Sunday, July 14, 2019

GROUP 87 - "GROUP 87"




Artist: Group 87
Album Title: Group 87
Label: Columbia
Catalog: PC 36338
Year: 1980
Genre: jazz-rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: Steve Hiett
Concept: Steve Heitt
Cover photo: Steve Hiett
Grade: **** stars

I'm a big fan of modern architecture, so even though this collection of '80s jazz-rock doesn't do a great deal for me, the cover is pretty cool.  It actually only took me a couple of years to even realize what I was staring at.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

THE FIRST CHOICE - "THE PLAYER"















Artist: The First Choice
Album Title: The Player
Label: Philly Groove
Catalog: PG 1502
Year: 1974
Genre: soul
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: John A. McKenzie
Concept: The Music Agency
Cover painting: John A. McKenzie
Grade: **** stars

Every now and then you find something that captures a certain zeitgeist (always wanted to use that word in a posting).  This one just screams mid-'70s ...  Yeah, the music drifts towards faceless dance tunes, but the John A. McKinzie cover was slick.  Wish I new more about the artist.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS - "TEENAGE DEPRESSION"














Artist: Eddie and the Hot Rods
Album Title: Teenage Depression
Label: Island
Catalog: ILPS 9457
Year: 1977
Genre: punk
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: Michael Beal
Concept: Ron Michael Beal
Cover painting: Michael Beal
Grade: * star

I recognize that part of the punk experience was an effort to shock the staid establishment out of their dreary, middle of the road, 9-to-5 existences.  Still, there are certain social norms that shouldn't be violated and I've always felt this Micheal Beal cover crossed one of those lines in the sand. Not to sound like a blow hard, but teenage suicide is a plague on mankind and as a parent I simply cannot begin to fathom the pain it inflicts on families that have suffered from a child lost to their own hand.  Island marketing executives having allowed a band to try to score some quick sales with such a tasteless cover just seems mean spirited and unnecessary.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

BOB DYLAN - "SELF PORTRAIT"















Artist: Bob Dylan
Album Title: Self Portrait
Label: Columbia
Catalog: C2X 30050
Year: 1970
Genre: rock
Grading: VG cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: Ron Coro
Concept: Ron Coro
Cover painting: Bob Dylan
Grade: * star

I'm clearly not the biggest Bob Dylan fan you'll stumble across.  I certainly admire the man's talent, but I find most of his music catalog to be challenging and his voice is what folks refer to as an acquired taste - one that I've never managed to acquire.  And then you come to this 1970, double album set.  I can certainly appreciate a slice of Picasso-styled modern art and you can clearly figure out what Dylan was drawing.  Still, the cover of "Self Portrait" was simply funny.  Yeah, Let's buy this one for the amazing cover art ...

Saturday, March 16, 2019

DREAMS - "DREAMS















Artist: Dreams
Album Title: Dreams
Label: Columbia
Catalog: C 39225
Year: 1970
Genre: horn-rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: David Wilcox
Concept: David Wilcox
Cover photo: not applicable
Grade: **** stars

So, I'll readily admit that I've read an autobiography on the Belgian Artist Rene Magritte.  And that probably explains why this David Wilcox cover appeals to me.  Like the best of Magritte's work, it captures surrealism at its most entertaining.  

I was surprised to discover how many album covers Wilcox is responsible for - Discogs shows over 30 (though this is the best of the lot).

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

THE ROLLING STONES "METAMORPHOSIS"












Artist: Rolling Stones
Album Title: Metamorphosis
Label: Abkco
Catalog: ANA 1
Year: 1975
Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: Al Steckler and Richard Roth
Concept: Glenn Ross
Cover photo: not applicable
Grade: * star

Admittedly the band had nothing to do with the release of 1975's "Metamorphosis" (other than trying to stop former manager Abkco label owner Allen Klein from being released).  Nevertheless, the combination of what appeared to be band mugshots (prime mid-'70s Stones may have been one of rock's most talented bands, but they certainly were not one of the most photogenic) with an array of insects, didn't make for the most attractive album cover I've ever seen.

Add to that, the track line-up of outtakes and alternative versions of previously released songs wasn't particularly inspiring.


Sunday, September 9, 2018

THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHER - "RE-BIRTH"












Artist: Righteous Brothers
Album Title: Re-Birth
Label: Verve
Catalog: V6 5076
Year: 1969
Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: Michel Mendel
Concept: not applicable
Cover photo: not applicable
Grade: * star

Um, not sure what to say about the artwork gracing their "comeback" LP.  It was certainly eye-catching, but not in a good way which may have been part of the reason the set did little commercially.