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.