art. As you may have noticed I like eclectic musicians. Men At Work fit the bill. The cover of their first LP, Business As Usual, was inspired by their road crew inspired band name. That’s a lot of inspiration:

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The first LP contained the monster hits, Who Can It Be Now? and Down Under. The best known song on Cargo is Overkill, which is perhaps my favorite Men At Work number. The picture postcard style cover was more traditional than Business At Usual and the back cover was pretty darn swell as well. Land ahoy.

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Cargo Back Cover

Men At Work’s American success was based on their videos in the early days of MTV. Let’s play the three biggies from Business As Usual and Cargo:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Stanley Mouse

Stanley Mouse was one of the Fillmore artists grinding out what they thought was ephemera in the 1960’s. Mouse was born Stanley George Miller and is still alive and making art today at the age of 75. In partnership with Alton Kelley, he created some of the best early Grateful Dead LP covers.

I’m going to focus on his solo work. The album covers were mostly done for Bay Area artists and the lettering is as important as the imagery. It’s time for a Stanley Mouse sampler.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: S.F. Sorrow

It’s concept album time again here at First Draft. The Pretty Things started off as a standard issue British blooze rock/R&B band. Then came Sgt. Pepper and, like so many others, they went all psychedelic and conceptual.

This 1968 rock opera tells the story of Sebastian F. Sorrow. It’s based on a short story by Pretty Things lead singer Phil May who also designed the cover for the British release. If you want to hear more about the story, check out the Wikipedia entry.

In the immortal words of Tom Jones, it was not unusual in those days for albums to have different covers in the UK and US. In this case, I prefer the UK cover. It fits the era and subject matter better but, hey, the LP was released in America even if very few people heard it.

Here’s a description of the Pretty Things and these sorrowful  covers by Richie Unterberger’s whose fine essay on US vs. UK album art I stumbled into whilst researching this post:

Digging so deep into the British Invasion that you come across bands who never had a hit here, there’s the Pretty Things’ S.F. Sorrow. The best ‘60s UK group never to make it into the States, the Pretty Things started out as a rawer version of the Rolling Stones; lead guitarist Dick Taylor had been in the Stones until late 1962. By the late ‘60s, they’d evolved into psychedelic rock, and S.F. Sorrow was one of rock’s first concept albums.

It’s a clear victory, in a change of pace, for the UK version. Which was certainly more in line with the band’s vision, as the cover was designed by Pretty Things singer Phil May. The US cover (on Motown’s Rare Earth subsidiary) had its curiosity value, though, for its tombstone shape if nothing else. The cover change wasn’t the biggest way Rare Earth fumbled the ball; though the album had come out at the end of 1968 in the UK, it wasn’t released until August 1969 in the US, which meant that some American listeners and critics accused it of being a rip-off of the Who’s Tommy (which it predated by months in the UK).

I agree with his artistic conclusion. Let’s start with the UK cover:

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The tombstone shape of the US cover is a pretty swell thing in and of itself:

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I have a confession. I don’t recall ever hearing  S.F. Sorrow until yesterday. I selected it because I liked the cover and Phil May was a talking head in Blues Britannia.  It’s a terrific record. You might want to give it a virtual spin: