Category Archives: Album Cover Art

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Arnold Schoenberg

In addition to being a trailblazing composer, Arnold Schoenberg was a talented painter. Below are two covers featuring the composer’s artwork. The first is a self-portrait, which spoils my chance to make a joke about “long hair music.” So it goes.

Here’s one of the shorter pieces from the first album:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Little Games

I’ve had The Yardbirds on my mind since my friend Sam Jasper posed a trivia question about them on the Tweeter Tube. Here’s the question Jeopardy-style: Who are Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page?

Little Games is the fourth and final album recorded by the original band. Jimmy Page stepped forward as the sole lead guitar player but there was sonic confusion. The Yardbirds were evolving into a proto-Jam band live. This album was produced by Mickey Most who was best known for producing acts such as Herman and the Hermits. The result is something of a musical mess. So it goes.

As you know, I’m inordinately fond of psychedelic covers even when, as in this case, they don’t reflect the music.

Here’s the whole damn album:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Pepper Pot

Jazz saxophonist Art Pepper had a string of album titles that punned on his first and last names including Modern Art and The Art Of Pepper. The goofiest one, 1959’s Pepper Pot, produced this goofy cover by Armand Acosta. Mercifully, the logs aren’t ablaze, they’re just artfully arrayed.

I’ll stop peppering you with puns and post the cover:

Here’s a later recording of the title track:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Fascinating World Of Electronic Music

This entry was inspired by a reader’s tweet in response to last week’s Dave Brubeck cover:

Thanks, Travis.

Kid Baltan and Tom Dissevelt were respected Dutch jazz musicians who were commissioned  to record this 1959 album with a great cover and a clunky title.

Here’s the whole damn album. It may have you dancing like Dieter on Sprockets. Warning: Never touch his monkey.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Time Out

Time Out was a big hit in 1959 and thereafter because of Take Five. It was the only composition not by pianist/band leader Dave Brubeck. Reed man Paul Desmond took home the gold for Take Five. Brubeck’s Blue Rondo a la Turk is just as good.

There are many variations on S Neil Fujita’s cover art. This is one of them:

Here’s the whole damn album. It epitomizes the West Coast cool Jazz of that era. It’s a genuine classic:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Bing & Satchmo

By the time this album was released in 1960, the two American show biz giants had worked together off and on for 25 years. Bing helped Louis break into the movies and the two had a cordial and respectful relationship over the years.

The personal chemistry paid off whenever Bing and Satchmo worked together. It’s evident on this album where they collaborated with band leader/arranger Billy May whose name is on the cover of the original LP but not the reissue. People may have forgotten Billy but not Bing & Satchmo.

Here’s the original album in all its glory:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Alive and Well and Living In A Bitch Of A World

The word that sums up Wayne Cochran is outlandish. He had the biggest hair in rock and roll, influenced the Blues Brothers, and became a televangelist.

Alive and Well and Living In A Bitch Of A World is the longest title ever featured on Album Cover Art Wednesday. I’d call the Guinness Book Of World Records but they’re on lockdown too.

Here’s the front and back covers of this 1970 album recorded with his band the C.C. Riders:

The covers are deliberately blurry. It seems to be a concession to the times. Blurry was big in 1970.

I mentioned Cochran’s big hair and bible thumping. Here’s the proof:

Don’t call that phone number. The White Knight of Soul died in 2017.

Here are some clips of Cochran and his hair live:

Finally, Cochran with his musical hero, James Brown:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Welcome To My Nightmare

Welcome To My Nightmare was Alice Cooper’s first solo album. It was a successful attempt to move Alice/Vincent Cooper/Furnier into the mainstream. In 1975, the mainstream included concept albums of which this was one. What’s not to love about a guest appearance by Vincent Price?

Welcome To My Nightmare 2 was a sequel concept album released in 2011. Here are the two covers together:

Here’s the 1976 concert film:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Nine Lives

Dr. A and I are watching the current season of Ozark on Netflix. There’s an REO Speedwagon sub-plot of all things. Wendy Byrd (Laura Linney) is told that her casino can secure a dental meeting if they hire “The Wagon” to entertain thereby taking us from yacht rock to dentist rock.

Nine Lives was released in 1979. It was the band’s last stand as a hard rock group. It has nothing to do with another Netflix series: The Tiger King. But the cover is almost as sleazy looking.

The back cover is actually kinda cute:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Hey Fela

Another day, another punny title. The late Nigerian musician and political activist Fela Kuti had a long and storied recording career. His albums were known for their wildly creative cover art. Here’s a sampler via OkayAfrica.com:

Here’s a double dose of Fela and his band Egypt 80 live in 1984 and 1987:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: GRRR

I thought that Charlie Brown and I were the only ones who said GRRR. I had no idea that there was a 1966 Hugh Masekela album called that. Go figure.

Here are a couple of tracks from the album:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: McCoy Tyner

The ground-breaking jazz pianist McCoy Tyner died last week at the age of 81. Here’s a random sampler of his album covers:

Here’s the Nights Of Blues & Ballads album in two parts:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Early Warhol

Before Andy Warhol became a pop art superstar in the Sixties, he worked as a freelance commercial artist. Among his most interesting work in the Fifties were some jazz album covers. Here’s a sampler:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ash Wednesday Blues

It’s Ash Wednesday a day on which people atone for their Carnival sins. Hence this 2001 album by Anders Osborne featuring a cover photo by the great Herman Leonard.

Here’s the title track:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Violent Femmes

The word iconic is so overused that it drives me to iconoclasm, but sometimes it fits. That’s the case with cover of Violent Femmes eponymous (a word I love as much as I hate iconic) 1983 debut album.

The story of how the cover came to be is often told:

Billie Jo Campbell was discovered at age 3 while walking down a street in Los Angeles with her mother. A photographer approached, told the mother that Billie Jo was adorable, and asked if she wouldn’t mind her daughter appearing in a photo shoot at a house in Laurel Canyon. The mother—“a free spirit,” Billie Jo explained—promptly set up an appointment. They later learned that the shoot was for the cover of an album by an obscure acoustic-punk trio from Milwaukee about to release their debut. In the photo, barefoot Billie Jo wears a cute white dress and strains to peer inside a darkened house through a window. She had no idea that this was an apt metaphor for the band’s songs, which capture that precise moment when childhood innocence is corrupted by the obsessions of the adult world—sex, violence, perverted religiosity, and omnipresent death.

A long quote but well worth the space. Here’s the cover:

Here’s the whole damn album:

 

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Magician’s Birthday

Despite their Dickensian name, I’ve never connected with Uriah Heep’s music. The cover of this 1972 album is by Roger Dean who is best known for his work with Yes. What’s not to like about that?

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Here’s the title track:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Crawfish Fiesta

Carnival is revving into high gear so my thoughts turned to this 1980 album by Henry Roeland Byrd aka Roy aka Professor Longhair aka Fess.

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

Album Cover Art Wednesday: In Japan

For many years, I thought of Buck Owens as the genial co-host of the cornball hickfest, Hee Haw. It wasn’t until I started listening to Dwight Yoakam, that I realized he was so much more. Thanks, Dwight.

Buck was a singer-songwriter with an edge; something that didn’t come across when he was trading jokes with Junior Samples, Grandpa Jones, and Goober. He was also a world traveler; hence this 1967 live album.

Yeah, I know. There’s an exclamation point in the title. Homey don’t play that and neither do I.

Here’s Buck and his Buckaroos doing the Tokyo Polka:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Cool Sound Of Albert Collins

Watching Trump’s lawyers lie with the Chief Justice seated behind them makes me want a cocktail. That’s where this 1965 album comes in.

Let’s have a drink with the Iceman:

Here’s the album via the YouTube playlist format. Bottoms up:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Seconds Of Pleaure

I featured Rockpile, the short lived power pop super group, a few weeks ago in the Saturday post. Seconds Of Pleasure is the only album released under that name and it’s a good un.

The playful cover of the original release was done by virtuoso graphic designer Barney Bubbles. Here’s the complete original package beginning with the front and back covers, concluding with the gatefold:

In the mood for some lagniappe? The cover of a 2004 re-release features a picture of the band looking grim.

Finally, the whole damn album in the You Tube playlist format: