Amoeblog

The Art of the LP Cover- The Power Part 2

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 15, 2011 01:00pm | Post a Comment
Another batch of musicians with the hi-pro glow. Since most of these are from the late 70's and early 80's, I think it's safe to say that in many cases the "power" may have been fueled by cocaine. Check out my original gallery in 2009 here. Amazingly, back covers from Night Ranger LPs appear in both of my posts.

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Laurel Canyon

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 16, 2009 03:30pm | Post a Comment

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Hollywood, showing the approximate location of Laurel Canyon

This blog entry is about Laurel Canyon. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods, click here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.


The woodsy area in the Hollywood Hills now known as Laurel Canyon was originally inhabited by the Tongva. A spring-fed stream attracted Mexican shepherds in the 18th century. After the region became part of the US, Anglos arrived. About 100 years ago, the area was divided up, cabins were erected and the area was marketed to vacationing tourists. The first movie made in Hollywood was shot in Yucca Corridor in 1910. Though the film industry remained centered in Edendale for a few years, it gradually shifted to Hollywood and Laurel Canyon became the home of some of the burgeoning industry's photo-players.


Famed cowboy star Tom Mix bought the Laurel Tavern and converted it into his residence. Mary Astor had a love nest on Appian Way. Gay Mexican "Latin Lover" Ramón Novarro lived there until his murder in 1968.

(In which we consider the mystical & tragic Judee Sill.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 29, 2008 12:25pm | Post a Comment

Last night I was mugged at gunpoint. The perpetrator not only made off with the $560.00 in cash that I was carrying (which I had intended to deposit today) but he knocked me down to the ground and kicked me hard enough that he left a nasty bruise in my ribs before he made his getaway on a magic, chocolate-colored Pegasus.

None of which is true, but it is a rather exciting way to begin this week’s blog entry, isn’t it? Except that, by lying to you, I have now risked alienating you emotionally, because you will now think twice about trusting what I tell you, even if it’s about how much I like that top you’re wearing and how to sets off the flecks of color in your shimmering eyes.

Speaking of violence and the romantic visage of your enduring beauty, I know some of you haven’t yet heeded my advice and investigated one of my most favorite balladeers of all time: Judee Sill.
 

Judee Sill conducts herself well.

Judee’s story is one of tragic darkness, from which sprung gorgeous and sage songwriting. She was the Billie Holiday of the “Laurel Canyon sound.”

Influenced more by Johann Sebastian Bach than her 1970’s rock ‘n’ blow contemporaries, methodical composition such as fugue-structure, and over-dubbing of her own voice into chorale-style, inform her heart-wrenched post-hymns.

Her father and brother both died when she was a child, and her mother re-married to Kenneth Muse, an animator for one of my least favorite cartoons of all time, Tom & Jerry. (I mean really, the way that mouse antagonizes that poor cat, who very naturally fights back – both by his nature as a felis catus and in defense of Jerry’s cruelty – only to be downtrodden every time. What kind of message does that send to children? BE A BULLY. That’s what it tells ‘em. And then poor, sensitive, fat kids like me get the brunt of it. And all I ever wanted was to love and be loved. Is that so wrong?!)

[Insert sound of Job sobbing here]

Judee left her dysfunctional home (I imagine her stepfather probably lured her head into a mouse-hole and bopped her face with a mallet) and hit the road for a life of free-wheeling druggery and armed robbery. She developed an addiction to that precocious li’l drug we call heroin. In order to pay for the habit, she prostituted herself (which almost certainly prepared her for a life as a professional musician).

She honed her skills as a keyboard player while serving time in jail for fraudulent check writing, and, as she found herself with some soul to spare after kicking smack, she decided to write music.

She had early success selling compositions to other groups, such as The Turtles, who covered her song “Lady-O.”



She was signed by David Geffen, who was then developing his new Asylum Label, and toured as the opening act for Graham Nash and David Crosby. Her self-titled, debut album was produced by her ex-husband, Bob Harris (who also produced Joni Mitchell’s superb effort Ladies of the Canyon).

While critics gushed praise for her work, sales remained low and, after some snarky comments about Geffen and his sexual-orientation (he was not yet out of the closet), Judee was given the bum’s rush, after only producing two albums. (Don’t rush to assume she was homophobic, though, as she was known to fancy the ladies herself.)
 

EEEK!!! I just now experienced my first earthquake ever! That was some ride. Now I understand what all the hub-bub is about. A giant silver crucifix just fell off my shelf and knocked the } ] key out of my laptop. Anyway, friends and family outside LA, Fangs and I are fine, just a little shaken-up (har har har!).

Silver crucifixes are also apropos when pondering Judee Sill, who sports one on the cover of her debut album. She was deeply interested in the occult and Christian mysticism. Some people, considering her lyrics, assume she was Christian, as Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is a reoccurring theme, but her appreciation was esoteric, not dogmatic. (Though it is worth noting that she was baptized by Pat Boone in his swimming pool.)

"Don't worry - I'll save you!" Christian pop icon, Pat Boone

After losing her ties with Geffen, Judee rode a downward spiral into obscurity. Rumors circulated of her death. So much so, that when she actually did die in 1979 from a cocaine overdose, it surprised people. She had seemed to die twice.
 

Cover art painted by Judee

To our good fortune, in 2005, Water Records produced a two cd compilation of unreleased demos, studio recordings, and live video footage of Judee, titled “Dreams Come True.” Jim O’Rourke provided the mixing.)

Judee’s music holds a place so dear to my heart that, while I’ve often been tempted to blog about her, I’ve never felt up to the task. I simply can’t do justice to the ecstasy she evokes in me. (That’s also why you’ve never read any blogs by me regarding Scott Walker.)

Anyway, check her out if, y’know, you’re into gorgeous, haunting music that makes your heart ache and pierces your soul. Otherwise, check out some Warlock Pinchers. They’re fun.
 






Return to Casablanca

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 3, 2008 11:30pm | Post a Comment


Not sure if short lived subsidiary "American International Records" is the same as the "A.I.R." from the late 60's, but it's very likely.  The studio 54 comp had this custom jobber and the final image is a great example of the classic early Casablanca blue label design...



When studying the classic desert scene design, one will begin to notice many variations. Here's an interesting trio...A later period label, with mention of Polygram at the bottom.  Middle label bears the Fauves-Puma Records imprint, a pairing that was reported to have moved some 15 million units on this Santa Esmeralda hit!! Finally, the classic desert scene from the Village People's heyday, before "Can't Stop the Music" nearly did...



Chocolate City imprint, home of Cameo, Keb Mo, Brenda & the Tabulations, Parliament and as pictured here Vernon Burch...



A Trio of Kustom Kiss labels...Ace's solo LP, a platinum desert scene for the singles collection "Double Platinum" and a nice full band shot on this promo desert scene...



Clear sea blue 12" from hit soundtrack The Deep...



OK, that's it for now.  I'll leave you with this video of a fellow playing his copy of the much sought after 7"  (really, it's a very pricey item) "Theme Des Grands Fonds" or "Theme from the Deep"  I love the sounds on this song...

 

Welcome to Casablanca Records

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 29, 2008 12:30pm | Post a Comment


1980 saw the Casablanca release of Tony Joe White's The Real Thang album, which contained the amazing track "I Get Off On It", in which he discusses various individuals and their predilections--  junk food, trannys, trenchcoat flashers, bondage. Combine with a couple of other album highlights "Disco Blues" & the disco-ized version of "Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll", add copious amounts of cocaine and you've pretty much 'crystallized' the Casablanca Records story. 1980 was also the year that Polygram final squeezed Casablanca's founder out of the picture.  Neil Bogart went on to put together Boardwalk Entertainment, signing Joan Jett.  He also signed Get Wet -- if anyone out there knows what the Lou Reed connection is with them, please chime in. Anyhow, Mr. Bogart's body gave out on him 2 years later. 





Under the name Neil Scott, Bogart (born Bogatz) cut his music biz teeth at Cameo Parkway- talk about a crash course in the reality of the biz! He released a few records before they got shut down for Stock fraud.  He then moved on to Buddah and was crucial in the rise of Bubblegum, something he stuck with throughout his career- think T-Rex, Kiss, Joan Jett etc...Joining forces with fellow Brothers in Buddah Cecil Holmes, Larry Harris and Buck Reingold, he created Casablanca Records.







An early overpressing of the Johnny Carson double record (believe me, there are still way too many of them around, haunting me daily upstairs in vinylandia) put the label in a serious bind, but young Eugene and his bandmates scored an impossibly huge hit with their low budget masterpiece in tape splicing KISS Alive and really shot the label into the stratosphere... (btw Eugene, please get that f**king sex tape destroyed- I hate to see larger than life types brought down to mortal-dom. Nothing does that faster than inviting the world to watch you get sloppy in the bedroom.)









Anyhow, the rest is history.  Donna Summer, Village People, Scatt Brothers (the best Casablanca release PERIOD), Flashdance, Steve Allen "Funny" Fone Calls and on and on.  As above mentions, Neil was out of the pic in 1980, but the label kept on at it till 85, bowing out with A Chorus Line. Yet another major overpressing...Anyhow, here's a nice collection of Casablanca (and related labels) artwork and such.  Next Blog will be a quite stunning label gallery...Check out Tony Joe doin his thang live at the bottom...Motolla's Lindsey Lohan relaunch of Casablanca has no relation to the real deal, sorry pal- I know you gave Dr. Buzzard and crew their big break, but I just can't give a crap about Lohan...worst...Marilyn...ever... Yaaaawn.......



































 
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