Crappy Album Covers #95 — Le Concours de Fromage

Hits: 10

If these albums were entered into a cheesiness contest, they would be strong contenders.

album_cover_crap_131_coverbrowser_com_cliche This 1989 album cover appears to have been designed by an 11 year-old who discovered the shape tools in MS-Paintbrush and began to overuse them. It was released by Sony in 1990 and re-released by smaller labels in 1998, 1999 and 2000. This is their 7th compilation LP out of several. Having only recorded only 8 albums, their latest being in 2006, they have had more albums of compilations than of original material. 

What adds a tinge of sadness to their musical history, is that one of the members of their original lineup, Jessee Whittens, was murdered, according to allmusic.com, but another blogger says  that Whittens lost his life in an accident.

album_cover_crap_130_coverbrowser_com_cliche The Glitter Band, a band put together by ’70s rock star Gary Glitter, was supposed to be formed from a core of two drummers and two saxophonists. 

Their biggest hit was a song called Makes You Blind, first released in 1976, and peaked at #91 for a week in that year.

The record seems to say: “Hey! We’re lame and proud of it!”

Crappy Album Covers #94 — Not My Day Job

Hits: 12

album_cover_crap_133_coverbrowser_com_occupational Allan Smethurst, also known as The Singing Postman, was known for a 1966 novelty hit written in his Norfolk dialect, called “Hev Yew Got a Loight, Boy?” It remained on the British charts for 9 weeks, even knocking The Beatles off the #1 position at least a week in 1966.

So widespread was his fame, apparently, that he had inspired tribute acts, such as The Singing Farmer (also from Norfolk County in England).

And yes, Smethurst was a real mail deliveryman who just happened to submit a demo to the BBC and things took off from there.

album_cover_crap_132_coverbrowser_com_occupational This is a rare album that commands more than the original cover price from collectors ($40CDN on E-Bay), called “The Singing Priest”, by Servite Friar Father Columbia McManus.

I have understood in Catholicism, a sharp distinction between religious music that accompanies a traditional Church service and this thing called “Gospel Music”. I have also understood that while Gospel music can be uplifting, it is often cheesier than the former. I think Father McManus is likely veering dangerously close to the latter. To be honest, I haven’t heard the album, but it is just a hunch.

Crappy Album Covers #93 — I actually think I get this one …

Hits: 9

cac_01_riotThis CAC must be the fodder for dozens of CAC blogs; and the singular most common reaction is something like: WTF? They just don’t get it. In Riot’s 1981 album, their third, is the head of a cuddly harp seal on the shoulders of some guy.

Those bloggers are totally off the mark. This is totally understandable. I believe it is a statement on the tendency of urban-dwellers to feel more the rights of animals than for the rights of humans.

If you are down-and-out, alienated, rejected by society, you will find this world a cold, harsh place. But if you walk around wearing the head of a seal, at least people will think twice before smashing your brains in with a club. Who knows, you might even score sympathy points with the chicks this way. At least more points than previously. Yes, I get it. “Fire Down Under” must be a tome about man’s need to overcome alienation by dressing up in cuddly animal costumes of those perceived to be endangered species. Yes, I am making excuses for this cover.

Riot’s expoitation of seals as a hobbyhorse even extends to 13th CD, “Army of One”, released in 2006. I noticed the motif in at least three of their albums.

Crappy Album Covers #92 — Sucky even for metal

Hits: 21

projectsjungle I have said several times on my blog that I had a policy of not listing metal covers due to the fact  that ugliness is often a sales point with this music genre. I often delve into metal CAC blogs to see if I can find anything I could write about (in case there might be some howlers out there), and after 91 CAC entries, I have come up empty-handed. Now in CAC #92, I have found two CACs, both from the same group, Pantera. These are Pantera’s first two albums ever, “Projects in the Jungle”, followed by “Metal Magic.” This band from Arlington, Texas is still going with its own website, Dimebag is still there with his bro’ Vinnie, as they have been for the past 28 years. 

Now, if there was some kind of “first law of metal album cover design”, it should be to never let yourself do the cover, and to never let someone’s kid do the cover.

metalmagic This next bit of adolescent artwork would have pleased his mother, but the next step should have been to send him to art school, not make metal album covers. 

Here, we have Pantera, without pants. The albums give the impression of a low-rent band that would be considered “not bad for local”.

Pantera would have had to bave been together for 9 more years before they saw their first major commercial breakthrough, Cowboys From Hell, which established them as pioneers in the post-punk “Groove Metal” genre.

Crappy Album Covers #91 — Threatening Covers

Hits: 8

album-cover-crap-130_lpcoverlover_com Relax now with the Creed Taylor Orchestra, while you listen to the album “Panic: The Son of Shock”.Anyone in the mood to listen to someone’s musical impression of panic? If you like this album, you’ll love the sequel “Hysteria, daughter of shock”. While you are at it, you can help yourself to the follow-up album “Feeling rushed: second cousin of panic”.
album_cover_crap_129_coverbrowser_com_tarkus_takeoff This album has appeared on many “worst album cover” blogs, and the discussions make it appear as though this album cover is like no other album in the history of the universe.Now, am I the only one in on the joke, or is there something else I am not seeing. I think this album, right down to the childlike drawing, is making fun of the ELP’s 1971 album, Tarkus.
album_cover_crap_135_tarkus This is the album. I didn’t like the cover either. The person who drew Metal Tit (possibly a talented 5 year old kid) couldn’t draw armadilloes, or wheels or catepillar tracks.Trouble here is that ELP didn’t have a low budget or an indie label as an excuse for such an awful album cover.

Crappy Albums Covers (Sidebar) — Make your own crappy album cover

Hits: 19

witness_album This is April Fool’s Day, so I thought that it would be a good time to post albums that don’t exist. In fact, I will be doing nothing but fake albums for the month of April.If you have been an avid reader of my postings, you would have noticed that the band names depicted here were the same ones I made up in this post.Looks like any of hundreds of indie band album covers.

If you want to know how to put these things together, scroll down. And yes, these were photoshopped.

jesus_of_kapuskasing If you want to boost album sales, there’s nothing like watermarking a “Parental Advisory/Explicit Lyrics” logo on the cover so that people will ignore your artistic message and simply buy your album to listen for all the F— words. And if there aren’t any, they can’t really sue a rating system for false advertising, can they?

You can getchy’er parental advisory sticker by Googling it (there are plenty out there), then layer it in Photoshop (shrink it first if necessary), setting the opacity to under 50% so that it simply shows up as a watermark. When you’re done with inserting the title and band name, cropping the photo and so on, you then flatten the image and save it as a jpeg.

Here are the instructions for making up your own artificial crappy album cover, courtesy of emptees.com, together with my own commentary:

A Do-It-Yourself Indie Band Album Cover:

  1. Go to “wikipedia.” Hit “random… Read More”, or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random. The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band. Or alternatively, pick a band name using the band name generator and word of your liking at bandnamemaker.com (my preferred method). Warning: to my knowledge neither method will generate a band name such as “Jesus of Kapuskasing”. That name was pure invention. Jesus is, well, Jesus; and Kapuskasing (pronounced cap-us-KAY-sing) is a small town in northern Ontario. I used it because “Jesus of Montreal” was already taken (it is the title of an independent film). Wikipedia has that title.
  2. Go to “Random quotations” or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3 The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album. In both cases above, I used the Wikipedia titles from rule #1 to title the album.
  3. Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days.  The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover. I threw less caution to the wind and looked a little harder.
  4. Use photoshop or similar to put it all together. Make sure it’s a square. 500 x 500 pixels is ideal. I require a square image too, but I do not have “ideal” limits. Whatever the size, it ends up on my blog as 300 x 300.

Crappy Album Covers #90 — On the Domestic Front

Hits: 12

album-cover-crap-131_lp-cover-lover I thought I was looking for a human when I Google’d “Maria Leonora”. 

Get ready for this: Maria Leonora Theresa (I’ll just say MLT) was a 3-foot high ceramic doll with her own recording contract, television program and feature film in the Phillippines in the early 1970s. She had her own makeup, wardrobe, and jewellery.

MLT fans reportedly wrote fan letters to her, which were answered back. This may have contributed to the urban legend that she was actually a living person.

“Forsaken Doll” was likely recorded near the end of MLT’s career, when her “mommy” and “daddy” divorced (Guy and Pip [played by Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz]). The fans turned away, then the entertainment exects wanted nothing to do with MLT. She was washed up before her fifth birthday.

She was last seen on a derilict street corner on crack, and trying to hustle herself to Ken in front of Barbie.

album-cover-crap-128_lpcoverlover_com The British musical group The Jack Emblow Sextet played often on the BBC in the 50s and 60s. Jack Emblow himself played the accordion. 

This sheds light as to why “playtime” for a housewife meant “tea time”.

Crappy Album Covers #89 — Crappy Beatles

Hits: 8

album_cover_crap_127_-_beatlesnonexistentI wish I could say this was a joke. But the 1966 American release of “Yesterday and Today”, which I don’t remember, probably because I only remember the santiized version of this record cover, really did exist. 750,000 of these were released, but most of them had the alternative cover pasted on after the controversy ensued.

So this is how The Meat Puppets got their inspiration. It goes without saying that collectors are reportedly paying at least $40,000 for this album cover, and still more if it is one of the stereo releases.

The Beatles themselves reportedly had mixed reactions. Lennon and McCartney were OK about it, while Harrisson reportely was more retrospect. Personally, I would have left the blood and gore for Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper. I can’t see McCartney biting off the heads of chickens on stage. Not even Lennon.

yesterdayandtodayalbumcoverEven after using this sanitized album cover, this album remains as the only money loser for The Beatles that Capitol ever released, despite the hit songs that were on it: “Yesterday”, “We Can Work It Out”, “Nowhere Man” and “Day Tripper”; and despite the fact that it hit #1 on Billboard, and became certified Gold.

This is way off the other end. Clinically sanitized. The Beatles are neither extreme, and that is their whole appeal, in my view. They established their reputation by taking artistic risks while being in full control of their craft.

Crappy Album Covers #88 — Boots that smell

Hits: 13

album_cover_crap_126_-_dylan_starbucksThis is a 2005 first official release of a 1962 recording that Dave Van Ronk  helped record which had been a bootleg for decades.

Now, I have nothing against Dylan making money where he can. But does anyone agree that putting “The Times They Are A-Changing” in a bank commercial, as he agreed to do for Bank of Montreal in the last decade constituted good product placement and promotion of the “Dylan” brand? Do you want that message to be given to you by a folk singer or your bank?

This album was recorded by Dylan before he became well-known. It is done in the packaging which Starbucks approved of for their 6-month exclusive 2005 deal for which he once again became infamous as a sellout. Much ink and electrons have been spilled on this topic, and I won’t venture there. More interestingly, he was also reviled by record/CD retailers such as HMV for doing this. After all, HMV feels (somewhat rightly) that they shouldn’t be competing against a coffee shop to sell CDs.

Give Dylan a break. First of all, “Live at The Gaslight” is a bootleg, and what better way to stick it to the bootleggers than having your own authorized relase? And coffee shops are where common, ordinary, grass-roots people meet, isn’t it? That is, common people who commonly order $5 lattes and $3 biscottis in fake Italian. Near where I live, such common folk walk their 3″ tall toy poodles and wear Florsheims. These customers take about 3 minutes to say the order in a nearly operatic key; then the server takes another 3 minutes to repeat the order in-tempo to another server who works the espresso machine. Who will sing their songs? Who will sing about the time that the chashier, who has a nose ring and a Master’s degree in Anthro for his thesis on “The Impact of the Roncesvalles Streetcar Terminal on Popular Culture in Toronto”, thought he nearly got skin cancer by scanning so many fifty-dollar bills under the UV? And after the customer pays an inflated price for coffee, he leaves out that tip jar. Now, that takes real guts. And no one sings their pain like Dylan.

Here’s one way to really “stick it to the man”: Go to Starbucks, and order “instant”. That ought to throw a monkey wrench in the system. I guarantee you that because most of these people are from a generation that hasn’t heard of “instant” and don’t know how to cook their own meals, no one will know how to handle the order, but everyone will feel that they absolutely must or fear getting fired. For one thing, it’s not fake Italian, and it doesn’t take 3 minutes to say.

album_cover_crap_125_-_nimoy_iii_boot

This is also believed to be a bootleg. Now I am beginning to believe that if Leonard Nimoy can be bootleged, anyone can. Wonder what price bootleggers were getting for this album?

Two late ’60s standards are on this single. One is Peter, Paul and Mary’s “If I Had A Hammer”, and the other is Bobby Hebb’s jazz standard “Sunny”, which quickly got covered by Ella Fitzgerald, Pat Martino, James Brown, Dusty Springfield, and just about every lounge lizard act with a pulse. My father had a James Last LP with Sunny on it. Boney M even put out a disco version of Sunny.

In case you were not alive during the 60s, I started scratching around for a You Tube video to show you. The original Bobby Hebb versions are out there, but you have to go to You Tube directly to view them. Instead, I have a double-bill: a duet with Tom Jones and Ella Fitzgerald from 1970, more than likely on Tom Jones’ own variety show:

Crappy Album Covers #87 — Belly Dancing II

Hits: 31

album_cover_crap_114_-_orienta I’ve noticed that in the past copule of posts, album covers of middle eastern music/belly dancing of the ’50s and ’60s appear to prefer redheads. Here, even the blonde has to settle for being upstaged by this redhead. If the bald fella hits the gong, the performance is over and the dancer gets escorted off the stage.
album_cover_crap_114_-_orienta_back “Orienta: The Marco Polo Adventures” could have been made in the late 50s and early 60s when most blockbuster movies consisted of stories of history and exploration. But no exact information exists.
album_cover_crap_108_-_mambobelmontemidnight Mambo at Midnight, by Belmonte and his Afro-American Music. At least it’s not that other Midnight Mambo: the horizontal one. 

Click here to hear a sampling of what Belmonte sounds like.

Crappy Album Covers #84 — Why sex is like chocolate in record cover design II

Hits: 44

album_cover_crap_112_-_lalala Caravelli and His Magnificent Strings seem to have the benefit of a nude model for this 1969 album in order to distract listeners from the fact that big band and non-electric music that wasn’t folk had been dead for decades.And getting a hippie chick to pose nude with the playlist painted on her skin in psychedelic lettering wasn’t going to help.

Notice that 1969 is a couple of years after Herb Alpert hit it big with his suggestive album cover for “Whipped Cream and Other Delights”. The sexy cover gained Alpert a whole audience that would not have given him the time of day. By 1969  all of the nerdy non-rock acts wanted a piece of the action.

album_cover_crap_113_-_bambuco Pancho Purcell also wants his share with his late 60s/early 70s offering “Bambuco Moves In”. It is likely to have been made around the same time, although the exact date could not be even hinted at.Bambuco is moving in, and she hasn’t got a thing to wear. She also does not appear to have a belly button.

Bambuco is a music common in South America, particluarly Colombia.

(Adult Content) Crappy Album Covers #72 — Crappy Classical

Hits: 61

album-cover-crap-97_lpcoverlover_com The Eastman-Rochester Orchestra wanted to portray Pinocchio in an innocent way, but I’m not sure. First of all, he doesn’t look all that friendly, and something about him looks larger than life. Kind of like “Pinnochio attacks Manhattan”. 

Imagine a giant Pinnochio, tall as a skyscraper, dancing and causing havoc in a metropolitan area. “I got no strings,” indeed. When I look at this Pinnochio, I can’t get that image out of my head.

Now, that’s something to set to classical music.

All of the photos for today are from LP Cover Lover.

album-cover-crap-96_lpcoverlover_com Relaxation therapy, from Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman and Bill May.
To be fair, this album has strong followers. Just read this promo. But I’m not sure if I want to wrap myself in cellophane (that’s not water!) and lie in a river for any amount of time. What would the police say if they pass by? 

This is what makes me think that she looks like a murder victim who just washed up on shore. Looks like a case for CSI.

Another possible scenario for this photo is that this chick on the cover works in a Glad Wrap factory, see? Then, she gets caught in a roller, and she gets wrapped up in the stuff. Nobody notices, so they ship her out, and when she gets to Receiving at a warehouse, guys look at what they ordered, and see this chick hanging off at the end of the roll, semi conscious. No-one in receiving could find a semiconscious woman on the packing list or the invoice, so she and the roll are shipped back to the factory, where she is finally revived by paramedics to everyone’s … Peace of Mind, which is the title of the record.

album-cover-crap-102_lpcoverlover_com2 Classical artists try. They really do. What they need is their own “decade”. The fifties was a decade for jazz and blues; the sixties and seventies were owned by rock. In recent decades, I can’t think of any particular music that has dominated. 

Naked/topless women have been tried on many classical album covers, with uneven levels of success. A couple of my friends got together one time and someone talked about how the rapper 50 Cent got to be a big seller. Sales skyrocketed after he got shot in a gang dispute. Apparently, being shot several times gives rappers something called “street cred”, which boosts album sales.

So, the conversation turned to how fewer kids are being turned on by classical music. Packaging of classical music albums are often dry and stodgy. But even when they get seductive like this cover, album sales still remain low. The idea we had was to go into various classical studios where the musicians were, and shoot all of the performers, and see if their now-earned street cred makes their record sales go up. Late into the night, we gave up on the idea.

 

Santa Claus and Saint Nick

Hits: 17

In my last Crappy Albums posting, I seemed to have made a connection between the Santa myth and the legend of Saint Nicholas.

I have read from Wikipedia that Saint Nicholas was born Nicholas of Myra, some time in 300 BC. He has had many miracles attributed to him, and was sanctified later because of this. However, he was known for the use of his inheritance for the giving of gifts to the needy. This connects with the modern myth that “all gifts come from Saint Nick”, because at one time it really was true.

“Santa Claus” is a corruption of the Dutch “Sinterklaas”. Not sure of the connection of what must roughly translate from “Saint Claus” to Saint Nick”. I don’t think anyone I’ve read has attempted this.

And anyway, if Saint Nick is in heaven now, he probably really does know if you’ve been naughty or nice.

%d bloggers like this: