Monday, October 14, 2019

JIMI HENDRIX - "WAR HEROES"

Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Album Title:War Heroes
Label: Reprise
Catalog: MS 2103
Year: 1972
Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Concept: Ken Dyball - Doug Campbell 
Cover drawing: Paul Jansen
Grade: **** star






I'm not a super Hendrix fan, but there's something mesmerizing about the late Paul Jansen's hyper-realistic portrait of Hendrix.  (The album cover's actually better than the album.)


I grabbed a brief bio on Jansen:

Paul Jansen graduated from the Fine Arts Department with honors and a grant from the School of Visual Arts in the 1960s, after returning from Vietnam. After receiving postgraduate awards and scholarships such as to the renowned Skowhegan School with teachers Robert Indiana in 1969 Paul developed his unique technique and mastery of the line.
With mentors from such as Frank Stella, and Franz Kline along with George Maciunas the “Father of Soho” and founder of the Fluxus Movement, Paul termed his venue as a “3D Abstract Expressionist” with cartoonist flair.
Shortly thereafter, Paul served as Residence Artist at Jimi Hendrix’ Electric Lady Recording Studios in New York City. Jansen’s work appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine, The Village Voice and Playboy, and includes album cover designs for Jimi Hendrix War Heroes, and Loose Ends, and Henry McCullough’s Mind Your Own Business! Which was nominated for Album Cover of the Year Award, in London, England
Only 63, suffering from lung cancer, Jensen passed away in 2008.  His wife retains an interesting website devoted to the artist:  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

HEAD EAST - "HEAD EAST"

Artist: Head East
Album Title:Head East
Label: A&M
Catalog: SP 4680
Year: 1978
Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Concept: Michael Fink / Rod Dyer 
Cover photo: --
Grade: **** star


Maybe I love this one just because it's such a simply concept and one of the few orange colored covers I've ever seen?

Sunday, October 6, 2019

THE FOUR TOPS - "MEETING OF THE MINDS"

Artist: Four Tops
Album Title:Meeting of the Mind
Label: ABC Dunhill
Catalog: DSD 50166
Year: 1974
Genre: soul
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Concept: Peter Palombi
Cover photo: Peter Palombi
Grade: *** star




Even if you hadn't been aware The Four Tops had switched their corporate allegiances from Motown to ABC Dunhill, chances are the weird cover would have given you a clue.  Designed by Peter Palombi (his instantly recognizable, hper-realistic air brush stylings have been featured on dozens of album covers), it was hard to imagine Motown ever blessing the strange, slightly psychedelic cover art for this one.  Frankly, I still don't know what the concept was - maybe the four streams of bubbles were intended to reflect the Tops ?

DERRINGER - "DERRINGER"

Artist: Derringer
Album Title:Derringer
Label: Blue Sky
Catalog: FZ-34181
Year: 1976
Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Concept: Gerald Huerta
Cover photo: Don Hunstein
Construction: Nick Fasciano
Grade: * star






To be honest, there's nothing particular appalling about this album cover.  In fact, the only reason I picked it from the seemingly endless floor of "logo" covers, is the fact I happened to have a copy sitting on my desk.  I'm not sure how much Blue Sky paid for this strategic concept, but from an artistic standpoint, the results were simply bland and completely forgettable (which also happens to describe most of the music on this album).  As mentioned, the md-'70s saw a tidal way of these anonymous logo cover,  Dreck !!!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

HAWKWIND - "ROAD HAWKS"

Artist: Hawkwind
Album Title:Road Hawks
Label: United Artists
Catalog: UAK 29919
Year: 1975
Genre: space rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Concept: Barney Bubbles
Cover photo: not applicable
Grade: **** stars



I guess it's funny I own this album since I'm not a big Hawkwind/space rock fan.  In fact, I've probably only played this album three or four times in the 30 years I've owned it.  That said, I'm a big fan of the late English graphic artist Barney Bubbles who was the inspiration for this cover. 


Bubbles had previously designed a tour poster for Hawkwind and the band were so enamored with the work, they elected to adopted it for their 1975 album "Road Hawks". 

It may not be the prettiest cover I've ever encountered, but I just love the work's art deco feel.  

Rather than spending a lot of time on Bubbles' sad and troubled career, anyone interested can start with a nice career overview on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney_Bubbles

Sunday, September 22, 2019

SCREAMIN JAY HAWKINS - "... WHAT THAT IS!"

Artist: Screamin Jay Hawkins
Album Title: ... What That Is!
Label: Philips
Catalog: PHS 600-319
Year: 1969
Genre: soul
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: not listed
Concept: not listed
Cover photo: Dunstan Pereira
Grade: * star

Admittedly the late  Screamin Jay Hawkins was an unusual character, but this album cover is simply something else.  How many artists would subject themselves to something like this?  Seriously?  What was Hawkins' record label thinking?  "Yeah, we'll put him in a coffin (with a close-up shot on the back cover) and sell a million copies ..."

Maybe it was meant to be quirky, but at least to my eyes the result was merely gruesome.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

ERIC BURDON AND THE ANIMALS

Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals
Album Title: Eric Is Here
Label: MGM
Catalog: SE 4433
Year: 1967
Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: Acy Lehman
Concept: Nancy Reiner
Cover photo: not applicable
Grade: * star

Ouch - where do you even start?  I'm guessing that while the rest of the band may have been a little upset with Eric Burdon hogging the media spotlight and effectively taking over The Animals nameplate, in the wake of this horrible album cover, they might have been a little less upset knowing their pictures were plastered on the cover.  

Not that I am particularly artsy, but you can't help but think that if this had been submitted as a 9th grade art project, you might have recommended a do-over.