A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Memories on the Record Sleeves

Mom's Record Sleeve -Front
Mom's Record Sleeve -Front (Photo credit: Jeff to the Maxx)

          Since we've been thinking about the memories that music brings in the previous few posts and considering that Musical Memories from A to Z will be the theme on Wrote By Rote for this year's Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, we might as well continue on the theme of music in this current post.  We got to this music topic due to the Battle of the Bands posts at my other blog Tossing It Out.   For an idea of what the Battle posts are about I invite you to visit my most recent Battle.

          As I had mentioned in previous posts, lately I've been going back through my vinyl collection and listening to the music from my past.  There are more memories to those albums than the music though.  The obvious answer would be the album covers.  Album cover art became very creative in the seventies. Back then I would listen to my albums and study the album cover artwork, lyrics, and artist information. Some of those album covers afforded hours of enjoyment.

         However one part of the album package that is often overlooked is the paper record sleeve that protected the vinyl LP.   There were many of these that did have lyrics or other aspects of the total cover art package, but probably the majority were just plain paper or plastic.  There was nothing to look at on those latter types.   They were merely functional.

            Especially in the 60's and into the seventies, some of the record sleeves had promos for other albums by artists who recorded on the same label.  Much like the coming attractions on today's DVD's, these sleeves would advertise other recordings that the label had to offer.

           I used to like to look at the sleeves in each album to get an idea about the artists that were out there.  Some I'd be very familiar with and perhaps even own albums by a few of them.  Others I might have seen at the record store.  Others were new to me.  Artists like Acker Bilk, Rod McKuen, or the San Sebastian Singers were first encountered by me on the record sleeves.

           Warner Brothers records sometimes even had a coupon that could be clipped and sent off with a quarter to get a catalog of the albums that the company had to offer.  I never sent for one of these catalogs, but once I did send off for a very nice boxed set of sampler music for something like three dollars.  It was an outstanding collection of music which I apparently got rid of sometime in the past.

          I've run across a few CD's that have had advertising circulars enclosed, but this has been a rarity.  They've never had quite the attractive appeal as the promotional record sleeves.   But then of course CD's very rarely match the artistic punch that LP's used to have.   The retro appeal of albums is not just the sound quality, but those fantastic album covers.  And on those certain occasions, the promotional record sleeve that took us beyond the album at hand to other albums that we might wonder about.

         Did you ever notice the promotional paper protective record sleeves?   Did you ever buy an album solely on the appeal of the cover without knowing anything about the music?    What are some of your favorite album covers?

         Please join me here starting on Tuesday April 1st as I embark on a journey of Musical Memories from A to Z.

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  1. Oh wow where do I start on LP cover artwork? So many that I love! Like London Calling, Boomtown Rats 'Fine art of surfacing', anything by ELO, wow if I keep listing them this comment will be too long! I like Elvis' 'How Great Thou Art' b/c they used a photo of a church in my hometown of Sandwich, MA. There was nothing like buying an album and seeing what treasures were inside. I can't even see the printing on CD inserts w/o a magnifying glass!!!!

    I probably purchased records w/o knowing what they sounded like in my punk rock days, but chances are I knew who the bands were or had heard at least one song. I was in radio in those days w/ my own show on my high school station so I was very much in the know of music.

  2. When I was a kid, I rarely bought an album I hadn't heard at least 3 singles off of. I was very paranoid about getting something I didn't like. That eased over time, but I still would never buy a record on cover art alone- or probably even as a factor. Yes, call me a barbarian...

    And the sleeves? If you wanted me to treat them with anything close to notice, there better had been lyrics on them.

  3. "Wrote By Rote" has been included in the A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that I hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.


  4. I loved albums covers in my day. Even now as I see them in thrift stores, it brings on a feeling.

    See you at the A-Z.

  5. I still can picture so vividly the Beatles first album cover. That was really my beginning of buying albums. They were so expensive at (I think) 2.99 or thereabouts.

  6. JoJo-- Cassettes were probably the worst. CD's have gotten better but you are right about that small print. Albums were the best.

    CW-- I was printing daring in some of my album purchases and rarely disappointed.

    Jerry -- Thanks for the boost.

    Teresa -- I still love to look at the covers of the albums I still own. There was something special about bringing home a brand new album still sealed in cellophane.

    Donna -- By the 70's when I started buying album I think they were maybe anywhere from $5.99 to $10.99. That's why I bought so many cut-outs. I'd get those from 25 cents to $2.99 up to $4.99 and I considered those bargains so I know the actual list price was more than that. Over the years I spent a fortune in LP's and far more for cassettes and CD's. I loved shopping for music.


  7. Unfortunately I haven't seen much of album cover art... the wiki link does have some very artistic examples. I think the ones that most CD's have aren't that creative.

  8. >>... Did you ever notice the promotional paper protective record sleeves?

    Sure. What was that they used to call those cheaper records? Loss Leaders - I think that was the term Warner Brothers used.

    >>... Did you ever buy an album solely on the appeal of the cover without knowing anything about the music?

    Yep. The double live album 'TRAVELS' by The Pat Metheny Group. I had never even heard of the guy before, but that led to a lifelong love of Metheny's stuffs.

    I'm sure there have been others as well, but 'TRAVELS' is the one risk I took that paid off the biggest for me.

    >>... What are some of your favorite album covers?

    Number One is 'NILS LOFGREN', his first solo album, where he's standing in front of a circus advertisement and swilling Grand Marnier from the bottle.

    There are plenty others... Van Morrison's 'ASTRAL WEEKS'; Wes Montgomery's 'TEQUILA'; and The Brian Setzer Orchestra's 'THE DIRTY BOOGIE' to name just a few.

    Oh, The Pat Metheny Group's 'AMERICAN GARAGE' is really cool too. It makes me wanna take a road trip.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  9. StMc -- It's hard to go wrong with a Metheny album.

    You've often mentioned the Nils Lofgren cover on your blog. I still don't think I've heard that album. I probably haven't heard much Lofgren since about his fourth album. I really do like his music.


  10. It's basic but good Rock 'N' Roll from 1975, LEE, and one of my favorite debut albums. (His solo debut. Of course he'd recorded some earlier records with Grin, a band I also liked.)

    Some of the songs from that first album became staples in Nils' live shows, such as 'Back It Up', 'Keith Don't Go', and 'Rock And Roll Crook'. I think it's solid all the way through, without a single song I dislike. (My favorite though has always been 'If I Say It, It's So'.)

    You might be able to find some of those cuts at YouTube.

    I wish some label would release his double live album 'Night After Night' on CD, because I'd buy that in a heartbeat. I played the heck out of my old LP.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  11. Lee-

    This blog is hard to find! I could not find it from your TIO page-had to go to McCarthy's blog to get a link back here!

    Cool theme...I'll try to catch up.

    As to album covers-yes, I have many that I have bought based on the cover, with varied results. Many more that I have bought on the basis of a review (better results).

    And the best of CD packages has never matched the charm of a gatefold album cover with a heavy stock lyric record sleeve!


  12. StMc -- I was including Grin albums so if you don't include those as Nils Lofgren albums I may have never gotten any. Not sure now.

    Larry -- I don't really "advertise" my other blogs on TIO, but you can find them all listed on my Blogger profile page.
    Some of the CD boxed sets have pretty good books and extras, but the average CD is lacking probably mostly due to the size factor. Cassettes were the worst.



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