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Crappy Album Covers #49 — I walk the line

The prison thing that the late Johnny Cash had going on was quite a cash cow for him. And so it was too for other singers like Porter Wagoner.  There must have been quite a spate of prison records during that period, because so many of them have crappy album covers.

Not that the intention is necessarily to ride on their coattails. Take this album here. This was produced by Folkways, and was meant as a field recording for a folklore society in Louisiana.

It is likely that it is intended to be the social record of the work songs of prisoners in that prison in that period.

Anthropologists would be sent to Angola prison located on the Mississippi River, also near the Mississippi border. The prison was a former plantation whose slaves came from Angola, a country on the African continent.

Ronnie Neuman appears to have been (and continues to be) a popular jazz musician, since I see him prominently on many search engines. However, I have learned in my researches that this does not necessarily where buy viagra in us mean that there is actually any information about Mr. Neuman.

Little information is known about Neuman or his album “A Little Bit of Latin and a Little Bit of Jazz”, recorded at a Minneapolis night club called The Padded Cell.

A wrestler I knew from Chapionship wrestling in my childhood, Sweet Daddy Siki looked unusual to me as a child because of his black skin and what appears to be blonde hair. He hails from Texas, but came to Toronto in 1961 to tour in wrestling. Despite his name, he played the villain in some of his wrestling matches.

Here, Mr. Siki is doing something more villainous than taking a piece of wood and beating his opponent with it. Here, he goes outside of his talents in wrestling to sing you a song. And to make it worse, a country and western song (OK, I hate country music, so sue me). He is said to “square off” with Country Music. My bet is that Country Music loses.

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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.

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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.

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The TI-Inspire is not what it is cracked up to be

84_pad_max192wThis is the TI-Nspire, the calculator that promises to foment lazier minds in students than ever before. I teach math, and I look at all these new calculators with jaundiced eye. Ever see the new caclulators these days (non-graphing) which can come up with exact answers to sum and difference functions of trig angles? This is stuff I want my students to do. Those calculators are banned from tests in our school.

But, OK, I’ll pull in my horns for the moment. This next-generation calculator, which has an interchangeable keyboard so it can also emulate a TI-84+, does most of the TI-84 operations with better graphics, but with more menus and steps, with some new features thrown in.

But there is missing stuff in the Inspire which the TI-84 makes obvious. For one thing, there is no “startup” program. That seems trite, but it is not. In a school setting, a startup program can put an image on the screen which can identify the calculator number and the school name. It is hard to change or erase, which makes it a good addition to a physical marking on the calculator (an etched serial number on the case, for example) to identify the calculator and keep easy track in case a student may carry one of these things and it gets mixed up (this happens sometimes). My personal graphing calculators can do this (TI-84+ and TI-83+), all except the TI-Nspire. The TI-84+ “personality” of the Nspire can do it, except that it flashes the image on for only a split second. It doesn’t wait for a keypress.

But what is more pressing is that the Nspire has no way (yet) to find the intersection of two graphs. The method I am using to find this, and the x-intercept does not seem like a surefire method, and does not seem as intuitive.

The programming language with the Inspire is more sophisticated than with that of the TI-84. It allows for user-defined functions, for example. But it does not have an “INPUT” command to my knowledge. The TI-84 has one, but not the Nspire. The NSpire has an I/O menu, and the only selection there is “DISP”, which is like BASIC’s PRINT command. Without a means for input from the keyboard, the programming functions are pretty useless, unless you want to call up one of their spreadsheets and fill things in manually. In the TI-84, I would be prompted for a number of different inputs and I would allow the calculator to figure out which row/column my input could go in. With the TI-84, I could program statistics commands, fill in tables, and do row/column calculations, all inside my program. I would often use the last row in the table after the program executed to give a bar chart of that data. This has been very useful to get a picture of class mark distributions, for example.

I have to amend what I have said earlier that there is no way to run the code. You can run the code in calculator mode, but without an INPUT statement, you need to pass parameters to it as if it were a function. Of course, I would guess the NSpire’s functions (which are new to the NSpire) work the same way, meaning there is probably little syntactic difference between calling functions versus programs in my view. I have written my first function and ran it in calculator mode, and it works as advertised. But no input.

So far, they are making customers wait for a long time before they put out these new features. And so far, I consider the lack of programmability make the NSpire less useful than the TI-84. The Nspire has been available to the mass market for about 2 years, and it looks like we are going to be made to wait a lot longer for features like these. What is the reason they put out a $200 product that is only half-finished in many areas? I purchased it expecting it to be at least as complete in itself as my other TI calculators. But I have come to the conclusion that it is still a work in progress.

For now, I am not shelving my TI84+ just yet, and am still doing most of my math on it. And for the record, I don’t feel totally ripped off. After all, they do update their operating system and allow us to update our calculators with new firmware upgrades. And some of those upgrades will change the way you do things before the firmware upgrade. Maybe one of these days, one of those changes will be the inclusion of an input statement, and the making of a more genuine programming language.

I attended a conference on the TI-NSpire recently, and one thing I heard teachers say is that kids pick up on the technology a lot faster than us. But of course, there is a motivator. The calculator just hands you the answers, which relieves the student of all the bother of having to think. Well, if you’re a kid who ought to be learning the concepts, that must feel REALLY motivating. Thinking is hard. Pushing buttons is easy. The kids that they had there helping us out at the conference were as stumped as I was when they were presented with my NSpire, having only worked on the CAS. Eventually, I got it to do most of the things we were doing. I hope they were being paid to be there. Looks like they were there as cheap, untrained labour.

At any rate, as for us teachers, we are really focusing on the concepts. My concern is whether this new gadget will deliver the concepts to them better than if I worked examples out by hand on the board. My focus is not on the calculator, it’s on the curriculum. We can change questions to make people think about what the calculator is doing and why, but we are moving away from doing the algebra. The question “why” is a good one, and I make sure I get people to think about things like “what does the log of a number give us?” and so on, every chance I get. But people always need to be drilled on algebra, all the time, every day. Letting a caclulator do this work for us can give the impression that it isn’t as important as it used to be. Algebra is important, even if you will never use it again, because it helps kids develop analytical skills needed in everyday life.

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Crappy Album Covers #46 — Fugly people

album-cover-crap-1_lurch_lp-cover-loverOK. I’m being unfair. Lurch was already ugly. We expect him to be ugly, and he plays the part. We watched the Addams Family series when we were kids because of all the ugly characters, and all of the strange ways that were totally unlike a normal family.

Ted Cassidy played a Frankenstein-like character called Lurch in the series the Addams Family, back in the days when color television was just starting. But we were lucky in our family. We still had a black-and-white TV, which is really the only proper way to watch the Addams Family.

In black-and-white, Morticia had cigarette-white skin and looked like death warmed over, for example. Color invites the danger of adding flesh tones, which ruins the “undead” effect, which I think lies at the heart of the whole Addams Family atmosphere they were trying to get across.

A Morticia that is more lifelike? A Fester that doesn’t look like he was carved out of soapstone? A Lurch that is not gray-faced, and that doesn’t look like he forgot to take his meds? What’s the point?

album-cover-crap-23_lp-cover-lover

It’s perfectly OK to love your mother, I suppose. Heino has taken this to its ultimate futility, it seems, with this offering, called “Liebe Mutter”, or “Dear Mother”, as I believe it is translated.

Heino has, like many albums I have here, have been a staple of crappy album cover blogs. But this time, rather than have widespread photoshopping of Heino or the rest of the album (which may well have really happened), a website called “faceinhole.com” has a concept where they provide a photo with the face already covered in “transparent” pixels so that you can plop any face you like  in place of folks like Heino.

So, my choice of face was that of George W. Bush. He has had his issues, but they may not have been principally maternal in nature. But what the hell…

gbush_liebemutter
Create your own FACEinHOLE

Yeah, I admit it’s a hack job. But that is kind of like Bush’s presidency.

The glasses weren’t pixeled out, so I had some time trying to fit Bush’s eyes inside the glasses.

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album-cover-crap-7_lp-cover-lover1Fred Emney (1900-1980) just wants you to buy his record then f**k off.

He was a British comedian, playing a gruff, fat bloke wearing a monacle, just as he is depicted here for his fans. As part of his act, he often played his own piano compositions.

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album-cover-crap-24_lp-cover-loverSome people you would rather see fully clothed.  Liz Lyons is a comedian, whom I would guess was into a bawdier kind of humour than normal. For 1975.

LPcoverlover.com reports that this 1975 album had reviews on the back cover which said things like: “When this kitten lays one on you, you know you’ve been laid…on” and “I laughed so hard I fell off my wife and broke my arm.”

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album-cover-crap-22_lp-cover-loverThis single by The Hendersons has been traced back to 1981.

Now, photoshop wasn’t created until the early 1990s. So, this cover came about due to good old-fashioned photo retouching of the kind that framed Oswald in the Kennedy assassination.

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Crappy Album Covers #45 — Teenagers

Teenagers are a difficult demographic to reach, unless you don’t know anything about them. If you know nothing about the demographic, then it does’t pose a difficulty for you. I know that’s kind of like saying that if you don’t know anything about painting a portrait, then slashing the brush in any direction or color at random poses no problem to the painter. It seems that way, with the covers below. If your album overtly suggests that “This album is for teenagers”, I will guarantee you teens won’t buy them. On the other hand, if you say this is “R-rated”, and contains cuss words and sexual suggestions that would put a blush on a two-dollar hooker (you know, like Rap), and that young people shouldn’t buy them at all, then they will fly off the shelves and teens would be the biggest part of the market.

album-cover-crap-19_bizarrerecords_comCase in point, this realistic portrait of teenagers having a good time. I bet you already knew they were listening to this very record, recorded by Bobby Krane and His Orchestra, and distributed by Bravo! Records.

Look! The young lady in the foreground is saying it too! — Bravo! Bravo! At least that looks like what she could be saying.

Look at the photo and indulge in the fantasy that there is still a world where young teen girls don’t dress like sluts; the guys stay straight and sober (by “straight” I meant drug-free, but I guess it could also be taken the other way) and don’t dress like plumber-butt pimps. And the guys even ask the girls “may I have this dance with you?”

And then there’s Tex Ritter. Tex Ritter? And that’s when I woke up.

album-cover-crap-20_bizarrerecords_comThe TOPS record label, which previously warned us about the world ending, are shown here producing records of “12 Top Hits” so you can party like it’s 1999, or more to the point, like it’s 1959.

You have to admit that the one thing that stands out most about this cover is that the lady who is dancing is wearing argyle socks. I thought there was a law passed by Joe McCarthy’s HUAC banning women from wearing argyle socks. It was supposed to be a guy thing. It totally clashes with the pink blouse.  If this is a fashion statement, then she should be arrested by the fashion police for bad fashion grammar.

Once again, the cover consists of the tamest teenagers you’ve never seen. And I don’t think they existed in 1959 either. Even in 1959, teens got drunk, and they had sex. Perhaps the only worthwhile thing that the photo realistically illustrates, is that in 1959, the guys didn’t have the bad taste to wear plumber-butt pants or hoodies, which would have made the chick in argyle look like Elizabeth Taylor (I mean Liz Taylor in 1959, not in 2008).

To anyone born after the 1960s: HUAC = “House Un-American Activities Committee“. It’s sort of like Homeland Security against commies and hippies.

album-cover-crap-18_lp-cover-loverThese seemingly adult-age folks may as well be adolescent, since they are depicted in the way their parents would approve. “I Love Music” was a sampler sent to radio stations across North America from Capitol Records back in 1958. The album cover gives every indication that the HUAC would have approved of this album. Going by the cover, for instance, it is obvious that these two folks are not planning the overthrow of the proletariat, and of taking over the means of production.

The artlessness of these depictions are a sure symptom of the McCarthy era. I recall when I began collecting old issues of Mad Magazine (digested in paperback form) going back to the 1950s, the most boring and least funny issues were during the period of 1958-1963. It couldn’t have been a good time to be a satirist.

And there was one more I forgot to add:
tammy_casual-slack-080726Yes, this 12″ LP of hits, which by the cover seems to treat teenagers as younger than they really are, may not have been headed for any kind of landmark success.

A toy doll with a toy record goes to a toy jukebox to pretend to play music on it. And, what’s left? You can only sing along to the music you are pretending to play.

I must say that much of the advertising I see today parallels the kind of mentality depicted on all of these albums in today’s blog. There is a certain advertising these days that points to a certain clientele, or a certain lifestyle as we would like to see it. But it is made to look artsy, so that you can’t accuse advertisers of appealing to people that don’t really exist. Instead, it can look naive, even idealistically so.  Sticking to album covers, the Putumayo Collection, discussed earlier, is an example of album covers that are like this.

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Crappy Album Covers #44 — Ye Are Used

If you click on the graphic, you will be sent to the page featuring this album, “Jesus Use Me” from The Faith Tones, from LP Cover Lover. The comments were so hilarious that I feel that I can’t add any original humour, except to say that it appears that they either are wearing wigs, or they have used up a truckload of hairspray. (OK, so that’s more of an observation and not exactly funny). The commonly-held suspicion that these are actually guys in drag has been bandied about so much in so many blogs, that I won’t add to that aspect of the discussion either. But I, along with thirty Helens agree, that they would not be out of place in a scene from Kids in the Hall.

In looking for information about these young ladies, who they are, where they are from and what they’re doing now, I came up empty-handed. However, I do believe I can make a blog regarding all the attempts to parody this album cover.

They have drawn comparisons to fellow crappy album cover makers “The Braillettes”. Except that The Braillettes have blindness as an excuse for bad hair. At any rate, a recent LP of “Jesus Use Me” has been rumored to have sold on E-Bay for $21.00. I see that as utterly exhorbitant.

Consider this blog entry to be the reverse of the “Joyce’s Head Pasted On Other People’s Bodies” post. Click on the graphic to go back to the original blog where these graphics originated.

In this post, it will be the heads of other people pasted on the Faith Tones’ Bodies. Sometimes they take liberties like they are doing here and not keep the hair. I would buy tramadol hydrochloride suppose it would not be Sarah Palin without the hair.

Once again, so much has been made out of Palin’s fanatical Christian views, ignorance about aspects of governing applying to the national scene, and her support of the gun lobby, and so on, that it is hard to add anything original, so I won’t. I think the picture says it all. I have to admit, however, it seems as though having Sarah replace the one in the middle is a surefire way to reduce hecklers and bring up ticket sales. Whether Sarah can actually sing is another matter. Note the similarity of my reasoning to our conventional reasoning about Palin in general: Sara is sure to get more people to vote Republican: whether she can govern — or even understand her role — is another matter.

Here is an attempt of three young ladies who go by the names of Becky, Lisa, and Emily to take a crack at fame and fortune by riding on the coattails of The Faith Tones.

Here, total respect was given to the trademark that makes the original Faith Tones famous — or rather not that famous: the hair. In photoshopping this photo, they were careful to preserve the hair.

I get the feeling that these ladies enjoy Jesus using them a bit more than is, uh, Christian.  The next album cover takes this idea to its ultimate futility.

Of course, pasting other people’s heads on their bodies is not the only possible modification to the album cover. You can also alter the title.

Just think of the possibilities of them praying for Jesus to bring along the Astroglide when he uses them. Just think of the possibilities….or not.

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Crappy Album Covers 43 — The International Language of Bad Taste I

For this part of our tour, we go to France and across the ocean to Mexico.

So, I know a bit of French. The Brothers Jacques (a literal translation of “les freres jacques”) consists of, as the cover would suggest, four members, much like The Brothers Gibb, except that these folks are less well known.

The Brothers Gibb were better known by the name “The Bee Gees”. So, by that metric, that would make The Brothers Jacques what … the Bee Jays?

Let’s not go there. But of course to state the obvious, “Frere Jacques” is also the name of a child’s French nursery rhyme. Unlike the Brothers Gibb, none of these guys are named Jacques.

These much-mustachioed mavens of vocal music have the quality of essentially a barbershop quartet. Except, they often parody classical pieces, or offer humour and satire along with the occasional sad song.

In Mexico, even the females can be one-eyed bandits.

I suppose that some guys get turned on by a sexy female holding a gun. I think she would be a whole lot sexier without the gun. Also, it would help matters if she took a hairpin and moved her hair away so we could see both eyes.

Information on this record or on Los Bandidos was hard to pin down. It seems as if it is a popular name for some recent punk rock bands.

There is some evidence that this album might actually be either Spanish or Brazilian. I just can identify some Spanish words, and have taken the mention of bandits to be an attempt to play on a Mexican stereotype.

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Crappy Album Covers #42 — Sucking out loud

Thanks to some folks like Bunk Strutts, I have access to some more awful album covers to comment on. Thing is, I will have to make my postings infrequent. Say about once per week. All of my crappy album posts are still listed under the tag “Crappy Album Covers” so you can have a megadose of crappy album commentary and analysis.

First, I will do a couple of albums from my own downloaded collection from all over the ‘net.

Don Costa (1925-1983) did Jazz and pop, playing lead guitar. He produced records for Little Anthony and the Imperials and Frank Sinatra.

Let’s see… If I wanted to break a sublease, and if I didn’t like my landlord, what would I do? Hmmm… Would I possibly invite 500 of my best friends and play my music as loudly and as obnoxiously as I possibly could? I think then that my landlord would show up just as that lady in the rear of the photo is doing, be properly disgusted with us, and kick us out. Maybe even bring a cop along in the process to get us rapped for disturbing the peace.

The album consists of songs that would have made an older generation sing, out of tune, at the top of their lungs (By the Light of the Silvery Moon is an example). In this album they reportedly provide perfect models of such behaviour.

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Perhaps the landlord could have fought back and played this album of a dog barking at top volume and that may have scared at least some of them.

Grr-r-records is your label of top quality barking, yelping and growling that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

Just be careful and don’t play it at 45 or 78 RPM. You’ll get a chihuaua instead, and it won’t sound nearly so intimidating.

I get the feeling that the best this record can do is tell the burglar where you have the home theatre placed.

But you know, if you have one of those really old turntables, you could play it at 16 RPM and you can get a deep-throated grizzly bear or lion sound. Now, we’re talking scary.

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A Tale of Two Joes (Joe Sixpack and Joe Plumber)

It was the best of Joes, it was the worst of Joes; it was the age of connectedness, it was the age of alienation; it was the moment of truth, it was the moment of lies; we were shown the light, we were all kept in the dark; it was the dawn of Change, it was the twilight of monotony; we had everything to gain, we had everything to lose; we were taking the highway to Heaven to listen to Elvis, we were taking the highway to hell to listen to AC-DC.

— Chuck Dickens (I had to get that out of my system)! This was meant as a joke and does not confer a preference for the greater works of Elvis Presley on my part. And to put the Elvis fans to rest, I am also not a fan of either the greater or lesser works of AC-DC.

I have heard on the net about people commenting that Joe Sixpack and Joe Plumber have no place in political discourse. Joe Sixpack would likely desire intelligent discourse with a sober Palin maybe after chugging a sixpack or two. Then, sufficiently inebriated, would then proceed to have what would seem to the inebriated mind an intelligent discourse with Palin. This is also how a Joe turns a dog into a fox.

Joe Plumber, unlike Joe Sixpack, is not fictitious. He is properly named “Joe The Plumber”, and was first reported talking policy with Obama. Joe Sixpack looked like a hard-working guy and the press has been all over him. It is as if they, after looking strenuously across America for an everyday person to talk to, they found Joe The Plumber, who is just a common hard-working guy grossing about a quarter million per year, as he told Obama. In whose universe is someone like this an “ordinary American?” Joe The Plumber does not exist in the sense that the media is fabricating the narrative, anymore than Joe Sixpack would exist anywhere, at any time.

We all await a successor to George Bush The Lesser.

The “real” Joe Sixpack weighs in, with the truth behind the hoopla:

And, yet another Joe, some running mate of Obama’s who goes by the name of Joe Biden in this video, is said to “rip apart” McCain and Palin. All sensationalism aside, Joe Biden is simply telling it like it is.

[media id=43 width=400 height=300]

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Crappy Album Covers #41 — Jackdaws II

And that’s all I have, folks! I have to take a break to prepare for work when September starts, and I will be taking a few days off of posting. I will likely fall back into my infrequent mode of posting as I have done in the past, since my work absorbs most of my time.

But it was enjoyable, and your response in terms of comments and hits to my site have been, in terms of my own experience, tremendous. Since I have started this series in the last week of July, I received more hits than in all of the months since February when I started my blog.

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Crappy Album Covers #40 — Jackdaws I

I refer to anything I could not put into any specific category as a “Jackdaw”. I am aware that jackdaws are also a species of bird (C. monedula), but I have heard them use a lot by libraries to refer to uncategorizable books, and on the other end of the spectrum, primary source documents. In modern usage I see that the word “jackdaw” is used by some libraries to describe or give a name to their how to buy viagra in usa search engines.

We’re only down to a few crappy album covers, which I either felt little inspiration to comment on, or were just pushed aside in the search for an album cover that suited the theme of the day. That is not to say that these are obscure. Some are, but others have remained as common fodder by crappy album cover web pages all over the net, just as was the case in previous posts.

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Crappy Album Covers #39 — Still More Gays

Paddy Roberts, whom allmusic.com claims is in the Rock genre, released this album in the mid-60s, probably the last decade where “gay” only meant “happy”. Likely not an album for queers. Not even queer dogs.In 2006, this album was re-released on CD, bundled with another album, “Funny World”. No detailed information on Paddy Roberts could be found anywhere.
Sticking to the 1960s, this was apparently one of a series of queer parody albums consisting of males singing in effeminate voices. These were released by the Camp Records label, and were advertised in a gay magazine called Vagabond in 1965. J. D. Doyle tells the whole sordid tale, at great lengt (with MP3s).You know this album will not be complimentary toward gays when you notice all of the stereotypes are in the artwork, along with the choice of color. This label had produced songs with titles like “I’d Rather Fight Than Swish”, “Florence of Arabia” and “London Derriere”. 

But it has variously been called a “Queer stag” album, and other things. Nearly all of the credits are pseudonyms, and one name stands out: Rodney Dangerfield. That doesn’t sound like a pseudonym.The rest, it is claimed, are famous people, but being the mid-60s, no-one would reveal their names publically.

However, Doyle is doubtful that it is the same Rodney Dangerfield as that fellow Crappy Album Cover maker that got “No Respect”.

Jose Angel’s how to buy tramadol online album “Madre Soy Cristiano Homosexual” translates (I think) to “Mother, I am a Christian Homosexual.” The date of release is unknown. Here is an MP3 of the title track.By all accounts, this is a story of a man who comes out to his mother, that he is a gay Christian. Imagine this confession takes place today. Of course the mother probably flips out. Not over being gay, but over being one of them “Christians”. With all those “Christian Right” people ruining the United States, how dare he come into the house and disgrace the family that he now cavorts with a band of greed-obsessed Jesus freaks? 

This photo was taken after Mother disowned him from the family inheritance, and told him he is no longer welcome in their house until he kicks this Christian habit. Maybe living on his own would be good for him.

This is another Jackdaw. I have nowhere else to place the retro Swedish group Larz Kristerz (this link is in Swedish only). So, they are in this post for lack of a better place.It would appear that all of their albums are called “Stuffparty”, their titles differing only by the sequel number. 

They seem to have the 70s kitsch mastered. Probably a little too well, right down to the tasteless hairdos.

I tried to get Google to translate “Stuffparty”, from Swedish, but to no avail.

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Crappy Album Covers #38 — Sports people with something to sing about

Evel Knievel (1938 – 2007) needs no introduction. Motorcycle daredevil and religious convert, Robert Craig Knievel was also a reader of Napoleon Hill, a fellow crappy album maker, mentioned in an earlier posting. Wikipedia cites Hill’s book, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude as one of Knievel’s influences through life.

No daredevil has suffered more broken bones than Evel. The Guiness Book of World Records says that he had suffered 433 broken bones in his lifetime. He was a man who truly suffered for his art so that we may be entertained.

So, what the f**k was he doing making records? “Oh yeah, and before I jump, I’d like to sing you a song off my new album”. That would have raised ticket prices.

Muhammad Ali, originally Cassius Marcellus Clay, also needs no introduction from me. And here is Mr. Ali fighting Mr. Tooth Decay (with two album designs).

Now I only know one way to fight Mr. Tooth Decay that involves boxing, usually involving the loss of said Mr. Teeth. And I am sure that Mr. Ali has set a good example for us all by brushing his teeth and flossing.

There are some bars that try to kick out their clients near closing time by totally annoying them. But of course it backfires when the bartender discovers that everyone seems to know the Bird Dance, and it only increases the partying atmosphere. Did you ever wonder where they got that recording?

Well, wonder no more. This 1981 recording by the Polka players extraordinaire, The Emeralds, was a common example of what was chosen. And it was on the K-Tel label, so you know you have the guarantee of cheesiness of the highest standard possible. And the public thought so too. This version of the bird dance is the one that is most popular and recognizable in bars and pubs in North America. It has sold several million copies since it was first released in ’81. There are 139 other versions of this song (according to Wikipedia) that had not fared so well. Even versions by Walt Disney Records have flopped. But not so for K-Tel. This album cover has the standard lack of thought and artlessness that we expect from K-Tel. But don’t be fooled: this album was a goldmine, and K-Tel gets the last laugh.

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Crappy Album Covers 37 — Self-help for the helpless

The first time I saw this album cover by Jimmy Jenson, I thought it was some kind of self-help manual on the care and maintenance of your household Swede. First and foremost, is the obvious crisis depicted on the album cover. There are nine chilren there, and I would imagine that either she is going to need her tubes tied, or he is going to need a vasectomy. The hatchet and the medical kit bag (which might just be a bottle of scotch) appear to suggest the manner by which this procedure is to be carried out.

But alas, there is no help in this album about living with your resident Swede. Jimmy Jenson is a singer who has had a number of albums in English.

Problem is, his English is apparently not very good. “Your” shouldn’t have an apostrophe. If the apostrophe were placed properly, the contracted “you’re” expands to “you are”, making the title into “Understand You Are Swede”. I think Jimbo meant to title it “Understand Your Swede.” It would appear as though he sings folk tunes, and has sung enough of them to produce three “Greatest Hits” compilations.

Napoleon Hill, this time, really was a self-help expert from way back, in the same league as Andrew Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale.

When I was growing up, I have seen more of these little statuettes in more bathrooms of more homes than I care to mention. All variations of these statues invariably had some smart-alecky message carved into the bottom part. Such as: “Near this point is where the most important decisions are made.” or the poem that begins “Here I sit broken-hearted …”.

Nowadays we are suspcious of these kinds of records. And since no one really believes you can become anything you can conceive of, nowadays we attach it to mysticism and call it “The Secret”, and blame our bad luck on bad thoughts which bring on bad energy. And once they start bringing in String Theory and theories on atomic energy, you know it is time to find something else to read (or watch if you got the DVD).

Now how do you like this…? Stop smoking without using your willpower…? It is a misinterpretation of the concept of willpower.

We need a will to live. There must be at least that. It is records like these that have contributed to a consciousness among the public that we can overcome any obstacle without the need for concentrated effort or mental exertion. This “easy way out” mentality has ruined a lot of lives and have contributed to increasing hopelessness and despair among people who sincerely wish to stop smoking, or to just give up bad habits in general.

All bad habits require determination and effort to break. Even the modern solution of “going on the patch” is only 7% effective without an accompanying willpower after you stop using the patch.

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Crappy Album Covers #36 — Space, Religion, and Getting Down

Laverne Tripp is the sole proprietor of Laverne Tripp Ministries.

He preaches. He sings. Oh, does he sing! To date he has released 78 full-length albums of his singing.

Pardon the pun, but I find the cover kind of, …, well, … trippy. It plays with your mind, in a way.

It also looks like he’s falling. I hardly feel the impression of being “saved” or being “in God’s presence.” I don’t know if it was one of those ’70s attempts to bring God and religion into the Space Age.

Allmusic.com does not list a single one of his 80 or so albums, and does not mention anything about him. Surely, this is because of  the work of Satan.

Tripp still goes on tour around the Southeastern US, and has his own television program on various religious networks and affiliates.

This album is closer to the 1973 listing of the personnel playing in the Jazz group The Stellar Unit. This is either their website, or a fan’s shrine page. I can’t tell.

I think the story kind of goes like this: They were playing in local pizza parlours in Houston, when some guy said, “they sure sound like a stellar unit”.

Curtis Eugene Keen is depicted here with his two marionettes — oh, no, hold on — they’re for real. They are Joe Stroud and Neil Hecht. Their latest lineup adds a female — Peggy Kaye, playing the banjo.

So, we have a trumpet, keyboard, fiddle, trombone, banjo as possible instruments, along with two vocalists (Keen also sings). They play various jazz standardsin the southern US. I am not aware of them being played elsewhere. In fact, I am not aware of any other albums by them.

This 8×10 autographed photo of The Stellar Unit was listed on E-Bay for $3.99. “Shipping and Handling” (whatever that means for an autographed photo) brings the cost up to 10 bucks. I think the seller just wants ten bucks.

I would suppose that they are not sufficiently obscure enough for their paraphanelia to garner high prices.

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This next offering is from a supposed Elton John imitator named Dwayne Smith.

It is hard to get the feeling that you are going to make this album the cornerstone of your dance party with a title like “Get Directly Down”.

It is not known who he is or what he does these days. He could get confused with Jazz bassist Dwayne “Smitty” Smith, until you compare the photos.

Dwayne will play weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.

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Crappy Album Covers #35 — Love, Peace, and Good Bodies

This is Cherone, and the cover could have easily been passed over at the record store by you, because it contains, well, nothing all that special. 

Yes, I know that it contains the requisite semi-nude female required by marketers, yes the lights are low and it looks intimate. However, there is a problem here in that there is nothing really distinctive about the album. The best I can say is that, for the most part, it is inoffensive.

When you want to get to know what makes someone tick, like say, your wife or husband, for instance … I don’t think that you mean that you will skin them alive and cut out their guts. 

But I take it that this is an educational record. John Burstein plays Slim Goodbody, the Superhero of health. He appears to be a Children’s educator and entertainer. He would tour around New York City, probably scaring kids with his costume. But he was given a contract by PBS to host the program “Inside Story” in the early 1980s, which this LP is named after. He currently tours and runs his own website.

Happy Louie, Julcia and the Boys put out this album called “Lots of Love and Peace”. 

I have to say that while Love and Peace are universal and should not be hoarded and be the social message for only certain groups, it still looks dumb, since it is strongly identified with the hippie generation of the 60s and early 70s.

Anything is likely, but all things being equal, do you see, even mentally, any of these people smoking pot? Are they the type that would tune in, turn on and drop out?

Now we are going from phony to insular. It is nice that the Murk Family will provide themselves to society as the model for a “Love for All Seasons”. 

It is difficult to write about families pulling together and providing a network of love and support. Most attempts I have listened to seem to always come out forced and hollow. But I think that is what they’re getting at.

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Crappy Album Covers #34 — Celebrities doing WHAT?

Ethel Merman (1908-1984), born Ethel Agnes Zimmerman, had a career that went all the way back to the days of Vaudeville. Her first big-time performances, in fact, were on Broadway in 1930. By the time she left Broadway in 1959, she was already a show biz veteran. She appeared in movie musicals with Bing Crosby. She cut her teeth singing the tunes of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. She had an operatic voice that could project to the back rows of a large theater without the need of a microphone, nailing each and every note with precision.

And, sadly, it is in this context that five years before she died, the septuagenarian dropped this bombshell of an album on the public: “The Ethel Merman Disco Album.” Here, Ethel sings some of her all-time Broadway smash hits, set to a Disco beat. Imagine getting down and funky to: “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, or George and Ira Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm”. Or Cole Porter’s “I Get A Kick Out of You”. It is Disco ad absurdum, sung by your grandma.

Disco did not live long past the 1979 release date of this record. It was pretty much the final nail in Disco’s coffin. Thank you, Ethel. Thank you. Thank you.

I know that no one asked for this, but here is a comparison between the original “There’s no Business Like Show Business” and the disco version:

Original:

[media id=75 width=400 height=300]

Disco Version:

[media id=76 width=400 height=300]

Merman promotes her album on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson:

[media id=77 width=400 height=300]

There are Broadway divas into disco, and there are comedians that are into Rap. Rodney Dangerfield (1921-2004) is known best for his “No Respect” standup sketch.

Not many comedians who get “no respect” get their trademark paraphenalia (a white shirt and red tie in this case) enshrined at the Smithsonian Institute.

This 1983 album, “Rappin’ Rodney” was the followup to his “No Respect” album. This album was released to lukewarm reviews. His rap parody is clueless in hindsight, but in its day it might have fetched him a few laughs.

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Crappy Album Covers #33 — More Gays and Lesbians

I had promised that I would feature lesbians at some point. But portraying lesbians is way more difficult. In our culture, there are two kinds of lesbians that seem to strike a strong chord in the public consciousness. One is the depiction of really nice looking women with perfect complexions, hairdos, and body build, getting off on each other. This has been known in feminist literature as “the lesbian of male fantasy”. These are the lesbians that are depicted in porn, mostly, underscoring that up until now it has been OK to depict lesbians in certain contexts, so long as men are the ones depicting them, for the entertainment of male audiences.

Then, there are the lesbians that actually exist. That’s a whole other shooting match, and is a horribly complex topic, and it is why lesbians are more difficult to depict in an honest way. There are the Indigo Girls, and singers such as k. d. lang and Melissa Ethridge. There is the actress and talkshow host Ellen Degeneres. All of these celebrities look, well… not too glamourous, and, look, well, … kinda normal. Not much kitch factor there, and not many crappy album covers will come out of pictures of folks like these. That’s why hardly any are listed. But I’ll try.

I’m sorry…. I can’t look at this cover without laughing. I am sure Alix won’t appreciate it. This is Alix Dobkin and her 1975 album “Living With Lesbians”, featuring the Lesbian Power Authority. It is likely the musical answer to the following old joke:

Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: That’s not funny.

So, you see, you don’t look for kitsch like you do for gays. You look for women who take themselves WAAAAAAY too seriously. To the point where it would seem that they and their fans are the only ones not in on the joke. But let’s just say that, as stated in the first paragraph, there is a case that can be made for not being overly happy with the male gender.

Alix Dobkin was a pioneer in the area of lesbian songwriting and among the first to advocate for “women-only” space. She has promoted women’s rights and was out of the closet in the mid-60s, decades before it became fashionable and regarded as relatively normal. Back then, homosexuality was still regarded as a mental illness, and it was not declassified by the APA until 1973.

Oranges. They’re good for you. This 1977 anthology of lesbian songs and poems, is called “Lesbian Concentrate: A Lesbianthology of Songs and Poems.”

A bit corny, but in 1977, this is a groundbreaking work. This is the first various artists lesbian-only compilation in music history, to anyone’s knowledge, recorded on the Olivia label of Los Angeles.

Here is a link to enough info on this LP that will beat this topic to death. You also get a long list of Lesbian and feminist organisations. You get lyrics and pictures of all the performers, too.

The record was recorded with female engineers in a 16-track studio built only by women, with women-only performers.

album-cover-crap-50_thriftstoreart_comThis is another Alix Dobkin record, from 1973. I placed it here because I found it on another crappy album list, but this one actually borders on not being crappy.

It’s artsy, it gets the point across, and is not nearly as in-your face as the above album cover.

I believe there is a recent CD compilation where “Lavender” is combined with “Living” to make both albums in a single package, with a total redesigning of both covers. That would make it the third redesigning of both album covers that I have seen.

For those interested in reading more about Alix Dobkin, I provide you with this link.

These, unfortunately, are all the crappy lesbian covers I have. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment. I am sure lesbians are as capable as any male (gay or not) to make a crappy album cover. But the results so far have been disappointing. I would urge those folks to get on the ball.

This was Fireballet’s second album, released in 1976, called “Two, Two”. These guys were supposed to be contenders for the top of the Classical Rock genre supposedly in the league of such groups as Emerson, Lake and Palmer, King Crimson and Yes.

Fireballet was only known for their first album, “Night on Bald Mountain”. With this second album, they trivialise both themselves and  their musical efforts, both with the cover, and reportedly, the music on the album.

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Crappy Album Covers #32 — Gays and Lesbians

Kevin Rowland is actually a very good musician. His first solo album put out in 1988, “The Wanderer” is seen as a great, and highly accessible album from this former front man for Dexys Midnight Runners.

This album, released 11 years later, was panned by critics and was a general let-down. For one thing, the album contains all cover versons.

To be fair, this album was released after a bankruptcy and a long battle with drug addiction. He is probably still having “issues” when this photo was taken. He doesn’t look good in drag.

It is my understanding that Rowland has not relased a recording of a solo effort since.

I am as open-minded as anyone. I don’t mind depictions of homosexual romance. Like all pictures that exist, there are good depictions and bad depictions.

And, oh yeah, I forgot. The unintended depictions. Here are The Ministers Quartet, and their album “Let Me Touch Him”. It all started when Ron touched Larry. Then Doug touched Jerry. Then the photograher grew impatient and told them to behave. They all then all tried to pose innocently like nothing happened. This photo resulted.

The Minister’s Quartet hail from Indiana, and their faith has a fundamentalist bent. They still exist, with a few obvious personnel changes.

Click here if you want to sample their sound. Damn good harmony.

As if The Village People couldn’t ramp up the homo kitsch factor any more than they already have, here are those natives of Greenwich Village once again with a new look, way more makeup, and more exposed chest hair, with their album Renaissance. This 1981 album (the pink one) was a bad concept both with the cover art and the music inside it.

http://image.allmusic.com/00/amg/cov200/drf400/f400/f40045bm0s5.jpgThis (blue) album cover was a redesign of a 1998 Polygram CD re-release. I like this one better. Way more relaxed. It was the version of the cover that allmusic.com chose to display.

Unfortunately, it is still the same second-rate music inside. Much of their misrfortunes began with their involvement in the film “Can’t Stop The Music”, which not only bombed, it is the winner of two 1981 “Razzie” awards for Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay. They were nominated by the Razzies in 5 other categories. In addition, they were nominated as one of 5 movies classified as the worst musical in the past 25 years (along with Xanadu and Spice World). That was won by the box office bomber “From Justin to Kelly”.

Knowing a good cashing-in opportunity when they see it, the members of Orleans decide they are going to out-gay the Village People (when they were still viable) with this 1976 offering, “Waking and Dreaming”, by taking off all their clothes. The photographer, the same one that photographed The Minsters’ Quartet (see above), told them to cover their weenies. They started to cover each other’s weenies (and one of them asked “What’s a weenie?”), so he just said “never mind” and as the guy in the middle was explaining what a weenie was, the photographer took a  shot above the waist. That left the top half of the photo empty, so that the designers filled it with a large “Orleans” logo.

The saving grace of this album, this time, is inside the covers (uhh.., the album covers). It contains one of the biggest hits of their career, and one of my personal favourites, “Still The One”, and is recognised as a fairly strong album generally, establishing Orleans as soft rock musicians of the first order.

Lesbians will be appearing in a separate post.