VERTICAL RETURN

We’re back with the vertical gatefold sleeves for a couple more instalments. This should not be construed as an attempt to show every specimen, but simply present further examples that have caught this record collector’s eye.

First off we have a very recent addition to the genus. Bob Masse is a legendary Canadian-born artist and poster designer, active since the Sixties and still going strong. He designed the cover for a 2017 Record Store Day release of some archival early Grateful Dead material. The music is good, but not as good as the album cover.

Next up is a contrasting manifestation of Madame Muse from heavy rockers Uriah Heep (who have featured in Vertical dispatches previously with a very different cover). Released in 1978, Fallen Angels illustrates the fondness of heavy rock for fantasy themes. And semi-naked women. The art is by Chris Achilleos.

5 Grateful Dead 1969 vertical

After two female subjects, two males.

The first is a rustic art-craft representation of Mick Fleetwood, who, with John McVie, co-founded the band that bears their surnames. The second needs little introduction, but much explanation. Why the belly button and squashed nose, David? Why the bandaged hand and the extreme pigeon toes? Alas, we’ll never know.

Bowie Lodger photo shoot

To keep the music quotient up, let me tell you about the Fleetwood Mac album.

Fleetwood Mac Live At The Boston Tea Party is a 2009 release on the Vinyl Lovers label. The material has been compiled many times before, but this four-record set claims to have ‘most’ of the recordings. I imagine in a year or two there will be a six disc version with recordings of Peter Green tuning up or John and Mick ordering drinks at the bar, but until then this is all you need. In fact it is more than most people need.

Housed in a book-style cover with four cardboard pages (each holding a record), this legendary three guitar line-up of the Mac includes the aforementioned Mr Green, the recently arrived Danny Kirwan and the soon to depart Jeremy Spencer. It’s mainly Peter Green’s show, as far as solos are concerned, and that’s the reason most would spring for this monster set. The Jeremy Spencer contributions are unremarkable blues and R&B covers that, frankly, are not very interesting. But there are joys herein, make no mistake. “The Green Manalishi” tears your face off, “Jumping at shadows” tears your heart open, “World in harmony” is a rarity that introduces Danny Kirwan (as does “Coming your way” on side seven), and last—but certainly not least—the fabulous “Oh Well”.

The first three sides cover the band’s first set, while D, E, and F chronicle the second. The final two sides have rarely seen the light of day, and include some great jams, including one with Joe Walsh (later of The Eagles, then of James Gang). If the Little Richard covers are dispensable and the Elmore James tunes uninspired, the rest makes up for it.

Without doubt the double hearts at the centre of this rambling monster are the two side-long versions of “Rattlesnake Shake”. This 1969 (Then Play On) Peter Green chestnut is, at first glance, a straightforward blues about onanism.

I know this guy, his name is Mick

He don’t care if he ain’t got no chick

He do the shake, the rattlesnake shake

Pure poetry, innit? But the extended instrumental jam is fabulous. Peter Green wanders and returns, jumps, sighs and steams. He duels with Kirwan and they soar together. Anyone who loves the long-form workouts of the Grateful Dead or the Allman Brothers will love these side-long freight trains of blues rock. Forget the grotty lyrics, this is electric blues at its live best and ensures Fleetwood Mac In Concert, 5, 6, 7 February 1970 is a worthy addition to any collection of British blues.

 

23 comments

  1. This is probably heretical to say here, but the wonderful, large, cover art is the thing I miss most about LPs. Working as I am at the moment on piddly little CD sleeve art makes me pine for a time when you could do something substantial (and detailed) to enhance your music.

    I often wonder how much this art actually influenced the way we related to the music. I can think of dozens of albums where I involuntarily conjure up the cover images as soon as I hear the music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Far from heretical, that proves you are in the right church, Mr M!
      And spot on, too. Most people of the vinyl era can instantly call up many precise images of albums important to them. But try that for CDs… not too many for most folk.
      Good luck with your own design project – told you you should have gone for vinyl. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, sadly vinyl is WAY expensive these days… 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 365musicmusings · · Reply

    The Dead cover is one of my favs of their recent releases! Wonderfully evocative of that era of poster art!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t it just? You can smell the patchouli.

      Like

  3. I’m not wild about that rather creepy looking figure on the Fleetwood Mac cover, but really like the multi-colored listing of song titles, and *love* the lettering morphed into the teapot, complete with puffs of steam…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it looked rather like a voodoo doll, to be honest. Yes, the inner illustrations (reproductions of original promo posters, one presumes) are great. Some of the music is too. Some not.

      Like

  4. I have that Mac music (love it) not the albums. Very cool. PNE Gardens. Between Pro Wresting, Hockey and rock shows it was the place to catch them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Melbourne had a wrestling/boxing venue (the aptly named Festival Hall) that also doubled as a rock venue. And in the red corner, Lou REEEEEEED!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now that was funny!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Bloody dagger in left hand, huge sword in right, another dagger on her belt, spiked helmet, punk mohawk-headed eagle on her shoulder — all-in-all a pretty fierce warrior Uriah Heep found themselves there. That said, I’m just not sure she’s wearing that chainmail correctly for optimal protection.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great fold out collection! I remember Hawkwind’s giant foldout cover for their live album “Space Ritual”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! It was a magnificent example of a six-panel fold-out cover. And a great album too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think, you could present your unique record collection in a museum. The dealing of sound material has changed due to the technical and digital possibilities. But for me there are things that just sound richer on vinyl.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Agreed.
          A friend and I once talked about putting together an exhibition of LPs featuring artwork and some of the ‘different’ approaches to covers (eg: Jethro Tull Stand Up). With the ‘vinyl revival’, maybe now would be a good time!

          Like

  7. Four striking covers there. I wouldn’t put the Uriah Heep or the Bowie on my wall but they make fascinating viewing on a Web page. And, yes, musically Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green can’t be beat. If I had to pick four ‘Mac tracks they would be: Albatross, Man of the World, Oh Well and Green Manalishi; only then would I consider something from the later period.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pure gold. Reckon they’d be four of my top five too.

      Like

  8. I love the Fleetwood Mac, Tea Party record though have not heard the whole deluxe set. My inner teenager goes with the Uriah Heep as most likely to hang on the wall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, it’s a teen dream, isn’t it? Shame most of us were decidedly non-Conan-ish in our presentation. Probably why Amazon’s like that one were found only in posters.

      When the Boston Tea Party music is good, it is VERY good, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice to see the Maple Leaf featured prominently on the Grateful Dead!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. Good old Vancouver. I saw Little Feat there, on the docks, in the drizzle, wearing a plastic phocho… but almost 30years after the Dead’s gig!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I imagine the plastic poncho is a part of most Vancouver outdoor concert experiences!

        Liked by 1 person

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