Sunday, February 19, 2017

THE ELECTRIC PRUNES - "RELEASE OF AN OATH"


Artist: The Electric Prunes
Album: Release of An Oath
Label: Reprise
Catalog: RS 6318
Year: 1969
Genre: progressive
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: Ed Thrasher
Cover photo: Sid Avery
Grade: **** stars



Yeah, it was credited to The Electric Prunes, but for all intents and purposes this was a David Axelrod release.  And it's a fascinating album.  The album's secular nature means it won't appeal to everyone and the Sid Avery cover photo is going to have the same effect.  Interestingly it took me years to figure out the hands were open in praise.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

WHITE NOISE - "AN ELECTRIC STORM"


Artist: White Noise
Album: An Electric Storm
Label: Island
Catalog: ILPS-9099
Year: 1969
Genre: progressive
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: not listed
Cover art: not listed
Grade: **** stars



Cool cover for a completely strange album.  I won't go into the details - there are plenty of on-line reviews, including the BadCatRecords overview at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/WHITEnoise.htm

The cover was based of a silkscreen by some forgotten art student.  The group originally intended for the cover to be luminous, but  based on cost, Island Records killed the concept.


      




Saturday, December 31, 2016

ALAN HULL - "PIPEDREAM"


Artist: Alan Hull
Album: Pipedream
Label: Elektra
Catalog: EKS 75075
Year: 1974
Genre: folk-rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Sleeve design: Ian Vincenti
Cover art: Rene.Magritte
Grade: **** stars



Seriously ?  What more is there to say about this one other than the cover is by Belgian artist Rene Magritte ?  The original painting is entitled "La Lampe Philosophique".

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

PHIL OCHS - "REHEARSALS FOR RETIREMENT"


Artist: Phil Ochs
Album: Rehearsals for Retirement
Label: A&M
Catalog: SP 4181
Year: 1969
Genre: folk-rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Cover photo: Tom Wilkes
Art Direction: Tom Wilkes
Grade: ** stars



I'm no Phil Ochs scholar (they do exist), but based on what I know about the man, he had a difficult life.  He was certainly a talented singer/songwriter, but never seemed able to get out of Dylan's creative shadow.  By the time he was in his 30s Ochs personal life was a disaster, for a brief period he lived in the streets. Depression and mental issues plagued him (he was diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder).  Drugs and acute alcoholism certainly didn't help his cause.  Only 36, Ochs hung himself in 1976.

Against that backdrop, there's something quite disturbing about this 1969 release with a cover showing Ochs' tombstone with the inscription: 


Phll Ochs (American) 
Born: El Paso, Texas 
Died: Chicago, Illinois 1968 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

WE ALL TOGETHER - "VOLUMEN II"


Artist: We All Together
Album: Volumen II
Label: MaG
Catalog: LP 2454
Year: 1974
Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Cover photo: Manuel Guerrero
Art Direction: not listed
Grade: **** stars



No idea where Manuel Guerrero took the photo (Peru would obviously be a good guess), but the setting was stunning.



Saturday, December 17, 2016

MANFRED MANN - "THE MIGHTY QUINN"


Artist: Manfred Mann
Album: The Mighty Quinn
Label: Mercury
Catalog: SR 61168
Year: 1968
Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Cover Art: Victor Moscoso
Art Direction: not listed
Grade: **** stars



Moscoso's better known for his concert posters than his record covers, but this is one of his most stunning achievements.   The theme; the colors; it's all captivating.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER - "JUST FAMILY"


Artist: Dee Dee Bridgewater
Album: Just Famly
Label: Elektra
Catalog: 6E-119
Year: 1978
Genre: soul
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Cover Photo: not listed
Art Direction: not listed
Grade: **** stars



I've purposely avoided including cheesecake covers in this list.  There's nothing wrong with your standard metal band cover with a scantly clad babe sprawled on a hot rod, or straddling a guitar, etc.  There are literally thousands of such covers out there.  They're so common, they just don't rise above the noise.

The cover to Dee Dee Bridgewater's "Just Family" is something totally different.  Showing the silhouette of a very pregnant Bridgewater (with her second child), the cover certainly didn't leave a great deal to the imagination, but with the sun beaming down on her against the backdrop of a bright blue sky and an endless expanse of barren salt lake, it was striking cover.