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

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July, 2011

Alto ‘tude

Hank Crawford  “More Soul”  Atlantic Records (1961)   Portrait by Lee Friedlander.  Along with David “Fathead” Newman, Hank Crawford lead the pre-eminent sax section of Ray Charles classic group of the late 50’s – early 60’s.  Crawford, who joined Charles’ band in 1957, primarily held down the role of baritone sax player, but with this recording he’s able to stretch out on the alto.  As he often did with Ray Charles, More Soul sees Hank in the role of arranger.   The night that this record was cut, I’ve read, Crawford played Harlem’s Apollo theater until 1am, took the short ride down to Broadway and the Atlantic studios and recorded these seven tracks before dawn.  Crawford’s arrangements for septet dispense with piano, aside from a little comping by Hank, which vividly opens out the sound of brass and horns, and gives a greater weight and clarity to the bass/drums rhythm section of Edgar Willis and Milt Turner.  Fathead Newman plays tenor.  The great Tom Dowd engineered.  Nesuhi Ertegun produced.  Check it out!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (47 votes, average: 3.51 out of 5)
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Letter perfect

MMMM…The Mills Brothers!  Dot Records   (All the songs start with the letter M!  High concept!)  I love these guys!   This is from the sixties, but they were great from the 1930’s on.  I highly recommend you check them out.  Here’s just one:  “Be My Life’s Companion”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (41 votes, average: 3.39 out of 5)
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Roll another one

“A Crippled Boy’s Prayer”  Featuring Jerry D. Brown  Star Records  (Courtesy of LP cover lover, Tatum)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (60 votes, average: 4.02 out of 5)
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Gone in 60 seconds

Un Minuto de Amor  Mercy Cantillo y Berto Gonzalez  ECO Records

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (44 votes, average: 3.84 out of 5)
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Plas please me

Plas Johnson on Tampa Records (1956)   This red vinyl LP was reissued as “Bop Me, Daddy”.  The accompanying musicians are: Ray Johnson (piano), Duke Harris (bass) and Sharky Hall (drums).   The songs are:   Makin’ Whoopee/Last Call/Dungaree Hop/Drum Magic/Blue Jean Shuffle/Plasma/Jackpot/Red Cider.

Plas Johnson can be heard on dozens of R&B recordings made in Los Angeles in the late 1950s, including ones by Don and Dewey, Larry Williams, the Cadets, Richard Berry, and many others. Perhaps his first noteworthy solo was the short piccolo figure that stands for the eponymous bird’s call on Bobby Day’s hit, “Rockin’ Robin.”    He was a favorite featured saxman of Lex Baxter who wrote solos specially for him on African Jazz and Tamboo!  And at Capitol he recorded with Nat “King” Cole, Peggy Lee, and Frank Sinatra.  Plas even sat in on most of the early Beach Boys classics and was an integral part of a number of rock groups that existed in name only, such as B. Bumble and the Stingers and the Mar-Ketts.

While he may not be known by name outside music and collector’s circles, his sax intro to the “Pink Panther Theme” and his playing (with Harry “Sweets” Edison) on the soundtrack to “The Odd Couple” have made his playing part of our collective cultural consciousness.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (34 votes, average: 3.21 out of 5)
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R.I.P., Hall of Famer, Alex Steinweiss

The first cover courtesy of Alex Steinweiss:  “Smash Song Hits by Rodgers & Hart”  Columbia Records

A sampling of Alex Steinweiss early album cover designs.

A Taschen book of Steinweiss covers and life of work.

Alex Steinweiss, 1947   Photo William P. Gottlieb

Described as the father of record cover design, Alex Steinweiss, died Sunday at the age of 94.  In 1939, after designing hundreds of packages, posters and catalogues for Columbia, Steinwiess convinced Columbia Records’ to let him “design” the first true record cover. Until then, 78s were sold in generic brown sleeves.   He designed over 850 album covers for Columbia, London, Decca, and Everest Records, developing a trademark style and influencing cover artists and designers throughout the remainder of the century.

I wonder what he would have thought of LP Cover Lover.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (52 votes, average: 4.54 out of 5)
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We Have Our Winners!

(Bob Marley – Catch A Fire)

(The Standells – Dirty Water)

(Baby Huey – The Baby Huey Story, The Living Legend)

(Sonny Clark – Cool Struttin’)

(Junior Parker – You Don’t Have To Be Black To Love the Blues)

(Sebastian Cabot, Actor… Bob Dylan, Poet)

Okay, well clearly this was just too easy for you guys!  Six “winners” correctly identified all six covers!  They are Mike; Brian Phillips; Johnny Bean from the UK; Jose; Dan in Quebec: and previous contest winner Keith!  But it was Mike that got there first and within just hours.  Congratulations Mike, let us know your information and size and we’ll get you the LPCL T-shirt.  Thanks to everyone that played along!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (22 votes, average: 3.09 out of 5)
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Double with the blue dress on

Sonia y Miriam  Kubaney Records

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (35 votes, average: 2.40 out of 5)
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Sweet tartans

Identical triplets!!   Las Trillizas de Oro  (Argentina)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (35 votes, average: 3.26 out of 5)
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Hellooooo baby!

Teeny Records  “Hey Baby”  Vilaines Filles, Mauvais Garcons

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (44 votes, average: 3.55 out of 5)
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