Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of record covers from the golden age of LPs


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A Capitol idea!

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I found the final piece to my puzzle this week!  Appropriately it was the December 1969 release with Santa on the cover – the final issued comp from Capitol records that year and the center image that tied the whole year of covers together.  And on the back cover “Merry Christmas from Capitol.”  These kind of promotional compilations showcasing individual tracks from the labels stable of recording artists was de rigueur for the day.  And many had cover themes that tied the year of monthly releases together, but this collection is the best (and only 12-month puzzle I know of).  I was at Groove Merchant on Haight Street in San Francisco a while ago and they have this complete puzzle nicely framed on the wall.

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“Match me Sidney”

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Chico Hamilton Quintet Music from the Film “Sweet Smell of Success”   Vogue EP (France) .

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Soft Sell

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Here’s a departure from our many years of posting interesting cover art – the inner sleeve.  I found this one today and it made me nostalgic for those innovative years during the 1960’s when the record labels hired young people to do the marketing and gave them the freedom to be creative and groundbreaking, irreverent and anti-establishment.   You can see this in the packaging, liner notes, advertisements, billboards, promotions and collateral of the time.  Unfortunately, when the business got so big and bloated in the mid-seventies, the crazies that were running the asylum got put back in their rooms and corporate suits took back the reins.   Here’s an example from the guys in the marketing dept. of Buddah Records.  (Click on the cover to enlarge!)

“Temporary Sleeve”

“We sat around for a couple of weeks, here in our offices, trying to figure out what to put on our album sleeves.  It wasn’t easy.  We didn’t want to do a hard sell, the old “show-them-the-other-album-covers” approach … and we didn’t want to get esoteric and cute.  So we blew it!  We didn’t have it ready in time to go to press.  So we did this.  A non-sleeve … the softest sell in music business history.  Just let us say, however, that the album you are now holding is only part of THE BUDDAH GROUP.”

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Amor mio

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Hiroshi Watanabe “Latin Best 10”  Victor Records (Japan)

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One track mind

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Col. Pickens “How to Win at the Racetrack”  Victory Records  Sid Stone (“famous TV pitchman”) narrates Pickens method for handicapping, finding the spot play, etc.  “The Secret is Out!”  This one’s dedicated to Tony’s mum who at 90 is still drinking martinis, hitting the track and picking winners.

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Hay girl!

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Lonnie & Lottie  “Just Between the Two of Us”  The Sound of Country Music on Marathon Records (Canada)  “Good things come in small packages” says the line notes on the back cover.  A brother and sister act from Quebec pictured here in a barn on this 1972 release.  Tony’s been looking for this one for years and finally copped one for the collection last month.

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The stuff you gotta watch

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Buddy Johnson (with sis Ella on the mic)  “Walkin”  Mercury Records  (1957) A great swingin’ record with big band, honkin’ horns and smokin’ vocals melding R&B and blues into early Rock n’ Roll!  Art design by Darrill Connelly.  Woodrow Wilson “Buddy” Johnson (January 10, 1915 – February 9, 1977).  Nice review of the album with download here at the BeBop Wino blog.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (11 votes, average: 3.64 out of 5)
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Hot to trot

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Los Trotamundos (The Globetrotters!)   “A Ritmo de CUMBIA”  Musart Records (Columbia)

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My happy home

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“Music for RELAXATION”  Viennese Symphonic Orchestra  Plymouth Records  Budget label EZ classical for those undiscerning hi-fi owners looking something to have on in the background.  Aural wallpaper someone once called it.  A good book for mom.  A smoke for dad.  Kids like it too!

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Hat trick

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“Memories in Rhythm”  Jimmy Smith, Piano  Meteor Records (South Africa)  NOT that Jimmy Smith.  Cool cover of Sophia Loren!   Amazing how labels around the world just appropriated images of Hollywood movie stars, starlets, pin-ups and models for their cover art regardless of the music within.  Sophia Loren, Bridget Bardot, Jayne Mansfield, etc. graced the covers of records from every continent throughout the Fifties and Sixties.  We collect them all!

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