Pimping the sensuous, splashy stereo sound to a mass of minions mothering mono was a popular venture in the dawn of this new recording and distribution era. Many vibrant inserts painstakingly detailing this new process were produced, such as this from Capitol Records from the late 50s. It’s an interesting feat to fancy a world where this (by today’s standards) common technique was the shiny new toy on the shelf. I’m gratified that so many labels of the time spent so much on promoting this recording method, which now only seem to exist stuffed inside an indiscriminate album jacket at the thrift store. Beauty, is indeed, in the eye (and ear) of the beholder.
Ok, so I may not love this insert simply because it’s reminiscent of inserts 50 years its junior, although that helps, but what really stands out is its simplistic, yet effective layout, not to mention its frame worthy design. This modern takes on vintage art, recently discovered last night, is just one of the things that makes this shameless collector secretly grin.
A quick (very, very quick) fact check places this Capitol Records insert in, or around the year 1959. Meredith Wilson’s Original Broadway Cast of The Music Man was released in ’57, Louis Prima’s Las Vegas Prima Style was ’58, and Sinatra’s 1959 Come Dance With Me! all help make this claim. Regardless, these vibrant colors coupled with this elegant and straight-forward layout make for compelling and eye-catching contemporary art. My local record store has STACKS of these random inserts, and I’m 15 minutes shy of heading down there and asking how much they want for the lot. I’m sure my SO would be thrilled to beat the band about me acquiring even more record paraphernalia. Let the convincing commence…
Official Winston Smith page can be found here.
The Memphis, Tennessee label Hi Records had a illustrious career (until its eventual sale to Cream Records in 1977), and during its tenure, it rubbed elbows with some of the biggest names in popular music at the time. Here is a very, very brief lineage of the label, a condensed version of the following Wikipedia page.
Former Sun Records producers Bill Cantrell and Quinton Claunch, along with a few other ambitious crazies started the label in 1957. Elvis Presley’s bass player, Bill Black started a combo (Bill Black’s Combo), and gave the label it’s first big hit with 1959’s Smokie Part 2. Bill Black’s saxophonist, Ace Cannon (a record we spun at the office just a few days ago) landed the label’s 2nd hit with 1961’s Tuff. By then, Quinton Claunch (remember, of Sun Records’ fame) had sold his share of the company to Jerry Lee Lewis’ cousin, shortly before Hi Records started churning out hit after hit with a little someone named Albert “Al” Green(e).
If you’ve never heard of the label, don’t worry. I just found out about it yesterday. Anyone wanna take a field trip to Memphis in the Spring?
Insert hunting is often times an all or nothing affair. After a while you begin to notice consistencies that are more exceptions than they are rules. I mean, there can’t be “rules” when second hand record shopping, so I guess that wasn’t really worth mentioning. Anyway, it seems that more and more these days, the unknown hidden art printed and housed within the album sleeve is pulling towards my decision to fork over $3 for a used record than the actual music itself. It wasn’t always this way, but when one’s eyes get a taste for these mysterious little gems, one begins to understand why, now doesn’t one? (Yes, that was a Benson reference from Soap, and no, I am in no way ashamed.)
The lovely SO gifted me this stunning SST insert for my xx birthday. I’m the first consumer to excavate this four-page order form booklet from within the bowels of a sealed Beyond Barbecue album by Lawndale. This album’s release, and the albums featured within date this specimen in the 1986 – 1986 range. Whatever you dig, get into it, kids. Happy Friday!
Casablanca Records is now owned by the greedy, hiney pinchers over at Universal Music Group, and mainly focuses the bulk of its attention on electro-dance releases instead of the classic 70s goofy-glam rock (Kiss) and spaced-out funk (Parliament) it was once renowned for. From what I can gather, a Neil Bogart founded the label under the Warner Bros. umbrella, and in doing so paid homage to his favorite film, whose main actor old Neil shares a surname with. That’s about it. Mondays are a bore.
Dot Records presents the Greatest Sound on Record (stereo and regular)
Dot Records offers the ultimate in ultra high-fidelity reproduction. The “Dot Sound” is the most powerful, diamond-clear quality in recorded music.
Only Dot Records’ long-playing albums, regular and stereophonic, are recorded in ultra high0fidelity. It has always been the company’s policy to present to the public the finest in recorded entertainment.
The “Dot Sound,” coupled with a selection of artists and music that appealed to everyone, quickly brought the company to national recognition. Today the “Dot Sound” has become Dot Records’ hallmark throughout the world.
For further information or free color catalog, write to Dot Records, Inc., Sunset and Vine, Hollywood 28, Calif.
When your sports team is for shit, you stop watching them and, well, ALL sports, and focus on music, or, at least we do. So to get our Sports fix, we, in this, yet again, difficult season, turn to Huey Lewis and The News for consistent Sports satisfaction. This insert was featured in a Chrysalis release from the 1983 album, Sports by Huey Lewis and The News… and with this bit of knowledge, I’m sure, your evening is complete. Happy hump day (he said with no hint of enthusiasm whatsoever).
I must have been wearing a green shirt when taking this morning photo (see, there is a reflection in the center plastic do-hickey). Anyway, I don’t squeeze out as many insert posts as I used to. If it were up to me, and it is, every post would be a classic, history-forgotten insert, but unfortunately (or not) that would mean I’d post roughly once a month. Anyway (again), as always with Angel Records ANYTHING, quality is nothing short of top of the line… the Rolls-Royce of record prophylactics. Protect your records, kids, and if you don’t, there’s always an Angel on your side.
If you like Herb Alpert, Lucille Starr, The Baja Marimba Band, and overall great music in general, have a look-see at the biggest little catalog insert by A&M Records. Issued in 1965, this esthetically pleasing record jacket features the clever inclusion of Herb Alpert’s trumpet integrated within its logo, and is a reminder that functionality can also offer top-notch design. A&M Records, and it’s oxymoron catalog come highly recommended for easy listening brass background music. Cheers, kids.
Tucked inside a 7” box set boasting the phrase, An Album from THE TREASURY OF IMMORTAL PERFORMANCES “45” rpm, this Capitol Records insert informs the 1940s (possibly 1950s) buyer of the intricate do’s and don’ts of optional center record care. This clear-cut informative guide urges the following, with extreme, underlined importance: If you will be using this album on a large spindle 45 rpm player, Ask Your Dealer To Punch Out The Centers… I don’t know about you, but my dealer doesn’t know jack about anything record related, but lucky for all involved, these “optional” inserts have long since been removed, so any sort of option has been swiftly eradicated.
Feelin’ pretty simple today, so here’s the lyrics sheet / insert to Aglio E Olio (pronounced: AH-lyoh ay AW-lyoh), the 8 song, 11 minute EP by the Beastie Boys. Pretty, isn’t it? I think it is, or at least I thought it was… enough to tape it to whatever rented wall I happened to occupy during the time of purchase (tape residue, evidence of my murky past, can be found on the back in all four corners). It’s still crazy to me that this album was released only three years after Check Your Head. That’s a little dose of reality I guess I’m just gonna’ have to swallow.
… or so they claim. Although I’m not a fan of the late, womanizing crooner Frank Sinatra, I find myself acquiring a decent amount of his label’s records these days. Most recently, 1967’s The Live Kinks, where I discovered this lovely gem.
Signing the North American distribution rights to Don Ho, The Kinks and Dean Martin is a respectably eclectic maneuver for a label founded by the Rat Pack King (I prefer Dean Martin, myself), and it speaks to the ever enveloping, changing winds that swept through the later half of the social 60s… or so I gather… I wasn’t around then, so all these bits of online data could be nothing more than inaccurate gibberish… much like The Prudent Groove. I like inserts, and I like The Kinks. Good day.
ABC-Paramount Records: Full color fidelity on a two-tone sleeve. Established in 1955 under the variation, Am-Par Record Corporation (the music collateral of American Broadcasting Company, which was then titled American Broadcasting-Paramount Theaters… the more you know), ABC-Paramount Records was home to some of the most prominent voices (I almost went with paramount) the late 50s and early 60s had to offer. With Fats Domino and Ray Charles leading the pack, other lesser-known artists (just because they’re less known doesn’t make them less than) like Mario Escudero, Sabicas, the Les Djinns Singers and Roy Smeck were given a platform with which to proclaim their love for the gift of music.
1961 saw the label branching out (far out, man) into the audacious world of Jazz with their subsidiary label, Impulse (featured in the photo above). Home to the likes of Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Duke Ellington, the Milt Jackson Quartet and John Coltrane, Impulse was managed by none other than CTI Records himself, Creed Taylor.
The label was eventually sold to MCA Records in 1979, and the relatively short-lived ABC-Paramount Records was discontinued shortly thereafter. As an aside, MCA Records was absorbed and rebranded as Universal Music Group in 1995, and has become the nation’s largest music corporation. The rest, as they say, is big fish eating little fish history (fishtory?).
Home to Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Coral Records was the not-so-ugly stepsister (subsidiary) of Decca Records. Formed in 1949, Coral Records saw fan-favorite releases by these, and many other big-name artists: Milton Berle, Lawrence Welk, Patsy Cline, Debbie Reynolds and the McGuire Sisters.
Unfortunately, Coral Records’ inspiring logo wasn’t enough to save the label’s merger with MCA Records in the 1960s. Save for the Lawrence Welk recordings, what was once known as a thriving and prolific label (they had Buddy Holly and the Crickets for crying out loud!) would devolve and become swallowed up by the Universal Music Group machine.
The phrase, “Buddy Holly Lives” may be true, but his label is now owned by a theme park.
If it’s on any other label in the monumental history of music recording, it’s a lemon. Smash Records is a bit full of themselves, don’t you think? Looking at their big guns, or at least the four featured artists on this insert (that was printed in the U.S.A., mind you), this bold claim, at first sight, seems justified, or at least viable. But, given that these are only four artists out of, oh, I don’t know, EVERY ARTIST OF EVERY COUNTRY OF EVERY GENRE OF EVERY GENERATION THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF MANKIND, the phrase, “if it’s a hit… it’s on Smash Records” can be read as a stiff middle finger response to “the rest” of the hitless noise polluting the ears of the music-loving public all across this giant rock.
Roger Miller, Charlie Rich, James Brown, and Jerry Lee Lewis were all fantastic artists… but if your entire music vocabulary consists of only Smash Records recordings, 1) you’ve got a lot of work to do and 2) your lack of music-listening happiness gathers no sympathy from me.
Smash Records… Everything else is just noise.
Decca Records spans an almost spectrum-like array of eclectic ear candy. Ranging from Children’s music (Winnie the Pooh), to Hawaiian music (Alfred Apaka), to Classical (Vivaldi), and last but certainly not least, to William Shatner (in whose 1968 album, The Transformed Man, I excavated this colorful insert).
It’s always interesting to see how creative these self-promoting record label inserts get in attempting to showcase their less-than-chart-topping-hit-records. I particularly dig this insert’s layout and how a simple arrow (repeated, obviously) can direct the eye to what the designer wants to showcase, and the order in which they want it presented. It’s almost a roadmap that effectively leads to the consumer’s ultimate destination… A New World of Sound… On Decca.