Thursday, May 14, 2020


Artist: Brainbox
Title: Brainbox
Label: Poptones
Catalog: 5C054.24082
Year: 1969
Genre: blues-rock
Art Direction: Jacques Bontje
Cover art:  Jacques Bontje
Grade: **** stars

I remember seeing a copy of this album in a Brussels, Belgium record store (back when they existed), and coming this close to buying it.  I didn't know anything about the band, though I did recognize Jan Akkerman's name, rather the cool cover captured by attention.  There's just something fascinating about DUtch artist Jacques Bontje's beehive styled structure on the cover.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Artist: Cosmic Rough Riders
Title: Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine
Label: Poptones
Catalog: MC5014LP
Year: 2001
Genre: psych
Art Direction: Jake Rickwood
Cover art:  Jake Rickwood
Grade: ***** stars

Okay, it was released in 2001, but the packaging just screamed 1967 ...  And the album is one of my favorite recent discoveries.  Literally one of those rare albums where there wasn't a single bad song on the collection.  More about them on the BadCatRecords website:

Sunday, March 29, 2020


Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: A Child's Guide To Good & Evil
Label: Reprise
Catalog: RS 6208
Year: 1968
Genre: psych
Art Direction: Ed Thrasher
Cover photo:  John von Hamersveldt
Grade: ***** stars

There are thousands and thousands of psychedelic album covers out there.  This one easily gets into my top-10 list.  It lacks the rainbow of colors typical of psychedelic offerings, but that might be part of what makes this such a great cover.

Baltimore's John von Hamersveldt is probably best known for designing The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour", but over a career starting in the mid-'60s, he's designed 300+ covers, including The Stones' "Exile On Main Street", The Jefferson Airplane's "Crown of Creation" and The Beach Boy's "WIld Honey".  All are stunning, but this may be my favorite.

Here's a link to von Hamersveldt's website:


Artist: Milt Jackson
Title: Sunflower
Label: CTI
Catalog: CTI 6024
Year: 1972
Genre: jazz
Art Direction: Bob Coano
Cover photo:  Peter Turner
Grade: **** stars

Maybe because I just saw the film Jamanji 2, this cover came to my mind.  I'm not at zoologist, but I'm guessing those are ostriches on the cover?  No matter, the late Peter Turner's image of the heads silhouetted against the sun made for a stunning cover.

Turner was responsible for dozens and dozens of albums covers; most for the CTI jazz label.  There's even a book featuring his work and a fascinating website devoted to his work:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


Artist: various artists
Title: A Very Special Christmas
Label: A&M
Catalog: SP-3911
Year: 1987
Genre: rock
Art Direction: Keith Haring
Cover art:  Keith Haring
Grade: ***** stars

Even if you are not into art, there's a good chance you've seen the work of the late Keith Haring.  I don't know what you would call it ...  Grafitti?  Pop art?  Street Art?  To me it really doesn't matter since there's something charming and uplifting in the simple, almost child-like Christmas themed cover he provided for this 1987 charity album intended for the Special Olympics.

There's a ton of Haring information on the web.  A good place to start is the Wikipedia link on the artist:

Saturday, March 14, 2020


Artist: Pat Travers
Title: Radio Active
Label: Polydor
Catalog: PD-1-6313
Year: 1981
Genre: rock
Art Direction: Bob Heimall
Cover art:  Digital Effects
Grade: **** stars

I'll make these comments short and to the point - I love the unusual color contrast effects.  Very '80s !!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


Artist: Larry Coryell / Alphonse Mouzon
Title: Back Together Again
Label: Atlantic
Catalog: SD18220
Year: 1977
Genre: jazz
Art Direction: Bob Defrin
Cover art:  Roger Huyssen
Grade: **** stars

Okay, the jazzy tunes don't do much for my ears, but Roger Huyssen's playful cover always makes me smile.  The man's responsible for a dazzling array of commercial art including commercials  (he's worked for Coke and M&M),movies, as well as designng over 50 album covers. Most are for jazz artists, but there are some exceptions,  including a couple of the iconic Boston LPs and James Brown's "Sex Machine Today".

He has an interesting website at:

Sunday, February 2, 2020


Artist: Kenny Loggins
Title: Vox Humana
Label: Columba
Catalog: FC39174
Year: 1985
Genre: pop
Cover Design: Michael Gonzales
Cover art:  Michael Gonzales
Grade: * star

Seriously, why would any marketing company have said "yeah, love the cover concept on this one ...".   If this had been submitted to you as a high school art project you would have suggested the student consider taking some sort of woodworking class.  Dreadful cover.

Saturday, February 1, 2020


Artist: Little Feat
Title: Waiting for Columbus
Label: Warner Brothers
Catalog: 2BS  3140
Year: 1978
Genre: rock
Cover Design: Neon Park
Cover art:  Neon Park
Grade: **** stars

This double album live collection was a turntable mainstay for me when I was in college.  The mixture of rock, country and funkier moves was almost magical and I was always amazed and how good Little Feat sounded in a live setting.  Okay, the magic of post-production may have helped a little bit.  And then there was the late Neon Park's fascinating cover ...  "Waiting for Columbus"  was the seventh Little Feat album cover he designed  and with the possible exception of "Sailin' Shoes", the best.  If nothing else, it's the best album cover I've ever seen featuring an  anthropomorphic tomato.

There are lots of sites devoted to Park's career.  You can find one of the better ones, including some information on his links to Little Feat at this one:

and  anyone curious  to sample this wonderful album can start with "Fat Man In the Bathroom":

Monday, January 20, 2020


Artist: Byron Lee & the Dragonaires
Title: Reggae Splashdown
Label: Dynamic
Catalog: WSY 3322
Year: 1971
Genre: reggae
Cover Design: Roberts Design Group Ltd
Cover photo:  IPS - Apollo 12 Splash Down
Grade: **** star

Lee's kind of the James Last version of the reggae world.  In that role he's recorded dozens of album (most sporting cheesecake, pin-up covers), featuring reggae-fied version of popular pop, rock and soul songs.  For goodness sakes, this album has a reggae cover of a Jackson Five song, as well as George Harrson's 'My Sweet Lord'.  The guy's certainly not without talent, but his sound has always struck me as more Holiday Inn, than Bob Marley.  

Regardless of the merits of this album, I'm kind of a space nut, so the polarized colored cover of the Apollo 12 splashdown was kind of cool.

Sunday, January 19, 2020


Artist: Lime
Title: Your Love
Label: Manta
Catalog: WLP-1026
Year: 1981
Genre: disco
Cover Design: Michael Gray
Cover photo:  Michael Gray
Grade: * star

Denis and Denyse Lepage were the faces of the Montreal-based duo Lime.  I'm not a big disco fan so I don't know a great deal about them, but based on a couple of their YouTube videos, I will say they deserve credit for showing that average looking (and talented) folks could enjoy some recognition on the music scene - well, at least in early-'80s Quebec.  Geez, who knew Quebec had an early-'80s disco scene?

The bizarre cover is what caught my attention.  Initially I thought the cover art featured one of the strangest looking guys I'd ever seen dressed in drag.  It's actually a heavily made-up Denyse.  Curiously, the liner notes credited Denyse's make-up artists, as well as the folks responsible for the bizarre outfit she was wearing.  Elsewhere, Denyse's sheer blouse displayed a little more of her anatomy than one might have expected.  

Anyone curious about the pair can find them lip-synching the title track at:  

Let me warn everyone that Denyse's shrill, little girl voice and Denis' flat delivery make for an acquired taste.


Artist: Peter Lang
Title: The Strange Thing at the Nursery Window
Label: Takoma
Catalog: C 1034
Year: 1973
Genre: folk
Cover Design: Pat Finnerty
Cover photo:  not applicable
Grade: **** stars

I'm not a gigantic fan of acoustic guitar work, but I'll make an exception for the likes of Peter Lang, John Fahey and Leo Kottke.

Even if you're not a fan of the music, there's something fascinating about Pat Finnerty's weird-as-hell cover.  I've looked around the internet for some information on the album title and cover art with nothing to show for my efforts ...

By the way, check out Finnerty's artwork for John Fahey's "America" album - it's even stranger ...  

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


Artist: Kossoff Kirke Tetsu Rabbit
Title: Kossoff  Kirke Tetsu Rabbit
Label: Capitol
Catalog: SMAS 8329
Year: 1972
Genre: rock
Cover Design: CCS
Cover photo:  not applicable
Grade: * star

As a big Free fan, I've always liked this pseudo-Free release - it's basically the Free line-up sans front man/lead singer Paul Rogers.  Ironically, the cover seems to have been designed to ensure minimal sales.  It's almost as if the Island marketing folks decided to come up with the blandest packaging the could imagine in order to make sure the collection quickly migrated to cutout bins.  You can almost picture Rogers laughing at the this effort.  Shame, since the collection offered up some pretty good blues-rock - the instrumental 'Just In the Box' is a great showcase for Kossoff's sterling lead guitar.


Artist: Kokomo
Title: Rise and Shine
Label: Columbia
Catalog: KC 34031
Year: 1975
Genre: rock
Cover Design: Art Design
Cover photo:  not applicable
Grade: *** stars

If you've looked at any of the entries  in this blog you'll notice my tastes  tend to  run to the sophomoric.  And here's another example of that  character defect.  Can't say I liked the adult  contemporary tunes on this album very much, but the Canadian pressing at least had a nice cover that makes me smile.

The fact I'm writing this on the first day of the new year when much of the population  looks like the rooster on the album cover, only makes it even funnier.


Artist: Daddy Cool
Title: Teenage Heaven
Label: Reprise
Catalog: MS-2088
Year: 1972
Genre: rock
Cover Design: Ed Thrasher
Cover photo:  David Williardson
Grade: ***** stars

Yes, this is one of those albums I bought strictly for the cover, though the music isn't half bad - read the BadCatrecords review.  Illustrator Williardson went on to major fame as an artist riding on Mickey Mouse's coattails (Google him), but this is simply a classic album cover.