Sweet record art

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PinkFloyd-album-ummagummastudio-300

Of course, one of the most famous is these is the so-called “Gigi cover.” Early copies of Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma depict a copy of the cast album. The picture is also a unique example of the droste effect (a repeating picture within a picture) because the band members change places with each iteration.

More often than not the albums which appear on albums are on shelves in the background. We like the idea of a passing glimpse at the collection of a favorite artist. It’s no surprise to us that Leontyne Price’s shelves are far tidier than Roland Kirk’s.

right as rain
roland kirk
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We’ll bet it would have been a lot of fun to go record shopping with Roland Kirk or Leontyne Price. And Andre Previn, who incidentally composed the Gigi score seen in the Pink Floyd album above, can have any record he finds at Hymie’s on the house.
Take a close look at Santana’s Amigos and you’ll see a blue monkey holding a copy of their debut album — the monkey’s got good taste!

ernest tubb record shop

Another common way for records to appear on the covers of other records is when the performer poses in a record shop. Ernest Tubb is seen beaming before a rack of albums from his label-mates in his own record shop on the cover of this 1960 album. There are now two Ernest Tubbs’ Record Shop locations in Nashville, Tennessee — at the Music Valley Village location you can also see the Green Hornet, a 1964 Silver Eagle touring bus used by Tubb himself. It travelled over three million miles before being restored for display!

hard promises

And Tom Petty is seen inside an un-named record shop on the cover of Hard Promises. To Petty’s left you can see the same sort of spinning 45 rack we have here in our shop — we would like very much to know where this shop is so we can go there and straighten up those singles!

Petty’s choice of setting is fitting, for Hard Promises was of course the album over which Petty fought MCA’s policy of “superstar pricing” (charging an extra dollar for top-selling artist). Olivia Newton John and Steely Dan gave in, but Petty was next in line and considered either not delivering the album to the label or titling it the standard price, $8.98, to protest the increase. As if we needed another reason to think Petty was a good dude.

DJ shadow

Another album which fittingly features a record store on the cover is Entroducing…DJ Shadow, a highly influential (and enjoyable) album built around innovative samples. In the documentary Scratch, he returns to the record shop where he found most of the albums sampled on his 1996 debut album. He’d gone there for years before they let him look through the basement where albums were stacked everywhere under bare bulbs.

“Just being in here is a humbling experience for me,” he explains. “Because you’re looking through all these records and it’s sort of like a big pile of broken dreams.”

spitfire LP
montrose LP
asia

Dragons are one of the most universally cool things in the world, and like all such things — for instance spaceships or girls on roller skates — they appear on album covers a lot more often than they do in real life. For the life of us we can’t imagine why a band that’s actually called Dragon wouldn’t put one on all their album covers.

dragon lp

Our favorite album about a dragon is the one where Spider-Man saves the Earth from Draco, King of the Dragon-Men. Our second favorite is “Perci the Dragon” by folk singer Ken Lyon.

Our friendly neighborhood record shop has appeared in two of Brendon Farley’s south Minneapolis neighborhood portraits. One of them is below.

You can see more of his landscape portraits on his Facebook page here, and even buy some on his Etsy page here.

In one of his comedy records, Steve Martin uses his mock naïveté to explain to the audience that “it’s like those French have a different word for everything.” This joke came to mind yesterday when we were listening to this instructional record, on which Nazir Ali Jairabhoy delivers a lecture introducing his audience to Indian classical music. You could say that they have a different note for everything.

Jairabhoy’s lecture is accessible and we thought it really added to our understanding of the music, also commonly called Hindustandi classical music.

DrosteArt students call the infinite picture-within-a-picture “The Droste Effect,” after the design on the packaging of a Dutch cocoa powder introduced around 1909.

The idea is certainly much older, having appeared in an altarpiece in the apse of the Old St. Peter’s Basilica in the 14th century. Italian painter Giotto included in his Stefaneschi Tryptic the eponymous Cardinal holding a smaller image of the work. The work was preserved through the destruction of the Old Basilica and remains in a Vatican art museum.

The technique is best known to record collectors for its appearance on Best of Friends, the groundbreaking psychedelic rock album by the Smurfs released on the progressive Starland Music label in 1982.

smurfs

Its awesome cover only hints and the mind-expanding masterpiece contained within illusive copies of Best of Friends, which of course was named the #1 most important album of all time by Rolling Stone upon its initial release.

The technique also appeared on a far more conventional album by Pink Floyd ten years earlier. The first copies of this album included a copy of the soundtrack to Gigi, which had to be withdrawn for copyright complaints, leaving only a blank album jacket in subsequent pressings like the one seen here. The best thing about the Ummagumma‘s jacket is that they have fun with the Droste effect by changing the position of the Pink Floyders in each reproduction of the image, suggesting an infinite cycle, or perhaps endless overlapping realities.

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Our in-house design team (ie our friend Paul) used the Droste effect on the jacket for Live at Hymie’s, an LP+DVD we released this past Record Store Day. He placed the album in one of the shelves in the shop, originally because we asked him to cover up a Mylon LeFevre album because, well ugh, Mylon.

live-at-hymies-lp

We’re pretty proud of this compilation, but it’s no Best of Friends.

 

 

 

 

The Dillards were a successful bluegrass group, whose first found fame as recurring characters, the Darling Family, on The Andy Griffith Show. They recorded several albums for folk-friendly Elektra Records, before beginning to explore an electric version of their sound which retained its traditional roots.

The Dillards’ “progressive bluegrass” records weren’t huge hits, but they had a lasting influence on country-rock. Elton John took them along when he toured on Honky Chateau in 1972, and bands like the Byrds and the Eagles clearly took a cue from them.

Their second album after leaving Elektra also has some fans here in Minneapolis. Tribute to An American Duck has one of our all-time favorite album covers.

tribute to the american duck

rainbows“Rainbows all over your Blues” by John B Sebastian

rainbow on stage europe 72 Mariah-Carey-Rainbowsomwehere“Somewhere over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland

player rainbow

rose royce ivdark sidemidnight rainbowsall bozos on this bus

chasin“Chasin’ that neon Rainbow” by Alan Jackson

ridin“Ridin’ the Rainbow” by Elvis Presley

115279758muppet movieKermit the Frog once asked why there are so many songs about rainbows. The answer is simple: we need them because there are so many rainy days.

connection“The Rainbow Connection” by Kermit D. Frog

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