Category Archives: Album Cover Art

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Woke Up With A Monster

Scary clowns were in vogue last year. I haven’t heard much about them thus far in 2017. Perhaps it’s because the scariest clown of all is in the White House.

Woke Up With A Monster came out in 1994 but the title track described how the country felt on November 9, 2016. We’re still trying to recover from the hangover. It’s an ugly album cover for ugly times.

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Looks like just another day on the parade route to me.

The back cover features a shot of the band being Cheap and Tricky:

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The full album isn’t YouTubular so here are some selected tracks. The video for the title track is pretty darn trippy, man:

The band also cut a version of John Lennon’s Cold Turkey during the Monster sessions:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Three By Asia

It’s time for a final tribute to the late John Wetton. His band, Asia, is famous for its cover art and swell logos. All but one of the covers I’m posting today were by Roger Dean who is also known for his work with Yes.

Let’s begin at the beginning with the band’s 1982 smash hit eponymous debut album:

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Next up is Asia’s second LP, Alpha. It was the debut of the eyes logo, which has been a constant motif for the band over the years:

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Here’s a cover from a 2004 album without John Wetton in the band or artwork by Roger Dean. It’s a goddamn photograph, y’all:

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Here’s an appropriate hit song from Alpha:

Finally, a live duet on the same song with John and Geoff Downes:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ben Shahn

Ben Shahn was one of the most interesting American artists of the 20th Century. He was a true Renaissance man: painter, photographer, muralist, printmaker, educator, writer, and lefty political activist. He also had a lively sideline as an album cover artist, mostly in the 1950’s.

Here’s a sampler of Shahn’s album cover art:

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Blizzard Of Ozz/Diary Of A Madman

I am not a heavy metal fan: headbanging gives me a headache. That’s why I haven’t done any metal covers in this space before. I am about to rectify that omission but for an odd reason. Oddity is my forte as a blogger, after all. I’ve had Ozzy Osbourne’s tune Crazy Train on my mind of late. I cannot imagine why. #sarcasm

Since we’re about to ride the Crazy Train as a nation with Trump as the engineer and Steve Bannon as conductor, I give you Blizzard Of Ozz when it was reissued in 2011 along with Diary Of A Madman. Both titles really fit the moment; not that Trump as diarist is remotely imaginable. Sad.

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All aboard the Crazy Train:

 

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.

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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: