Crappy Album Covers #161 — The uses of recycled curtains

Album_Cover_Crap_213_-_worstalbumcovers_com June Mary Gough (stage surname is Bronhill) (1929-2005) sports a long dress made from curtains taken from a rummage sale at the Sydney Opera House. 

She is a renowned operatic soprano, and was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. She is here posing outside of an opera house in her native Australian state of New South Wales.

Album_Cover_Crap_214_-_worstalbumcovers_com These neatly dressed lads and curtain-wearing ladies probably have no connection to this Canadian rock group that shares their namesake. 

In fact, there are a number of current bands that share this name. One of them is an Irish trad band that sings such ditties such as “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour on The Bedpost Overnight?” That version of the Black Diamonds has no women in it. Needless to say, I couldn’t find any straight information on this group.

Crappy Album Covers #155 — Dylan in Concert

Album_Cover_Crap_290_thomstonemusic_com In May of 2007, Rolling Stone’s web-based tentacle asked readers what the 10 worst albums of all time were, which were recorded by the great artists. You are looking at the #1 album

While “Down in the Groove”, Bob Dylan’s 28th album has been nearly universally reviled, the problems I have with it are in the artwork.

The accusation levelled at this album is that it contains, apart from a large number of collaborations, a number of cover songs. I could have told those reviewers that by looking at the album cover, a problem was iminent. Not only is this 1988 album the umpteenth album with a cover photo of Dylan in concert, it is at least the third one which sports a blurry photograph.

Album_Cover_Crap_318_Bob-Dylan This, by all accounts was the second, which was his second greatest hits album. His first greatest hits album originally had exactly the same photo. Now when the first album came out in 1967, the cover photo was considered good enough to be awarded a grammy. But then he uses exactly the same photo for volume 2, released in 1971 (the photo was later changed, to a different concert photo). 

This second volume had a paucity of actual “hits”, and instead had many originals which garnered hits through other artists covering him. This album can be regarded as a compilation of older material in LP form, to make up for the early 70s, which were doldrum years for Dylan.

Crappy Album Covers #154 — The good things in life

Album_Cover_Crap_240_-_bizarrerecords_com New Orleans Cajun comedian Justin Wilson has this apparently rare LP full of his cajun brand of comedy. 

It is difficult to know if this is the same Justin Wilson who is both a chef and a comedian. Although it is likely that he is not Justin Wilson the stock car driver.

Album_Cover_Crap_248_bizarrerecords_com Native of St. Louis, Missouri John Roland Redd (1921-1988), a Latino known by many monacres including Korla Pandit, was not attempting to be convincing when he wanted himself photographed in a turban for an album called “Latin Holiday”. 

Beginning his career in 1938, he is said to pre-date Liberace in that Redd played keyboard in a similar musical repertoire and has been around since the invention of television.

Publicists at the time had fabricated a story about him being born in New Delhi to a father who was a Brahman priest and mother who was a French opera singer.

Crappy Album Covers #132 — More happiness

cover6 Another album cover which has been fodder for the CAC blogs, “Return to Oz”, from a Leo Sayer wannabe named Dardy. If anyone can tell me something biographical about Dardy, drop me a comment.
Album_Cover_Crap_161_showandtelmusic_com_Greatest_Picks This dynamic fun machine also produces happiness. Every home should have one. This one has a flat tire, so it can only produce mild sanguinity. It’s all you can do until the Dynamic Duo purchases a tire tube at Wal-Mart’s next clearance sale.

Crappy Album Covers #102 — Ideas that wouldn't work these days

album-cover-crap-5_lp-cover-lover Roughly translated from Portuguese, “Nozinho (Kinkle) and His Music”, the title of it being “For Your Pleasure”.What may have made this album successful, if it was, is that it had a colour photo on the cover, at one time, a rare treat.I can’t help but think of the Rikki-Lee Jones’ Lyric to Skeletons when I see this cover: 

  Some kids like watching
      Saturday cartoons
  Some girls listen to records
      all day in their rooms
  But what do birds leave behind,
       of the wings that they
       came with
  If a son's in a tree building
       model planes?
album-cover-crap-48_thriftstoreart_com Those of you who remember Mr. Magoo can hear him on vinyl. Recall that the voice was done by actor Jim Backus, who played The Millionaire on Gilligan’s Island. 

Gotta love those headphones, and that antenna on the phonograph.

(Crappy album covers — sidebar) Fun with Joyce (or Joyce's head pasted on other people's bodies)

Some of the photo retouching ideas are kind of kinky, but that’s part of what makes them so hilarious.

It turns out that there are some blogs that have had more than their share of fun with this photo. They have taken their talents in Photoshop to make albums with her head pasted on other very recognisable albums in order to make new and amusing combinations. Let’s take a visual tour.

First of all, here is Joyce (from the last post). Her natural self, being every bit the librarian we’ve known and loved. If she is not a librarian, she ought to be. The rose she holds as a finishing touch to the photo gets the message across that this is not a heavy metal album. I think the rose is quite effective.

Ah, yes … hangin’ out with early Bob Dylan, smokin’ weed and listening to Dylan’s poetry and song. I thought that was Joyce on the album. She’s more hip than we gave her credit.
Once again, Joyce proves us all wrong about her. Here she is as a glamourous diva, the real creative muse behind Beyonce.
For sheer technological prowess, nothing beats the retouching job of this Prince album. Prince is now the woman he always wanted to be.
Now for the ultimate, Joyce’s head pasted on Cher’s body. And there’s more …
Here, Joyce, shows us her other, darker side. She wantsssss it! She wantssss it! (The ring, that is)

And finally, Joyce is seen chillin’ out with her homies from the ‘hood at NWA, yo!

Crappy Album Covers 7 – Courtship and Desire

The background on almost all of these albums were hard to track down if not impossible. In most cases on this installment we shall deal mostly with obscure albums. The coincidence is that these albums have some disturbing connection with the social process of courtship. Maybe they are unable to mate in captivity.

There is no information that I can find on John Bult. Just this lasting impression, the album cover to “Julie’s Sixteenth Birthday”, plastered all over the ‘net. I can’t say what hasn’t already been said about the creepy impression this album gives me, and the incredulity that an album cover like this would actually be thought to sell records.

All I can do now is to say that this blogger seemed to put it best (get your Irish accent on as you read this quote):

Julie looks like a happy birthday girl, doesn’t she? Who wouldn’t want to be the object of John Bult’s inappropriate lust?

He’s doing this right, though. He took her to a nice place with a piano and tablecloths, he had a mug of beer to steady his nerves, and he’s holding her hand as he whispers to her “Whatever you do, don’t tell your dad.”

What can I possibly add to that?

UPDATE: Well, it turns out that I can add something. In fact, it explains everything. Julie, you see, is the daughter of the character of the the fella singing. She’s reached her sixteenth birthday, and she’s going out on her first date. Her father spent more time at the bar getting drunk than with his family, and so he thought he would make up for it by having a heart-to-heart talk with Julie before she goes out. After hearing a small audio snippet, John doesn’t sound Irish at all, but American. From Louisiana, in fact. That said, I still think that the choice of album cover is a case of really bad judgement.


Now for this next album, I wouldn’t bother mentioning the legendary 1983 album by Joyce Drake, simply titled, “Joyce”, if it were not for the fact that it was deemed #1 on their list of crappy album cover of all time by the (UK) Guardian. This blogger says that this one is considered the Mona Lisa of bad album covers. And that is the only thing that makes the record legendary and worthy of any mention. Personally, it doesn’t grab me either way, although I admit she definitely needs a nose job.

I am hesitant to make intelligible comments on the record or the cover, for the first and foremost reason that it was most likely a vanity pressing. And if it is a vanity pressing, then it is no surprise that precious little thought was given to marketing or saleability. This album did not pass by a focus group; it also shows signs of having no makeup artist; nobody did her hair; nobody told her how to dress up. She simply posed for a photo and sang the songs on the record.

Joyce Drake, according to the most reliable sources, is a preacher’s wife, and lives in Sealy, Texas; and has not released another record after this one. We make fun of it because of its profound lack of pretense. We are so awash in Photoshop-retouched images of perfection that when confronted with a record like this, we don’t know how else to react. We recoil whenever someone is not seen to “get with the program”, and to stick to the impossibly high standards we make of all those who put a photo of themselves out to print. Face it: if a person finances their own record, they are likely not going to follow the typical marketing path that succeeded for, say, Madonna. Such a thought may never have occured to them.


On to the next album cover. It is known in psychiatric circles that if you are lacking in feelings you probably also lack empathy or remorse for those who do. This makes what is known as a “psychopathic” personality. While it would be obvious that you can’t “borrow” feelings to compensate, a psychopath would place a drain on those around him or her until they too are deficient in feeling.

I think other possible (and compelling) album titles that would go well with this photo would be: “Can I borrow a shirt?” (look at the one he’s got on), “Can I borrow 20 bucks for a haircut?”, “Can I borrow 20 bucks until I get back on my back again (I’m almost there!)?”, “Would you like fries with that?”, or “Can I get something started for you?” to borrow from Starbucks.


Some guys are poets so they can attract women. Some guys have such musical power that they can summon scantily-clad women with just a little string accompaniment with a 6-string ukelele. Such is the miracle of Dinky.

Maybe she is not being summoned so much as that she was always there and with that music he’s playing, she just can’t keep her clothes on.

No information on this album cover. I could very well have my head up my keester and Dinky might actually be the name of the female. I’ve seen both in my online searches.


I’ve also seen such women rise from harmonicas. Dick Marris has a little woman right here. It must be real, since this album was recorded before the days of Photoshop and personal computers. Those were the days of miracle and wonder, when giants walked the earth. Certainly giant harmonicas were among us back then (either Richard is blowing a giant harmonica or his head and hands are small — but then again, it has to be large enough to seat a “little lady”, if you know what I mean).

A search for Dick Marris also turned out to be unfruitful.

(adult content) Crappy Album Covers #6 – Pleasing your partner

Xiu Xiu is a indie experimental outfit out of California. Despite its oriental-sounding name, none of its members have oriental-sounding names. A publicity photo of the group looks overwhelmingly Caucasian. One reviewer calls Xiu Xiu “the undisputed masters of introspective, creepy, noise-pop”. They have been around since 2000.

This 2003 album cover called “A Promise” shows a nude guy who wants to be your friend. He even brought you a present, look! Will you play?

To appreciate the full impact of how crappy this album cover is, I propose the following mental exercise. You are buying the CD, or better still, the 12″ vinyl version if it exists. The seller places it in a clear plastic bag. Now you are walking out of the store where you are seen with this album in clear view of everyone else in the shopping mall. You might even walk past a biker gang hanging out at the food court, all of whom notice your new album purchase. See the problem? The only way I would buy this album, if I really had to have my Xiu Xiu “fix”, and if this were the last Xiu Xiu album on Earth, would be to mail away to whoever is selling this, and instruct them to mail it to me in a large manila-coloured envolope or cardboard envolope, so that the general public doesn’t see the ugly cover. Also, I wouldn’t play it on my first date.

This album (Music to Keep Your Hustband Happy) is one of a couple of albums I am aware of that was set up to encourage sex play among married couples.

There are some who guide you on “what women want” and the ones here are a guide on, presumably, what men want. I wouldn’t see women buying this. Men would buy it for their wives. The covers must therefore attract the male customers.

Sometimes, however, the way to a man’s heart is by tearing off his clothes. Early Hip-Hop artist Tony Tee offers us a show of his masculinity by showing himself as about to lift a barbell, which doesn’t look an ounce over 40 pounds, in his 1988 album “Time to Get Physical”.

The spandex chick on the cover, going by the body language of both involved parties doesn’t look like she’s propositioning him as much as she is threatening him. Maybe he didn’t pay his share of the rent, or maybe he is hanging out too much in the gym. She is probably accepting sex favours as payment.

Now, there are of course some women who can’t stand real men, so she will date a fake one — one made of wood. And, she’ll live in her own world where wooden people and trees talk. This is the world that Nashville-based Geradine Ragan and her “friend” Ricky (who looks like “Planet of the Apes Meets Evel Knievel”) want you to get to know better.

I must say that the true essence of wooden puppets are greatly under-appreciated. They don’t talk back, they don’t verbally abuse you, they don’t come home drunk, and they are neither too tired nor do they ever have headaches.

The back cover of the album makes a big deal of the devout Christianity of her and her husband. Her husband, a real person named Dave Ragan, shares his life with Geraldine and Ricky, surely making efforts toward tolerance and a peaceful co-existence with this “other man”. Ricky barely tolerates the fact that Geraldine must give the occasional bit of airtime to that husband of hers, Dave. Ricky is probably heartbroken that she decided to marry this perfect stranger without even asking him if it is OK, first. And, obviously, what do the trees think of all this?

Now, with Oscar Zamora and his little wooden “friend” Don Chema, I have the ability to engage in what has so far been my good track record at giving both sexes equal time. That is mostly due to luck, and the abundance of crappy album covers. This Latino ventriloquist is based in the Southwestern US, and seems to be famous more with Latinos than with anyone else.

(Adult content) Crappy album covers #5 – The effects of viagra

Alla Pugatjova (also spelled Alla Pugacheva) is legendary female vocalist from the former Soviet Union whose career goes all the way back to the mid-1960s. “Every Night and Every Day” and “Superman” are two tracks that seem to come from her 1985 album, “Watch Out!”, an album which appears to be in English. So, this is more like the cover for a 45 RPM single, and not an album.

At any rate, the actual album cover was quite tasteful. This one was by contrast cheesy in the extreme. Sometimes I can’t decide where to put certain albums, because clearly there is crossover. I could have grouped it with the Frankenchrist album because of the dune buggy, but I think viagra won out, because of the unnamed dude in the Superman costume. But I have a lot in this category. So many crappy album covers, so little time.

Now that this guy thinks he is Superman, all I can say to Alla is, “be careful what you pray for”.

You can never go wrong with albums that sport naked chicks on the cover. Clearly, Eddie is pleased to see her, and she looks pleased to see him. Fine and dandy, but couldn’t he have chose a better title than “Recorded Live at the Open Face Sandwich Club”? Do we really need to be informed that he was playing in a restaurant where people may have only heard him between bites of their steak slices on rye, and were probably chatting throughout his set? Maybe the chick on his piano could control the crowd and tell those wayward patrons to shut the f**k up and let him play.

Eddie Mack had a short career spanning from the late 40s to early 50s. Allmusic lists his genre as “Rock”. Yeah. He looks pretty rockin’ to me. But then, one must be reminded that it was the early ’50s.

As for chicks getting the guy, the Ritchie Family seem to have no problems going by this album cover. The ladies are the ones in the picture that are fully dressed.

I just worry a little that there is not an even share of guys for the girls. There are 5 guys in the photo for 3 women. That’s one and two-thirds guys for each woman. My theory is that they got one each with two guys acting as “floaters” in case they have one of those “emergencies”. Maybe one of them might get sick. Maybe two of them. I hope the guys wear condoms.

Now we get to see an album where both sexes are in the buff. This is an obscure Various Artists compilation, but it appears from some (unreliable) sources that it was released in 1971. Arranged around their photo like signs of the zodiac are line drawings of people in various sex positions. The title is “The Sensuous Black Woman with The Sensuous Black Man”.

Some advice: premarital sex is only fun until you make the girl pregnant. Then, it’s not cool anymore. The late 60s and early 70s was an era of something called “free sex”, which seems in hindsight not to have been that sensible. Albums like this will tell our kids: “See what we were like? We had all kinds of sex and thought somehow we would never get the girl pregnant.” It’s the magical thinking of teens with adult levels of hormones.

Bobbi Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe, remembered

I was listening to a Pravda Records cover of a song from the late ’60s called “Ode to Billie Joe” (originally a Bobbi Gentry tune). It made me think about the original, the words, and musings about how hard it is to play on the guitar.

I recall there was also a mysticism regarding the words and what the story was really trying to say. Most obviously, it is a story about suicide and how callous people can be when speaking about the death of those not close to them. And sure, the pragmatic farmer’s mentality really comes out in the song. Rumor has it that the Tallahatchie Bridge (the one in real life) collapsed in 1972.

Wes Clark discusses this topic to its ultimate futility.

Aimee Mann

Something that is currently under high rotation on my iPod (actually, it’s an el-cheapo SanDisk that does the same thing) is a song called “Calling on Mary” by Aimee Mann. Aimee Mann has had a few good tracks after she parted from ‘Til Tuesday. But for some reason, this one, from what must be one of the moodiest Christmas albums I have ever heard (“One More Drifter in the Snow”), has me addicted. The song has that addictive quality of hitting all the right notes and the has all the right chord changes to keep it engaging. I would like it to be a love song or something, but here it is, a Christmas song. There is definite heart-ache in the music, more so than the words. It is an articulation of feeling I would put up there with George Harrisson. At least in that tune.

One wonders why she hadn’t been bigger as an act. There is definite hit quality in her music. It seems her “image” is of a female who thinks, who ponders, who is moody and introspective. None of these qualities are common in female acts.