Tuesday, July 7, 2015

32. Uriah Heep - Very 'Eavy. . . Very 'Umble

This image is not from Tales from the Crypt. This is David Byron on the cover of the UK release of Uriah Heep's debut album. His cobwebbed face occupies the whole front sleeve and
is here reproduced six times to fill the 18x10 canvass. The recolouring of the image at bottom right was done in order to match the letters of the band's name which, together 
with the album title, has been distorted with the wave filter.

The album was generally panned by the mainstream critical press upon its release, although it has since been acknowledged as an early classic of the heavy metal genre.
The harshest critic was Rolling Stone magazine reviewer, Melissa Mills, who began her review, "If this group makes it I'll have to commit suicide. From the first note
you know you don't want to hear any more." Source

That's a rather horrific note, but a mouth agape could be making a sound begging to be heard. Byron is the lead vocalist and he wrote almost all of the songs
in this album. And 46 years on the band was still touring.
Down Under. 

Here's David Byron not singing.

Artwork by Robin Nicol, photo by Pete Smith. Album produced by Gerry Bron. Vertigo (UK) 1970. 

Uriah Heep are considered one of the most underrated progressive rock bands to come out of Britain's acclaimed classic rock era of late 1960's and early 1970's. A very diverse band, 
comprised of many individual talents, namely David Byron's incredible and iconic falsetto voice, Mick Box's roaring wah-wah virtuoso guitar style and Ken Hensley's raging organ,
Uriah Heep never seemed to gain any recognition, not even in Britain. Though being considered a progressive rock band in every sense of the word, Heep's first studio album,
Very 'Eavy... Very 'Umblereleased in June 1970, is a much more diverse album in style, ranging from blues to hard rock and heavy metal. Critics quickly dismissed any potential 
of Uriah Heep becoming big, but regardless of critics, Very 'Eavy... Very 'Umble presents itself as a promising debut. More

The album's US release (Mercury 1970) has a different album sleeve design, also by Robert Nicol.

(A) Gypsy - Walking in Your Shadow - Come Away Melinda - Lucy Blues

(B) Dreammare - Real Turned On - I'll Keep on Trying - Wake Up (Set Your Sights)

"Gypsy" live in London 2014 from Frontiers Music srl on YouTube.



Thursday, June 25, 2015

30. The Band - The Band

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On this work, the bottom third of the the photo on the original album cover art design was cropped off and the remaining image was mirrored. The resulting image, now about equal in
measurement on all sides was positioned to the right of the brown canvass which had already been set to measure 18x10. A smaller reproduction of the original album cover photo
was pasted at left and the album title was enlarged and pasted above it.

Here's the original album cover art design.  

No. 45, Rolling Stone, 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; No. 45, The Virgin All-Time Album Top 1000.

Album design by Bob Cato, photo by Elliot Landy. Album produced by John Simon. Capitol 1969.

Designed by the great Bob Cato, using an Elliot Landy photograph, this simple cover speaks volumes of what waits inside. Their first album, Music From Big Pink
did not show the members of the group on either the front or the back; you had to open it up to see the group. Here they confront you head-on, staring at you
from another time. This was the time of paisley and psychedelic design and fonts. Not this band, there were dressed as workers, laborers, as if they stepped
out of 1940’s  America. Hell, they could’ve been mistaken for hobos then. The album was sepia toned as if taken from our grandparents’ scrapbook. And
the music reflected it all, and magnificently. A masterpiece. Source

It's as if an itinerant old-time medicine show somehow skipped a few generations, pulled off a two-lane Arkansas highway in 1910, and woke up in 1968, with
its remaining potions turned to hallucinogens. Of course the time travellers had stories to tell—about the wily old South, where men with names like Virgil
and Eustace tended the land, and there was pride just in surviving.

Four Canadians and one Southern "ringer" (drummer Levon Helm, who grew up in Arkansas), the Band caught what was wild and romantic about America,
and framed it in ramshackle grandeur with a touch of a hippieera batik. The musicians first played together backing rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins,
but became cohesive backing Bob Dylan during his shift from acoustic folk to rock. When the Band moved out of the Big Pink house in Woodstock,
New York, the group of talented multi-instrumentalists discovered they had something different, but no less profound, to say on their own.
That's instantly evident in the story-songs on their first album, Music from Big Pink, and this masterpiece — a one-two punch the likes of
which rock and roll hasn't seen since. Full article

(A) Across the Great Divide - Rag Mama Rag - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - When You Awake - Up on Cripple Creek - Whispering Pines

(B) Jemima Surrender - Rockin' Chair - Look Out Cleveland - Jawbone - The Unfaithful Servant - King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

"King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" live from Robbie Robertson's studio in Woodstock NY from promised land on YouTube.



Friday, June 19, 2015

29. Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

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This work is a combination of the front of the original album cover art design and part of the back cover. The brick wall at centre was cut and pasted at left to complete the 18X10 screensaver.
So here we have the artist stepping into the yellow brick road which is actually just a picture while looking back on the outside which has his own picture on the wall.

We read about the Yellow Brick Road in The Wizard of Oz from 1939.
We heard "this boy's too young to be signing the blues" back in 1973.
"Candle in the Wind", originally composed in honour of Marilyn Monroe, was re-written in 1997 as a to tribute Diana, Princess of Wales.

This is the original album cover art design.

No. 80, Entertainment Weekly, 100 Greatest Albums Ever; No. 81, Rate Your Music, The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time; No. 86, The Virgin All-Time Album Top 1000;
No. 91, Rolling Stone, 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; No. 171 Billboard, The 300 Best-Selling Albums of All Time.

Illustration by Ian Beck. Album produced by Gus Dudgeon. MCA (US) DJM (UK) 1973.

In 1973 there was no indication that one day Elton John would become one of the leading Friends of Dorothy, but he unintentionally hinted at the yet-to-be-invented
codeword with the metaphors in the title and on the cover of his album. The album’s title, also the name of the lead single, seems to be at odds with the artwork
on the cover. Both song and cover, take their imagery from The Wizard Of Oz, in which the yellow brick road played as much a central role as any thoroughfare
ever did in the movies. Where the song tells of disillusion at the end of that road, the cover promises the beginning of an escape from reality as Elton steps
into a poster and on to a yellow brick road.

The poster is on a tatty wall, covering a previous poster (the font of which suggests that it might have advertised a music hall), with chimneys in the background
telling of a drab existence, quite at odds with Elton’s flamboyant get-up. The cover was drawn by Ian Beck, who was 26 at the time. Beck has since illustrated
magazines, greeting cards, packaging and a few children’s books. He has also written a few novels. Beck came to LP cover design through John Kosh, whose
credits included the Abbey Road cover.

Beck was given tapes of the songs (which included future classics like Benny And The Jets, Saturday Night Is Alright For Fighting, Candle In The Wind and the
title track), and typed lyrics sheets, and began working on a concept. His friend, fashion illustrator Leslie McKinley Howell, stood in as a model for Elton
John in polaroids which Beck took (hence the long legs) in preparation for his watercolour, pastel, and coloured crayon pencils artwork. The piano on
the front cover and the teddy bear at the back were placed there at the request of Elsie, as Beck only later realised Elton was known to his staff.

(A) Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding - Candle in the Wind - Bennie and the Jets

(B) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - This Song Has No Title - Grey Seal - Jamaica Jerk-Off - I've Seen That Movie Too

(C) Sweet Painted Lady - The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34) - Dirty Little Girl - All the Girls Love Alice

(D) Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll) - Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting - Roy Rogers - Social Disease - Harmony

The Tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales from musicaltranslator1 on YouTube.