Andy Warhol’s Jazz Album Covers Vol.2

This feels a little bit like déjà vu… Even though it’s another one of my christmas gifts for myself it’s something i just want to get out of the way and move on to other things. I basically could have just copy/pasted my previous post but let’s see what we got here. This is the second volume of DOXY’s boxes of Warhol’s jazz album covers and as with the first one there’s really only one reason that i got this and that’s Kenny Burrell’s Blue Lights. Well, i also kind of wanted it just to have both boxes so maybe it was more like two reasons. As i wrote in my previous post i wasn’t aware of the quality of the covers when i ordered this, i would most likely have ordered it anyway for the above reason but i would not have been so eager and payed a little more than $100 for it. But oh well, what’s done is done.

Besides Blue Lights this volume contains copies of Both Feet in the Groove, The Congregation and The Story Of Moondog and once again the circumstances are the same in that i already had reissues of all of these and in the case of Both Feet in the Groove an original copy. All references to Blue Note and things like that are of course removed and when it comes to Blue Lights they decided to make a double album kind of thing and thus the text “Volume” has been removed from the front cover. As far as i can tell they also added a track called I Never Knew that i don’t think is on either the original Vol. 1 or 2. All other covers might have underwent similar small design changes but i haven’t looked at them close enough to give any more examples. As with the first box this one is of course also a limited and numbered edition of 500 copies and my copy is number 340. I guess they might have fooled some people with this “limited” thing but crap is rarely limited and even more seldom numbered… I won’t bore anyone with any more thoughts and comments about the condition of the records, but things are exactly as they were the first time around. In short these boxes are really only for the closest mourners.

So there it is. I’ve now put both of these away and most likely will never look at them again…. If nothing else i will have played a nice joke on my daughter when she finds these after i’m gone and thinks they must be worth a fortune!

Cooler things to come later in the week!

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Andy Warhol’s Jazz Album Covers Vol.1

This did not come out of santa’s big ol’ bag of toys, but the second volume did. But as always, first things first. I was looking at my purchase history at discogs and i actually got this more than a year and a half ago. And i got it for one reason and one reason only, and that reason was Trombone by Three. If i had to pick my absolute favourite cover of them all it would be a tight race between Trombone by Three and The Nation’s Nightmare, but i think the latter would come up on top. Naturally an original copy of this is both crazy rare and CRAAAAZY expensive, the last recorded sale i could find is from june of last year and clocking in at almost $900, so that ain’t going to happen any time soon. Sadly the copy that’s in the box is just slightly better than what the result of gluing a printed image to the cardboard of an LP mailer would be, but more on that later…

Just a short background, and this will be short because for once i’m not interested enough to do a proper and thorough investigation kind of thing. Why? Well, bascially because the records are crap. The actual box is quite nice but the content is disappointing, to say the least. Anyways, both of these boxes were released at the end of 2011 on a label from Italy called Doxy Records and each volume comes in an edition of 500 numbered copies, my copy is number 230. But how was all this even possible? Well, as said i don’t really feel like going to the bottom of it all but it must have something to do with a european loophole when it comes to the copyright terms and the rules about public domain. One of my favourite bands of all time is The Beatles and i remember reading some articles (like this one in Rolling Stone Magazine) a while ago about Love Me Do entering the public domain at the start of 2013, there was also some fuzz about a couple of small labels releasing reissues of the song. As i understand it the copyright term enjoyed by sound recordings in the european union used to be 50 years but has now been changed to 70 years. It’s probably still 50 years in some counties since these things can take quite some time to implement in the different countries. But anyways, that would somewhat explain the recordings since all the albums in the boxes are +50 years old. But the artwork? This i don’t understand and hopefully someone from the WCCC or someone else can explain it better in a comment or something. Andy Warhol has not been dead for 70 years, did he sign away his copyright to the labels he did the work for, and if so, does that copyright then follow the music in some strange way? I don’t know how these things work, and frankly i don’t care THAT much either.

Anyways, what’s inside the box besides the reason i got it are copies of Monk, Count Basie and Kenny Burrell – Vol. 2. Granted, original copies of all of these are very hard to find but i’m pretty sure i already had reissues of them all when i got the box. As i recall it i payed about $35 for the box which at the time i thought was a pretty good deal for what was basically a reissue of Trombone by Three, and as far as i know the only ever reissue using Warhol’s cover design. The box was brand new and sealed when i got it and for some reason i kept it that way until just recently. I was looking for something to get myself for christmas and the second volume holds a copy of Blue Lights which is another cover that’s both rare and expensive. I wheeled and dealed with a couple of sellers at discogs but then eventually found an even cheaper copy on Amazon, so i decided to go with that one. Anyways, after i had ordered that one i emailed a little bit with Richard Forrest and Guy Minnebach about the Blue Lights album and the different versions and so on. I was also told by Guy that the records were basically crap. I rarely doubt these friends of mine but still thought – how bad could it be? And i’m not usually picky about these things. Well, i’ve now broken the seal and checked them out. And it’s pretty bad. All covers have a really cheap feel to them, pale and boring prints without any gloss whatsoever. Some details have also been removed like the “16 RPM” on Trombone by Three and the “Blue Note 1543” on Kenny Burrell Vol. 2 which has resulted in a weird looking eye. When it comes to the records i haven’t played any of them so i can’t say for sure what they sound like. But it’s probably a pretty safe bet that the master is just CD files that have been cut to vinyl. There is one positive thing about this though, and that’s the box itself. It’s nice and glossy and basically has the design of the never released Progressive Piano on the cover. According to Guy Minnebach this was basically the only reason to get them and after seeing what’s inside i can’t do anything but agree with him. Unfortunately my order for the second volume was already placed, payed and shipped by the time i knew this so that was a bit of a bummer. But oh well, at least i now have both the boxes and a crap looking version of Blue Lights, too bad it cost me more than twice what this first box did. But more on that in a later post…

This almost turned into some kind of product review, but so be it. I think this is the first time i’ve been truly disappointed with anything i’ve gotten for my collection. If you are not in a situation like i was desperately craving a copy of one or more of the really hard to find covers i would not recommend anyone getting these boxes. And if so, make sure you get a good deal. There are usally a couple of copies on ebay but at those prices, forget about it. There are also copies of both on discogs but for god’s sake, haggle, haggle and haggle before placing an order. Oh, and some “shady” sellers also sell these separately now. For example a copy of Trombone by Three was sold on ebay for $50 not that long ago, a terrible deal. And to be honest i have also been this kind of moron buyer. The first copy of Count Basie that i bought was from one of these boxes, i blame ignorance at the time and in retrospect this is NOT a deal to be proud of. But lucky me, at least i now have two of those! In all probability this will also be the closest i will ever get to a copy of Trombone by Three, so maybe it’s not so bad after all…

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The Rolling Stones – Emotional Tattoo (Reissue)

This is the first of about four things that i decided to get for myself for christmas. I was going through some old posts and if you exclude The Joke / Chase The Dragon that i didn’t really find per se i haven’t gotten a record for almost six months, so it was about time. However, this particular record isn’t something to get all super excited about. As i’ve been forced to a couple of times in the past i’ve once again had to settle for something other than the original. But anyways, what better way to start the year than with some Rolling Stones…

This is hardly news to anyone that’s even slightly into all this but this is a later reissue of the very rare and highly sought after original bootleg on orange or black vinyl from 1983. To the best of my knowledge this hit the scene at the beginning of 2014. At the time the members of the WCCC seemed a bit perplexed not knowing what to make of it really, who, where, when and why? My first thoughts and feelings were those of, in lack of a better word, a scam of sorts or at least the work of a shyster. And those initial thoughts are still there, but obviously i gave in to temptation and caved in… As said the original has always made the boys with deep pockets come out to play and sometimes selling for more than $1000. When this reissue first appeared it was selling for upwards of $250 which given my thoughts about it naturally made me look the other way. As copies then stopped appearing on ebay i basically forgot about it until just a couple of months ago when Richard Forrest’s post about his copies made it come up for a bit of discussion in the WCCC and i was informed by Guy Minnebach that copies were now available for $40 or so, and there are still a number of copies in that region on discogs.

I know little about it other than the fact that it’s a german reissue and that it’s a limited and numbered edition of 350 copies. It’s available on green or black vinyl and i’ve put some time into trying to figure out if there are 350 copies of each color or if that number is for the total edition. This basically means contacting different sellers and asking if they know, which of course they don’t. My copy is number 217 and i decided to go with the colored green vinyl and it’s also still sealed. However, the seller has opened it a little bit to have a peak inside. This is most likely to see what color vinyl is inside which is strange because it also has an ugly green sticker on the plastic which to any non-genious would indicate this is a green version. Whatever the case it doesn’t lead me any closer to a guess about the total number of these, i’m leaning towards 350 copies in total but i don’t know… and it doesn’t really matter anyways. There are also a few small differences between this one and the original issue. I’ve never had my hands on the original so i can’t say anything about the general quality but Frank Edwards notes in his post that the cardboard is of much lesser quality, and i’ll take his word for it. But that aside, let start with the front. The cover image is much brighter, crisper and packs more of a punch than the original and it also has Warhol’s signature below the portrait. On to the back where there’s really only one big change – everyones favourite alien E.T has sadly been replaced by all ten of the portraits in the Mick Jagger series of screen prints.

And while on the topic of these prints, i think this series was done in 1975(?). I don’t know if this is true or not but on this page at The National Gallery of Australia it basically says that Warhol felt he wasn’t payed enough for his work on the cover to the highly successful Sticky Fingers album and thus decided to find other ways to cash in on his celebrity friendship with Mick Jagger. But from the funny letter sent by Jagger to Warhol discussing that cover i was under the impression that Warhol basically set his own salary for that work, so i don’t know… I quite like these portraits though and now and then you’ll see a set of all ten promotional cards made to advertise the upcoming portfolio of the silk screens, there’s one of these at Swedish auction site Bukowskis now for example as well as two seperate cards on Auctionet, here and here. Unfortunately prices for the full set are usually out of my comfort zone though…

It seems that Warhol + Jagger is somewhat of a favourite combination for covers to bootleg recordings of The Rolling Stones. Apart from what is now two editions of this album there’s also the very rare Mick Jagger in Japan that Frank Edwards dug up from god knows where a little over a year ago. This record has a different portrait on the cover and though not really a Rolling Stones bootleg i’ll still put them in the same pile for this. But that’s not all, just recently yet another record with a Mick Jagger portrait cover turned up on ebay. This one is called Lonely at the Top and uses the same portrait as the one for Emotional Tattoo. I think this one is also from Germany, on a label or whatever called CAT Records and limited and numbered to 55 copies. It’s been on ebay lately with outrageous starting bids but looking at popsike it seems it should be possible to find a copy for a lot less with a bit of patience.

So, that’s that. Even though the original release from 1983 in my opinion has more of a genuine or legit feel to it this will do nicely and i feel no shame in putting this down as the first addition to my collection of record covers of the year. Perhaps not a thrilling addition but i still quite like it. More things to come!

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Swing and a miss…

During slow days at work i usually try and squeeze in a hour or so of image searching. I’m starting to get a little sick of it but i’m going to try and stick with it… Books is the main focus of this and still primarily titles plublished by Doubleday. This week i’ve been looking at Anchor Books which is another imprint under Doubleday and on which The Grand Mademoiselle was published. Where there’s one there might be more, right?

Unfortunately and Lovingof course not unexpectedly i haven’t been able to find anything so far. I did find one book called Loving A Novel written by Henry Green that was published in 1953 that for some reason had somewhat of a Warhol feel to me. At least judging from what was a thumbnail at first and mayby because i was tired of staring at images and convinced myself it was worth a look. But at a first glance i thought about the drawings on Rhapsody in Blue / Grand Canyon Suite and Porgy and Bess and… well, i don’t know. The cover is by a guy namned Edward Gorey so move along, nothing to see here… And that’s pretty much all i could find when it comes to Anchor Books, at least so far.
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I did however find another book that i thought had some pretty obvious references to another of Warhol’s dust jacket. The book is called The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death and written by Charlie Huston and i think it was published in 2009 so it didn’t get my attention as a possible Warhol. But the yellow featureless figure with red typography on a black and white background very much resembles the jacket to The Runaway Pigeon. It might just be coincidence of course but i still thought it was pretty neat.

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It’s not all about books though and for a moment i thought that i might have found a record. I was looking for covers to old albums with classical music on the RCA Victor label and noticed a small thumbnail of this album called The Classical Flute. It didn’t really get my heartbeat racing but any “line type” kind of drawing might be worth a closer look. It also has the familar collage thing with a drawing and a photo going on…It is however signed by someone and it’s obviously not Warhol.

I’m not at all done with this quest though, i’ll stick with it and one day…

Warhol by the Book

Out with the old and in with the new is right. I’ve posted earlier about the first (at least that i know about) exhibition of Warhol’s books called Reading Andy Warhol held at the Brandhorst Museum in Munich and how that exhibition catalogue helped with me images of some dust jackets i didn’t know about. Well, that exhibition is already yesterdays news since it ended almost a year ago. And there is also something bigger and most likely also better on the horizon.

I can’t honestly say that i’m up to speed with what”s happening in the art world in general, most of it is just weird and pretentious to me. I don’t keep track of current and/or upcoming exhibitions at different museums and things like that. However, i do try and look around for Warhol related shows from time to time but i can’t say i spend that much time on it. So, with that said there’s probably a 50/50 chance i would have caught this upcoming thing. But thanks to fellow collector Guy Minnebach i didn’t have to worry about missing out. Anyways, time to get to the point!

In just a few months, march 7th to be exact an exhibition called Warhol by the Book will open at the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown and this will be the first US exhibition to focus on Warhol’s book work . Even though i will not be able to go see it and don’t have any more information other than what’s on the site and in the press release i’m very excited about these news! The exhibition is organized by The Andy Warhol Museum and the curator is Matt Wrbican – chief archivist at The Warhol. I’ve never had any contact with him personally but from what i’ve heard from Guy Minnebach he is (perhaps obvious) extremely knowledgeable and a true gentleman, so all things set for a great exhibition! Just yesterday i mentioned my small “Warhol library” but maybe i shouldn’t brag and boast too much. My twenty or so books definitely pales in comparison to the more than 400(!) items that will be featured in this exhibition. I can’t even start to guess what’s among all this stuff. Besides the obvious dust jackets that i’m mainly interested in i know that there are lots of books with illustrations by Warhol such as cookbooks, children’s books and a ton of other stuff. Add to that a couple of extreeeeeeemely rare and sought after books what were privately published in the 50’s, for example In the Bottom of My Garden and Holy Cats by Andy Warhol’s Mother which were both up on Christie’s just a couple of weeks ago. Maybe the little booklet that i was once so proud of finding will also be on display. But how to get to +400 items… can’t wait to see it all!

I also know that Guy Minnebach has lent at least one book to the exhibition. I’ve actually invited him to guest blog about that particular book so i won’t spoil the surprise in case he decides to take me up on my offer. But he has sent me some images and i will say that it’s an amazing looking book, and since not even The Warhol has a copy i would guess calling it rare is nothing but a huge understatement. Another thing i know for certain is that the only book cover that i’ve chosen to keep “secret” and that Guy Minnebach found just a couple of months ago will also be up for display. I won’t spoil that surprise either but maybe that will be a good thing for me personally. This book is probably the one item i’ve looked for the most, ever. I’ve contacted tons of users at Librarything who claim to have it, every single seller at Amazon for each and every edition i could find just in case is was wrongly listed, then in some cases annoyed the same sellers by also contacting them on Abebooks, obsessively checking sites like BookFinder several times a day and finally image searched for hours an hours, … And all for nothing! Hopefully soon when this cat is out of the bag more copies will surface.

Even though the exhibition does not seem to focus primarily on the dust jackets i’m very happy that this area of Warhol’s work will get it’s place in the spotlight. I guess some of it might have been there already as part of other exhibitions, as i said i’m not really up to date with these things. But whatever the case it’s very cool to see another exhibition centered on Warhols’s books. I’m also very selfishly happy that i’ve been able to accumulate as many dust jackets as i have before this happened. I have no real opinion about what the previous exhibition in Munich did for the interest of this area of Warhol’s work but i would guess that this upcoming show will get much more attention and hopefully also help raise interest. Not only is it in the US but also, as said, organized by the heart of it all.

I’m really looking forward to this and can’t wait to see images from the show and read reviews and whatnot! And i didn’t get the exhibition catalogue for the show in Munich but i will definitely try and get a copy of it for this one! Good luck and best wishes to all involved!

Highs and lows of 2014

Out with the old and in with the new, isn’t that what they say? Anyways, as is common practice it’s time to close the books and try and sum up the previous year. I was looking back at the last time i did this and then i had highlights such as finding the Ratfab single and the Giant Size $1,57 Each booklet and at that time i thought that anything during 2014 would have a hard time coming close to this. But i think it’s safe to say that not only did the previous year come close, it actually surpassed 2013 and went straight to number one, with a bullet…

I’ll start with the lows though, just to get those out of the way and move on to more fun things. And there is really only one things that bugs me, and i have already cried, complained and moaned about this many times before so i’m not going to continue to dwell on it. But every time i see a copy of Cool Gabriels on ebay for +$500 i’m reminded of the time i didn’t push my bid just a little bit more the first time it was on that Auctionet site, so incredibly stupid! I have however placed an order with the WCCC’s most prolific “counterfeiter” Richard Forrest, so maybe Cool Gabriels will be among the highlights of next years summary instead… So, that’s that about the lows. On to greater and more positive things!

The biggest and most exciting thing of the previous year does not really involve me directly. For a couple of years i’ve been reading Frank Edwards excellent blog and looking in awe on both covers that will perhaps forever be out of my reach, like Trombone by Three, Waltzes and 4 Divertimenti just to name a few as well as a ton of other covers either influenced by Warhol of with references to his work. I can’t remember when i first heard the news that all this incredible amount of time and work tracking all these covers down might result in an exhibition but whatever the case it finally came true this previous summer. The exhibition Warhol On Vinyl: The Record Covers, 1949-1987+ is on display at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan for another three months, so anybody that stumbles upon my blog and happens to live in the area should definitely not miss the opportunity to go see it!

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When it comes to my own collection a lot of things happened as well. Even if my book collection “officially” started during 2013 and though i was able to find a couple of books during the end of that year with Borderline Ballads and Love is a Pie being the best finds it was during the previous year that it all really took off. As i’ve said before i’ve had a lot of fun tracking down these books and things have really moved along at a much faster pace than i could ever have hoped for. What initially was a small pile on a desk has now evolved into half a shelf by my bed and it certainly wasn’t easy picking out the highlights of the year from what has now become almost a small library. But if i had to pick three (because things look good in threes) it will probably have to be Pistols For Two, According to the Evidence and The Runaway Pigeon. So, why these three? Well, besides the fact that they are all really great looking dust jackets it’s mainly because two of them (if not all three) are in my opinion among the most rare ones. As i’ve gotten more and more into this area of Warhol’s work it has also become clear that these are incredibly hard to find and two of them i have not really seen anywhere. I can’t take full credit for finding them either since they were part of the very genrous trade i made with Guy Minnebach. The one out of the bunch that i did find myself (Pistols For Two) was also found under such wierd and funny circumstances which in itself would justify a place among the highlights of the year. That it happens to be one of my favourite dust jackets just adds to it all. Other honorable mentions would be The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole, Who Cooked Mother Goose? and The Madhouse in Washington Square. All of these also appear tricky to find but you can’t have everything in your highlight reel now can you?

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Sadly it’s been a pretty slow year when it comes to record covers. Mainly because i’ve come to a point where i’m really only looking for the really rare and expensive covers. I did however find one of these during the summer. Ever since i started collecting the record covers Latin Rhythms by the Boston Pops has been one of my absolute favorites. After letting a couple of them go because i was hung up on a price tag at around $100 i finally decided that i was not going to let this one slip. Even though everything was set for another failure when i fell asleep after setting the alarm to be ready for the end of the auction it all worked out in the end, maybe most of the internets ebayers was on vacation… Since i don’t have too many of these a bit rarer record covers it was a great feeling at the time to finally get my hands of it. The only other thing that raised my heart rate a little bit last year when it comes to record covers was also something i can’t take any credit for really. Again, thanks to the very generous trade i did with Guy Minnebach i got to add another of my personal top five covers to my collection – The Joke / Chase The Dragon by Walter Steading and the Dragon People. So, even if there is no way getting around the fact that 2014 was more about books and dust jackets than record covers i did get to add two covers that i was starting to think i might never find. Honorable mentions in this area might be A Program of Mexican Music (which i don’t really care for other than that it’s Warhol’s first cover) and Both Feet in the Groove. The latter, although it might not be super rare, is also a cover that i really enjoy. It’s also a good example of what the WCCC adds to all this when it comes to keeping the motivation high and the fun in it at times when all that’s on ebay is Ultra Violets and things like that for thousands of dollars. I very generously got this copy free of charge from fellow collector Kevin Kinney and he, and everyone else has been of great help and support all throughout the year!

With hopes of an equally fun and exciting 2015!

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