Humans are a curious species. We like to ask the questions about why things exist/happen/not happen, and so on.
When I built my search engine questions, I began with the word “WHY”, then gradually built on that, one word at a time. Now, I pass on the list of questions to you.
If the list of Google autocomplete suggestions which is to follow is taken to be the true distillation of human thought, we seem to be very preoccupied with aches and pains, bodily functions, and weather events, and not a whole lot outside of that.
⦁ is the sky blue
⦁ don’t we
⦁ him cast (sic)
⦁ do whales beach
⦁ am i so tired
⦁ are you running
⦁ do cats purr
⦁ am I always tired
⦁ do we yawn
⦁ my cat lick me
⦁ my dog lick me
⦁ it hurt when i pee
⦁ salt melt ice
⦁ ice float
⦁ my stomach hurt
⦁ my head hurt
⦁ my jaw hurt
WHY DOES IT
⦁ snow in Canada
⦁ always rain on me
⦁ hurt to swallow
⦁ hurt to poop
⦁ hurt to have sex
⦁ hurt to breathe
⦁ hurt when I cough
WHY DOES IT SEEM
⦁ like everyone is rich
⦁ impossible to lose weight
⦁ impossible to get a girlfriend
⦁ hard to breathe
⦁ hard to swallow
WHY DOES IT NEVER
⦁ work out with guys
⦁ snow in London/Manchester/Swansea/England/Florida
⦁ snow on Christmas
⦁ rain in California
⦁ get dark in Alaska
WHY DOES IT ALWAYS SEEM
⦁ to be (Phil Collins lyric)
⦁ to rain at night
⦁ to rain on the weekend
⦁ to rain on Good Friday
⦁ to be my fault
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.