Crappy Album Covers #40 — Jackdaws I

I refer to anything I could not put into any specific category as a “Jackdaw”. I am aware that jackdaws are also a species of bird (C. monedula), but I have heard them use a lot by libraries to refer to uncategorizable books, and on the other end of the spectrum, primary source documents. In modern usage I see that the word “jackdaw” is used by some libraries to describe or give a name to their search engines.

We’re only down to a few crappy album covers, which I either felt little inspiration to comment on, or were just pushed aside in the search for an album cover that suited the theme of the day. That is not to say that these are obscure. Some are, but others have remained as common fodder by crappy album cover web pages all over the net, just as was the case in previous posts.

Crappy Album Covers #39 — Still More Gays

Paddy Roberts, whom allmusic.com claims is in the Rock genre, released this album in the mid-60s, probably the last decade where “gay” only meant “happy”. Likely not an album for queers. Not even queer dogs.In 2006, this album was re-released on CD, bundled with another album, “Funny World”. No detailed information on Paddy Roberts could be found anywhere.
Sticking to the 1960s, this was apparently one of a series of queer parody albums consisting of males singing in effeminate voices. These were released by the Camp Records label, and were advertised in a gay magazine called Vagabond in 1965. J. D. Doyle tells the whole sordid tale, at great lengt (with MP3s).You know this album will not be complimentary toward gays when you notice all of the stereotypes are in the artwork, along with the choice of color. This label had produced songs with titles like “I’d Rather Fight Than Swish”, “Florence of Arabia” and “London Derriere”.

But it has variously been called a “Queer stag” album, and other things. Nearly all of the credits are pseudonyms, and one name stands out: Rodney Dangerfield. That doesn’t sound like a pseudonym.The rest, it is claimed, are famous people, but being the mid-60s, no-one would reveal their names publically.

However, Doyle is doubtful that it is the same Rodney Dangerfield as that fellow Crappy Album Cover maker that got “No Respect”.

Jose Angel’s album “Madre Soy Cristiano Homosexual” translates (I think) to “Mother, I am a Christian Homosexual.” The date of release is unknown. Here is an MP3 of the title track.By all accounts, this is a story of a man who comes out to his mother, that he is a gay Christian. Imagine this confession takes place today. Of course the mother probably flips out. Not over being gay, but over being one of them “Christians”. With all those “Christian Right” people ruining the United States, how dare he come into the house and disgrace the family that he now cavorts with a band of greed-obsessed Jesus freaks?

This photo was taken after Mother disowned him from the family inheritance, and told him he is no longer welcome in their house until he kicks this Christian habit. Maybe living on his own would be good for him.

This is another Jackdaw. I have nowhere else to place the retro Swedish group Larz Kristerz (this link is in Swedish only). So, they are in this post for lack of a better place.It would appear that all of their albums are called “Stuffparty”, their titles differing only by the sequel number.

They seem to have the 70s kitsch mastered. Probably a little too well, right down to the tasteless hairdos.

I tried to get Google to translate “Stuffparty”, from Swedish, but to no avail.

Crappy Album Covers #38 — Sports people with something to sing about

Evel Knievel (1938 – 2007) needs no introduction. Motorcycle daredevil and religious convert, Robert Craig Knievel was also a reader of Napoleon Hill, a fellow crappy album maker, mentioned in an earlier posting. Wikipedia cites Hill’s book, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude as one of Knievel’s influences through life.

No daredevil has suffered more broken bones than Evel. The Guiness Book of World Records says that he had suffered 433 broken bones in his lifetime. He was a man who truly suffered for his art so that we may be entertained.

So, what the f**k was he doing making records? “Oh yeah, and before I jump, I’d like to sing you a song off my new album”. That would have raised ticket prices.

Muhammad Ali, originally Cassius Marcellus Clay, also needs no introduction from me. And here is Mr. Ali fighting Mr. Tooth Decay (with two album designs).

Now I only know one way to fight Mr. Tooth Decay that involves boxing, usually involving the loss of said Mr. Teeth. And I am sure that Mr. Ali has set a good example for us all by brushing his teeth and flossing.

There are some bars that try to kick out their clients near closing time by totally annoying them. But of course it backfires when the bartender discovers that everyone seems to know the Bird Dance, and it only increases the partying atmosphere. Did you ever wonder where they got that recording?

Well, wonder no more. This 1981 recording by the Polka players extraordinaire, The Emeralds, was a common example of what was chosen. And it was on the K-Tel label, so you know you have the guarantee of cheesiness of the highest standard possible. And the public thought so too. This version of the bird dance is the one that is most popular and recognizable in bars and pubs in North America. It has sold several million copies since it was first released in ’81. There are 139 other versions of this song (according to Wikipedia) that had not fared so well. Even versions by Walt Disney Records have flopped. But not so for K-Tel. This album cover has the standard lack of thought and artlessness that we expect from K-Tel. But don’t be fooled: this album was a goldmine, and K-Tel gets the last laugh.

Crappy Album Covers 37 — Self-help for the helpless

The first time I saw this album cover by Jimmy Jenson, I thought it was some kind of self-help manual on the care and maintenance of your household Swede. First and foremost, is the obvious crisis depicted on the album cover. There are nine chilren there, and I would imagine that either she is going to need her tubes tied, or he is going to need a vasectomy. The hatchet and the medical kit bag (which might just be a bottle of scotch) appear to suggest the manner by which this procedure is to be carried out.

But alas, there is no help in this album about living with your resident Swede. Jimmy Jenson is a singer who has had a number of albums in English.

Problem is, his English is apparently not very good. “Your” shouldn’t have an apostrophe. If the apostrophe were placed properly, the contracted “you’re” expands to “you are”, making the title into “Understand You Are Swede”. I think Jimbo meant to title it “Understand Your Swede.” It would appear as though he sings folk tunes, and has sung enough of them to produce three “Greatest Hits” compilations.

Napoleon Hill, this time, really was a self-help expert from way back, in the same league as Andrew Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale.

When I was growing up, I have seen more of these little statuettes in more bathrooms of more homes than I care to mention. All variations of these statues invariably had some smart-alecky message carved into the bottom part. Such as: “Near this point is where the most important decisions are made.” or the poem that begins “Here I sit broken-hearted …”.

Nowadays we are suspcious of these kinds of records. And since no one really believes you can become anything you can conceive of, nowadays we attach it to mysticism and call it “The Secret”, and blame our bad luck on bad thoughts which bring on bad energy. And once they start bringing in String Theory and theories on atomic energy, you know it is time to find something else to read (or watch if you got the DVD).

Now how do you like this…? Stop smoking without using your willpower…? It is a misinterpretation of the concept of willpower.

We need a will to live. There must be at least that. It is records like these that have contributed to a consciousness among the public that we can overcome any obstacle without the need for concentrated effort or mental exertion. This “easy way out” mentality has ruined a lot of lives and have contributed to increasing hopelessness and despair among people who sincerely wish to stop smoking, or to just give up bad habits in general.

All bad habits require determination and effort to break. Even the modern solution of “going on the patch” is only 7% effective without an accompanying willpower after you stop using the patch.

Crappy Album Covers #36 — Space, Religion, and Getting Down

Laverne Tripp is the sole proprietor of Laverne Tripp Ministries.

He preaches. He sings. Oh, does he sing! To date he has released 78 full-length albums of his singing.

Pardon the pun, but I find the cover kind of, …, well, … trippy. It plays with your mind, in a way.

It also looks like he’s falling. I hardly feel the impression of being “saved” or being “in God’s presence.” I don’t know if it was one of those ’70s attempts to bring God and religion into the Space Age.

Allmusic.com does not list a single one of his 80 or so albums, and does not mention anything about him. Surely, this is because of  the work of Satan.

Tripp still goes on tour around the Southeastern US, and has his own television program on various religious networks and affiliates.

This album is closer to the 1973 listing of the personnel playing in the Jazz group The Stellar Unit. This is either their website, or a fan’s shrine page. I can’t tell.

I think the story kind of goes like this: They were playing in local pizza parlours in Houston, when some guy said, “they sure sound like a stellar unit”.

Curtis Eugene Keen is depicted here with his two marionettes — oh, no, hold on — they’re for real. They are Joe Stroud and Neil Hecht. Their latest lineup adds a female — Peggy Kaye, playing the banjo.

So, we have a trumpet, keyboard, fiddle, trombone, banjo as possible instruments, along with two vocalists (Keen also sings). They play various jazz standardsin the southern US. I am not aware of them being played elsewhere. In fact, I am not aware of any other albums by them.

This 8×10 autographed photo of The Stellar Unit was listed on E-Bay for $3.99. “Shipping and Handling” (whatever that means for an autographed photo) brings the cost up to 10 bucks. I think the seller just wants ten bucks.

I would suppose that they are not sufficiently obscure enough for their paraphanelia to garner high prices.

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This next offering is from a supposed Elton John imitator named Dwayne Smith.

It is hard to get the feeling that you are going to make this album the cornerstone of your dance party with a title like “Get Directly Down”.

It is not known who he is or what he does these days. He could get confused with Jazz bassist Dwayne “Smitty” Smith, until you compare the photos.

Dwayne will play weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.

Crappy Album Covers #35 — Love, Peace, and Good Bodies

This is Cherone, and the cover could have easily been passed over at the record store by you, because it contains, well, nothing all that special. 

Yes, I know that it contains the requisite semi-nude female required by marketers, yes the lights are low and it looks intimate. However, there is a problem here in that there is nothing really distinctive about the album. The best I can say is that, for the most part, it is inoffensive.

When you want to get to know what makes someone tick, like say, your wife or husband, for instance … I don’t think that you mean that you will skin them alive and cut out their guts. 

But I take it that this is an educational record. John Burstein plays Slim Goodbody, the Superhero of health. He appears to be a Children’s educator and entertainer. He would tour around New York City, probably scaring kids with his costume. But he was given a contract by PBS to host the program “Inside Story” in the early 1980s, which this LP is named after. He currently tours and runs his own website.

Happy Louie, Julcia and the Boys put out this album called “Lots of Love and Peace”. 

I have to say that while Love and Peace are universal and should not be hoarded and be the social message for only certain groups, it still looks dumb, since it is strongly identified with the hippie generation of the 60s and early 70s.

Anything is likely, but all things being equal, do you see, even mentally, any of these people smoking pot? Are they the type that would tune in, turn on and drop out?

Now we are going from phony to insular. It is nice that the Murk Family will provide themselves to society as the model for a “Love for All Seasons”. 

It is difficult to write about families pulling together and providing a network of love and support. Most attempts I have listened to seem to always come out forced and hollow. But I think that is what they’re getting at.

Crappy Album Covers #31 — Cliches per square inch

As an asside, I would like to know who bought these albums when they were a teenager, then pinned up the album covers on their wall, and threw away the record?

A Gruson & Turium Empty Cliche Checklist:
Topless chicks? Check.
Lit candles? Check.
Ballroom curtains? Check.
Piano to let the buyer know that this is a music album and not something else? Check.
Classy lettering in a colour that matches the piano? Check.
Title that connects in a suggestive way to the photo? Check.

There is no information on Gruson and Turium anywhere that I can find, or on the album “Silk and Satin”.

Candles which are carelessly placed just distrupts my suspension of disbelief. It only looks like they are posing.

Karab Empty Cliche Checklist:

Topless chick? Check.
Chick has blonde hair? Check.
Chick is wearing tight jeans? Check.
Chick has large gazongas? Check.
Her eye color matches her jeans? Check.
Scabs, wrinkles, bruises, pimples, and body hair airbrushed out of the photo? Check.
Chick is posing on a motorcycle? Check.
Chick is wearing minimum 3″ heels that match the motorcycle color and her lipstick? Check.
Her lipstick color matches her motorcycle? Check.
Her lipstick color matches the license plate? Check.
Font chosen for a “kinetic” feel? Check.
Title has a suggestive connection with the photo? Check.

Crappy Album Covers #29 — More Celebrities

This is a curious album, since Jimmy Carter is talked about, and does not appear on this 1977 album.

Preview Records is a company that keeps track of the history and lore of the song-poem industry. It is not known which company put this out, but it seems to be MSR Records of Hollywood (now defunct).

The song-poem industry is borne of all those tabloid ads you might have seen in the back pages among all those other word ads which Preview aptly refers to as “the human misery ghetto”. They are quite frank in their description of this industry. To quote spokesperson and historian Phil Milstein:

Song-poem music is a scam in which innocent people are deceived into paying to have a poem or song lyric they’ve written set to a tune and recorded. Although the song-poem company suggests in its promotional literature that it will support the finished recording, and that it therefore has a chance to become a smash hit, in reality once the record is completed and returned to the customer it is quickly forgotten about, in favor of the location and seduction of new victims.

Song-poem companies profit by doing volume business, and so must create a literal factory of music, with the songs being shuttled from melody-writing to fabrication on an assembly-line basis. It is the aesthetic clashes between the work of the amateur and often graceless lyricists and that of the professional studio personnel forced to work too hastily that sparks song-poem music’s unique pleasures. The genre has a long and colorful history, much of which is imparted throughout this website.

It turns out that in 1998, Jimmy Carter was in the studio of Boston’s NPR radio station WBUR-FM when the DJ played a song off of this album and piped the off-air feed into the studio Carter was sitting in. He reportedly liked the song, but said he had never heard it before.

Well, that is all the goofy “Democrat” covers I could find. If you have any suggestions, please send them along.

Now, to be fair, to be utterly fair and on the level … this John Wayne album cover doesn’t really qualify as crappy. Look at the depiction: Confederate-era hat, American flag, cowboy clothes. This is not crappy, because this is exactly what we expect to see from John Wayne.

It is with the same attitude that I refuse to spotlight almost all heavy metal album covers. There are just some albums that we expect will suck, and the fact that they suck is the very thing that makes people buy them.

I would rather that the tastelessness be un-intended, and the artists be serious and earnest. That, my friends, is a formula for disaster.

This disaster is a case in point.

In recent years (that is, some time since the 90s), I recall Kreskin offering a reward of 10,000 dollars to anyone who can prove the existence of a subconscious. The subconscious, it is thought, should be revealed by hypnosis. Kreskin swore up and down that all that was utter hogwash. Yet, here is a depiction of Kreskin supposedly putting the person in front of him under a hypnotic trance. And what does hypnosis have to do with ESP?

Known to his parents as George Joseph Kresge, Jr., The Amazing Kreskin  maintains his own blog and sells DVDs and other stuff. The website seems to keep the kitch factor to a minimum, to his credit.

Crappy Album Covers #28 — Bad Ideas

Here, the glam rock group Nelson provides the musical answer to the riddle “why do dogs lick themselves?”

Members Matthew and Gunnar, the twin sons of Ricky Nelson — who, in turn was the son of Ozzy and Harriet Nelson, have the distinction of belonging to a family that has had #1 hits in each of these three successive generations. This seems important enough to mention in the Guiness Book of Records, since they are the only family to have accomplished this.

This second album, “Because they Can”, released in 1995, five years after their first album, did not produce a #1 hit, and Geffen stopped promoting them.

Erotic Terrorism is the 1998 album produced by the British hip-hop group Fun-Da-Mental.

They have released seven albums since their inception in 1995. This album is their third, and the latest was “All Is War”, released in 2006.

I may be a little slow on the uptake here, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how depictions of violence and anger can serve the cause of peace. These can you buy generic viagra over the counter, where, what is product name people are purportedly against violence. Their website even has a “dollar ticker” representing the cost of the Iraq war. But it is just my word against a whole hip-hop/gangsta rap culture. To me, it just looks like immature and hypocritical grandstanding. Sorry, I simply don’t get it.

As for the terrorist angle, guns are now considered a relic of the 20th century. Nowadays if you are not a suicide bomber, all you need is an exacto blade and maybe other sharp office equipment, board a plane and hijack it! I saw that on TV back in 2001.

On a lighter note, there is no information on Foster Edwards, his orchestra, or his album which dates around 1966.

But it must have been a low-budget affair, since the band members worked for peanuts (now, you knew that one was coming).

They would even wear Beatle wigs to appear trendy to mid-60s fashions.

Crappy Album Covers #27 — More people who worry me

Steve E. King just wants you to know that if you don’t buy his album “Prelude”, he’ll personally come over and pop you full of lead.

There is no information I can find on Steve E. King anywhere. However, it is a bit suspicious that he has the same name as novelist Stephen King, who also has “E” as his middle initial. Stephen King also dabbles in music, according to his memoir “On Writing”.

Not much useful is known about “Songs for Swinging Mothers”, but much has been written in blogs about people who worry about this depiction of women engaging in risky activities (swinging while standing) while pregnant. Especially the one standing on the swing. What on Earth is she thinking?
Tino, another person who wants to be your friend.

Tino’s real name is Constantino Fernandez Fernandez. OK, we’ll stick with Tino.

I understand that “Por Primera Vez” translates from the Spanish to “For the First Time”.I could pursure this title for deeper meaning in the context of the picture, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that there are endless worst album cover lists that have this album.

It has been said that Tino has lost an arm in an accident some years ago.

The Soul of Kijana not only unfolds in his music, but women swoon upon beholding his presence. Bizarrerecords.com, the site this picture comes from, gives the impression that this hand-drawn album, like Kijana’s music career, may have been a front for a men’s hairstying salon which he was a part of. So, probably another vanity pressing.

He also shoots laser beams from his eyes.

Allmusic gives no connection to this record. However, there is someone who goes by the name Kijana, who is now much older and singing Easy Listening music. That album, called “Kijana Sings and Swings” was released in 2005 and has a more professional cover to it.

Crappy Album Covers #26 — Phallic symbols

Phallic symbols, their effects, and other weirdness…

Sigmund Freud once was quoted as saying “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” After inventing the idea of phallic symbols, and knowing how much he loved to smoke cigars, there are people who would have disagreed with Freud’s veiled attempt to shield the psychological dimensions of his own smoking habit from public scrutiny. Cigarettes are no different in their role as phallic symbols. 

First, I have got to tell you about Tex Williams. You are looking at the album cover for the biggest hit of his career. “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (that Cigarette) was a #1 hit on billboard for six weeks in 1947, and was the first million-seller for Capitol Records.

Despite the uber-cheesy look of the album cover, it seems that the song is actually an anti-smoking song, but with a certain postwar morbid sense of humor. Scroll down for the You-Tube video (black-and-white, of course).

Pioneer flautist Herbie Mann is a big name in Jazz circles. He helped get Chick Corea’s career started by having him play with a few of his ensembles. He has enjoyed quite a range of crossover success, with 25 of his jazz albums entering the top 200 pop charts. 

The album cover suggests that he has a talent with more than one kind of flute.

… Just ask Herbie’s taxi driver. He saw everything. He should have first suspected something was up when he picked up Herbie and his GF in a swanky bar in Lower Manhattan, and then they asked to be driven to an obscure Pizza Parlour in Hempstead (Long Island), taking only the side streets. 

After about an hour he had to ask Herbie and his lady friend to tone it down a bit because he had to concentrate on driving the car. However it must be said that talent with playing the flute is really a talent the partner has, and not of the possessor of such a flute.

That taxi driver has quite a smirk on his face…

Jerry Williams, Jr., known to his adoring fans as “Swamp Dogg”, is a soul musician, and has been putting out such music since the 1970s. He has been making records under various monacres since 1954, and has his present name since the 1970s. He continues to make records to this date. 

“Rat On!” is Mr. Dogg’s second LP, released in 1971. Swamp Dogg has commented on the relatively recent trend by rap singers to go for names like “Snoop Doggy Dogg”, “The Doggs”, and “The Dogg Pound”. He seems unsure that he had any influence on those musicians.

Tex Williams: Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!

Crappy Album Covers #25 — Da Doktor's In Da House

This album was only released in England in 1976, by a Pop/Country musician from Missouri named Jimmy Payne.

Payne wrote hits for the likes of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap (Remember “Woman, Woman”?), Charlie Pride, Glen Campbell, and Tammy Wynette, among others.

He still lives with his wife in Nashville, and he apparently is still recording music. His last CD was released in 2003.

I now have it on good authority that this album was a charity effort. He gave a concert to some high-risk psychiatric patients at Broadmoor, was well received, and gave a chunk of his album proceeds to the cause of mentally handicapped children in England. You would likely be aware that eight years earlier, Johnny Cash had released his album “Live at Folsom Prison”. Payne made his album in the same spirit as Cash. If you want slightly more info, scroll down.

Broadmoor is one of two high-security psychiatric hospitals in England. Broadmoor is located in Crowthorne, just west of London. “The other” famous psychiatric hospital in London, Bedlam, no longer serves high-security cliients, and I hear they no longer charge admission.

This is the kind of needle used to deliver strong anaesthetic, although I’ve seen something like this used to inject basting juice into the meat of turkeys as they cook.

The visual message here is likely to be that if the syringe doesn’t get you, the music will.

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Somethin’ Smith and The Redheads were a vocal group that had their heyday in the 1950s with the song “It’s a Sin To Tell a Lie” (#7 on Billboard), off the album “Crazy People”.

And here they are checking in for their treatment. The expressions on the faces of the nurses tell me they have been bad, bad, bad, naughty, naughty boys, and therefore require some special treatment. Very special treatment. The kind of treatment that involves the three of them being tied to a bench in straitjackets.

As part of your treatment, you are supposed to let the nurses muss up your hair.

Don’t ask me what the flagpole is about.

I would imagine that Rae Bourbon (was Ray Bourbon) (1892-1971), who died in prison on charges of murder, has a few stories to tell besides his operation.

Bourbon’s operation was the first sex change operation performed in North America. Newspapers told of the Mexican operation in 1956. Before that, he was a female impersonator, and had appeared in movies with Mae West.

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 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.