What's All This Then

Why should I care what this guy has to say?

The correct answer is that you shouldn’t. We’re all entitled to our opinions. Develop your own. I try to be sane and rational, but that may change with the level of caffeine intake. I’m just telling my stories in the hopes they may amuse and/or inform others. And... I Confess... I'm showing off my bitchen collection a bit.

Friday, July 28, 2017

When Great Artists are Commissioned to do Album Covers

Over the years, great artists have been commissioned to do album covers.  Warhol, Dali, Rauschenberg, etc have all done it.

My favorite artist has done very few.  Here's one commissioned by Adrian Belew's band The Bears.

The Bears (PMRC 1987)

Cover art by Mort Drucker of MAD Magazine fame.  The illustrator gave us many a classic movie parody strips over the years.    Who could forget 'The Poopsidedown Adventure,' 'Balmy and Clod,' 'Rosemia's Boo Boo,' or 'The ECCHcorsist'

A side note on Adrien Belew.  He was discovered by Frank Zappa's chauffeur in Nashville.  Frank saw him and recruited for his Shiek Yerbouti/Baby Snakes era band.   Eno was at a Zappa concert (I'd love to hear more on that), saw Belew play an recommended him to Bowie.  He ended up on the 1978 Bowie tour.   From there he was an auxiliary player on Talking Heads Remain in Light and subsequent tour.   At some point he was introduced to Robert Fripp and became a member of the '80's era King Crimson.  Not a bad stroke of luck and networking.    And a pretty bitchen guitar player too.

The Bears is Belew reuniting with old bandmates from before he set off on his journey through the big time.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Big Ball (45 version)

Order forms for 'Big Ball' type records from Warner Brothers weren't necessarily limited to LP inner sleeves.

Here we have a seemingly normal company sleeve for Warner/Reprise.

But turn it over and you have an order form.

 Cutting out the form would render the sleeve useless. Company sleeves from this era have a hard enough time surviving.   I have not seen many of this version in the wild.

By the way, the version of Truckin' here is a different mix with extra guitar parts.....

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Big Ball - Zappa Does His Own

Frank Zappa ran two labels which were distributed through Warner Brothers.  Bizarre Records for Zappa related content and Straight Records for other artists.   

While Warners was releasing The Big Ball series of loss leaders, Zappa did his own with his Bizarre/Straight artists.

The result is a single LP which retailed for $1.00

Zapped (Bizarre 1970)

All Bizarre/Straight records came with a unique inner sleeve with an order form for Zapped.  The verbiage is a little more on the snarky side as was Zappa's way.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Big Ball

Warner Brothers Records started up in 1958 after one of their contract players, Tab Hunter, had a hit single on Dot Records.   Realizing there was big money in records by their stars, they decided to start their own label.

The early releases were mostly soundtracks and novelty records.  Their biggest selling single was 'Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb.'  Biggest selling albums were by Bob Newhart and Allan Sherman.

This slowly began to change in the early 60's with the signing of  The Everly Brothers and Peter, Paul and Mary.   The acquisition of Frank Sinatra's Reprise label (along with their executives) didn't hurt either.

Over the next few years, the label developed a stable of artists that gave the label a distinct identity.  They exploited the similarity of these artists by cross marketing them on loss leader samplers.

The first one was:

The Big Ball (Warner Brothers 1970)

Warners followed this release with several releases of the same nature.  Double albums which were very generous with B-Sides and alternate mixes.

They were offered on the inners sleeves of Warner/Reprise releases.  All one had to do was to ruin the inner sleeve of the record by cutting out the order form.  The alternative was to take it to the library and have a copy made for a dime.  Cost was $2.00.  A bargain for a double LP, but cost effective for Warners as they probably introduced the customer to a lot of other artists.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Psychedelic Lollipop

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I couldn't pass up on a record called Psychedelic Lollipop.

Blues Magoos - Psychedelic Lollipop  (Mercury 1966)

I don't recall where I got this.  Perhaps Red Brontosaurus in San Diego.  I got one of the Blues Magoos albums there.  Possibly the follow up Electric Comic Book.

The record is great relic of that time between garage rock and full blown hippie-acid music.  It is reported to be the first record with the word 'psychedelic' in the title.   I'd buy a psychedelic anything from this period.

The outfits scream psychedelic, but the 'meet the band' section seems more Tiger Beat than Rolling Stone.

Ralph  - Quiet, Shy, Good Looking, plays his organ while singing.
Ronnie  - Loud, Funny, Lazy. plays bass
Peppy - An Idol, Lovable, "17", Drop-out, plays rhythm guitar
Mike - Psyched Out, Warm, Friendly, Rich, plays lead guitar.
Geoff - Blonde, Beautiful, Straight, plays drums.

I feel like I know them all.  I'm a Ronnie  - loud, funny and lazy.  Which one are you?

The records must have stayed in print for quite some time as this pressing is on the god-awful Chicago skyline label which Mercury didn't unveil until 1974.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Plugz First 45

As the LA Punk Scene was getting underway in the later '70's, the major labels wouldn't take notice.  This led to bands releasing singles on their own or on local indie labels.

One of the earliest - if not the earliest - release was by The Plugz from East LA.

The Plugs - Move b/w Mindless Contentment/Let Go  (Slash 1978)

The single came in typical punk fashion - a printed piece of paper folded over to form a sleeve

This release came courtesy of Slash Records - which was an offshoot of a local fan magazine

The inside of the 'picture sleeve'

And there were stickers.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Dave Mason - Alone Together

Dave Mason was in the original lineup of Traffic.  Supposedly he quit and rejoined the band like 'a fiddlers elbow.'  This resulted in exclusion from the front cover of Traffic's US debut 'Mr. Fantasy' (even though he played on it) only to reappear on their second eponymous album a few months later.

So when Traffic broke up the first time, Steve Winwood formed Blind Faith with Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and some other guy.   The egos of the supergroup soon clashed.  Winwood set out to make a solo album.  Eventually he called in Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi from the original Traffic lineup to help out with the sessions.  The result is the classic Traffic LP 'John Barleycorn Must Die.'  Dave was not involved.

He filled his time by playing on Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland and George Harrison's All Things Must Pass.  He joined Delaney and Bonnie's band with Eric Clapton.  And he managed to put out one great classic LP.

Dave Mason  - Alone Together (Blue Thumb 1970)

The lineup consists of Delaney and Bonnie's core band, most of whom would tour with Joe Cocker and backup Eric Clapton's first few solo albums over the next year or two.

The packaging was unique at the time.   In the store it looked like a simple package with Dave posing in front of some rocks - probably in Chatsworth, CA.   Fake graffiti appears above him.

But when you get it home.....

You get bowling ball vinyl.

And the cover folds out the reveal a godlike Dave looming over the entire thing.

I got this record when my sister found Jesus in the early '70's.   She gave me her stash telling me I'd grow out of it.  It didn't happen.  She and Jesus soon parted.  This record and I are still 'Alone Together.'