Sunday, August 29, 2010

Soundtrack: "Jesus Christ Superstar"

This mega-hit for Andrew Lloyd Weber was actually his third collaboration with Tim Rice.
Somewhat controversial but musically brilliant retelling of the last week of Jesus Christ.
Andrew Lloyd Weber of course went on to give us "Evita," "Cats," and "The Phantom of the Opera," among others such as "Starlight Express," "Aspects of Love," and "Cricket."

This LP went to a collector in Nebraska.
No. Really.

Aerosmith: "Aerosmith"

Released in 1973, Aerosmith's debut LP featured the song "Dream On," which gained some notice when it was originally released in 1973, but became a huge hit when it was re-released in 1976.

This album went to New Hampshire.

Supertramp: "Even in the Quietest Moments"

My first copy of this album was an audiocassette I bought while in USAF Basic Training in 1977. 
I played the socks off of that thing.  Many people would probably recognize MOST of the music from this album, but the one really big hit was "Give a Little Bit."
According to "reliable sources" the cover photo is an actual photograph taken after this grand piano was taken up the Cannonball Lift at Eldora Ski Resort near Nederland, Colorado. 
Photographers: Kenneth McGowan and Bob Seidermann. Design by Mike Doud. 

Great pics of the band members on the inner sleeve:

This LP made its way to Maryland.

Judy Garland: "Judy"

OK. Time for a little break from the rock and pop.
Well, I guess in 1956 when this LP was released, Judy may still have qualified as "pop."  Sort of.
Anyway, this album is timeless and delicious.

Can't resist sharing the inner sleeve, too:

Really curious to know more about the album called "Teen Drums."

This LP went to a collector in Ohio.

Eric Burdon & the Animals: "Greatest Hits"

I still covet this jacket.
This LP was released in 1969.
Let's not talk about how long ago that was. The scary part is how well I remember the first time I heard most of the songs on this album, and quite of few of the subsequent times I listened to them, too.
(NOTE: some of The Animals' hugest hits - like "House of the Rising Sun," "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," "It's My Life," and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" - were on a previous "Best of " album released in 1966)

Eric Burdon's voice remains on my favorite's list.  The raw, angst-laden, natural energy is captivating.

This LP went to a fan in California.

Soundtrack: "Miami Vice"

What a huge phenomenon was "Miami Vice" twenty-five (25!) years ago
(it ran for five seasons on NBC, 1984-89).
I liked the TV show well enough, but the main reason I wanted this soundtrack was Phil Collins' song "In the Air Tonight" - but of course Jan Hammer's awesome instrumental tracks and the presence of Glenn Frey, Chaka Khan, and Tina Turner did not hurt either.

Didn't think to record the artwork/photography credits before I shipped this off to a fan in Oregon.

Eagles: "Hotel California"

This LP got SO MUCH use in my house.
Besides the iconic title cut, this LP also included hits "New Kid in Town" and "Life in the Fast Lane," plus lesser known tracks that are nonetheless enjoyable.
This is the fifth Eagles' studio album; the first on which Joe Walsh joined the group; and the last on which Randy Meisner recorded with them.

Except for the band members themselves in the middle of this picture, I have no idea who all these people are in the gatefold photograph.
I guess they checked in but they could never leave.
Apologies for the low quality, hasty pic.  When I took it I had no idea I'd ever be posting it on a blog for the world to see.

Cover design by John Kosh; photography by David Alexander.

This LP ended up in Utah (last I knew).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Steppenwolf: "7"

I confess I borrowed this pic of the LP cover from Wikipedia.  My photo was taken with the cellophane still on, and the reflections unfortunately obscured some of the artwork.

This is not one of Steppenwolf's best known or best-loved recordings, but it is still a great listen.

Released in 1970, "7" was Steppenwolf's fifth studio recording.

See? The cellophane is really annoying, huh?

This LP went to a fan in California.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Grand Funk Railroad: "Mark, Don & Mel: 1969-71"

Released in 1972, this double LP compilation is not, strictly speaking, a "greatest hits" collection.  It is a gathering of studio and live recordings that represent highlights from the early success of Grand Funk Railroad.  And it rocks like nobody's business (sorry, couldn't think of anything cornier).  But seriously these are tracks you'd never get tired of spinning.

Pictures, art, and news clippings in the gatefold are much more interesting than the plain cover design.

An artful presentation of the producer's "liner notes" adorns the back of the album.

And the inner sleeves featured this great scrapbook collage of news clippings:

This album made its way to an afficiando in California.

Various: "The Guitars That Destroyed the World"

Oddball though it is, this is a truly FANTASTIC album musically.  And the art, as you can see, is rather unique and strangely appealing.  The art is credited to "W. Weber."
The guitarists featured? Carlos Santana, Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, Blue Oyster Cult, Spirit, John McLaughlin, Leslie West, Mountain, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
An amazing gem.
Released in 1973.

This LP went to an eager recipient in California.

The Monkees: "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd."

Released in 1967, this was The Monkees' fourth album.  Besides the generally great pop music featured on this album it is noteable for the fact that among the instrumentation is one of the first recorded instances of the Moog synthesizer.  The instrument was owned by Mickey Dolenz, who had purchased one of the first twenty made.
Cover art by Bernard Yezsin.

This album stayed in California.

Jimi Hendrix: "The Cry of Love"

Released in early 1971 after Jimi Hendrix's death.  The music on this LP and on "Rainbow Bridge" - released later in 1971 - was recorded by Jimi Hendrix with the intention of publishing a double LP called "The First Rays of the New Rising Sun."
The fabulous cover illustration is by Nancy Reiner.

This LP went to a fan in Arizona.

The Beatles: "Beatles '65"

The sixth of six LPs released (in the US) in 1964.  Beatles albums have the amazing distinction of having no tracks one would really want to skip when listening.  Among the treasures on this LP - their cover of Chuck Berry's "Rock and Roll Music" and their own "I Feel Fine." 

This LP took a trip to New Jersey.

The Beatles: "Hey Jude"

This compilaton LP was released in 1970.  It is a bit of an "outlier" in the history and progression of Beatles albums because unlike most of the previous five or six albums that were painstakingly created by The Beatles as very deliberate collections of songs presented in careful order, this album was a collection of previous recordings, some of which had not been released before, put together by Allan Steckler for Allen Klein (Apple) to "Capitol"ize on the success of the single "Hey Jude" and bridge the gap between "Abbey Road" and "Let It Be."

This LP went to a collector in Tennessee.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Soundtrack: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

Released in 1978 before the ill-fated film was released, the covers of Beatles tunes on this double LP ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.  Well, in all fairness, the most "ridiculous" cover was Steve Martin's talking parody of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," but let's face it, even the original was a bit of an odd track.

So, the movie was not all that great, but the soundtrack (and the movie, too, of course) featured headliners The BeeGees and Peter Frampton, supported by the likes of Aerosmith; Earth, Wind and Fire; Billy Preston, Alice Cooper, and George Burns.  My personal favorite?  EWF's take on "Got to Get You Into My Life," but I also truly dig Aerosmith's "Come Together" and Billy Preston's "Get Back."

A collector in New York took this one off my hands.

Bessie Smith: "World's Greatest Blues Singer"

If for some inexplicable reason you are unaware of Bessie Smith, I urge you, for your own pleasure, education, and general principles, to get yourself to the nearest purveyor of recorded music and find whatever recording of Bessie Smith you can find.  You will wonder how you lived as long as you have without experiencing Bessie Smith.  Then go tell all of your friends, family, neighbors, and strangers at the grocery store.

This double LP is an amazing collection of Bessie Smith's earliest recordings (1920s) and last recordings (mid-1930s).  Tragically, Bessie Smith was taken from this world as the result of an automobile accident in 1937.

This fabulous album went to a happy fan in Maryland.

The Beatles: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

Can you name all of the cultural stars depicted on this album cover?

So widely known and wildly popular, I doubt my ability to add anything enlightening to the decades of commentary and accolades lavished on this LP.  Released in 1967, this album went 11x Platinum, eclipsed in sales only by "Abbey Road" and "The Beatles" (the 'white album').

Click on the gatefold picture to get a great closer look at the Fab Four in their colorful "military" attire.

Paul's back to the camera, fueling the rumors of his untimely demise that continued with "signs" on other LPs to follow.

Album insert that featured punch-out moustache and chevrons.

This LP went to a fan in Texas.

The Beatles: "Help!"

Released in 1965 between "Beatles VI" and "Rubber Soul" (both also released in 1965).  I will boldly state that for most Beatles fans the music is much more important than the film.  Although the movie is important historically, and it is moderately fun to watch, we all know that the venture into big screen exposure was not as fun for the Fab Four as it appeared to be.  They really just wanted to make great music, which they did better than any other artistic team in history.

Yep. Canada.