Sunday, November 29, 2015


Artist: Mahavishnu Orchestra
Album: Birds of Fire
Label: Columbia
Catalog: KC 31996
Year: 1973

Genre: jazz-rock fusion
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Quantity: 1
Cover Designer: Ashok (Chris Poisson)
Artist: Ashok (Chris Poisson)
Grade: **** stars

After all these years I still can't wrap my ears around John McLaughlin and his all-star cast of jazz-rock fusioners ...  I know this stuff was technically spectacular, but after all these year I continue to find it dull, plodding, and self-pretentious. I guess I'm not alone since I can remember my local Penguin Feather record store having piles of the album on sale for like a dollar a pop.  I've tried to get it,but I just don't have the proper outlook, or DNA.  In fact, Chris Poisson's cover was the album's creative highlight for me.  The psychedelic colors were certainly eye catching, but so was that neat Pointillism he employed.  Imagine Georges Seurat, or Paul Signac having designed a Mahavsihnu Orchestra cover ... 

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Artist: Tower of Power
Album: Bump City
Label: Warner Brothers
Catalog: BS 2616
Year: 1972

Genre: funk
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Quantity: 1
Cover Designer: Bruce Steinberg
Artist: Bruce Steinberg
Grade: * star

I typically highlight cover art that captures my attention for its positive attributes. Once in awhile I'll see a cover that's so gawdawful it deserves attention.  Here's one.  The airbrushed cover screams early-'70s, but in a bad way.  Like your 13 year old having grabbed some spray cans on gone nuts on the neighbor's sports car ... Seriously, how long do you think it to execute this cover ?   Twenty minutes ?  If you'd tagged a New York subway car with this the patrons would have covered it up ...


Artist: Jerry Riopelle
Album: Saving Grace
Label: ABC
Catalog: ABCX 827
Year: 1974

Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Quantity: 1
Cover Designer: Fritz Scholder
Artist: Fritz Scholder
Grade: **** stars

The painting on the cover of Jerry Riopelle's third album is by painter Fritz Scholder and is entitled "Indian Power".   The painting is simply stunning ...  surprising since I don't like most of Scholder's catalog.

For anyone interested, Scholder has a web presence at:

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Artist: The Eagles
Album: Hotel California
Label: Asylum
Catalog: 7E 1084
Year: 1976

Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Quantity: 1
Cover Designer: Don Henley and John Kosh
Photo: David Alexander
Grade: **** stars

I'd really planned to avoid the obvious picks - the ones that show up on all of the top-100 lists, but my older son has been trying to learn the lead guitar chords for 'Hotel California' and after hearing weeks of practice I figured I needed to pull the album out and given a spin for the first time in a decade.  Since I own the original vinyl (complete with the poster insert), I couldn't help but gaze at the David Alexander cover - it's a classic.

I saw an interview with Henley where he described wanting a cover that captured "Faded glory, loss of innocence and decadence," "I was trying to use California as the microcosm for the rest of the nation."

Henley approach designer John Kosh with the project and Kosh and photographer David Alexander went to shoot the sun sinking behind the elegant Beverly Hills Hotel. To clear the trees surrounding the hotel, they had to clamber aboard a sixty-foot cherry picker and dangle over rush-hour traffic on Sunset Boulevard.

The cover art ended up costing $60,000 - a small price given the album's massive sales.



Artist: Delbert McClinton
Album: Genuine Cowhide
Label: ABC
Catalog: ABCD 959
Year: 1976

Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Quantity: 2
Cover Designer: Tom Wilkes
Artist: Tom WIlkes
Grade: **** stars

A quick word about Tom Wilkes striking cover art ...  You can't really get the 3D effect here, but the embossed cover reflected what was obviously a condom in a wallet.    I still find it somewhat amazing that ABC was willing to release such a daring and perhaps tasteless cover ...  and yes, even tough tasteless, it is included on my list of favorite covers. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Artist: Daddy Cool
Album: Teenage Heaven
Label: Reprise
Catalog: MS 2088
Year: 1972

Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Quantity: 1
Cover Designer: Ed Threasher
Artist: David Willardson
Grade: **** stars

It's kind of funny - when it was released in Australia, the original album title "Sex, Dope, Rock 'n' Roll: Teenage Heaven" created a storm of controversy with some Australian retailers refusing to stock the LP.  In the States the set was given an abbreviated title "Teenage Heaven" and different cover art, though I'm not sure what was wrong with the original Australian cover.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Artist: Pretty Things
Album: Savage Eye
Label: Swan Song
Catalog: SS 8414
Year: 1975

Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Quantity: 1
Cover Designer: Hipgnosis
Grade: **** stars

I'm sure it wasn't the first "eyeball" concept cover, but I always thought It was attention grabbing.   It certainly caught my attention as a 16 year old ...  In fact I bought a copy largely based on the packaging.

Here's the entire gatefold sleeve -


Sunday, November 8, 2015


Artist: Atlanta Rhythm Section
Album: Are Your Ready!
Label: Polydor
Catalog: PD-2-6236
Year: 1979

Genre: rock
Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP
Quantity: 1
Photographer: RIck Diamond / Sam Emerson
Cover Designer:  Mike McCarty
Grade: **** stars

Admittedly concert cover shots aren't particularly original, but this one's always struck me as being kind of cool ...  I believe this one was taken at a July 1978 concert the band gave at New York's Central Park. That's me on the front - fifth row up, 35 over from the left.   Just kidding.