crappy album covers

Crappy Album Covers #23 – Just Plain Old Bad Taste

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Album Covers #22 — Disappeared Without a Trace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Album Covers #21 — Celebrity Corner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! Yes! I now have the much -talked about and much grossed-out over back cover! It is one thing to say it’s gross, but it is much more effective to show you!

Crappy Album Covers #19 – More People Who Worry Me

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Album Covers #18 — Travels Through Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Album Covers #16 – Bad Promos

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Albums #15 – The End Is Nigh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Album Covers #14 – I need help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Crappy Album Covers #13 — Relax, dammit!

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Album Covers #12 – Gettin’ Religion

Reverend Robert Rap – by Strider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Album Covers #11 – Space Travel Misadventures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Album Covers #10 – Bad retouching

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Album Covers #9 – Questionable People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Album Covers #8 – Food on vinyl

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Crappy album covers — sidebar) — The Shaggs: A quandry

Much of my youth was devoted to getting any info I could about the pop music culture I grew up in. From time to time, there would be the odd mention of The Shaggs, a band of four young sisters, Dorothy, Betty, Helen and Rachel Wiggin. In fact, there was (and likely still is) a strong cult following led by the likes of Frank Zappa. The album depicted here is a compilation called “Shagg’s Own Thing”, released in 1982. If anyone were to be introduced to The Shaggs, I would recommend this album first, since it is a better approximation of conventional music.

I don’t wish to go into a long diatribe about the history of The Shaggs. They are well-written about and have been reviewed, especially after the reissue of “Philosophy of the world” by RCA in 1999, in such publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker.

This second album was their 1969 debut, “Philosophy of the World”, recoded a few months before Woodstock. To quote Jimmy Guterman and Owen O’Donnell, from their book “The Worst Rock and Roll Records of All Time”: “In their insistence that technical proficiency was immaterial, The Shaggs were the original punk rockers.”

People are largely on two minds about The Shaggs. On the one hand, they don’t seem to know how to play their instruments, their instruments and their voices appear to be out of tune, and they have no consciousness about keeping time with each other. If you listen to their music, this is depressingly obvious, and you feel embarrassed for them.

One gets the feeling that these sisters probably never wanted to be in a band. That was their father’s idea, and the sisters’ desires didn’t matter. This reprint of the New Yorker article paints a picture of daughters who lived in fear of Austin Wiggin, their authoritarian father, who hated much of the popular culture that was around him, and worked hard to shelter his daughters from those influences. Yet, he wanted his daughters to play popular music, partly to make a name for himself in his home of Fremont, New Hampshire; and partly to fulfill a prediction made by his clairvoyant wife that his daughters would play in a band. Neither parent was remotely musical, the kids were homeschooled, and this separated them even more from mainstream culture. What musicality could possibly emerge from such a deprived environment?

That being said, there are those who, thirty years on, still think they were on to something. I go with my instincts, and think that this was a family run by a controlling father, and what desires really exist within them to become whole; any move toward even knowing their own feelings and desires was something that only became possible after the death of Austin in 1975. The Shaggs were an extension of Austin, and had little to do with the young ladies.

(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, buy tramadol online no prescription 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.