Monday, July 9, 2012

Cover Art

It happens this time of year, you look out the window and there just where you left it is the yard.

That stirs something deep down inside, that little voice you’ve been ignoring al winter, the one that says, “Get off your ass…”

Yard work season is here and there’s just no getting around it you have to get out and do some chores or buy goats and you know what the neighbors are going to say about a heard of goats moving in next door not to mention how the Long Sufferin is going to react and that’s if the goats turn out to come from a progressive goat farm where they housebreak all of the goats and don’t you think the term housebreak sets a very bad example for the children when you apply it to the live stock and what are they to think about other forms of life which they may encounter when they venture out from under your roof an see the wide world as it really is cause the first thing they are going to see are a bunch of politicians everywhere talking on the television and you know all of them are not housebroken and that will set up a negative block in the kid’s delicate little psyche and they may be scared for life so why not just say the pets are toilet trained?

And so you get out the work clothes and the tools which have been in the shed all winter long and you set out to tame the jungle you’ve got growing in the pace where last year you would have sworn there was grass.

And the first thing that happens is the tools break. Well they’ve been shut up in a shed all winter and you can’t expect things not to get a little rusty when they are in a shed while you are in your comfortable warm house.

So before you can do any real work you have to go buy new tools.

That’s exactly what happened to me. The string trimmer wouldn’t charge and the batteries wouldn’t hold a charge if they were getting a charge and the chargers wouldn’t put out a charge and there may be people who can check that sort of thing but I am not one of them and when I took the sting trimmer to the mower shop they mower guys just laughed at me and said, “This crap don’t get repaired, you just toss it and buy a new crappy weed eater.”

But then there’s the cost. Did you know that just replacing the battery and charger for a weed eater costs $60 bucks? The whole thing costs less than a hundred and the idea of paying two thirds of the cost of a new one just to get the old one going again made me want to bite the weeds in half with my teeth so there I was with a dead string trimmer in the truck and no choice but to buy a new one of to get the parts to set the old one right.

So I did the only logical thing I went to the Goodwill store to see if I could find the right parts to get my weed eater running without personally fixing the US economy by massive injections of cash and while I was there I noticed an old 33 LP sticking out of a bin and I stopped to take a look.

(You’ve been wondering how I was going to make a story about weed eaters into something about art, right? No weed eater stay tuned.)

I pulled the album out of the bin and stared at the cover art. So happens this was back before CGI and the art on the album was done by some underpaid artist at scale. And they did a wonderful job


They could tell the whole story of the music on the record with just one picture. Sure some of them were lurid. That’s advertising. You do not use rusting cars sitting by the side of the road to sell records. In fact way back in the dusty days of long playing albums you might just put a pretty girl on an album jacket even if the folks singing were a bunch of college glee club guys trying to make you think the Whiffenpoof song was a documentary feature.

George Shearing did a lot of pretty girl putting on his jazz albums covers and I admit that I bought a whole bunch of those very albums cause there were some pretty girls on the covers, but once I got my eyes unlocked I listened to the music inside and it was fantastic.

Okay so I was ruined by my early exposure to the music at The Villager and if you don’t know what I am talking about click back through the last few posts, but the fact remains the music was awfully good.

Not all of the albums had pretty girls on the covers or at least not all of the ones I bought. There was Kenny Ball’s Midnight in Moscow and it had one of the best graphics every done for an album cover.

Simple clean shapes and the onion tops clearly suggesting that these building were not in Kansas. Well okay yes, it was Dixieland jazz so I guess that says a lot about my interests.

But some of the covers had pretty girls on them and they weren’t trying to get your attention with just the pretty girl, they were trying to let you know that an actress could also sing. Now a bunch of singers became actresses, Doris Day probably heads the class, but Dale Evans, yes they one riding the trail with Roy Rogers was a singer too. No, not hillbilly, Big Band and quiet an item in her day, so there was a long history of girl singers crossing over into the movies, but did you know that the trail worked both ways?

You knew Julie London was a singer long before she became a Lauren Becall kind of smoky seductress and a long, long time before she put on a nurse’s cap and took care of the guys bringing in the wounded to Rampart Hospital, but I’ll bet you didn’t know Tina Louise, that’s right Ginger of Gilligan’s Island could sing.

Yeppers she waren’t a bad smoky seductress herself and of course having gotten her start in soft-core men’s magazines none of which would even be silly putty core magazines by today’s standards, she had some experience in making a cocktail dress a business suite and I mean a real business suite.

I never did find the part for my string trimmer and I may have come home with some LP’s that the Long Sufferin will not fully approve but I did have a great time digging through the bargain bin and seeing some rapidly fading art on those old covers.

Maybe the next time you need a replacement part or two you should stop by Goodwill. Oh, the LP bin is right by the registers and I can tell you how to convert those 33’s to CD if you happen to buy a few. Course you might just want to keep the jackets and have the guys at Art Connection or Easy Lane frame them up.

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