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


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July, 2011

Sims city!

Zoot Sims plays Alto, Tenor and Baritone  ABC-Paramount Records  (1956)  With John Williams (p), Knobby Totah (b), Gus Johnson (d)  Music by George Handy.  Bob Brookmeyer describes the power of Zoot’s playing:   “Zoot plays earthy.  He is direct, simple, logical, and above all, emotional”.   Here Zoot blows alto, tenor and baritone saxophones in unison, opening and closing passages, and soloing individually on each horn.  Dom Cerulli, in his highly enthusiastic review in Down beat, said: “Handy’s writing is as constantly alive and imaginative, as Zoot’s playing is forceful and swinging.”

I remember where I bought this LP as I surprisingly often do when pulling one down from the shelf.  Funny that.  This one came from the only used record store in Key West on a short trip I took there in 1986.  It was on the wall next to a Sun Ra on Saturn that I also picked up that day.  Then it was off to Duval street for a beer and Pepe’s for oysters.  Sometimes a record can bring it all back.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (34 votes, average: 3.06 out of 5)
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4, 3, 2, 1 …

Organist Dave “Baby” Cortez  “IN ORBIT”  Roulette Records  (1966)  The third and final LP that Dave cut for Roulette Records following “Organ Shindig” (1965) and “Tweety Pie” (1965)   Titles include “Belly Rub (parts 1 & 2)”, “In Orbit”, “Countdown (parts 1 & 2)”, “Sticks & Stones”, and “Peg Leg”.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (40 votes, average: 3.65 out of 5)
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It’s a family affair

Here’s a 1974 UK reissure and alternate cover to the previously posted Dot Records Mills Brothers release “Mmmm”  This one on Redefusion Records.  And which brother left his bling on the night table?

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (40 votes, average: 3.15 out of 5)
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Moods swing

Harry Carney and his Orchestra  “Moods For Girl and Boy”  Verve Records  (1956)  Reissue of Clef MGC 640 entitled “Harry Carney With Strings” (1954)   Ray Nance (tp, violin) Tony Miranda (frh) Jimmy Hamilton (cl, ts) Harry Carney (bars, bcl) Leroy Lovett (p) Billy Bauer (g) Wendell Marshall (b) Louis Bellson (d) unidentified strings

Harry Carney (1910 -1974)  began his professional musical career at the age of 13, playing clarinet and later the alto and baritone saxophone in Boston bands. Among his childhood friends were Johnny Hodges and Charlie Holmes, with whom he visited New York in 1927. Carney played at the Savoy Ballroom with Fess Williams before joining Duke Ellington, who was about to play in the young musician’s home town. When this engagement was over Carney left for a tour with Ellington, who had taken on the role of guardian. The job with Ellington lasted until Duke’s death 47 years later. Shortly after joining Ellington, Carney was persuaded to play alto saxophone, but soon gravitated to the baritone, an instrument he proceeded to make his own. Carney’s rich sonority became an essential element in Ellington’s tonal palette and for decades listeners gloried in the full-throated lower register which, in a band brimming with individualists, had a character all its own.

Nevertheless, despite his virtuosity on the baritone, Carney would take up the clarinet on frequent occasions to show he was truly a master of the reed instruments. Carney’s relationship with Ellington transcended that of musician and leader; he was Ellington’s confidante and for decades he drove the Duke from gig to gig. The closeness of their relationship was underlined by Carney when he said: ‘It’s not only been an education being with him, but also a great pleasure. At times I’ve been ashamed to take the money.’ After Ellington’s death, at the end of May 1974, Carney said, ‘Without Duke I have nothing to live for.’ He died a little over four months later.  – Verve Records Bio

Here’s a Jim Flora drawing from 1995 of The Duke and Harry Carney:

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (40 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)
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C’est Sheik

“The Sheik of Scrubby Creek”  Chad Morgan  Columbia Records  (Australia)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (45 votes, average: 3.62 out of 5)
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Give the drummer some

“A Bit of the Blues”  Osie Johnson and his orchestra RCA Victor Records  (1956)  Featuring: Osie Johnson (vocal), Nick Travis (tp), Hal McKusick (as, cl), Al Cohn (ts), Milt Hilton (b), Gus Johnson   In the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s, Osie Johnson was one of the most in-demand drummers in New York, making a countless number of recordings and working steadily in the studios.  Johnson was a member of Earl Hines’ band during 1951-1953. Stints with Dorothy Donegan and Illinois Jacquet followed before he became a busy session musician, playing and recording with a who’s who of mainstream (including Coleman Hawkins, Dinah Washington, Wes Montgomery, and Sonny Stitt). In addition to contributing tasteful and supportive drums, Osie Johnson was an occasional composer, arranger, and singer, leading sessions for Jazztone (1955) and RCA (1956).

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (47 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5)
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Tango and ash

El Tango y Tu  Anibal Troilo  Kubaney Records

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (50 votes, average: 3.26 out of 5)
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From the peanut gallery

Anyone up for a good ELEPHANT JOKE!?  Just ask Betty Marnell, Higgins & Lord Willoughby or Bob Manchel  “Elephant Jokes” on Rosco Records  Includes my faves “Safari Nice Elephant,” “My Husband THE elephant” and “Stop Me If You’ve Herd This”.  By the way,  “How do you stop an elephant from charging?”  Hmmmm?

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (35 votes, average: 3.29 out of 5)
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Smoke and mirrors

Rendez-Vous Avec Rex Stewart  Barclay Records (France)

K & J.J.  East Coast Jazz  Bethlehem Records  (Cover by Burt Goldblatt)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (48 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5)
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Moondance

Amazing!!  Here’s a cover that you’ll likely never see anywhere else.  A truly rare sleeve and an unknown treat for collectors of “outer space” cover art.  Tony found this one in Mexico, but it is OUTTA-THIS-WORLD!

“Pachanga en la Luna”  Eugenio Fondeur  Peerless Records

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (39 votes, average: 3.69 out of 5)
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