Category Archives: Covers and Labels

Lp Covers and Record labels, sleeves, packaging, in fact anything related to the artwork of musical releases.

Musical Artifact no1 – Stanley Motta MRS 78rpm Record Sleeve

There is so much you can learn..

There is so much you can learn from just one object, one step in your collecting and accumulation. This sleeve is just one such object. (Pictured Below), it was very kindly sent to me by a seller on eBay, gratis, thanks Phil, you know who you are!

Tab Smith and the Duke

To begin with; it came with a 78rpm single of Tab Smith’s ‘My Mother’s Eyes’ on Down Beat in it. This tune was Duke Reid’s sign on tune for his Treasure Isle Time radio show in Jamaica in the early days of Jamaica’s self-produced musical excursions, it is also on an interesting record label – Down Beat.


Down Beat was the label owned by Dada Tewari a wealthy immigrant to Jamaica of Indian extraction. He owned this label and the Caribou label; which alongside a staple diet of Mento and Calypso featured some of the earliest self-produced Jamaican Shuffle Blues, Boogie and Ska productions, notably those featuring Cuban Laurel Aitken, later to be the Skinheads Reggae and Ska artiste of choice.

Down Beat as far as I am aware exclusively licensed and released U.S. music, mainly American Shuffle Blues, Jazz and Rhythm and Blues, the Tab Smith tune, being an example of this. The records were as far as I am aware, pressed in Jamaica.

Motta and MRS

Stanley Motta was Jamaica’s first producer to release a record recorded in Jamaica, in Jamaica. By that I mean, the song was both recorded in a studio in Jamaica and then given release there, up until this release. ‘DAN WILLIAMS AND HIS ORCHESTRA – VOCAL LORD FLY    MEDLY OF JAMAICAN MENTO on MRS SSS.2033X / 01A released 1952 (probably recorded late ’51) nothing recorded in the actual country had been released there as far as is known. There are some people, notably Ernest Ranglin, who claim that Jamaican Mento was recorded in New York, sometime before this ’52 release and of course there were people recording in Jamaica, like Ken Khouri around this time, just that they had not at this point actually released anything commercially. The sleeve you see contained one of the single 78rpm discs produced by Motta and his company.

Further useful information can be gleaned as to exactly where his operation was located and what songs had up to the point of this sleeve’s printing, been released from the sleeve.

One small simple and rather tattered object can tell you so much about musical history.

Studio One Lp Cover Art Book from Soul Jazz

Collected for your viewing pleasure

Just out from Soul Jazz, most recent purveyors of all that is Studio One related in the UK (music and otherwise) comes this coffee table booky wook, collecting some of the covers from Studio One’s catalogue for your viewing pleasure, though if you collect the Lps, you’ll have a significant amount of the artwork already.

No surprise there then?

It’s nice to have and there are a few you may not have seen before, such as the Tabernacle Gospel Lp covers or the Sri Chimnoy Lp (now legendary as a rarity) but there isn’t a lot here to stun an enthusiast for the label. Frankly that’s been the case with most of Soul Jazz’s output of Studio One material musically and so it is visually, also.


They (SJ) I think have missed a complete trick, in that on occasion they mention the sleeve notes and quote from them, they could have included many more, for the quirky nature of them are well-known and often amusing or enlightening. Including the cover of the Lp Pirates Choice (which has never it seems been reproduced as anything but a muddy turdish greeny brown of a poorly registered example of what NOT to do if you are a Litho printer) seems odd too. There are more Lps they could have chosen from, with more to offer the viewer, casual or otherwise.

I hoped for more

There is no logic or rhyme to the choices made and to the inclusion of some of the more recent Lp covers, which have little or no individually distinctive style whatsoever.

The forward by Steve Barrow is little more than yet another introductory level run through of Jamaican music history, though generally accurate for all that and still an engaging read for the newly converted. Though it should be mentioned that no Mento was ever to my knowledge released by Tewari on Down-Beat, only on sister label Caribou.


This album cover is bad… and I don’t mean good!



Rare Mento and Calypso Singles

I’d looked for something on Caribou and this National Calypso 7″ Single for years,

I love it when the hens come home to roost! Also, I found this MINT copy of Dread A Go Dread by Pipe and the Piper, which is actually a great harmony group Roots vocal  by the Wailing Souls as Doorpeeper kindly reminded me.

Quicksilver Messenger Service – Happy Trails

Happy Trails to you.....

Happy Trails ~ Some of the best cover art of all time?

I picked this one up in an Oxfam while on my travels just the other day and it reminded me about just why I loved Acid Rock for so long and why in the past I collected Lps like this avidly.

For a start it has a 25 minute long tune ‘Who Do You Love’, the old Bo Diddley number, and variations thereof on side A, in which the band meanders through just about everything you can do sonically with an electric guitar. Bursting into the tune, working into and through a sometimes muddy, but never boring Jam session and bursting back out into the sunlight of the song again for a reprise. You just have to admire any band with the testicles large enough to put 25 minutes of one track on side A of an Lp.

The tremello’ed Guitar work of John Cipollina is a mighty thing to behold too and though like all noodler bands, where the moment is king and you never know what will happen next, you will exchange moments of mud laden playing with it’s missed notes and stumbling coherence for the shining brilliance of the here and now and playing that,… well… will never be played quite the same way again, for it is LIVE.

This is therefore a kind of music you will probably (unless there is a ground swell of protest over the computer generated ‘In the box’ construction of pop music) never hear again. It is quite possible that were a young man or woman of today’s restricted palate to taste the vinyl blotting papaer of this particular ‘trip’ they would have their musical minds well and truly blown. When I put this on, having not listened to it for probably 20 years, it refreshed my senses like a slap in the face with a cold mountain. I want you to hear it!

Horny Old Stack

Here just to illustrate a point is a picture of Cipollina’s Amps and outboard, with his custom built Gibson SG and Bigsby Tremolo arm. I mean where would you find anyone but Willy Wonka playing through something that looked like this these days!

Quicksilver Messenger Service were on the top of their game alongside other now more famous members of the San Fran Acid Rock scene, claiming that they only started playing in order to be able to afford more easily the drugs of their numerous choices they were nonetheless an incredibly highly respected outfit in their time. They played alongside the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and they feature somewhere on most of those beautiful posters advertising nights at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East.

Quicksilver never really recovered from their trip, after the days of the late 60s and early 70s had passed. The few that were really there and could remember it would hold them dear in their hearts but those that grew to know of Janis and Carlos and Jimi from Movies and Soundtrack Lps knew little of many of the seminal bands of the 60s West Coast scene and QMS were just one such band. All but forgotten now.

sliarT yppaH

You can imagine therfore my joy in finding this and reminding myself of those wonderful excesses in music that only 60s psychedelia could give us.


Side A

1. “Who Do You Love – Part 1” – 3:32 (McDaniel)
2. “When You Love” – 5:15 (Duncan)
3. “Where You Love” – 6:07 (Quicksilver Messenger Service / Fillmore Audience)
4. “How You Love” – 2:45 (Cipollina)
5. “Which Do You Love” – 4:38 (Freiberg)
6. “Who Do You Love – Part 2” – 3:05 (McDaniel)

Side B

1. “Mona” – 7:01 (McDaniel)
2. “Maiden of the Cancer Moon” – 2:54 (Duncan)
3. “Calvary” – 13:31 (Duncan)
4. “Happy Trails” – 1:29 (Evans)

Football Lps ~ Covers

There was a time when people could press up almost anything and flog it, in this regard ‘Football’ Lps were actually some of the more sophisticated product on offer. This post will be a very occassional dip into one specific genre, Football (Soccer) Lps. here’s the first, The KOP Choir, Liverpool F.C.’s supporters going for it.





Arsenal and Man Utd. ’79 F.A. Cup Final On record…