This is one that I'd meant to add from the start of this blog. The cover photo was certainly unusual for Motown which had a penchant for picturing their groups in sophisticated poses. Here, sprawled across desert sands, The Temptations looked anything but sophisticated. Unfortunately, Motown didn't believe in giving credits to photographers and design teams; this one simply credited the label.
For a long time this on my party play list and the thing I came to recognize is that even people who found Mott the Hoople irritating would pick up the cover and look it over. Maybe it was simply the bright red cover, of the simplistic cover art. Regardless, the cover attracted attention.
Album: Peter Ivers Title: Terminal Love Label: Warner Brothers Catalog: BS 2804 Year: 1976 Genre: new wave Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design:-- Concept: -- Cover photo: -- Grade: **** stars
Peter Ivers is definitely an acquired taste. This album even made Spotify's list of the 101 strangest albums ever released. That aside the cover art is a hoot. The photo perfectly captures the pain of love.
Album: Al Green Title: Livin' For You Label: Hi Catalog: ASHL 32082 Year: 1973 Genre: soul Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design:Tom Daly Concept: Farmlett, Barsanti & Wood Inc. Cover photo: -- Grade: * stars
One of Al Green's classic, mid-'70s albums ... Not one bad song on the set and it's packaged in something that looks like it was drawn by a stoned high school student looking to decorate his Chevy van. You had to wonder what Green and Hi were thinking and what the album might have done commercially had it been presented in a slightly more elegant concept.
Artist: The Reds Album: The Reds Label: A&M Catalog: SP-4772 Year: 1979 Genre: new wave Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design:Amy Nagasawan Concept: Amy Nagasawan Cover photo: Tom Drahas Grade: **** stars
Tons of new wave albums had striking covers and crappy music. Philadelphia's The Reds debut album featured a striking cover and a decent set of new wave-ish tunes. That made for a winning combination all the way around.
Artist: Frijid Pink Album: Frijid Pink Label: Parrot Catalog: PAS 71033 Year: 1970 Genre: rock Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design:Victor Kahn Concept: Victor Kahn Cover photo: Jeff Bailey Grade: **** stars Admittedly, the cover design showing band members Tom Beaudry (aka
Kelly Green), Tom Harris, Richard Stevers, and Gary Lee Thompson) sitting on top of a monkey bar set wasn't all that original. What makes this one stand out are the startling, day-glo colors. The pink and black are almost retina burning, making for an album package that jumps out at you from a mile away.
Artist: The L.A. Four Album: Going Home Label: East Wind Catalog: EW 1000 Year: 1977 Genre: jazz Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design: Heyglow Kabayashi Cover photo: Taishi Hirokawa - Brad Elterman Grade: **** stars I know that in the mid and late-'70s these guys (guitarist Laurindo Almeida, bassist Ray Brown, drummer Shelly Manne and sax player Bus Shank), were quite popular in jazz circles. Judging by this album, their work is certainly relaxing, but not particularly my style. That said, the Taishi Hirokawa album cover was stunning. Judge for yourself ...
Artist: Nektar Album: Down To Earth Label: Passport Catalog: PPSD 98005 Year: 1974 Genre: progressive Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design:Pierre Tubbs Cover photo: Bryce Attewell Grade: **** stars This was the first used LP I ever bought and the late Roye Albrighton was the first musician who ever stumbled across one of the BadCatRecords reviews I'd put out there and took the time to send me an email. He was funny and insightful and took some of my criticisms in good nature. All that aside, there's something about Bryce Attewell's cover photo that just perfectly grabbed that mid-'70s zeitgeist (always wanted to use that work in a review). Yeah, maybe there was a little bit of The Who's "Magic Bus" in the concept, but other than that, these guys just looked like a stoned German and English band.
Artist: Savoy Brown Album: Lion's Share Label: Parrot Catalog: XPAS 71057 Year: 1972 Genre: blues-rock Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design:Glenn ROss for QUeens Litho Cover art: Peter Cross Grade: **** stars Okay, I know it was released in the early-'70s, but this one just screams '60s British style to my eyes. Cross has done a lot of Anthony Phillips' album covers. He has a web presence at: https://petercrossart.com/
Artist: The Doobie Brothers Album: Best of the Doobie Brothers Label:Warner Brothers Catalog: BSK 3112 Year: 1976 Genre: rock Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design: Bruce Steinberg Cover photo: Bruce Steinberg Grade: ***** stars Wow, I wonder how much time I spent listening to the Doobies while I was in high school and college. I can clearly remember running cross country practices with them playing on my little portable cassette player. Anyhow, one of the '70s classic FM bands turn in a classic "best of" abum with a cover that combines my affection for diners and jukeboxes. Near perfect in my narrow worldview.
Artist: Enoch Light Album: Presents Spaced Out Label: Project 3 Catalog: PR 5043SD Year: 1969 Genre: pop Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design: not listed Cover photo: not listed Grade: **** stars Classic time piece. Project 3's marketing department seems to have splurged on this cover concept. What's a roll of tin foil cost? $2.00? Showcasing a cute red head cloaked in tin foil bikini and go-go boots, I'm not sure anything else needs to be said about this cover.
Artist: Bobby Womack Album: Pieces Label: Columbia Catalog: JC 35083 Year: 1978 Genre: soul Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design: Lanning Stern - Nancy Donald Cover photo: Sam Emerson Grade: * star Great album including duets with David Ruffin ('Trust Your Heart') and Candi Staton ('Stop Before We Start'), but the cover ... Seriously bad.
Artist: John Entwistle Album: Smash Your Head Against the Wall Label: Decca Catalog: DL 79183 Year: 1971 Genre: rock Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design: Graham Hughes and John Entwistle Cover photo: Graham Hughes Grade: * star The late John Enwistle was known for his dark, dry sense of humor so I'm guessing the cover photo was meant to be funny. That said, the combination of Entwistle wearing death mask superimposed over an x-ray taken from a dying man was simply gory and ghastly.
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.
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.