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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.

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Crappy Album Covers #24 – More Overexposed Celebrities: A Gallery

The marketers of our dear friend Colonel Sanders, I believe, tried to pump his image for all it was worth. The fact that he is relaxing there with a whole bucket to himself is about as ridiculous as the title “Tijuana Picnic.” What on Earth has KFC got to do with Tijuana? Unless there is such a thing as “Tijuana, Kentucky”. Google Maps couldn’t locate such a thing.

It could be an indication that he has invaded our holiday destinations. “Hey, Marge! The potato salad tastes different here!” or “Hey, Marge! The cole slaw is a different shade of flourescent green in Tijuana!”

So, after invading our vacation spots, Col. Sanders decides to invade our sacred holidays as well. Is there no letting up? Is it possible to go through the day and not think about KFC for once?
OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! IT’S ED MCMAHON! GET MEEEEE OUTAAA HEEEEEERE!!!!!!!

It goes from bad to worse, folks!

It was bad enough that McMahon defamed himself as the figurehead for American Family Publishing. Was he really so hard up for extra cash back in the mid 60s that he had to put this record out? From 1962, he was the voice who introduced Johnny Carson (“Heeeeeeeere’s Johnny!”) on The Tonight Show, until Carson’s retirement.

Can these crappy albums possibly get worse? Scroll down if you dare…

Santa Claus communicates with ground control, as he is caught in a tropical storm on Christmas eve: “I can’t hold the sleigh! It’s breaking up! It’s breaking up! — ”

*Crash!!!!* (lots of sparks and flames) (Cut to an operating room).

Announcer, in a serious voice: “Santa Claus. Sleigh pilot. Jolly old fellow. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better, stronger, faster!”

(Cut to a sled pulled at warp speed by eight tiny bionic reindeer).

(Theme song)

And, just for nostalgia, I thoughtI would give you a YouTube feed of the Six Million Dollar Man Theme:

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[Video] Stuart, by The Dead Milkmen: A Video Gallery

This was a great song back when I was in university. Here, I have several people who took the song and created their own video with it.

There used to be some excellent photo montages of this vid that got pulled by YouTube. Even a recent montage I noticed had the soundtrack pulled on it.What I am now to make do with is this buy viagra online from mexico small crop of Stuart tunes, lip synchs and remakes. Hope YouTube doesn’t pull these.

(1) The original: [media id=64 width=400 height=24]

(2) A lip-synch by a fan: [media id=65 width=400 height=300]

(3) A cover by Christian Doyle: [media id=66 width=400 height=300]

(4) DM Live (excerpts): [media id=67 width=400 height=300]

… At least now I know what a burrow owl is.

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Crappy Album Covers #23 – Just Plain Old Bad Taste

Yes, it’s time for some old-fashioned run-of-the-mill examples of bad taste.

This example — the mullet — is so common, it is now cliche as an example of bad taste. No tangible information exists on the group Chicken Coup de Ville or this album.

I also don’t recognise any of the “smash hits” listed on the cover.

In some blogs, they are listed as Blues, in others they are listed as Country.

The only album listed on allmusic.com is “Drinkin’ Songs and Smokin’ Guitars”, released in 2000.

Now, I realise that this is another foreign-language LP, and no, I can’tell if the language is Spanish or Portuguese. But I believe that the language of bad taste is multinational, never lost in translation.

I could say that Norberto de Freitas blacked out his front teeth to go for that “prison bitch” look, but the owner of the LP could well have defaced the cover. But you can’t fake those wide eyes and frozen smile. And that unkempt mop of hair… Drugs! I knew it!

Hey, have a heart, guys. Buy the record. Proceeds are sure to go to get some false teeth for Mr. Freitas. Depending on how good it sells, he may even be able to afford to get a haircut and shave off that beard. Maybe he can also kick his habit.

Sorry, no actual information could be found on de Freitas on allmusic or anywhere else I looked.

This album, “By Request Only”, by “Ken”, is the male foil to Joyce in an earlier post. Who thinks that Ken Snyder and Joyce Drake should get together? Looks like Ken could have a “thing” for rose-wielding librarians.

They have a lot in common — they are both publically known by their first names, and they have bad taste in clothes. Ken could be a librarian, too, come to think of it. And both are something of a phenomenon for “worst” album covers across the Internet. And, like Joyce, the album is so rare (a copy went on E-Bay to a lucky owner for $150 recently), that it is likely a vanity pressing, with only a few copies ever made. It explains the bad choice of clothes and haircut.

According to this Ken Shrine Page (well, almost!), the genre is Christian (like Joyce). The polyester in his suit has been carbon-dated to 1976, and he still lives in Sheldon, Iowa.

If there isn’t a “Ken’s Head Pasted On Other People’s Bodies” contest somewhere on the ‘net, there should be.

Johnny Janot had his stage name changed later to Johnny Jano. I don’t think there is a difference in pronunciation.

This cover is definitely designed to either scare people away from Cajun music, or attract the wrong people for the wrong reasons. And yes, I know, if this was a woman, I wouldn’t be writing any of this. An exhibitionistic man is unacceptable for an album cover — yet, the depiction of exhibitionistic women are a staple of many album covers that are quite successful. I am not a sociologist, so I will not venture there. Or, maybe it’s just this exhibitionistic man…

Janot has been making music since around 1950. He is mentioned on some blogs, but usually referred to as “Jano”. At some point later, he seemed to have changed his name back to “Janot”, since there seems to be activity after 1996 in the Cajun genre under his name. The only problem is, this album is not mentioned, so it is difficult to put a date on it.

And finally! A video of our friend Ken and “Modern Religion”

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Crappy Album Covers #22 — Disappeared Without a Trace

There are enough albums by imitation and tribute groups to fill the Grand Canyon. Like all of the groups in this post, there is no information on King’s Road, or the album.

But has anyone ever had the bad luck of buying a record you thought was by someone you like, which ends up being done by a bunch of third-tier imitators? I haven’t had it happen to me yet, but I live in fear of it happening one day. Once you get a record like this, they are hard to get rid of. At least King’s Road had the decency to put their name in relatively large type. Other such albums are not so nice. In some cases, the artist’s name is almost microscopic compared to the artist whose songs they are playing.

This kind of cover makes me think. It makes me think, how can Lenny Dee play the organ and navigate a raft at the same time? But if I look closely, I can see that he is tethered to a boat in front, like the lady in the foreground. I wonder if they both get to jump a ramp?

No info on the record, but allmusic gives info on Lenny Dee. Dee was signed with Decca from about 1955 to 1970, so this album, “Down South”, falls in that range. As you can tell, he is an organist who played mostly standards in an easy listening format. It is likely that this record didn’t chart at all, and is the reason it isn’t listed.

It is rather amazing to see yet another woman with multiple arms (see installment #10). Where are they finding these women? What are they like in bed? Who tailors her shirt? How does she get up to put on her shirt in the morning? Do people stare at her in the bus?

Well, as long as they let her play with the drum kit, she doesn’t seem to mind.

It turns out that some information exists on drummer Dickie Harrell. He originally played in the ’50s for Gene Vincent’s rockabilly band The Blue Caps (remember the controversial song “Be bop-a-lula”?). “Drums and More Drums” was released in 1962, according to a fan site.

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Crappy Album Covers #21 — Celebrity Corner

All people who put out albums are celebrities. I am only talking about people who actually have no business making records.

Shaq O’Neal has been a superstar on the basketball court. On this offering, he exposes to us his skills as a rap singer. It was widely known that Shaq had modest talents in this area, yet he had inflicted upon us no less than five rap albums, extending all the way to 2001.

This is the cover of a single, (I Know I Got) Skillz off of his 1993 album “Shaq Diesel”.

A decade earlier, you may remember Tammy Faye and Jim Baaker, who had hosted the PTL ministries. PTL stands for “Praise the Lord!”. I recall how they came under fire for increasingly shady practices.

Tammy Faye, years before this, was actually quite attractive, and had shorter hair and a pound less makeup , closer to the population average for females. This is her in the early stages of her getting into this “makeup store casualty” chic. She seemed to have believed that makeup should be applied to the face no less than an inch thick.

Apart from the fact that she should stick to preaching and singing on TV, the cover shows her in her unfortunate makeup casualty stage. There was a time a few generations ago that a woman simply wearing that much makeup and hairspray would have been considered vain and sinful.

The late president Ronald Regan was born in 1911, in the days of the horse and buggy. If that was a 1938 picture of Reagan, then he was 27 years old there. His acting career started in radio, then went to movies (which could have been either silent films or talkies). He became president of the Screen Actors’ Guild, then later Governor of California, then President of the United States. Quite a career path for a middling actor, not known for ever saying anything particularly quotable (Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations does not list Reagan), unless it was something comedians could make fun of.
An album and album cover to be liked only for die-hard conservatives. There are 5 albums listed on allmusic.com credited to Ronald Reagan, but this is not one of them.
The next one is about Barry Goldwater’s recording of an acceptance speech, supposedly for winning the presidency against Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

And that is what makes this cover hilarious. The election was actually won by Lyndon Johnson, by a landslide (60%). So what was this guy trying to prove?

Another “Dewey Defeats Truman” episode. I can’t brag too loud for the Democrats, however, since it was Lyndon Johnson that escalated the Vietnam war, and by 1968, Americans had enough of him, and many began burning their draft cards in protest of the war.

History has shown that The Goldwaters, the accompanying campaign band for Barry Goldwater’s presidential bid, was the best thing that ever happened to Lyndon Johnson’s campaign. If all you do as a campaign organiser is get a bunch of amateurish but politically loyal musicians from local university campuses to show up with you on every campaign stop, you know you’re going to get into trouble.

The barely listenable music inside the album should cause one to re-title it: “Sing Folk Songs to Bug the Republicans”.

There are more of these kinds of albums which will be covered later, including albums by Democrats.

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Crappy Album Covers #20 — Crappy for the Wrong Reasons: a Gallery

Stephen Hawking, by the standards of his peers, has only made a name for himself as a “great scientist” because of his disability, ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease). We, the buying public seek out his wisdom through his writings, but would probably be less willing to do so if he were not depicted contorted, and on a wheelchair, as he was in his first publically-available book “A Brief History of Time”.

Similarly, I would want to think that as a buying public of record albums, that it is best to think of anyone we put on our turntables as musicians, rather than as “disabled”. I want to hear your music first. Then you can brag about playing the piano without fingers, or whatever. The problem with each of the following records, the artists seem to want us to know that they have a disability before we buy the record. So, seeing their picture on the cover, one tends to feel slightly embarrassed for them, the way I do when I open my cover of Hawking. I like my music purchases to be more about music and not so much about records whose covers treat their artists as carnival attractions. Thus I have to admit that the only reason that other Internet sites (these are ubiquitous on a search for crappy album covers) find them crappy, it is because of who these people are, not because of some aesthetic misjudgement or other form of idiocy on the designer’s part. They are crappy album covers, but for all the wrong reasons.

The following record covers are offered without my usual smart-aleck comments. They are here, because they, like many of my albums, seem to be a staple of Crappy Albums lists. I just thought I would offer any striaght dope I could find on these people.

Roy Thackerson, or The Fingerless Fiddler, lost his eyesight in one eye and most of the fingers in his left hand at age 6 due to being too close to a blasting cap at the time of explosion. 

He apparently is quite the bluegrass fiddler, enough to say that he has been a judge for fiddling contests in Nashville over a 17 year period. He has also played at the Grand Old Opry.

When even Wikipedia says that this 1968 album by The Braillettes is often listed as one of the worst album covers of all time (with several references given), it is difficult to talk straight about this album. 

The young girl in the front, Maggie Liebniz, is the only one who is not blind. Her boyfriend and later husband, John Skoglund, took this photo of them. The names of the other two are Jackie Overalls and Kay Smith. It is likely that this is their only album. The three hail from Alameda, California.

There are no references to this album that I can find anywhere on this person, not even her name. 

There are, however, pages upon pages upon pages of Google references to this cover on “worst album cover” lists. I gave up after the third page.

The Addicts 1975 release, a Gospel album called “The Addicts Sing” is a collectors’ item, whose asking price on some websites hovers around $70.00, depending on the condition. The tan box between the two lads on the bottom of the cover is a quote from II Corinthians 5:17, a quote having to do with the Ministry of reconciliation. 

These guys are 9 former heroin addicts who, it seems, made the record while in prison, and presumably got early relseases after dropping their habit and turning over a new leaf.

UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! Yes! I now have the much -talked about and much grossed-out over back cover! It is one thing to say it’s gross, but it is much more effective to show you!
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Crappy Album Covers #19 – More People Who Worry Me

It is worth repeating from the last post that you should ask nicely before playing someone else’s musical instruments. Gerhard Polt illustrates this point nicely. Having his head on a silver platter was apparently too good for him. Here, his head is served on a cheap Chinette dish with ham, pineapple and ketchup. Hey, maybe that’s not really ham (OK, I won’t go there).

There is a Wikipedia entry on Polt, however, I don’t know if it is the same Gerhard Polt as this one. The Wikipedia mentions that he seemed to have more than a passing interest in writing about Bavarian culture. Could that explain the album cover? Was it something he wrote?

Well, this isn’t really a crappy album cover, per se, precisely because one can sense that it is intentionally crappy. I guess that still makes it crappy.

The album cover shows the lead singer Gary Dalway (the human, not the pig) of the UK group The Handsome Beasts, getting to know his partner a bit better from their 1981 album Bestiality. This same album had been reissued in CD form in 1996 with 4 bonus tracks. They are still putting out records, the latest being in 2007. For the record, Gary Dalway has recently left the group, which may reduce the supply of future crappy album covers somewhat. Oh, well…

There will be even more people that worry me in future posts.

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Crappy Album Covers #18 — Travels Through Africa

In installment #2, I believe I mentioned that there would be more albums regarding a white person’s idea of Africa.

Now, there are times that, due to the difficulty in getting black people to act like our stereotypes of them, we must instead get white people to do our dirty work for us.

Dave Harris and the Powerhouse Five would like to remind you that despite social objections, cannibalism can be a good thing for everybody. See the nice lady in the burning pot? Look at how much fun she seems to be having! Wouldn’t you just like to join her?

“Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals” was released by Decca in 1960. Not much more info seems to exist on the band. Except that one blogger observed that the chick in the pot looks a lot like Hilary Clinton. There are still reissues being made of the work of this band on Rhino Records.

Anna Russell here has angered the local native population because she was playing with someone’s bongo drums without asking. You know how it is. How would you feel if you knew your house guest was playing with your drum kit or your guitar that you worked so hard to tune up? Non-musical people don’t seem to sympathise with these things, and just barge in and use our stuff anyway, and it angers us. I don’t have any spears to throw at them, but gosh, I would find something.

Notice also the kinds of loincloths the natives are wearing. They where can i buy tramadol without a prescription look like Scottish kilts without the tartan; cut instead from maybe a tablecloth. Anna Russell, who died in 2006, was a vocalist and comedienne, whom we can’t be sure if her birthplace is London, England or London, Ontario.

Another Decca 1956 recording, “Africa Speaks, America Answers” shows a nice effort to try and establish diplomacy. I understand many people from the that continent will still find it humorous in the sense that Africa always seems to be discussed as if it were just one country.

The artists here are cited as “Guy Warren with the Red Saunders Orchestra under the direction of Gene Esposito”. I am able to suss out that Guy Warren is the black guy on the bongos, whose birth name is Warren Gamaliel Akwei. He has worked with such greats as Theolonius Monk and Charlie Parker. Warren, who now goes by the name of Kofi Ghanaba, now lives in Ghana.

The Limbo has a lot of symbolic significance these days, in North American culture, especially with the effects of free trade on ordianry people. “How low can you go?” is not just for that young lady in the pink dress anymore. It is for labour standards, environmental standards, oh, don’t get me started.

I just wonder, if the limbo rod (or whatever that horizontal thing is called) burns through and burning pieces fall on top of her, does she “lose” this limbo contest? Can she sue for injuries?

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Crappy Album Covers #17 — Being somebody you’re not

The length of this article is a testimony to the degree and extent that people are trying to be somebody they are not. We know and accept that show business lends itself to phoniness, but many successful acts are from artists who try to find their centre, their muse, and who use that as the source for their creativity. These album designs are highly suggestive of people who haven’t yet found their muse, or who hired album designers that made them appear derivative or unnatural.
I am not sure what the title of Texans John Howard Abdnor Jr. and Javonne (Robin) Braga’s 1967 album “Elastic Event” is supposed to be getting across to listeners.

The record was released on the Abnak record label, owned by John’s father, John Sr., a Dallas businessman who started the label in the early 1960s. Abnak folded in 1971.

I suppose it is one of those titles that don’t have so much deep meaning after you’ve come down. Kind of like “Peanut Butter Conspiracy” or “Moby Grape”, for instance. Unless you are stoned, it just sounds like a dorky title for an album.

Or maybe they meant that there are songs about major deep-discount sales on elastic at Sears or Fabricland or, in those days, Woolco. Some people might get excited about that, you never know. They are probably waiting for a sale on fabric that is neither paisley nor tie-dye. A noteworthy track from Jon and Robin, called You Don’t Care, shows that the young duo were talented, but their sound was like many 60s bands of the day. The MP3 was taken from the Office Naps blog.

There is no information that I can find anywhere on the group Furr.This is their self-titled album (OK, so maybe they didn’t title it themselves).

I also have no idea even of the period this record came from, but it is a safe bet they were imitating ripping off tributing Kiss, so that places them later than 1975.

They would have made great Saturday Morning Cartoon superheroes. Superheroes that play in a rock band. OK, it’s a bit derivative, but they are derivative already.

The Destitutes, as their cover says, come from Idaho.

At the beginning of one’s music career, one may have to play all those venues that are filthy, full of graffiti, and frequented by a creepy clientele. The Destitutes here don’t seem to mind. And they don’t look too destitute themselves. They look more like the Beach Boys than Skid Row.

Once again, info on the genre is sketchy; although the cover says that steel drums are involved, along with the depicted guitar and sax. Jazz, maybe? An allmusic.com search on “Destitutes” brought me directly to their page for Destiny’s Child.

OK. Now, this 1979 album cover design is the one the record company didn’t want. This is an artist’s rendition of Orion (actual name: Jimmy Ellis) rising from his coffin to sing you a song, entitled “Orion Reborn”. After some thought, the art is not that bad, and doesn’t really qualify as crappy, but it meant to tell you a true story.

Orion sang a Jerry Lee Lewis song “Save The Last Dance for Me” anonymously in early 1979, which apparently made the top 20. This aroused speculation as to who the singer was. It was decided that Elvis must have rose from the dead to sing it (this was the conclusion on a TV episode of “Good Morning America”). But the cover which told the story was just too morbid for the sensibilities of their clients, so ….

This design from hell was the one they settled on. An Elvis lookalike without his requisite polyester jumpsuit that Orion was known to wear in concerts.

I liked the first design better. Here, he looks like an imitation of Batman. The mask over the eyes was apparently his trademark, and he is seen this way in nearly all of his publicity photos (at least the ones at allmusic.com).

After 1983, Jimmy Ellis finally took off the mask, and promised us he wouldn’t wear it again. Unfortunately (or fortunately) he has a voice that really does sound a lot like Elvis’s singing voice. It is simply a natural, uncanny resemblance. He was in fact trying to shed his reputation as an Elvis impersonator for a while.

While Bob McGilpin may have been big in the discotheques, and the title tune from this 1978 album “Superstar” filled the floors back then, that may have been because they didn’t see the album cover (Clicking on the graphic gets you to bizarrerecords.com, where this graphic originated).

This album cover, like many in this series, has been a staple of many crappy albums lists all over the internet. He looks like Weird Al Yankovic-meets-John Travolta! Where’s your accordion?

This record was put out a year after Saturday Night Fever, and all-white was how many males dressed for a night out at the disco. This is what the title track sounds like:

Arthur Fiedler and his Boston Pops Orchestra, of course, tried to cash in on the sensation generated by the movie Saturday Night Fever.

So, the album cover was meant to be humorous. I don’t understand, however, why so many tried to cash in on the music of the Beegeesus Heebeegeebees Bee Gees. It would seem to me that their fame was way overblown. I can only think that there was nothing better to fill the void. And there was (and in my opinion, there still is) a void in music that seems to be filled in by increasingly mediocre acts.

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Crappy Album Covers #16 – Bad Promos

Kuratt and Rame are, respectively, a brand of Mens’ and Ladies’ jeans produced by Diesel. I mention “Shaky Sharks”, released circa 1994, because this CD likely never saw the light of day in most record stores. It was intended as a promo CD, and was likely the background music in many clothing stores selling Diesel. The cover design was intentionally cheap — just enough thought put into it to get the message across to the store manager. The fifties’ aesthetic that is used here is more like a ’50s aesthetic as seen through the eyes of someone in the 90s. As if this is a good thing. I didn’t even like the aesthetic from the original 50s.

The guy is not Kuratt and the lady is not Rame. They are just models that are wearing the jeans, and a sampling of tops and accessories. Like that purse “Rame” is holding that could take out a pervert with one side buy viagra without prescription in us chop.

Music is actually provided by The B-52’s, The Ramones, They Might Be Giants, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Everly Brothers, Solomon Burke, King Curtis, Arthur Conley, Clarence Carter, and Wilson Pickett. skin care dermatology. All of them were probably wearing their Kuratts at the time of recording, rolled up with a big, thick cuff like the guy in the photo.

But quite an impressive lineup. Because of this, it seems as if Shaky Sharks has become something of a collector’s item. I just saw this on Amazon, used, for 53 bucks.

I am not sure if this next one, “Songs to Warm the Heart” came before or after. I cannot find any info on this album, nor who was in the lineup.

The fella depicted is obviously a singing cowboy who is wearing his Kuratts next to a blazing fireplace. Our fella seems to be channeling Jimi Hendrix, by attempting to set fire to his guitar.

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Crappy Albums #15 – The End Is Nigh

The early 1960s were the times we lived in fear of a real and present nuclear attack. By the 1970s we didn’t care. By the 1980s, AIDS scared us more than the bomb.

“If The Bomb Falls” was a 1961 album put out by the TOPS recording label. The TOPS label was owned by Precision Radiation Instruments (PRI) of Los Angeles. The same label recorded Mel Torme, Lena Horne, and the Ink Spots. This single album sold more than any of them did, and broke all sales records for the company, especially after the Russians announced it was testing the A-bomb.

And you can see here that the album design was precisely for the paranoid at heart. There is the title in the biggest lettering you have seen in your life; there is the mushroom cloud; there are various newspaper-style articles reminding us of how urgent this crisis is, and how fearful we should all be.

I wouldn’t feel the way I do about the album cover of Europe’s “The Final Countdown” (1985) if I didn’t think the title track sucked so much. This is the second major rock act to be named after a continent. The first one was Asia, formed in 1982, three years before Europe did (thanks to a contributor for setting me right on the dates).

The title track was a major hit for Europe, but it was one of those songs that was interesting so long as you didn’t think about the words. Heck, it isn’t even about doomsday. If these are the lyrics, then I can’t even be sure if it’s about anything.

This, then, is an album cover about nothing. Taken in context with the music, they could have chosen a wallflower pattern as well (that’s OK, I’ll bargain for this one instead).

Oh, but yes: there really was a doomsday album in the 1980s — it was Hal Lindsay’s “Countdown to Armageddon”! Who can forget good ole Hal? Hal predicted the world would end in the 1970s, and made a killing (pardon the pun) selling his book “The Late Great Planet Earth”. Then, in the 80s and still realising that the world was still intact, he remembered P. T. Barnum’s maxim that there’s a sucker born every minute, then wrote the book that accompanied this record in the 1980s. And you know what? P. T. Barnum was absolutely right in his predictions!

After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR, armageddon became a tough sell. The new ruse is now terrorism, and of our living in fear of lunatics taking over the world who weild very sharp office stationery to get planes to slam into buildings. And they spend their time in caves, too.

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Turbonegro vs Village People – Creepy similarities

Turbonegro is a Norwegian punk band. As I understand it, their sub-genre is something called “death-punk”. It has also been called “glam-punk”, and so on. Many aspects of their brand of punk has been influenced by 70s arena rock bands such as Kiss.

I noticed in one of their more recent videos that each of these depressing looking characters plays a different “character”. One is a Hun, another is a military cop, another is a marine deckhand, one is neaderthal, and the other two … well, I don’t know what they are trying to be. But in a less “depressive” form, there is another 6-member group from the era of 70s arena rock that would appear to have similar taste in clothes.

Ah, yes. The Village People. There’s a cop, another navy guy, a biker, a construction worker, a cowboy and an indian. No neanderthals, though. I am not a fan of disco, but at least they are a little less preoccupied with thoughts of death.

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Crappy Album Covers #14 – I need help

Freddie Gage has with this album cover, achieved a level of morbidity reserved only for folks like Nietzsche or August Strindberg. He has made a name for himself as an evangelical preacher who has won favour with the likes of Jerry Fallwell.

As a casual passerby who may not have heard of Freddie Gage, I would see that much of the design is taken up by the title.

Obviously, the death of all of his buddies weigh very heavily on his mind. He is from the southern USA and not some war-torn country. I am sure he didn’t lose anyone at Gitmo.

I think in reality, the voices inside his head told him to kill all his friends. Now he lives in regret, and in fulfillment of his persecution comlpex, he is now in actual pursuit by law enforcement.

So, what to do? Well, he could plead insanity when they arrive to apprehend him. However, he still has to live with all that guilt, on top of his illness. How does he do that?

Well, Dr. Murray Banks has the answer. He will be a fountain of advice and wisdom for our poor friend Freddie, telling him how he can live with himself, up until his first psychiatric appointment.

What about the artwork here? Late 50s to mid-60s low-budget cartoon-style artwork. For this, I would like to invent a new word to describe the effect: it’s chugly (cheesy + ugly). I think chugly was a popular style back then. It was during and after the McCarthy era that this artwork seemed to have its heyday. It didn’t offend, it could not be called “sexy” or “political” or anything else that was a virtual McCarthy-era cuss word. It was the artistic drek that could only come from the era and sociopolitical climate in which it existed. Lately, I have noticed that Starbucks and Chapters Bookstores have veered dangerously close to this kind of aesthetic.

For the record, “All My Friends Are Dead” is also the title of a song released around 2003 by the Norwegian punk rock group Turbonegro.

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Crappy Album Covers #13 — Relax, dammit!

These female prisoners were put in civvies and told that in exchange for their cooperation, they would get a larger cell with a TV and internet. And if they live at the end of this, they may even get what was promised!

The Secret Service are testing the effects of mind-alterng drugs by making their subjects, usually taken from a prison population, take a dose of their “new drug”, and then making them sleep out in the snow on nothing more than a 2×4 propped up on one end by a couple of pieces of titanium rods. Their hands are tied to the front of their bodies to prevent premature frostbite.

In the background you can see the Secret Service lab facility, nestled in an undisclosed location in the Rockies, somewhere in Oregon. The smoke is rising from their crematorium. Those were probably the remains of subjects who underwent buy cheap viagra online in canada previous drug trials and were never the same since. And since returning them to the prison population would compromise their ability to attract new candidates, the Secret Service will just report them missing.

On to the next album: Are you in your rotting wooden rocking chair in the middle of a swamp? Good. Sit. Relax. Breathe in. Breathe out. Close your eyes. Imagine that you are in your favourite EZ-Boy recliner in your living room, or lying in bed in the comfort of your home. Never mind the alligators or black bears. If you have a cell phone, you can call an ambulance. Just forget about them for now, and just focus on relaxation.”

Yup. The only way to relax me after that point is if I left the swamp and went home to my EZ-Boy recliner.

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Crappy Album Covers #12 – Gettin’ Religion

Reverend Robert Rap – by Strider

He’s the Reverend in Rhythm
The Disciple of rhyme
While the choir sings the words
His peeps keepin’ time

He doesn’t get paid much
And he doesn’t get the girl
But his retirement package
Is out of this world!

He doesn’t ever say much
He’s hard to excite
He’s the Father with the Collar
The Man in Black is Bob White

Information is hard to find, but he has an uncanny resemblance to Reverend Bob Dobbs, the figurehead of the Church of the Subgenius, a group of quasi-nutcases best described as an anti-cult. But with Dobbs, the tastelessness is intentional.The multiculoured rays and the lightning bolts coming from his head show Dobbs to be a “true” deity, one who separates the “slackers” (the good guys in this church) from the “normals” (that’s the rest of us, or the “bad guys”).
The nice thing about some of these albums is that, like “I’m God’s Child” by The Cooper Family, is that once you see an album that looks puritannical like this, you can fairly predict that the contents will likely be of a puritannical nature also. The cover is a forewarning. It is crappy looking with a purpose.

Now, I don’t know, but if you are God’s child — if you really are God’s child … then at least one of these kids were sired by God and not Pa Cooper. At least one of them are immortal. The other kids have the let-down of knowing that they were sired by Pa and will die when they’re old. This must generate a lot of irrational resentment based on inflated expectations.

I don’t know, but Ma Cooper in this photo has some resemblance to Joyce Drake (see part 6 of this series).

I can only place Butch Yelton’s album in the ’70s, but nothing more accurate than that.

Right now, upon seeing that in this clearing, Butch has swung his axe a few too many times, I wish to point out that clear-cutting a forest is bad for the environment. Clearing the trees also results in the decline in population of tree-dwelling species of animals, all of whom God created. Notice in this picture, that the only trees to cut are the ones in the distance. Wouldn’t Butch find himself more in God’s favour if he spared the few trees left on his property?

Now, I could be reading this all wrong. The picture clearly shows that this field was never a forest, due to the lack of stumps left behind. It could be that God must take away the stump each time he fells a tree. That would really make it a Gospel Axe. Butch chops down a tree, then God removes the evidence. They’re kind of like partners in crime.

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Crappy Album Covers #11 – Space Travel Misadventures

“Space Escapade” is a 1958 album by the late, great Les Baxter (1922-1996). He had a distinguished career, with about 50 albums to his credit, as well as many TV and film scores.

This album cover, like most space album covers we will be seeing, remind me of a DEVO album. This one is just DEVO with chicks. The chicks are obviously playing the aliens. They have little antennas sticking out of their heads, and seem to have no need for oxygen helmets.They all have different coloured skin.

Those male astronauts will be sorely disappointed when they find out that if they are of different species, then they probably can’t mate with them. You know, it’s because of, you know …. YOU KNOW!!!….. plumbing issues. Either the space chicks will have one hole too many or one hole not enough. You know how it is. It’s the part on Star Trek that they never talk about.

People familiar with classical music need almost no introduction to Arthur Ferrante and Louis Teicher. Both are classical pop pianists who had been going strong for five decades with over 80 albums to their credit. This album, like the Les Baxter album was released in 1958.

What was so special about 1958? In January, Sputnik fell out of orbit, and the first-ever American satellite, the Explorer, was launched. It was also the same year that Canada’s Avro Arrow made its first flight. There was a frenzied rush toward space exploration, and the arms race was born between the USA and the USSR.

This then captures the imagination of many musicians and artists, and these folks were of no exception.

Ferrante and Teicher have space suits too. Our friends here seem to be monitoring the effect of zero gravity on the wearing of kid gloves and spats.

This 1982 self-titled LP by the funk/soul group Loveship. Are they on a real spaceship? In that era, they could be at a disco. Perhaps they are at a disco on a spaceship. Frig it, it’s all in your head anyway, right? So just buy this record and forget about it. There doesn’t look like there will be any three-holed alien chicks where they’re going.

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Crappy Album Covers #10 – Bad retouching

Kjell Kraghe is a Swedish performer, and not much info exists on him in English. It seems that he had appeared in a Swedish TV miniseries, but again information is sketchy.

At any rate, one has to admit that this cover could have used better planning. Or, are we supposed to think: on a bright day, with boats in full sail, Kjell rises out of the horizon, smiling at us …? I would still be thinking: but isn’t he getting wet? Whatever his dilemma, he doesn’t seem to mind.

And what about the boats? Kjell’s presence seems to be creating a wind effect that causes the sailboats to sail away from him. Kind of like a scarecrow for sailboats.

I am a relative newbie to classical music. There are 2 organists on the album “Look Ma! 4 Hands”, Richard Dissell and Robert Reilly, Jr. That’s 4 hands, and from what I understand to be the wont of some album designers for classical music, there is from time to time an accompanying picture that makes it look absurd, such as this retouched photo of a woman with 4 hands extending from her gown.

I suppose there is humor there, but I would think that it would be a bit frightening to young children below age 5. This photo came from the Tacky Raccoons blog, where they seem to have a lot of unique crappy album covers.

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Crappy Album Covers #9 – Questionable People

Maralee Dawn is another ventriloquist who has entertained children for at least 10 years, and also has her own website. Her puppets actually look like toy dolls, but looking at her website they seem to be of the kind where the lower jaw moves.

I just get a little worried that she seems just a little too attached to these dolls. I don’t know.

Then there’s more here. They are depicted here riding a dirt bike, yet only Butch, one of the puppets is actually wearing a helmet.

I can see them riding along, then Maralee lets go of the handlebars at 50 miles an hour, and tells Butch to take over.

Alfred Hitchcock, however, has all of the psychos beat. Not content to be merely detached from reality, but he is typically preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of death, murder, rape, and all things that inspire horror.

Now, we see in this photo that he has suicidal thoughts. Now that crosses the line. He probably needed to cool off in a psychiatric facility after this episode.

Scientist was the nickname of a reggae singer who seemed to be a whiz at repairing broken sound equipment and other electronics. As early as 1980, his handle was changed to “the Dub Chemist”. This album was released in 1981 under his original monacre. It was through his engineering prowess that Scientist, on a dare to be a recording engineer for a record album, invented his own style of reggae called Dub, inventing new sounds through the mixer board. Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1960, he is now a recording engineer in Silver Springs, Maryland.

As impressed as I am by all that, his album cover will not win many awards. Neither will the long title. Looks like he took a few tips from Alfred Hitchcock.

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Crappy Album Covers #8 – Food on vinyl

I could never get worked up about crepes. Crepes are these overly-thin pastries that, if you pour syrup on them, you mostly taste the syrup. But, you know, some guys who have the knack for making a good crepe can not only please customers, but if he plays his cards right, he can be a hit with the ladies.

Just look at Claude Plamondon over here. All the ladies stare transfixed as Claude tosses a crepe high in the air. Hey, some guys have it, some don’t.

I don’t understand how Claude can fill a record album with the making of crepes, but then, hey, I’m not a chef.

Plamondon currently resides in the small town of Roxton Pond, 40 miles east of Montreal as the crow flies, but south of the St. Lawrence River.

Look at this nice steak. If Elmer Wheeler originated the concept of “selling the sizzle”, then this must have been one of the first recordings of that idea. Since then, if you hadn’t heard of Wheeler, you may have heard of the phrase, since it is now quite often quoted in business circles.

I am not sure whether the clients, who have their backs to us, are going to eat it or just stare at it. And if the steak is in fact sizzling as much as the retouched photo suggests, isn’t the waiter going to burn his hands at some point? Wouldn’t they be burning already?