Crappy Album Covers #30 — RAP! ZAP! POW! BOOM!

With Just-Ice’s 1986 album “Back to the Old School”, we now see who the initial artistic influence was behind the designing of the album covers for the Putumayo collection. All a cover artist would need to do is remove the graffiti and a few of the logos, put smiles on everyone’s faces, and you now have the basic artistic elements for a sterilized, dumbed-down Putumayo album cover. Re-title it something like “Putumayo goes to The Bronx”, and the joke is perfect.

First released in 1986 and re-released in 2005, this CD has been the artistic force behind what is, in the album’s contents, a major influential work in the history of hip-hop music. It is said that by today’s standards, the music is a bit tame, but it wasn’t tame in its day. It’s just that, yeah, the cover could have used some work.

Ode to Devastatin’ Dave by Strider

I give my all for my fans
across the entire nation
From my glasses to my pants
which cut my circulation.
My mullet and my ‘stache
are the marks of a white rapper
Who has to sell more
or my career goes down the crapper.

“Zip Zap Rap”
in the colours of my desk jet
CMYK
are the colours you obey! Sucka!

You know, if it were not for people like Devastatin’ Dave The Turntable Slave (who, by the way, looks like a dead ringer for Weird Al), there would be no fun in making these entries. Look at the color scheme. Yes, they really are the four basic inkjet colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. I would suppose that these must be the colours most recognised and feared by the peeps in his ‘hood!

Crappy Album Covers #29 — More Celebrities

This is a curious album, since Jimmy Carter is talked about, and does not appear on this 1977 album.

Preview Records is a company that keeps track of the history and lore of the song-poem industry. It is not known which company put this out, but it seems to be MSR Records of Hollywood (now defunct).

The song-poem industry is borne of all those tabloid ads you might have seen in the back pages among all those other word ads which Preview aptly refers to as “the human misery ghetto”. They are quite frank in their description of this industry. To quote spokesperson and historian Phil Milstein:

Song-poem music is a scam in which innocent people are deceived into paying to have a poem or song lyric they’ve written set to a tune and recorded. Although the song-poem company suggests in its promotional literature that it will support the finished recording, and that it therefore has a chance to become a smash hit, in reality once the record is completed and returned to the customer it is quickly forgotten about, in favor of the location and seduction of new victims.

Song-poem companies profit by doing volume business, and so must create a literal factory of music, with the songs being shuttled from melody-writing to fabrication on an assembly-line basis. It is the aesthetic clashes between the work of the amateur and often graceless lyricists and that of the professional studio personnel forced to work too hastily that sparks song-poem music’s unique pleasures. The genre has a long and colorful history, much of which is imparted throughout this website.

It turns out that in 1998, Jimmy Carter was in the studio of Boston’s NPR radio station WBUR-FM when the DJ played a song off of this album and piped the off-air feed into the studio Carter was sitting in. He reportedly liked the song, but said he had never heard it before.

Well, that is all the goofy “Democrat” covers I could find. If you have any suggestions, please send them along.

Now, to be fair, to be utterly fair and on the level … this John Wayne album cover doesn’t really qualify as crappy. Look at the depiction: Confederate-era hat, American flag, cowboy clothes. This is not crappy, because this is exactly what we expect to see from John Wayne.

It is with the same attitude that I refuse to spotlight almost all heavy metal album covers. There are just some albums that we expect will suck, and the fact that they suck is the very thing that makes people buy them.

I would rather that the tastelessness be un-intended, and the artists be serious and earnest. That, my friends, is a formula for disaster.

This disaster is a case in point.

In recent years (that is, some time since the 90s), I recall Kreskin offering a reward of 10,000 dollars to anyone who can prove the existence of a subconscious. The subconscious, it is thought, should be revealed by hypnosis. Kreskin swore up and down that all that was utter hogwash. Yet, here is a depiction of Kreskin supposedly putting the person in front of him under a hypnotic trance. And what does hypnosis have to do with ESP?

Known to his parents as George Joseph Kresge, Jr., The Amazing KreskinĀ  maintains his own blog and sells DVDs and other stuff. The website seems to keep the kitch factor to a minimum, to his credit.