Here we have a book dedicated to the lovely ladies as they appeared on vinyl album covers from around the 1950's and 1960's. i was totally hyped when i ordered the book expecting it to be vinyl sized. Alas, some dolt decided that this book would be just a tad larger than a CD as it measures 6-inches high by 6-inches wide. Maybe a good size for Vixens of CD, but not for Vixens of Vinyl in my humble opinion. The writer, Benjamin Darling, takes us through approximately 132 pages featuring over 100 photos of those vinyl covers from days gone by. Would any of my faves by in there? Alas, it was not to be.
Sure you had the usual suspects such as Herb Albert's Tijuana Brass Whipped Cream & Other Delights [A&M LP 110] that seem to appear in every dime store used vinyl bin. Port Said, Music of the Middle East [Audio Fidelity AFLP 1833] cover was fairly racy for its time as a girl dressed in belly dancer garb with pasties covering her nipples. Of course i do not expect this book to be the vinyl covers version of Playboy given this era in American life. Still, some covers seemed lackluster artistically (at best) while other covers were not full page, but 2-inch by 2-inch sized! And here i felt the small CD format was bad artistically! Gee whiz, only 2-inches square to show the artistic work of a vinyl record cover. May as well shoot me now!
To add insult to injury, some of the album covers are not mint and you can easily see wear and tear on the cover itself. You would feel that any reputable book publisher would at least make some effort to "Photoshop" the covers and touch up those albums whose cover was less that pristine. But no, not these folks!
What we have here is a $14.95 (they sell for $25 in 2014) book that is too small physically, lacking true artistic representation of the times, and seems to badly insult the audience it may be trying to reach. Sure there are some jewels and long forgotten (or unknown) album covers, though all in all between the smallish size and lack of care to present pristine album covers, even the quite good full color printing only shows how dreadful the complete execution of the book provides to its readership.
While i am not making a book and would have spent time properly touching up the above photo that does not appear within the book, here is one of my faves seen above. Enter the Sound Adventure vinyl album [Period SPL 743] from the late 1950's. Ok, so i love tubes and seeing tube amplifiers. Having one function as a bra is an interesting twist, though there is much more to this photo. A coaxial loudspeaker appears top and center while at the bottom is an interesting record changer. Besides the tube amplifier and blue mesh drape, she is wearing a pair of professional headphones from the 1950's. Please also note the use of colored strings to add an interesting backdrop for our cover model. If you look carefully, you can see the sturdy wire attached to the top of the tube amplifier to hold it in mid-air so that it seems like a bra. Perish the though that any women would have firm enough breasts to support a tube amplifier... even those with, how shall we say, headlight enhancements.
Of course there are far more sensual and tasteful record covers to be found. i just felt the desire to show you the above example due to the interesting usage of a tube amplifier and other audio of its time. As a few side notes... An older Kraftwerk's album is covered with horn loudspeakers. Getting back to the women... Roger Water's original vinyl pressing of Pros and Cons Of Hitchhiking has a woman's rear exposed, only later to have been censored so that her bum is covered by an ugly black rectangle. Of course some recent punk vinyl album covers depict women in various degrees of clothing, or lack thereof, in an whimsical manner. Some of today's punk vinyl record albums are quite artistic in their own right and not to be missed!
As for the Vixens of Vinyl book, save yourself the $14.95 when originally released and buy a real vinyl album... or a few from the used bins. At one time cover art was just that, art. Today it seems many CD covers are nothing more than commercialism at its finest. So much for caring about artistic beauty. Maybe this is another reason why many music lovers are getting back into vinyl. Before i forget, if you like a twist in your humor, the band 311 released a vinyl (and CD) album a few years back called Transistor. As seen to the right, the cover is filled with vacuum tubes where the heater top piece depicts someone in the lotus position. Ah, it is good to find joy within all the many lovely and humorous album covers in the world! As always...