Crappy Album Covers — Sidebar: CACs brought to life

A while back, I poked fun at a an album cover by Sterling Blythe, called Sterling Blythe Sings (CAC #47).

Mark Portillo, keeper of the blog called Drop Me Off In Harlem, started a concept where simple animation to familiar, and not-so-familiar album covers could bring out many salient features, or poke fun of drawbacks, of the album cover.

In the original cover, Blythe sat on what appeared to be a tree branch. But since the branch buy pink viagra didn’t seem to be connected to anything, it looked like he was floating. Now, thanks to the magic of animated GIFs and a bit of retouching, he really is floating.

Appearing in early April will be this 1969 album cover from King Crimson, entitled “In The Court of the Crimson King”.

Well, not exactly this cover. This is another one of Mike Portillo’s handiworks, exaggerating the already-exaggerated madness of the cover through the magic of animation.

Crappy Album Covers #218 — Old-School Telephones

Buy this album and you will always be able to see this beautiful photo of a telephone held by someone in a tasteful suit. Yes, I’ll bet you will stare at this one forever.

I’m only saying all this because I’m jealous, of course. Aren’t you, knowing now that Jerry Irby has a hotline to heaven? Look at him smiling! Don’t it make you want to rip the phone out of his hands?

“Yo God! I’m really happy for Jer’! I’ll let him finish, but I just want to say that Millie Jackson has one of the worst album covers of all time!”

Jerry Irby mixed gospel with country music. Bobby Bland mixed gospel with blues and R&B. This 1962 single had Bobby imprisoned for overuse of the depiction of a telephone, just because the word “call” appears in one of the titles.

Bland recorded 30 albums and released around 45 singles over the years between 1958 and 1998.  That is, 45 hit singles out of a total of 120.  During that time, he had served in the US Armed Forces. He has been entered into both the Blues Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Crappy Album Covers #171 — Pinin' for the lord

Album_Cover_Crap_244_-_Rodgers_Kenny_-_bizarrerecords_com This is Kenny Rodgers, with his 1981 open declaration of love to his saviour, “Kenny Loves Jesus”.

The next sweet odour you smell may be the sweet smell of the Holy Spirit, which will draw you closer to the Lord. It says so on the back cover of this LP.

Album_Cover_Crap_238_-_bizarrerecords_com I have resisted this crappy cover from Country Church, because, you know, buy tramadol no prescription this album has been shown on so many websites in the Crappy Album Blogosphere, that there comes a point where you feel that, such as it is, it already counts as too much publicity.

There is so much wrong with this cover, I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just let it speak for itself.

Crappy Album Covers #134 — Still more frickin' sunshine

Frickin’? Friggin’? I wish they had a dictionary for the correct spelling of expletives.

Album_Cover_Crap_156_showandtelmusic_com_Greatest_Picks Lillian Southard Robinson looks like a kindly enough elderly woman in the picture. The kind that would give an extra quarter to the paperboy, and who would visit shut-ins twice every week. In the middle ground of the photo is a quote from the Gospel of St. John 4:35, which she quotes as: “Look on the fields/They are white to harvest”.Funny. My copy of the Bible (NAV), says the fields are “ripe to harvest”. Finding the word “white” required me to dust off my wife’s King James Bible.

I was almost willing to forgive her for this almost white supremacist-sounding reference, until I discovered that the very next verse talks about the Grim buy tramadol 100mg online Reaper receiveing his “payment”…

Hoooo—kay… Next album …

Album_Cover_Crap_174_Flickr The Summons Team (?) is here to proclaim their belief in “The Man of Reality”.Now if only the record cover reflected some reality: where do they plan to plug in their electric guitars and keyboard? Also looks like the dude in the foreground lost his drum kit. It happens, you know. Some thief sneaks into the studio, stuffs the drum kit, seat, and bass drum in his shirt pocket, and escapes through the door un-detected by security cameras. Happens all the time. So the drummer had to force himself to smile in this photo.

So, I guess that means this is the first ever record album to come without batteries. (A strained pun, I know).

Crappy Album Covers #133 — Hicks from the sticks

Album_Cover_Crap_164_showandtelmusic_com Felix Lorentz will sing your requests whether you want him or not. He comes out of his shack near the lagoon to the bar in the nearby village and rips the mike out of the hand of the entertainer that was scheduled to arrive, and yells out “I take requests!”After a few moments of stunned silence, someone says in a timid voice: “Can you sing ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips?'”

Someone else pipes up: “Happy Birthday To You!” “Row, Row, Row your boat!” It was then Lorentz realised that he had barged into an old folks home, an the bar was next door.

Album_Cover_Crap_162_showandtelmusic_com_Greatest_Picks Ahh, the games you can play with a title like “Wild Country”. A hootenanny gone wild…wild music by wild musicians….Your wildest guesses won’t know who is on the playlist. Wild musicians: “Your Cheatin’ Heart” played by Jimi Hendrix. “Achey Breakey Heart” played by AC-DC. “Till I Gain Control Again” by Pink Floyd.

None of them made it to the sessions for this album, but thank you for your purchase of this fine vinyl record album, and thanks for coming out.

Crappy Album Covers #58 — Family Bands

album-cover-crap-67_familyI was going to name this blog entry “family style”, but then I remembered that was the name of a 1990 duet album by brothers Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan. It would have been an insult to SRV’s memory, I thought. So, I changed it to a straight title.

Now they say that the way to raise a family is to run a tight ship. Now if you can have your family live on a real ship on the high seas and in shark-infested waters, then you have it made. You can rule the roost and threaten to make the kids walk the plank if they misbehave.

According to my reliable secret sources, this “vanity press” album hearkens back to around 1974, and Captain Hook, whose name does not appear to be revealed as otherwise, really does have a hook for a left hand. He lost a leg and an arm in a motorcycle accident and was “born again” while in hospital. Hook became a tele-evangelist in Indiana for over 20 years after he “became Christian”. He also performs ventriloquism as part of his act.

album-cover-crap-66_family_the_macksI was going to place The McKeithens in the Bad Hair entry, but it was only the hair of one person, the mother in the foreground, that I was concerned about.

The McKeithens’ self-titled LP, likely from 1976, likely marks the start of a ministry of singing and fellowship that began in 1976, and lasted until 1991. I can’t say for sure where they hail from. There is a Myspace blog about them, but it is unlikely that the family had anything to do with the blog. I mean, would a family like this make virtual friends with people with usernames such as “Lady Stinky Puss”, “Chris Crocker”, or “Phat Gurl”? Don’t think so. Clearly, the blog is set up to make fun of this record cover. However, there is almost no original content in the blog, and it appears to have been abandoned.

This would have been a plain album that would have been ignored, but for the Winebago-sized hairdo the mother has.  I think it’s a wig. A wig that large could serve a purpose, you know. You could use it to store food, prescription medication, house and car keys, a change of clothes, photo ID, passports, train tickets, the King James Bible, sheet music … all the things you need to go on an evangelical singing tour.

album-cover-crap-62_family_st_heitt

The Heitt family are a study in obscure, small Saskatchewan villages that are little known even inside Saskatchewan. If you blink as you drive past these places, you might not see them, so be careful.

Most of the family belonging to the Heitt Orchestra are natives of Revenue, Saskatchewan, consisting of not much more than two crossing roads, about 200 km west of Saskatoon, as the crow flies (more like 230 km by highway, going by Google Earth). If you look for it on Google Maps, Revenue is where the low resolution area begins.

The Heitt family consist of Brothers Larry (drums), Blaine (electric bass), and Glen (banjo); their father Frank (accordion) and mother Adeline (guitar).

The only non-family member is vocalist is Donna Boser (holding the tambourine), who lives one hour’s drive deeper into Google’s low-resolution area, and closer to the Alberta border, in Fells, Saskatchewan. Although if you ask Donna, she’ll probably tell you she comes from Reward, Saskatchewan, which is a larger community close by. The “Where the Hell is Fells, Saskatchewan?” T-shirts must be selling like hot cakes over there. Boser still sings in the same part of the province.

Donna now lives in nearby Unity. At least they paved the main highways over there. Unity is still a small town where someone spent an idle afternoon counting the houses, and Unity has 960 of them (population is about 2500). And the deal is that Fells and Revenue are much smaller than Unity. Unity boasts its own website. And here is a virtual tour of Unity, where you can see how flat it is (should take about a minute).

Crappy Album Covers #48 — Couldn't hit the broad side of a barn …

album-cover-crap-25_lp-cover-loverNot clear on this idea of double-barreled handguns.  Especially guns that use actual wooden barrels to guide the bullet.

Some guns are not made for actual shooting, I suppose.

Dave and Ansel Collins put this reggae album out in 1971. The title track of this album peaked at #22 on Billboard back then. It was a bigger hit in the UK, where it topped the singles chart.

If that’s double-barrel, then it’s a trigger and a hammer short.

album-cover-crap-2_lp-cover-loverThere’s farmer John with a rifle. And there’s the broad side of a barn. I think he missed.

After farmer John’s 10th attempt at seeing if he could hit the broad side of a barn with his shotgun, Joe and Bill come on the scene, trying to take the gun away, because he is getting dangerous with it.

And, during the ensuing struggle, the damned thing goes off again.

Crappy Album Covers #47 — I don't get this

album-cover-crap-6_lp-cover-loverDonnie and Joe Emerson’s 1979 offering, Dreamin’ Wild, is classed in some blogs in the psychedelic rock genre.

So, then I if I look at this picture and think that I see two heads growing out of one body, then I suppose that it’s because I am on acid?

If this is not the case, then, is it Donnie fretting the strings on the guitar or is that the hand of Joe? Am I still tripping on acid?

Also, the background of this photo looks like it was rented from the same outfit that shot their high school photos. Soul-Sides.com has found some actual digitized tracks from this album for your listening pleasure.

album-cover-crap-4_lp-cover-lover“Sterling Blythe Sings” is one of those crappy record album covers with crossover appeal. I don’t know whether to say that it fits in as a “crappy cliche checklist” album, or as a “crappy-by-ambiguousness” album. The background for this album cover could also have come from some kind of background used in high school photos.

On the empty cliche checklist:

  • Cowboy hat? Check.
  • Tight pants with rhinestones? Check
  • Cowboy boots with fancy stitching and dye work? Check.
  • Sitting on a … uh….

… and that’s where the ambiguousness comes in. What the heck is he sitting on? A long branch with his legs dangling in the sky? Or a fence (with his legs still having nothing to rest on)? Looks like he could easily topple over and fall down, and that could be the end of his career.  What we do know, and what the artwork appears to show, is that his right heel is off-camera.  So, if that is the case, then he is sitting on a fence with his feet on the ground. With his legs allowed to rest at that angle, the fence can’t be more than 2 feet off the ground, and so the fence can’t be of the type to keep animals (horses, cows, sheep) out, if this were a real farm. In fact for all we know he could be sitting on a fence in a suburban part of Los Angeles or Boston, the only purpose of the fence being to keep the neighbours off his lawn.

Crappy Albums Covers — Special — Focus on Country Moog

Hello, ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to Strider’s Country Hayride! We only have one instrument for this concert, the Moog synth, played by Gil Trythall.

So far, the 1970 album cover meets the requirements of crappy for the purposes of this series. But today I will demonstrate that this album is crap, through and through.

I pity this generation. They don’t know what “Muzak” is. These days, when you walk into a store like Wal-Mart or Shopper’s Drug Mart, they’re playing sentimental 70s and 80s music, usually all hit songs, piped in — usually over the Internet or a satellite connection — from a central location — maybe head office. It’s still cheesy, but Muzak is entirely in another league of cheesiness. This generation has utterly no concept of the term. This generation needs to spend an hour in a store being forced to decide on a purchase to a musical accompaniment of Muzak, to know what the older generations have had to put up with.

So, the topic of today’s Country Hayride is “What is Muzak?”

Glad you asked. Muzak is also known as “Elevator Music” or if you are a Brit, it is “Lift Music”. Muzak LLC is a company based in South Carolina that registers the Muzak trademark. Muzak is still played over the telephone by some companies while you are put on hold. It is music that is calculated to be deliberately bland and played at low volume, so that you can focus on your tasks at hand and so that it is not intrusive.

Problem is, the moment you think about the music, it annoys the HELL out of you!

It is often mistaken for easy listening, smooth jazz, or MOR, but Gil Trythall will show you that there is no comparison. None.

For the first example, Floyd Cramer made a very mellow tune called “Last Date”. Some may say that it was so mellow it was Muzak. But our hero Gil Trythall sets us straight:

Gil Trythall plays Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date”
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For the second example, Gil Trythall tries his hand at the Glen Campbell classic “Gentle On My Mind”:

Gentle On My Mind
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Now it seems that whatever Gil attempts, it all ends up sounding like the same anaesthetic music, all the time. And of course, that is the point of Muzak. Well, this ought to wake you up:

Gil takes a hatchet to plays Foggy Mountain Breakdown
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“Attention K-Mart Shoppers!” indeed. And for the record, AMG reports that there was since another release of country moog by Trythall called “Nashville Gold”, with the year being unspecified. Also, This present LP (“Country Moog”) has since been released on CD, in 2003 on the Vivid Sound label.

Crappy Album Covers #26 — Phallic symbols

Phallic symbols, their effects, and other weirdness…

Sigmund Freud once was quoted as saying “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” After inventing the idea of phallic symbols, and knowing how much he loved to smoke cigars, there are people who would have disagreed with Freud’s veiled attempt to shield the psychological dimensions of his own smoking habit from public scrutiny. Cigarettes are no different in their role as phallic symbols.

First, I have got to tell you about Tex Williams. You are looking at the album cover for the biggest hit of his career. “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (that Cigarette) was a #1 hit on billboard for six weeks in 1947, and was the first million-seller for Capitol Records.

Despite the uber-cheesy look of the album cover, it seems that the song is actually an anti-smoking song, but with a certain postwar morbid sense of humor. Scroll down for the You-Tube video (black-and-white, of course).

Pioneer flautist Herbie Mann is a big name in Jazz circles. He helped get Chick Corea’s career started by having him play with a few of his ensembles. He has enjoyed quite a range of crossover success, with 25 of his jazz albums entering the top 200 pop charts.

The album cover suggests that he has a talent with more than one kind of flute.

… Just ask Herbie’s taxi driver. He saw everything. He should have first suspected something was up when he picked up Herbie and his GF in a swanky bar in Lower Manhattan, and then they asked to be driven to an obscure Pizza Parlour in Hempstead (Long Island), taking only the side streets.

After about an hour he had to ask Herbie and his lady friend to tone it down a bit because he had to concentrate on driving the car. However it must be said that talent with playing the flute is really a talent the partner has, and not of the possessor of such a flute.

That taxi driver has quite a smirk on his face…

Jerry Williams, Jr., known to his adoring fans as “Swamp Dogg”, is a soul musician, and has been putting out such music since the 1970s. He has been making records under various monacres since 1954, and has his present name since the 1970s. He continues to make records to this date.

“Rat On!” is Mr. Dogg’s second LP, released in 1971. Swamp Dogg has commented on the relatively recent trend by rap singers to go for names like “Snoop Doggy Dogg”, “The Doggs”, and “The Dogg Pound”. He seems unsure that he had any influence on those musicians.

Tex Williams: Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!

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Crappy Album Covers #25 — Da Doktor's In Da House

This album was only released in England in 1976, by a Pop/Country musician from Missouri named Jimmy Payne.

Payne wrote hits for the likes of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap (Remember “Woman, Woman”?), Charlie Pride, Glen Campbell, and Tammy Wynette, among others.

He still lives with his wife in Nashville, and he apparently is still recording music. His last CD was released in 2003.

I now have it on good authority that this album was a charity effort. He gave a concert to some high-risk psychiatric patients at Broadmoor, was well received, and gave a chunk of his album proceeds to the cause of mentally handicapped children in England. You would likely be aware that eight years earlier, Johnny Cash had released his album “Live at Folsom Prison”. Payne made his album in the same spirit as Cash. If you want slightly more info, scroll down.

Broadmoor is one of two high-security psychiatric hospitals in England. Broadmoor is located in Crowthorne, just west of London. “The other” famous psychiatric hospital in London, Bedlam, no longer serves high-security cliients, and I hear they no longer charge admission.

This is the kind of needle used to deliver strong anaesthetic, although I’ve seen something like this used to inject basting juice into the meat of turkeys as they cook.

The visual message here is likely to be that if the syringe doesn’t get you, the music will.

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Somethin’ Smith and The Redheads were a vocal group that had their heyday in the 1950s with the song “It’s a Sin To Tell a Lie” (#7 on Billboard), off the album “Crazy People”.

And here they are checking in for their treatment. The expressions on the faces of the nurses tell me they have been bad, bad, bad, naughty, naughty boys, and therefore require some special treatment. Very special treatment. The kind of treatment that involves the three of them being tied to a bench in straitjackets.

As part of your treatment, you are supposed to let the nurses muss up your hair.

Don’t ask me what the flagpole is about.

I would imagine that Rae Bourbon (was Ray Bourbon) (1892-1971), who died in prison on charges of murder, has a few stories to tell besides his operation.

Bourbon’s operation was the first sex change operation performed in North America. Newspapers told of the Mexican operation in 1956. Before that, he was a female impersonator, and had appeared in movies with Mae West.