Record Store Day this year is once again affected by the Covid pandemic and there will be a double drop first on June 12th and then a second on July 17th.
I haven’t had much luck in the past finding RSD releases that fit in with my collections. In fact I have only two records in my collections from previous RSDs. The Norman Dolph Acetate version of the Velvet Underground & Nico from 2013.
I bought that one soon after it was released and it would take until earlier this year before I bought my next RSD release. I started collecting David Shrigley’s record cover art and found that he had designed the cover for Stephen Malkmus & Friends’ live version of Can’s Ege Bamyasi album. This was a limited edition on released on red vinyl in the U.S. and green vinyl in Europe in 2013. Finding a copy wasn’t too easy, but I eventually found one on Discogs.
When I saw the drop lists for 2021’s RSD releases I scrolled through without too much hope of finding anything that fitted in with my collections. However, I was excited to see that a 40th anniversary revamped album by The Who was listed. This was Face Dances, with cover design by Peter Blake.
I was really happy to find a copy and examine it thoroughly. While the cover art is still Peter Blake’s original design, the package has been art directed by Blake fan Richard Evans. Evans has been involved with The Who’s recod design evre since the original Face Dances album was released in 1981. He designed the cover to an album of an interview with Pete Townsend talking about Face Dances, called Filling in the Gaps. Note how he has copied Peter Blake’s handwriting on “The Who” at the top.
The new edition of Face Dances is a double album, one on translucent blue vinyl and one on yellow vinyl, with live tracks on side four. Richard Evans has included the cover image from Filling in the Gaps on the inner sleeve to the second disc. The package also conrtains four prints of the cover portraits.
So now there are the three Record Store Day LPs in my collection. I haven’t seen any from the July releases that would fit in my collections.
My friend Tasso von Haussen keeps me up to date on record and CD covers with Banksy connections. He recently sent me pictures of four 12″ releases on the Bow Wow label by Buckfunk 3000 (2 Much Booty, 2004), Product.01 (The Loud EP, 2004), Speed Baby – aka Tim Wright (Taken / Lurcher, 2004) and Bass Kittens (Rise of the Machines, 2005) that all use a modification of Banksy’s Dog with Rocket Launcher design.
Next he found a test pressing of a split EP by Embalming Theatre / Terasjung XIII (Mommy Died – Mummified / Hellnoise) on the Rotten to the Core label. The six-track EP was released in 2013 in a limited edition — 100 copies on clear vinyl and 400 on black vinyl.
However, the test pressing had a different cover.
According to Discogs, there are fifteen copies of the test pressing and, after being in contact with the band, I have to admit that the chances of finding one are probably close to zero. The cover image is, of course, a modification of Banksy’s I Fought the Law print. I was surprised to learn from my discussions with the band that they had no idea this was a Banksy design. I then contacted the band’s record abel, Rotten to the Core Records to ask who designed the cover of the test pressing. Here is the reply from Robert Janis, the company’s owner: It’s a Banksy piece. I’m the one who designed the test press cover. He even sent a copy of Banksy’s original artwork.
Another friend supplied me with the original image from which Banksy created his print:
So, in order to keep my Banksy collection as complete as possible, I need to get hold of a copy of this test pressing… The only sure way seems to be to make my own. I asked for scans of the cover and record label and, after a considerable amout of work, this what I came up with.
I decided to make a limited edition of ten numbered copies, plus five artists proofs.
Sometimes a record arrives that I’m really pleased to get hold of. I can’t claim to have found this rarity and I thank my friend Tasso von Haussen for finding it for me. Recognise the image?
TV-Age’s The Player EP was released in Germany as a numbered, limited edition 12″ in 2016. My copy is No. 56/100 (handwritten on the inside of the rear cover.) I know nothing about the group and have never seen the record before. The cover is a hand silkscreened image of Banksy’s Every Time I Make Love I Think of Someone Else, and is simply beautiful. The rear cover is blank. The discs are pink vinyl.
Even the B-side label has a reproduction of Banksy’s dripping heart. The images come from Banksy’s acrylic paintings from 2002. There are two versions of the paintings:
I have not seen this image on a record cover before, and to see it so beautifully reproduced is amazing.
Apparently, Jason Mraz took the title for his eighth album from a David Shrigley cartoon. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find the cartoon, but I’ve found Mraz’s album and love the designs.
We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things was released in May 2008, preceeded by three limited edition CD singles, We Sing (No. 1), We Dance (No. 2) and We Steal Things (No. 3) that was only available in a bundle from Mraz’s site and is consequently rare. Initally released on CD, it was also released on limited edition double LP. The album was quickly re-released as a limited edition double CD with DVD. The first CD with two extra tracks and the second including all thwe tracks from the three limited edition singles that preceded the album’s release. And in 2011, the album was reissued on vinyl . Again as a lmited edition; the music on three sides and the fourth side engraved with Shrigley designs.
Even the record labels have been illustrated by Shrigley:
And the inner sleeves are a bit special:
One single, I’m Yours, was released as a seven-inch vinyl record.
Several others were issued on CD or CD-r. These include: two versions of Lucky, one sung in English, featuring Colbie Caillat, and a Spanish version featuring Ximena Sarina.
Other singles are the three limited editions that preceded the release of the fiull album:
The final three singles were Make it Mine, Butterfly and a digital only release of Coyotes.
I’m amazed that David Shrigley went to so much trouble to produce all this work. And kudos till Jason Mraz for commissioning it all. I will admit, though, that while I enjoy the artwork, I haven’t actually listened to the record yet.
I’d never heard of the hard rock band Warrior Soul until a friend a couple of weeks ago mailed me a picture of the cover of their album Destroy the War Machines and asked if it was a Banksy design. Well, it was a slightly modified version of Banksy’s CND Soldiers painting and I had to have a copy. The cover design and layout are credited to Ballsy. Collage credited to Joachim Ljungh and photos by Tim Hodgson and Dajana Winkel
Warrior Soul is a band based in New York centred around leader Kory Clarke (vocals) with members Janne Jarvis (bass), Johnny H (guitar), Johan Linstrom (drums) and Rille Lundell (guitar) from the U.S. and Scandinavia. The band’s first release was the album Last Decade Dead Century, released on Geffen records April 17th, 1990.
There were several for sale on Discogs, one of them from just round the corner, so I ordered it for the standard LP price of €23 + €7.50 shipping. It arrived two days later. My copy is number 255/333.
The album had been released on CD by Acetate Records in 2009 but the limited edition, numbered vinyl version was not released until August 2016 on the Night of the Vinyl Dead label. I had managed to miss it for almost five years! This album was banned from being advertised on Discogs the week after I bought my copy for unknown reasons but has since reappeared. Although it is listed on Warrior Soul’s official site as a legitimate release. At the time of writing, there is one copy for sale on Discogs for an asking price of €350!
I’m sorry that Romain Beltrame has had to close his Triphopshop — a combination record store and art gallery. Romain is a fan of hip hop, street art, and fashion, revamping tired jeans jackets by painting on them. Another of his specialties is re-imagining LP covers and I bought a couple from him last year. Now, as he is closing the gallery, I traded a couple of paintings for seven more of his re-imagined covers.
There are two David Bowie albums – Pinups and Diamond Dogs, The Doors’ Waiting for the Sun, Prince’s Parade, Grace Jones’s Living My Life, an album of religious Indian music called L’Inde and Madonna’s True Blue.
I think the Doors and L’Inde cover are the most successful, but I also like the others, too, especially the Pinups cover as it is one of my favourite Bowie ablums (I have a soft spot for cover albums.)
In 2020, just when the Covid-19 pandemic was hitting hardest my friend Romain Beltram invited me to show some of my paintings in his Triphopshop gallery in central Stockholm. He already showed some of Iron’s work and for a month from 9th September Iron was to have an exhibition of his work at restaurant Riche — one of Stockholm’s hip places. The exhibition, curated by Carl Carboni och Lars Liljendahl, was centred around Iron’s portrait of Chinese president Xi Jinping as Bat Man — playing on the theory that the Covid-19 pandemic that started in Wuhan, China, might have spread from bats. Thus Iron portryed Xi Jinping as the Bat Man.
However, the exhibition was rapidly closed after complaints from the Chinese Embassy in Stockholm, objecting to the portrayal of the country’s president in this manner. Iron became an instant hero!
He has also satirised Ronald McDonald as the fast food chain has been accused of being resposible for the increase in obesity in recent decades. Iron has portrayed Ronald begging for forgiveness.
I have also a unique painting by Iron. He has reimagined the cover of John Lennon’s and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy LP cover.
I think the cover art is really striking and puts a “punk” feeling on the design, which I like.
It seems that people only get around to collecting major artists’ record sleeve art when prices for paintings or limited edition prints become unaffordable. Record sleeve art — particularly on vinyl covers — must always be released in limited editions, even though the “edition” might be as big as ten or twenty thousand copies. I am sure that in the 1990s CDs were produced in far larger numbers than vinyl releases, and this is probably true up to the middle or late 2000s.
One only has to look at prices for Andy Warhol’s or Jean Michel Basquiat’s record covers to see that collectors of their art woke up very late to the fact that many of their record covers were issued in very limited quantities. And there are other examples. Record covers bearing works by Banksy have have increased in price almost exponentially in recent years as the result of all the publicity that has surrounded sales of his prints by famous auction houses. Perhaps a warning is in order here. David Shrigley’s art is becoming highly collectible. Once again, collectors have been slow to collect his record sleeve art. A little strange when one considers Shrigley’s own love of vinyl records coupled with the fact that the majority of records and cassettes with his sleeve art are very limited editions, often produced by art galleries or as own releases.
I also have collections of Peter Blake’s record sleeve art. Here prices have not escalated as they have for the artists already mentioned. It is really only original vinyl copies of Blake’s & Jann Haworth’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album and, possibly, the vinyl release of Oasis’s Stop the Clocks collection that have increased in value. Nor have records with cover art by Damien Hirst increased dramatically in value in recent years. My collection of Klaus Voormann’s record sleeve art is, at best, worth what I originally paid for each item. Only a copy of The Beatles’ Revolver signed by Klaus has increased in value.
I was lucky to have started collecting record sleeve art before prices went over the top. I am constantly amazed by the sums some collector are prepared to pay for some record covers. Several sleeves with Banksy’s art have sold recently on Ebay for over £2,000! And these were released in editions of 1000 copies. Even some CDs with Banksy’s art have started to increase in value although only a few were issued in limited quantities.
The sport now, is to guess which artist who also lends his art to record sleeves, will be next to tempt collectors.
It has been quite a while since I have had anything to write about other than David Shrigley or Banksy record and CD covers. A couple of months ago, however, I saw an advert for a 2018 album with cover art by Andy Warhol that I had missed. The band Third Eye Blind (or 3EB) had released an EP on vinyl called Thanks for Everything and used one of Andy Warhol’s Skull paintings as the backdrop.
Andy Warhol is said to have bought a human skull in a flea market in Paris in 1975 and made a series of still lives of it in 1976.
Warhol even made drawings of the skull and was photographed with the skull on his head or on his shoulder.
The Thanks for Everything cover had a different skull image on the rear cover reworked to look like street art.
So this is the latest addition to my Warhol cover collection.
I have been collecting record and CD covers designed illustrated or handmade by the artist known as Banksy, as well as record and CD covers that use his art since 2007. My list of records and CDs has grown steadily and now totals eighty-one (including a few doubles).
Sometime early on in my search for Banksy covers I saw a list on the Urban Art Association website that pictured a CD that I have been looking for ever since without success. I had a poor quality picture of the cover image and discussed it with a Banksy/street art collector i know. He mailed me a picture of a Banksy painting that formed the background to the CD cover image and I (as is my wont) made an attempt at reproducing the cover and I sent my reproduction to him and within a few short weeks he had located the missing CD. Someday I will provide a picture but not yet…
However, that is not the only find to arrive in recent weeks. In December 2020 another Bansky collector, Tasso von Haussen, alerted me to an Ebay advert for a September 1999 issue of Sleazenation Magazine that had a CD attached. The CD, The Next XI, is a compilation of tracks put together be Wall of Sound Records with cover art by Banksy.
This is an early Banksy cover that is a great addition to my collection.
I discussed the various covers for Blur’s 2003 Think Tank promo CDs in a recent post and said that I had seen pictures of a rare variation with a baby’s handprint instead of the Petrolhead stamp but never actually seen one and I wondered if it was genuine. Well, now I have a copy.
I got it from a collector in Newcastle who, many years ago had bought a lot of the standard Petrolhead promo CDs and found this unusual one among them. So now I have three variations of the Think Tank promo:
Finding the hand print CD cover makes me wonder if there might also be a variation with a baby’s foot print? So — with the help of Photoshop — I made myself one to keep until a real one turns up (if it ever does).
Now I wonder if my collection of record and CD covers by the artist known as Banksy is complete. I have previously said that I have a complete collection, but I have learned the hard way never to say that any collection is complete — something new always turns up as soon as one says one has everything.