More Records and Album Covers
Part of the fun of collecting is comparing and classifying the objects collected—best of its type, worst of its type, etc.
With album covers, I’ve found the best and the worst to be the most interesting to me. I don’t mean to judge these things and I don’t mean “worst” in a disparaging way. If an object stands out to me as being amateurish or cheesy, well, at least it stands out! In a world where conforming, mind-numbing mediocrity reigns supreme, that is saying something.
And so we have these enthusiastic examples of album cover art that are very different from other records in my collection. But what these may lack in beauty or good design, they more than make up for in verve. And it should be remembered that album covers were not created as “art,” they were created to sell records—to sit on the shelf and vibrate from their own internal energy until you picked them up and took them to the cash register. The James Brown and the Velvetones covers shown here do that extremely well, even if they look somewhat cheesy. That cheesy quality may in fact account for most of their appeal. I contend that these two especially have a charm that might well be lost if they were “better.”
If you’ve ever wondered where the values and the grand hopes of the 1960s went, the other two covers here should give you a clue. For pure crass commercialization of the ’60s youth culture, it would be hard to top the packaged hippies here dubbed “The Love Generation.” Giving it the old college try were the purveyors of the Kiddie Au Go-Go record. The temple known as the music business has long been infested with the moneychangers and here it is on full display. And that is what makes these two even cheesier still than the other ones.
And here are the details: The Love Generation / including Groovy Summertime, Imperial LP-9351, Art Direction: Woody Woodward, Design: Andrew C. Rodriguez, Photography: Ivan Nagy, Fashions by Zeidler & Zeidler Ltd. & The Flare; James Brown and His Famous Flames / Please, Please, Please, King 909; The Velvetones, Grimes Records LP 103, photo by Art Leon, Johnson-Leon Studios, Hollywood, California; Kiddie Au Go-Go / Nursery Rhymes with the Teen Dance Beat of Today! / The Mod Moppets, Happy Time Records (Pickwick International) HT-1037.
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