Sunday, March 29, 2020

WEST COAST POP ART EXPERIMENTAL BAND - "A CHILD'S GUIDE TO GOOD & EVIL"

Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: A Child's Guide To Good & Evil
Label: Reprise
Catalog: RS 6208
Year: 1968
Genre: psych
Art Direction: Ed Thrasher
Cover photo:  John von Hamersveldt
Grade: ***** stars


There are thousands and thousands of psychedelic album covers out there.  This one easily gets into my top-10 list.  It lacks the rainbow of colors typical of psychedelic offerings, but that might be part of what makes this such a great cover.

Baltimore's John von Hamersveldt is probably best known for designing The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour", but over a career starting in the mid-'60s, he's designed 300+ covers, including The Stones' "Exile On Main Street", The Jefferson Airplane's "Crown of Creation" and The Beach Boy's "WIld Honey".  All are stunning, but this may be my favorite.

Here's a link to von Hamersveldt's website: http://jvh.cool/

MILT JACKSON - "SUNFLOWER"

Artist: Milt Jackson
Title: Sunflower
Label: CTI
Catalog: CTI 6024
Year: 1972
Genre: jazz
Art Direction: Bob Coano
Cover photo:  Peter Turner
Grade: **** stars


Maybe because I just saw the film Jamanji 2, this cover came to my mind.  I'm not at zoologist, but I'm guessing those are ostriches on the cover?  No matter, the late Peter Turner's image of the heads silhouetted against the sun made for a stunning cover.



Turner was responsible for dozens and dozens of albums covers; most for the CTI jazz label.  There's even a book featuring his work and a fascinating website devoted to his work:  http://peteturner.com/

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

VARIOUS ARTISTS - "A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS"

Artist: various artists
Title: A Very Special Christmas
Label: A&M
Catalog: SP-3911
Year: 1987
Genre: rock
Art Direction: Keith Haring
Cover art:  Keith Haring
Grade: ***** stars


Even if you are not into art, there's a good chance you've seen the work of the late Keith Haring.  I don't know what you would call it ...  Grafitti?  Pop art?  Street Art?  To me it really doesn't matter since there's something charming and uplifting in the simple, almost child-like Christmas themed cover he provided for this 1987 charity album intended for the Special Olympics.

There's a ton of Haring information on the web.  A good place to start is the Wikipedia link on the artist:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Haring

Saturday, March 14, 2020

PAT TRAVERS - "RADIO ACTIVE"

Artist: Pat Travers
Title: Radio Active
Label: Polydor
Catalog: PD-1-6313
Year: 1981
Genre: rock
Art Direction: Bob Heimall
Cover art:  Digital Effects
Grade: **** stars


I'll make these comments short and to the point - I love the unusual color contrast effects.  Very '80s !!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

CORYELL/MOUZON - "BACK TOGETHER AGAIN"

Artist: Larry Coryell / Alphonse Mouzon
Title: Back Together Again
Label: Atlantic
Catalog: SD18220
Year: 1977
Genre: jazz
Art Direction: Bob Defrin
Cover art:  Roger Huyssen
Grade: **** stars


Okay, the jazzy tunes don't do much for my ears, but Roger Huyssen's playful cover always makes me smile.  The man's responsible for a dazzling array of commercial art including commercials  (he's worked for Coke and M&M),movies, as well as designng over 50 album covers. Most are for jazz artists, but there are some exceptions,  including a couple of the iconic Boston LPs and James Brown's "Sex Machine Today".

He has an interesting website at: http://www.rogerhuyssen.com/

Sunday, February 2, 2020

KENNY LOGGINS - "VOX HUMANA"

Artist: Kenny Loggins
Title: Vox Humana
Label: Columba
Catalog: FC39174
Year: 1985
Genre: pop
Cover Design: Michael Gonzales
Cover art:  Michael Gonzales
Grade: * star


Seriously, why would any marketing company have said "yeah, love the cover concept on this one ...".   If this had been submitted to you as a high school art project you would have suggested the student consider taking some sort of woodworking class.  Dreadful cover.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

LITTLE FEAT - "WAITING FOR COLUMBUS"

Artist: Little Feat
Title: Waiting for Columbus
Label: Warner Brothers
Catalog: 2BS  3140
Year: 1978
Genre: rock
Cover Design: Neon Park
Cover art:  Neon Park
Grade: **** stars



This double album live collection was a turntable mainstay for me when I was in college.  The mixture of rock, country and funkier moves was almost magical and I was always amazed and how good Little Feat sounded in a live setting.  Okay, the magic of post-production may have helped a little bit.  And then there was the late Neon Park's fascinating cover ...  "Waiting for Columbus"  was the seventh Little Feat album cover he designed  and with the possible exception of "Sailin' Shoes", the best.  If nothing else, it's the best album cover I've ever seen featuring an  anthropomorphic tomato.

There are lots of sites devoted to Park's career.  You can find one of the better ones, including some information on his links to Little Feat at this one:  
https://www.lambiek.net/artists/p/park_neon.htm

and  anyone curious  to sample this wonderful album can start with "Fat Man In the Bathroom":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS1k205YA1s