Crappy Album Covers #335: Don’t let go the coattails

Cody Matherson "Can I Borrow a Feelin'?"Anyone who has read this blog from as far back as 10 years ago may have recalled a fella named Cody Matherson, who made an album called “Can I Borrow a Feelin’?” If you did see it, I guess it was hard to unsee. And my apologies for re-traumatizing you with this illustration. But I am bringing this up for a reason, since I have noticed that a few years later, as Cody had gotten older, his appearance naturally changed and now he has, uh, matured both musically and physically, with his more recent offering. All the while, his fame appears to have spread far and wide.

Cody MathersonI discovered this album while picking through some fresh Crappy Album Covers for future blogs. And look! A sequel! “Can I Borrow Another Feelin’?” rides on the tidal wave of success of his previous album, and takes things “that one step too far”. Also, Cody doesn’t seem to look that much worse for wear, don’t you think?

Stories abound about Cody’s past, on the internet. But many of them are well-written, but obviously tall tales, such as his place of birth in Pflugerville, Texas in 1958, followed  by a number of other plausible details, then saying that he was written up in Rolling Stone magazine as a country-rock legend with musical prowess comparable to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Elvis and Barry Manilow. That, and famous quotes purportedly about Cody from Bob Dylan. This is all nice, but there is not much proof of his actual music existing. The only evidence of Cody’s musicianship that appear to be left to 21st century civilization are these two album covers, which turn up all over the place. The Joyce album , referred to by some as the Mona Lisa of crappy album covers, is real. I have heard a snippet of her brand of gospel music. I have also heard music from many other CAC makers, some good, some not so much. But as Donald Rumsfeld liked to say about their ability to turn up evidence of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear arms cache, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Just because we can’t find any music from Cody Matherson, doesn’t mean that it’s not out there. We can say that for the Rolling Stone article, too.

KirkVanHouten Can I Borrow a FeelingThis franchise has apparently made it into the canon of popular culture. So much so, that a Simpson’s episode was devoted to a situation where Homer’s friend, Kirk Van Houten, was trying to get his former wife back by devoting a recording of songs like these and launching his career. There was merchandise such as cassette recordings you could have bought from the Simpson’s website for a while. Now, these are trading on websites such as E-Bay. You can now even get Kirk Van Houten T-shirts and coffee mugs, and patches for your jean jacket.

the-decline-can-i-borrow-a-feelingAs recently as 2014, Australian skate punk group The Decline announced a tour in promotion of an EP they recorded entitled “Can I Borrow a Feeling?”, obviously riding on the coattails of Cody Matheson and Kirk Van Houten, neither of whom were available for comment.

Crappy Album Covers #333 — Why it doesn’t suck: Black History Month

In Canada, due to the activism of former Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Jean Augustine, we celebrate Black History Month during the month of February, and I thought it would be worthwhile to show some landmark musical contributions by black people that have caught my attention.

The history of black people contributing to music has been well-documented, and in the 1950’s, it was acknowledged to be a “race barrier” for black people to break into the music charts. What was at the time called “race music” — the music of people like Fats Domino and Chuck Berry, was music often panned by radio stations, while cover versions of the same songs by the likes of Elvis Presley and Pat Boone were played endlessly.

Calypso (album) - Wikipedia

Harry Belafonte was among the first to break the race barrier in 1955 with his album Calypso. The second album by him to reach #1 on Billboard, it contains signature tunes such as Day-o, Jamaica Farewell, and Man Smart, Woman Smarter.

Belafonte is still around, he is 92 years old. Before his ilve performances of Day-o, he would explain a particular lyric in it, which was “Come Mr. Tally Man, tally me banana”. The song was about dock workers loading heavy bunches of bananas on to a boat for export over night, waiting as dawn breaks for the tally man to count their bunches of bananas so they can get paid and go home.

What makes this particular LP special is that it was the first record album in history to sell over a million records. Before that, million sellers were a term attributed to singles, such as Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, or Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Sixteen Tons. But this was the first time a whole album was acknowledged as a million seller. Calypso also stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 for 99 weeks — almost two years.

Rosaparks.jpg
Rosa Parks in 1955, with Rev. King standing behind her.

Belafonte was very much involved with the political activism of Rev. Martin Luther King, and as a result was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. He paid for Reverend King’s bail to get him out of Birmingham Prison in Alabama, and raised bail money to get other unjustly imprisoned black people out of prison on the eve of the Birmingham protests. The protests were against Apartheid-style racial segregation, common in the southern states until the early 1960s, and Birmingham was seen as the focal point of segregation during that time. The person who started this was a local seamstress who boarded a municipal bus in Birmingham, dutifully sitting in the section reserved for “coloured” people. When the white-only section of the bus became full, she refused to relinquish her seat to a white passenger who was standing, as required by municipal and state segregation laws, and as requested by the bus driver. The passenger, Rosa Parks, was also a leader in the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, and the conviction was fought all the way to the Supreme Court, with the conviction and the segregation laws surrounding it being overturned.

While Parkes was fired from her department store job as a seamstress, and received death threats for many years onward, she won world renown, as well as having streets named after her, winning medals of honor, honorary doctorates from several universities as far away as Tokyo, and a county in Washington state dedicated the front-row seats of their municipal buses in her name, shortly after her death in 2005.

Crappy Album Covers: A New Day #331: Rednecks and plain folks

colouche Michel Gerard Joseph Colucci (1944-1986), best known as Colouche, was a French comedian. Apparently, as part of his satire, he once ran for French President back in 1980, with support from the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. One campaign slogan went: “Before me, France was divided in two; now it will be doubled over into four” (the idiom “être plié en quatre,” can be translated as “doubled over laughing.”) At the time, he was up against François Mitterrand, who was very un-amused.
Eddie Brumley The problem with this concept, is that it is over-done, since a Googling of “Jesus sightings at Wal-Mart” yield over 400,000 hits.  Some are links to video blogs, or more traditional blogs where His likeness shows up on a Wal-Mart receipt. Rick Leland has even written a “Jesus at Wal-Mart” trilogy, on sale now at GoodReads, stretching the meme to its ultimate 750-page futility (a rough page total of the three books).The answer to the perennial question “What would Jesus do?”, according to these consistent, and persistent findings by many and sundry people, is that He would shop at Wal-Mart. And if Jesus had His way, Wal-Mart would be renamed Jesus Christ Superstore. That wasn’t exactly my image of Him, but I guess we must respect each other’s freedom of religion.

The website eddiebrumley.com is inactive, and other information on Brumley is very hard to obtain at the time of this writing.

Don Youngblood This was the fourth album by Rockabilly artist and Cincinnati native Don Youngblood. He had a fan club headquartered in Indiana. He sings and plays piano, and for the life of me, I can’t find the year of this album, although I saw a vinyl copy on sale at Amazon for around 12 bucks.

Brumley, I found Jesus at a Wal-Mart. To put the correct sense on this tune, Brumley was witnessed to at Wal-Mart. It is not far-fetched to say that Brumley’s near-empty kitchen pantry needed divine intervention, and that’s kind of what he is singing about:

Crappy Album Covers: A New Day #330: All folked up with mistaken identities

Yes, indeedie … This is the 330th CAC article, collect them all! More to follow. I will try to make these once per week:

The person in this picture does not want to be folked with. Channeling The Clash, the album has all of the visual cues of the London Calling album. Except the guitar, of course.

Not a whole lot of info exists on this incarnation of Emerald. Emerald appears as both a folk group and a metal group. The metal group appears online in some detail but this album doesn’t exist in the discographies I have seen for the “metal” group called Emerald.

That being said, this 2006 album is still for sale on Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, and all the other usual suspects.

Alvis Wayne (1937-2013) seems to be a victim of mixed identities. Someone asks him his name, he says “Alvis”, and the other responds “Oh, hi, Elvis!”; and then he has to correct them, and he finds himself all but handing out a pronunciation key: “That’s Alvis, with an ‘A’.” The other responds with “Elvis isn’t spelled with an ‘A’, what are you talking about?” Facepalm.

Apparently, this Texan hit it big in the UK, and his singles and albums were in high demand. His most recent LP, “Proud of My Rockabilly”, was released in 2001.

The Currie Brothers didn’t get Emerald’s memo. Instead, they are folking around with their accordions. Another victim of mistaken identity, there is currently another band in central Ontario that goes by the same name, also a folk band.

The Hot Stuff LP has been out for some 42 years now. I see a copy currently on e-Bay for about $25.00. Around the 1970s, Jim and Tom Currie won the Scottish Championship for accordion. According to Discogs, recordings of these two exist as late as 2015.

 

 

Crappy Album Covers #248 — De Agony of de Feet

The thing about Michael Franti, is that I like his style of music. Edgy, folky, and socially conscious, and entirely listenable.But, Michael, why did you have to ruin your latest record cover with your damn, *&#$!! foot? It’s not that pretty!
Here is what they did to Franti’s CD cover at amright.com.
Next up, Dvorak’s Slavonic Rhapsody #2 by the Vienna State Opera Orchestra.

While another classical LP we’ve featured, called “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” left clues on the cover for the Italian-challenged, there is precious little here to explain th depiction of holding one’s feet in what appears to be a nearly impossible flexibility move for many, which would relate that to the music.

Crappy Album Covers #247 — Arguing over the death of God

J. C. Crabtree questions Nietsche’s assertion that God is dead. It is likely that Crabtree didn’t read Frederich Nietsche when he made this record, but who knows?

There is no information I could find on this person, although a search turned up this J. C. Crabtree, but makes no mention of a ministry or of making records.

Here is Gertrude Behanna for the second time, here to just show up J. C. Crabtree with her assertion that God is in fact not dead. Heck, with her it’s not even a question.

This album was already discussed here.

To finally settle Nietsche’s question, well, I was talking to God the other day, and He told me Nietsche was dead. That final assertion is much more provable.

Crappy Album Covers #246 — CAC Enigmas

David Gray’s 1998 CD “White Ladder” did not reach the top of the British album charts until 2001, giving it the record for the longest un-interrupted climb to the top of the British charts.

No one in the CAC blogosphere that I have read about can even speculate upon what the artwork is about, and this makes it a Crappy Album enigma.

1979 was the year Disco was still making too much noise, and prog rock was in a slow decline.

As part of that decline was Camel’s “I can see your house from here”. This album had shorter tracks and was less “proggy” than their previous LPs.

Their successive LPs marked a return to the prog rock format.

Crappy Album Covers #245 — Man’s Inhumanity to Man

… or this woman’s inhumanity to herself. The fuse is lit, and it’s almost going to be like the 1812 Overture, with the world’s first classically-trained suicide bomber providing us with fireworks. 

Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985) owes much of his enduring reputation to his long-lived tenure with The Philadelphia Orchestra, lasting from 1936 to 1980.

This doesn’t look like an “inhumanity to man” cover until you notice that the croquet “balls” are the shrunken heads of humans. 

This 1971 LP is the third from Genesis but the first to have the “classic” lineup led by Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, and Phil Collins. It is interesting that this album, and the next two afterward never charted all that well in North America. Only the last two did with this lineup.

Crappy Album Covers #244 — Progressive Crock

Allmusic.com lists at least 100 albums under the name King Crimson. There are their main releases, countless live albums, and a raft of LPs under the label “King Crimson Collector’s Club” released as recently as 2004. And don’t forget the fact that Robert Fripp re-mastered the entire KC catalogue in the late 90s. And then there are all of those compilation LPs, released as recently as 2009.

This 1969 album, “In the Court of the Crimson King” is the LP that started it all. A prog rock heavyweight at a time that Led Zeppelin were just starting out, it expanded on the then-new idea of “The Concept Album”, started by The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper in 1967. “Crimson”, like “Sgt Pepper”, had no singles, but the LP peaked in 1970 at #28.

A view of someone having fun with this cover is found here.

Musicstack.com lists this vinyl LP as a collector’s item, commanding prices as high as $172.00.

This is Yes’s 1978 offering, Tomato. This album has most of the original Yes members, sans Bill Bruford. There were musical disagreements as to the direction of the music, divided into classical and pop-oriented camps, which hampered the quality of the album. So, not a single song on this LP is over 8 minutes long. By Yes standards, the songs are so short, you might as well be listening to K-Tel.

Then there was the album cover. Hoooly moly…. Rumor has it that the artist had this black-and-white photo of some dude with drumsticks which he thought would go nicely if a bright red tomato were thrown at it. Ohhhh… the contrast in colours! The juxtapositions! Whatever…

A copy of this LP in “excellent” condition currently sells on musicstack.com for as much as $54.95 (US).

Crappy Album Covers #243 — Seventies’ Blockbusters

Gunning for the first weinie roast in zero gravity, Crosby, Stills and Nash’s 1990 LP “Livin’ It Up” took four years to record, and flopped in the record stores. Disappointing, since this was their first LP recorded as a group since 1977’s “CSN”.

Notable appearances on the album which peaked on Billboard at #57 were: Peter Frampton, Bruce Hornsby, Micheal Landau, Branford Marasalis, and JD Souther.

The seventies happened (note tense). This cover of this 1983 album is so seventies (prog style), it almost hurts.

This is Marillion’s first album, and many would also say their finest, which bore comparisons with early Genesis. Allmusic says this LP only peaked as high as 175 on Billboard. However, it yielded a top-40 hit, entitled “He knows, you know”, which peaked the same year at #21.

Does anybody know “He knows, you know”? I don’t know “He knows, you know”. And you probably know I don’t know “He knows, you know”. And I know you don’t know I don’t know “He knows, you know”. And I figure you know I know you don’t know I don’t know “He knows, you know”.

Y’know?

Crappy Album Covers #242 — Down and Funky

Why have album covers of the disembodied heads of women? According to  Swamp Dogg (Jerry Williams Jr), all that really matters is their lips. And tongues as well. After that, ol’ Swampie just gets happy with the cut-and-paste tool on Photoshop, and pretty soon, he has himself the album cover he had been salivating over.
Roger is a complex guy. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad. Sometimes troubled, sometimes glad. Roger Troutman, with freres Lester, Zapp and Larry and a couple of other musicians give their R&B best to many of the 70s classics in this 1981 LP. Roger is known for being a virtuoso with a vocorder, and it is said that this LP has a lot of other electronic instruments and effects that won mild accolades from reviewers.

This album has been re-released on CD (Rhino) as recently as 2002, with bonus tracks.

Crappy Album Covers #241 — Party People

Pink Martini is a class act, in every sense of the word. While they do jazz and “international” music, their musicians are classically trained, and there are enough band members using traditional orchestral instruments to call them an “orchestra”.

I had to include band Pink Martini’s 2007 album “Hey Eugene” into the CAC blog, since it looks tacky. But of course, it is consistent with the hit song which makes the title of the album. Lead singer China Forbes is depicted here  sitting on the edge of the tub of the bathroom where presumably Eugene’s skinhead friend passed out for several hours, according to the narrative of the song.

In the following year, China released a solo album called ’78, which has a more relaxed, folksy version of Eugene.

Moscow Nights is, according to Wikipedia, one of the best known Russian songs outside of Russia. This record is something like the old K-Tel/TeeVee International compilations, containing 20 hit songs.

This record possibly comes from the 1970s, and had at one time been released on the American Smithsonian-Folkways label.

There was a re-release in CD format in 1993, and mp3s are for sale on eMusic.

Here is Pink Martini’s 2007 atypical cult hit “Hey Eugene”, as aired on PBS, with lead vocalist China Forbes and bandleader and composer/arranger Thomas Lauderdale being interviewed at the start of the song:

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Crappy Album Covers #240 — Overdone

The Funk/R&B/Disco group Parliament has built thier image on over-the-top costumes and stage settings. Parliament’s 1976 LP “The Clones of Dr Funkenstein” is no exception.

George Clinton seems to be saying “Hey! Who put boobs on this clone?!?”

Manowar, if you have read my last entry on them, were noted for their independent business practices, a more than overt homosexual slant in their depictions of themselves, and really loud concerts (139 dB, it is rumored … the pain threshhold is 120 dB). Their concerts are slightly quieter than planes taking off from an aircraft carrier, but louder than a jet engine. Just remember, that to put this in perspective, a jackhammer is a mere 120 dB. That’s 1/80th the sound energy of a Manowar concert.

Crappy Album Covers #239 — More Exotica (or how does the chick keep her bra on?)

More exotica, yet, due to the surfeit of strapless gowns, strapless brassieres, and strapless halters, we return to the same eternal questions. How do they stay on? Why aren’t the chicks modelling for WonderBra instead of propping up the Exotica industry? In this phot lies part of the answer. The chick couldn’t keep hers on. Crouched and arms folded. Bad sign.

What the heck is Modesto doing wearing cutoff jeans?

But Maya Angelou just keeps this mystery eternal. Angelou is a poet, and this 1957 record is reputedly a poetry reading, perhaps meant to be performed with a dance accompaniment.

Angelou (Born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis Missouri in 1928) is a person who may well be placed in the category of “lives can you buy viagra over the counter in usa well-lived”. She is many things to many people: a writer, a peformer, a dancer, a civil rights activist, a university professor, a playwright (also performing in Porgy and Bess). In the late 70s, she wrote many movie scores, and composed for R&B singer Roberta Flack. Her most notable book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, is the 5th most banned book in schools in the United States for the years 2000 to 2005, according to the American Library Association. This means that it’s a book children will be spending their saved allowances to put on order on Amazon. When will the censors ever learn?

Crappy Album Covers #238 — Extreme Exotica

Juanita Banana appears to be a major musical comedy act in the French-speaking world. She appears to have been doing this for quite a while.Below is a YouTube video with Juanita Banana. It is completely in French, but I think the visual humor survives translation. It appears that it is someone else lip-synching her, but going by the comments on YouTube, it appears legit.
This is a rare depiction of violence. Is it a fair fight? Girl drops dagger, guy has a bull-whip? But never mind that. The real question on everyone’s mind is: how does her bra stay up?Chaino, born Leon Johnston (1927-1999) was a fellow of questionable origin (I have heard stories that he had been the last born of a nearly extinct African tribe, for example), but what is not questionable was his contribution to the Exotica trend in the late 50s and early 60s. Allmusic tells us he was born in 1927 in Philadelphia.

Reviewers say that his recordings, with Chaino normally as the sole musician in multiple percussion tracks, was once described as being like the best sex you never had. Reissues of his recordings have appeared as late as 2008.

Juanita Banana:

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The Sleeveface phenomenon: A Gallery

This is a bit of an old phenomenon (it had its heyday about 2 years ago). However, I think a blog about album covers would be remiss to leave out the topic. Here is a gallery of the most original art found in the sleeveface genre. I won’t go in to deeply into the origins of sleeveface, since there appears to be much disagreement.

The writer of the blog jetcomx.com seems to have an eye for the most original artwork in this genre. Here is a brief sampling.

Barbara Streisand gets the treatment on the body of a dog.
Next, I am uncertain as to the origin of this LP by Jo Ann Castle. The ragtime pianist and Lawrence Welk performer, also named Jo Ann Castle, does not list this LP on her official website. Certainly the title, “I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover”, certainly qualifies as ragtime.
Bonnie Tyler’s “Faster than the speed of night” gets the treatment. The model in this picture is going for the Millie Jackson effect (sitting on the toilet seat). Unlike Millie, though, this model has both shoes off.
American emo group The Promise Ring, with their 1999 LP “Very Emergency”, gets the treatment. Looks like they may have found the original model for the record to boot!
Sex changes are a common sleeveface trick. Here, John Travolta is seen in fishnets.
This masterpiece looks like it may have the same female model in the same black shoes and fishnets. I don’t think Eydie Gorme ever wore fishnets. I guess that’s what keeps them both smiling.
Sleeveface? Why not a sleeve foot? That would have made the members of Monty Python proud.
Tiffany: I Think I’m a Clone, Now!

Crappy Album Covers #237 — Lamers!

There’s Lennon, McCartney;
Elton John, Bernie Taupin;
There’s Bacharach, David;
and Holland/Dozier/Holland;

But do you recall
the most earth-shat’ring duo of all
I’m talking about –
Nimoy and Billy Shatner;
Singin’ with their shiny prose
And like a moss infection
You would even say it grows
People who were non-Trekkies
Used to laugh and call them names
You’d wonder why they’d still make records
‘Cause most of what they sing is lame

I am feeling vibrations …. Ooooh lots of vibrations … ooooohh ahhh. no, wait a minute, I’ll switch off my cell phone, sorry.

My crystal ball tells me, uh, it tells me that, uh, you like to stare down women’s cleavages. There’s a ladies’ lingerie shop in your future. That, and something to do with dressing rooms and pinhole cameras.

Millie Jackson is at it again, with another tasteless record cover. But this one is an artistic masterpiece compared with her earlier entry into this CAC blog.

Crappy Album Covers #236 — More family Bands

The previous version of this posting was accidentally deleted. This was God’s way of telling me that my soul will burn in hell for eternity for making CAC entries, especially those mocking Christian-oriented family bands. Oh well… in for a penny, in for a dollar…
In this photo, the father is illiterate but can sing. So that’s why Little David signs all the contracts and does the legal work in clearing copyrights. He named the band “Little David and Family” himself, knowing that Dad couldn’t read anyway, so shilling a bit for himself won’t hurt.
There is something about family bands that seems to say that the family that dresses together stays together. Even down to the heavy-rimmed glasses. Why don’t they wear Groucho noses while they’re at it?

No info on The Simmons or “The Touch of God” could be found. Clearly most of them look a bit touched.

Crappy Album Covers #234 — Judgement Issues

The jumpsuit was never a big hit as a fashion item, being more of a centerpiece in prison haute couture instead. Here are the four escape convicts of the lavender and sky-blue wings of a co-ed maximum security prison who call themselves ABBA: Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn, and Anni-Frid, with a Spanish rendition of the 1977 hit “Thank-you For The Music”. A hit record from that album appears below, sung in Spanish.
Abba will likely be the most successful international act to come out of Sweden for a long time to come. Their trademark harmonies, a “wall of sound” style borrowed from Phil Spector, and simple tunes that anyone can sing and relate to, made them the giants in music that they were, with hits that stick in your mind decades after they were composed. The band lasted as long as the marriages: Agnetha to Bjorn and Benny to Anni-Frid. They broke up in 1983, although they have later appeared as a group as audience members for performances such as “Mama Mia!”

In 2000, they had reportedly turned down a 1 billion-dollar (US) offer for them to re-unite and do a 100 concert tour. It would have been nice to see them re-unite, but the reasons they gave for not doing it were compelling and reasonable: that they feared becoming similar to the Robert Plant reincarnation of Led Zeppelin: fogeys who are only a cover band for their own material. I hear you, Abba.

By the late 70s, they were a bigger money maker than Volvo or Saab, having to date sold over 375 million records worldwide. They are expected to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame some time today, probably earlier today.

Californian classicial musician Terry Riley is here with his 1967 LP “A Rainbow in Curved Air”, his second of 12 records so far. This LP has wound up on many CAC journals, likely because of the placement of the author and title, relative to Terry’s expansive forehead.

Riley performed in many innovative concerts in the 1960s (music for vacuum cleaner and harmonium, and was one of the first to use tape loops in concerts and recordings), and later composed for the Kronos Quartet.

Here is ABBA, with their Spanish hit “Reina Danzante”, which english speakers will also find familiar:

Crappy Album Covers #233 — Men with Chronic Shyness

Look at the guy in the foreground. Now let’s see if I got this right: there’s a lady both in front and behind him; there are nothing but ladies elsewhere in the photo; and all this guy can think about doing is fiddling with the knobs on his sound equipment. I think these girls must come to certain conclusions about guys who fall in love with their gadgets too much. But nevertheless, this is all the International Pop Orchestra could come up with for the cover to their record “An Exciting Evening At Home”.
Musician, producer, and husband of Melanie Ciccone Joe Henry is here with his 1996 recording, Trampoline.The painting gives the feeling like a bed is being used as a trampoline. A bed in a psych ward.

Being husband to Madonna’s sister hasn’t hurt his career. Among the recordings Joe and Madonna recorded together was the single “Guilty By Association”.