Album Cover of the Week: Alice Cooper, School’s Out

I’d say this album cover is quite appropriate for this time of year. It’s the 1972 rock classic School’s Out (Warner Bros. Records ‎– BS 2623), and boy does this one have a lot.

The original album cover (designed by Craig Braun) was designed to look like a wooden school desk complete with etchings by members of the band. The desk opened to reveal the vinyl. Underneath, an image is provided of the other contents of the ‘desk’ including gum, marbles, and crayons. The finishing touch was the legs on the base which could be opened up to turn it into an actual desk of sorts. The vinyl record inside was wrapped in a pair of panties (not included in the European versions), though this was later discontinued as they were found to be flammable.

Track Listing:

A1 School’s Out
A2 Luney Tune
A3 Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets
A4 Street Fight
A5 Blue Turk
B1 My Stars
B2 Public Animal #9
B3 Alma Mater
B4 Grande Finale

Album Cover of the Week: Arthur Lyman on Broadway

Folks, this one has it all. Matching outfits, leis, pants up to the belly button, at least three tubes of Brylcreem, a vibraphone (or is it a marimba?), and state of the art photo editing. It’s Arthur Lyman on Broadway!

Arthur Lyman on Broadway

This gem of an LP was released in 1959 on the HiFi Records label. Lyman, who made his name with music that could roughly be called Polynesian, explored the world of show tunes here. There are four cuts on the album — “The King and I,” “My Fair Lady,” Porgy and Bess,” and “South Pacific.”

Album Cover of the Week: Jonah Jones, I Dig Chicks

I Dig Chicks (Capitol Records ST/T 1193, 1959) is more properly billed to the Jonah Jones Quartet, but I’m not about to quibble. This cover is at once way too on the nose and supremely clever. I don’t have a photography or graphic design credit for the front cover, so if you know who is responsible for this beauty let me know.

Jonah Jones, I Dig Chicks album cover

As far as the personnel on the record, Jonah Jones gets vocal and trumpet credits but I haven’t been able to ID the other musicians.

Here is the album description from the back cover:

“For those who appreciate the finer things in life, gentleman Jonah Jones supplies words and music for an album filled with songs about man’s favorite hobby: Chicks!

The now famous Jonah Jones style is thoroughly in evidence throughout this album. As he sails through these tunes about the little ladies — bless ’em — he’s playing trumpet as if he invented the instrument. Replete with more vocals than any other set he’s created, this album proves that Jonah’s personality-filled singing makes him one of the world’s foremost authorities on songs of love. A whole brood of chicks shows up here, and they’re all held spellbound by the master’s muted trumpet and happy voice.

One of the best impressions of Jonah’s technique can be found in I Dig Chicks, the title song, created especially for this album. In it, Jonah looks forward with irresistible glee to a rosy future filled with Linda, Rosetta, Cecilia, Mandy, Louise and the likes. He sounds as if he could sing on forever, because he’s singing about chicks, the proper object of every man’s attentions. They’re especially nice, though, when they’re the object of the Jonah Jones Quartet.”

Track Listing:

A1 I Dig Chicks
A2 Mandy, Make Up Your Mind
A3 Marchetta
A4 Tangerine
A5 Cecilia
A6 Blue Lou
B1 Chlo-E
B2 Lillette
B3 Judy
B4 Louise
B5 Linda
B6 Rosetta

Even More Bizarre Christmas Album Covers

It’s been quite a few years since the second entry in my bizarre Christmas album covers series, and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of strange Yuletide cover art. So what do you say we just get down to it?

Chabelo - En Navidad (1981)

Chabelo – En Navidad (1981)

Jack Webb - The Christmas Story (1953)

Jack Webb – The Christmas Story (1953)

Christmas Day with Colonel Sanders (1968)

Christmas Day with Colonel Sanders (1968)

Ferrante & Teicher ‎– Adventure in Carols (The Sound of Tomorrow - Today) (1956)

Ferrante & Teicher ‎– Adventure in Carols (The Sound of Tomorrow – Today) (1956)

Floral Pops 70 - Drum Christmas Para Bailar (1973)

Floral Pops 70 – Drum Christmas Para Bailar (1973)

Gayla Peevey - "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" (1953)

Gayla Peevey – “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” (1953)

Merry Cajun Christmas, Volume Two (1987)

Merry Cajun Christmas, Volume Two (1987)

Shock Music in Hi-Fi by the Creed Taylor Orchestra

Album Cover of the Week: Shock Music in Hi-Fi by the Creed Taylor Orchestra

October doesn’t start until tomorrow, but I just can’t wait to get started on my Countdown to Halloween 2013 posts so I’m kicking things off a little early. Here’s a fun little vintage album cover to set the mood for you — it’s Shock Music in Hi-Fi by the Creed Taylor Orchestra (ABC-Paramount ABC-259, 1959).

Shock Music in Hi-Fi by the Creed Taylor Orchestra

Shock Music in Hi-Fi by the Creed Taylor Orchestra

Now if you ask me, the woman on the front cover looks more in a state of grief than of shock or horror. But it’s a neat visual and works well with the “Shock” portion of the typeface.

Credits on this one are easy, as they’re listed right on the back cover. The front and liner photographs were taken by Tony Triolo, and Matt Schutz designed the front cover.

Here’s a clip from the album, to give you an idea of what this record sounds like. It’s “The Crank,” written by Kenyon Hopkins.

Eydie Gormet - Eydie Swings the Blues

Album Cover of the Week: Two Sides of Eydie Gormé

With the passing of beloved singer Eydie Gormé (of the famed Steve and Eydie duo) at the age of 84, let’s look at a pair of her album covers from the 1950s. The first is the understated sophistication of 1959’s Eydie Swings the Blues (ABC-Paramount, ABC-192). Photography credit for this goes to Arthur Siegel.

Eydie Gormé - Eydie Swings the Blues

This cover is pretty much mid-century elegance defined, wouldn’t you agree? Meanwhile, here’s a fun little number from the next year. It’s 1960’s Eydie in Dixieland (ABC-Paramount, ABC/ABCS 343). Cover photography by Gary Wagner.

Eydie Gormé - Eydie in Dixieland

RIP, Eydie.

Album Cover of the Week: The Deviants, Ptooff!

Iconic English musician and journalist Mick Farren passed away over the weekend after collapsing onstage at a performance in London, so I felt it was time to take this series out of mothballs and feature a great album cover he was directly associated with. It’s from the debut album by Farren’s influential psychedelic rock band, the Deviants — Ptooff!

The Deviants, Ptooff!

Described in the liner notes as “the deviants underground l.p.,” Ptooff! falls stylistically somewhere between garage rock and psychedelic rock. It’s not as trippy as early Pink Floyd; it sounds more grounded — mostly — but also more sinister.

Cover design and artwork on the album is credited to Kipps, a name I can’t find referenced anywhere else. I know little of the Deviants, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that Kipps is just a pseudonym for one or more of the band members.

The original issue of Ptooff! — Underground Impresarios, IMP 1 — contains a brilliantly designed fold-out poster. It reveals that the front cover is part of a larger comic book-like image.

The Deviants, Ptooff!