Bizarre/Reprise K44083     14- 02- 1970

 Total playing time 41-07
This is a fine example of the strange art that was to house many an album by Frank Zappa.
Created by Cal Schenkel this artwork was originally created for an Eric Dolphy
album that Zappa was putting together, the projected album was shelved so Zappa decided to use the already prepared art work for Burnt Weeny Sandwich.

The artwork  fully reflects the music found on the album.  A collage of riveted metal, cogs, wires, valves,
intertwined bloodied mannequin hands and a very weird little red half face
which appears to be looking out from behind the wall of metal, its eyes
numbered 7 & 5 its thought bubble saying The Mothers of Invention. The
artwork has a very punk attitude to it which belies the era in which it was
created. That being said The Mothers of Invention were never the prettiest of
bands, they never ran with the pack and were very much against the grain.

(Gatefold – inner design)

This record cover has an uneasy beauty about it which is best appreciated in the
12 x 12inch vinyl format.  It’s impact is lost on a small CD sized insert.
This album is one of my favourite albums by The Mothers of Invention. I love the eclectic nature
of the music on this album which ranges from doo wop through to avante garde
orchestral pieces some nice guitar work from FZ himself. The album reaches its
peak with an 18 minute plus ‘’The Little House I Used To Live In’’ which
features an excellent violin solo by Don (Sugarcane) Harris.

*  The album’s rather unusual title, Zappa would later say in an interview, comes from an actual snack that he enjoyed eating, consisting of a burnt Hebrew National hot dog sandwiched between two pieces of bread with mustard.

Not the easiest of listens, but a really good album all the same.

CD RYKODISC RCD10509
* Wilkipaedia

DISRAELI GEARS – CREAM

Posted: July 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Released November 1967.   UK  Reaction Records.  Catalogue No 594 003   Playing time 33 min 37 sec.

This album is seen by critics and fans alike, as the moment Cream moved away from their blues roots and embraced psychedelia.  I personally see this album as a milestone in the development of heavy rock. The psychedelic nature of the music links  it to 1967,  strong composition, arrangements and tight musicianship  have ensured that this recording has stood the test of time.

The album was produced by Felix Pappalardi.

Two singles were taken from the album Strange Brew  – November 1967 and Sunshine of your love – January 1968.

The iconic front cover artwork was created by Australian artist Martin Sharp who was a friend of Eric Clapton.  Martin also co-wrote the songs  Tales of brave Ulyses from the album and Anyone for tennis ? with Eric Clapton.

The back cover photography was created by Bob Whittaker.  The overall effect of the two pieces of work is staggering once you have seen this album cover you wont forget it.  It’s a psychedelic dayglo  treat.

It’s said that the album got its unusual title from a conversation Cream roadie Mick Turner had with Ginger Baker.  Turner is reported to have told Ginger Baker that he fancied one of those bikes with disreali gears. He meant to say Derailleur gears, the band thought the mistake was so amusing they decided to use it as the title of their soon to be released album.

This is one of those essential albums that helped turn music on it’s head.

A DYING ARTFORM

Posted: July 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

When I look back to my youth I remember the pioneering record labels such as
Island , Charisma ,Vertigo, Chrysalis, Deram and Harvest. Most of these labels
were subsiduary offshoot’s from major record company’s formed with the sole
purpose of releasing recordings by bands/ artists who were part of an ever
growing underground /progressive rock scene.

As such, these labels brought some of the best contemporary rock and
progressive music to a wider public audience. The labels mentioned above were
the more accomplished ones, but there were many more subsiduary labels in
operation during the 70s. Today a lot of the music originally released by these
labels (on vinyl in wonderful gatefold sleeves) is being re-mastered and
reissued on CD. This is testimony to the quality of the music and it is really
good to hear this music again.

The problem I find with the CD format is that the artwork suffers in the 5 x 5
CD insert format. Compare the vinyl gatefold sleeve of eg: Relayer by Yes to
its CD counterpart, you may get some extra album related artwork but it isnt the
same, is it ?.   Whole generations have never seen the magnificence of a vinyl
gatefold sleeve. Although artists such as Alex Grey are creating some innovative
CD packaging. I feel that it wont be long before album cover art will be reduced
to a picture on an i-pod.            SAD

CLASSIC RECORD SLEEVES

Posted: July 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Last week my wife and I visited ”Hot Rats” a local independent record shop in Sunderland to look for a gift for my daughters teacher, as she was leaving school a few days later.

While browsing through the store I noticed a section dedicated to vinyl albums.  I looked in awe at the 12 x 12 inch artwork of albums such as In The Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson, Hawkwind’s – In Search of Space, Frank Zappa’s – Sheik Yerbouti and Split by Groundhogs.  I looked back with great nostalgia at my record collection before the advent of the CD and asked  myself why on earth was I foolish enough to sell my vinyl and eventually replace over 90% of it with CD versions.

A few days ago I decided i’d like to create a blog dedicated to this fantastic artform,  discussing the times, record labels, bands, artists & photographers who collectively gave us this rich legacy of imagery.

Here it is !