Monday, September 30, 2013

VIDEO: Watch Janis Joplin’s Final Interview Reborn as an Animated Cartoon


Four days before her death, Janis Joplin spoke with Howard Smith of the Village Voice in what was to be her last interview.

Their conversation has been resurrected as a four minute animation for PBS Digital Studios’ Blank on Blank series.

The cartoon Janis bears a close resemblance to Gloria Steinem, an uncomfortable fit once the topic turns from her sadness at critical rejection to the sisterhood’s alleged withholding of affection.

Smith hits his subject with some leading questions that smack of the myriad ways Women’s Lib was distorted by even the liberal media of the time: “It seems to bother a lot of Women’s Lib people that you’re so upfront sexually,” he muses.

No need to take that one at anything less than face value …

Joplin allowed herself to be led, tossing off several statements that animator Patrick Smith faithfully illustrates (in my opinion the wounded female drummers rock far more than pregnancy and vacuums, his shorthand for “settling”).

When later, Joplin timidly asks if “all that $#*% I said about chicks” sounded bad, Smith reassures her that no, she said what she wanted to say. Perhaps he got what he wanted her to say.

As commenter heyitsmoi observed on YouTube, “It’s always bothered me when people ask successful women to comment on how some other women don’t like them. I’ve yet to hear a successful man to be asked why other men don’t like him, even though there’s sure to be plenty. Women seem to constantly be put in this defensive position where they can’t answer the question without making it sound like all women are jealous beasts who can’t handle that some woman made it, and that’s simply not true.”

If you’re left feeling vaguely queasy, I suggest “Stiletto Power,” Blank on Blank’s take on Larry Grobel’s 1994 interview with Farrah Fawcett.

Grobel’s approach seemed to have been one of turn on the tape recorder and then get out of the way. Mission accomplished. The resulting monologue is as ferocious as it is funny.

Ayun Halliday has fond feelings for both of the women featured in the above article . Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hippie Days

Two hippies at the Woodstock Festival
Hippies at the Woodstock Festival (Wikipedia)
by Christopher P Bassler

When I was growing up, one of my favorite programs was "Happy Days".

With a funny twist on everything, the program focuses on a generation that was my fathers' time.

Now that I am a grandfather I'm looking back at my youth and my "hippie days".

When I first met any hippies I was a jock in high school.

That's what we used to call the guys that were into playing sports. I had very short hair and a lettermans jacket. Truly represented the jocks very well.

Since at first I didn't understand much about hippies I thought they were weird and not one of us.

Over time I met more and more guys with long hair and girls with flowers in theirs. I talked with them and listened to them and found I agreed with their views. It wasn't hard.

We were at war in Vietnam and how we stood on that subject was a huge issue. Do we side with our government and sign up to fight or do we want to represent peace and love and no war? At the time it seemed like a no brainer.

I started to let my hair grow and it was amazing how fast things started to change. I very quickly started making new friends. At the time I didn't realize what was happening. Now I do.

I had joined a brotherhood. A common cause that the young people were uniting with. Every long hair person or colorful dressed girl was my friend. It was just the beginning of my "hippie days".

After graduation I started traveling for what turned out to be several years. I was lucky enough to go all over this world at a much more peaceful time. I soon learned that the hippie thing was going strong everywhere. I found brothers and sisters in every country.

This is what we called ourselves and this was what I was feeling at the time. Strangers taking us in and giving us food and fun. I once met two hippies traveling together and one was Indian the other Pakistani.

This was very cool because they're countries had been at war many times over the years. They had joined the side of peace and brotherhood. It made me proud to be a part of this global movement.

Being on the side of peace and brotherhood had challenges. People were either for you or against you. Those that were against you could be pretty unpredictable. I was fortunate enough to have only a couple of problems while hitchhiking in the United States.

In LA a guy stuck his head out of his car and yelled "freak" and threw an egg that hit me in the chest. In Vermont I had a police officer threaten to beat me up and leave me behind some barn "if your not careful".

I heard much worse stories from friends. We got a first hand education on how minorities were treated.

Now that those years are long gone I look back on how special they really were. Our world has gotten more dangerous and paranoid. The call for peace and love between people can hardly be heard any more. The feelings of separateness has grown between people and nations.

I was hoping now that the hippies are in office and in positions to help, they would help bring our world together. Many may be trying now but fear is the current gauge when thinking of traveling the world.

For me, my hippie days were my happy days. I was proud then as I am proud now to have been part of it.

I am Christopher Bassler and I traveled all over the world in the early seventies. I made two trips over land from Europe to India. I eventually settled on Guam and spent 40 years living there.

I became a Dive Master and had my USCG 100 ton captain's license for 20 years. I was a marine technician and the Chairman of the Dive Safety Control Board at the University of Guam for several years.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Today's Trends that Began in the 1960s

on RetroKimmer:

1960s fashion was unlike any other decade because the clothing was as revolutionary and fast-moving as the era’s sweeping social, political and cultural changes.

It’s thanks to 1960s fashion that women are wearing everything from skirts above the knee to knee-high boots; empire waists to “no waists” and leopard print to printed stockings. And as unbelievable as it sounds, without the boundary-pushing fashion inventions of the ’60s, today’s woman would be unable to purchase a pair of formal pants.

Just like the changes of the ’60s themselves, the clothing trends were similarly groundbreaking and for the most part, completely new and novel ideas to the landscape of fashion. Read More

Monday, September 23, 2013

Through The Decades: 1960s Vintage Clothing

Young woman in fashion of the era standing by ...
1966, Eugene, Oregon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Emma Brown

The 1960's was a decade that broke barriers in terms of fashion, especially for women.

When purchasing vintage clothes, you are automatically buying into a piece of fashion history, but when buying vintage clothes from the swinging sixties, you really are buying a piece of history that moulded the fashion industry from then on.

The sixties is a decade of fashion that had so many trends that began in the era, that when buying vintage there is so much choice it's hard to pick.

In the beginning of the decade Jackie Kennedy was still wearing the famous skirt and trouser suits and pillbox hats, a trend that withstood nearly 7 years of season changes, so style was somewhat conservative.

However all that changed when Mary Quant, a Welsh designer and British fashion icon developed the mini skirt and encouraged women to hike up their hemlines. The majority of miniskirts or mini dresses had geometric patterns, some often with bell sleeves and/or polo necks.

The 'space' look was also an integral part of fashion culture and believe it or not, people donned goggles paired with go go boots and clothes made from PVC or sequins. All these looks were paired with big hair, false eyelashes and pale lipstick.

As the era moved on so did the culture and the fashion, with the hippy trend becoming huge psychedelic patterns were everywhere. Bandanas were paired with bell bottom jeans and paisley prints and the emphasis on having hair as high as the sky wasn't as important as in previous years.

However, probably one of the most significant trends to ever emerge into fashion, mainly for men, was the mod style.

The importance of this new way of dressing is integral to fashion today and is probably one of the main reason why 1960's vintage fashion is so sought after in today's day and age, given the fact that men like Paul Weller still make it 'cool' to embody the style.

The mod style personified British fashion of the era and very much moulded a new lifestyle as well as dress code.

Consisting of tight trousers, anoraks, shirts and ties, the key to pulling it off was combining a smart, gentlemanly look with a small amount of grunge to give an edge. The look was ultimately unisex and the women wore similar clothes and had short cropped hair.

This style has become something of a timeless classic, which in turn creates a need for vintage originals.

The whole scene reeks of the cool element that vintage brings and having a fundamental part of the first release of these fashions seems to be part of the process if you want to be a fully fledged mod.

Vintage fashion from the sixties is not for the faint hearted, and wearers have to be brave enough to make a statement with their clothes.

When choosing a trend to bring back to life from the sixties it is important to pick the right one, the styles are so iconic that it can sometimes look like fancy dress, the key thing with 1960s vintage clothes is to blend it so it looks kitsch, not cliche.

My Vintage are a leading online vintage & retro clothing retailer. Visit for a wide range of vintage clothes & retro clothing for men & women.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hear the Very First Recording of Allen Ginsberg Reading His Epic Poem “Howl” (1956)

by Josh Jones, Open Culture:

Allen Ginsberg - 1979Occasionally I slip into an ivory tower mentality in which the idea of a banned book seems quaint - associated with silly scandals over the tame sex scenes in James Joyce or D.H. Lawrence or more recent, misguided dust-ups over Huckleberry Finn.

After all, I think, we live in an age when bestseller lists are topped (no pun) by tawdry fan fiction like Fifty Shades of Grey. Nothing’s sacred.

But this notion is a massive blind spot on my part; the whole awareness-raising mission of the annual Banned Books Week seeks to dispel such complacency.

Books are challenged, suppressed, and banned all the time in public schools and libraries, even if we’ve moved past outright government censorship of the publishing industry.

It’s also easy to forget that Allen Ginsberg’s generation-defining poem “Howl” was once almost a casualty of censorship.

The most likely successor to Walt Whitman’s vision, Ginsberg’s oracular utterances did not sit well with U.S. Customs, who in 1957 tried to seize every copy of the British second printing.

When that failed, police arrested the poem’s publisher, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and he and Ginsberg’s “Howl” were put on trial for obscenity. Apparently, phrases like “cock and endless balls” did not sit well with the authorities. But the court vindicated them all.

The story of Howl’s publication begins in 1955, when 29-year-old Ginsberg read part of the poem at the Six Gallery, where Ferlinghetti - owner of San Francisco’s City Lights bookstore - sat in attendance.

Deciding that Ginsberg’s epic lament “knocked the sides out of things,” Ferlinghetti offered to publish “Howl” and brought out the first edition in 1956.

Prior to this reading, “Howl” existed in the form of an earlier poem called “Dream Record, 1955,” which poet Kenneth Rexroth told Ginsberg sounded “too formal … like you’re wearing Columbia University Brooks Brothers ties.” Ginsberg’s rewrite jettisoned the ivy league decorum.

Unfortunately, no audio exists of that first reading, but above (or via these links: Stream - iTunes ) you can hear the first recorded reading of “Howl,” from February, 1956 at Portland’s Reed College.

The recording sat dormant in Reed’s archives for over fifty years until scholar John Suiter rediscovered it in 2008.

In it, Ginsberg reads his great prophetic work, not with the cadences of a street preacher or jazzman - both of which he had in his repertoire - but in an almost robotic monotone with an undertone of manic urgency.

Ginsberg’s reading, before an intimate group of students in a dormitory lounge, took place only just before the first printing of the poem in the City Lights edition.

The recordings listed above all appear in our collection of 525 Free Audio Books. Just look for the Poetry section.

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Washington, DC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Monday, September 16, 2013

VIDEO: Jack Kerouac Reads American Haikus, Backed by Jazz Saxophonists Al Cohn & Zoot Sims (1958)

by , Open Culture:

In the spring of 1958 Jack Kerouac went into the studio with tenor saxmen Al Cohn and Zoot Sims to record his second album, a mixture of jazz and poetry called Blues and Haikus.

The haiku is a traditional Japanese poetry form with three unrhyming lines in five, seven, and five syllables. But Kerouac took a freer approach.

In 1959, the year Blues and Haikus was released, he explained:

The American haiku is not exactly the Japanese Haiku. The Japanese Haiku is strictly disciplined to seventeen syllables but since the language structure is different I don’t think American Haikus (short three-line poems intended to be completely packed with Void of Whole) should worry about syllables because American speech is something again ... bursting to pop.
Above all, a Haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture and yet be as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi Pastorella.

The opening number on Blues and Haikus is a 10-minute piece called “American Haikus.” It features Kerouac’s expressive recitation of a series of poems punctuated by the improvisational saxophone playing of Cohn and Sims.

The video above is animated by the artist Peter Gullerud. For more of Kerouac’s haikus - some 700 of them - see his Book of Haikus.

via The Allen Ginsberg Project

Sunday, September 15, 2013

VIDEO: Pink Floyd Provides the Soundtrack for the BBC’s Broadcast of the 1969 Moon Landing

by , Open Culture:

Did the United States of America lose much of its will to explore outer space when the Soviet Union’s collapse shut off the engine of competition?

Critical observers sometimes make that point, but I have an alternative theory: maybe the decline of progressive rock had just as much to do with it.

Both that musical subgenre and American space exploration proudly possessed their distinctive aesthetics, the potential for great cultural impact, and ambition bordering on the ridiculous.

Though we didn’t have mash-ups in the years when shuttle launches and four-side concept albums alike captured the public imagination, we can now use modern technology to double back and directly unite these two late-twentieth-century phenomena.

Behold, above, Pink Floyd’s jam “Moonhead” lined up with footage of Apollo 17, NASA’s last moon landing.

But given the recent passing of astronaut Neil Armstrong, none of us have been thinking as much about the last moon landing as we have about the first.

Pink Floyd actually laid down “Moonhead” at a BBC TV studio during the descent of Apollo 11, the mission on which Armstrong would take that one giant leap for mankind.

The band’s improvisation made it to the ears of England’s moon-landing viewers: “The programming was a little looser in those days,” remembers guitarist David Gilmour, “and if a producer of a late-night programme felt like it, they would do something a bit off the wall.”

British rock’s fascination with space proved fruitful. David Bowie put out the immortal “Space Oddity” mere days before Apollo 11′s landing (to say nothing of “Life on Mars?” two years later), and the BBC played it, too, in its live coverage.

Even as late as the early eighties, no less a rock innovator than Brian Eno, charmed by American astronauts’ enthusiasm for country-western music, would craft the album Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks.

If we want more interesting popular music, perhaps we just need to get into space more often.
via NYTimes and BoingBoing
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

VIDEO: A Young Frank Zappa Plays the Bicycle on The Steve Allen Show (1963)

by , Open Culture:

Last week we gave you John Cage performing his avant-garde composition Water Walk on the CBS game show “I’ve Got a Secret” in 1960.

Now, this week, we’re following up with a nice complement - Frank Zappa bringing his own brand of offbeat music to the American airwaves in 1963.

Only 22 years old and not yet famous, Zappa appeared on The Steve Allen Show and made music with some drumsticks, a bass bow, and two garden-variety bicycles - and nothing more.

The video above gives you mostly the prelude to the actual music. Then, in the first video below, Zappa gives a demo of the instruments. Next comes the Concerto for Two Bicycles, which features the show’s house orchestra joining the cacophonous fun. The clips run a good 15 minutes.

Friday, September 13, 2013

VIDEO: Confrontation - Student Protests in Paris, 1968

by georgelmosseprogram

A documentary by Seymour Drescher, Professor in the Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh, former student of George Mosse, and author of Abolition: A History of Slavery and Antislavery. The film looks at the student and worker upheaval in France in May, 1968.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Death of Brian Jones

Brian Jones
Brian Jones
by Alice Frances F Wickham

Terrible Last Days of Brian Jones

For over thirty years the mysterious fatality of this boy has spooked British music.

What really took place on that terrible night, in July, 1969?

The fatality of Jones was described by some skeptics as 'an overdose waiting to happen' yet a lot of Jones's fans think otherwise.

Brian Jones founded the Rolling Stones, dominating their style in the very early years.

He was the epitome of sixties cool, generating media attention, grabbing spotlights, pushing the band towards uncharted waters, but this remarkable voyage of discovery finished when Jones was found floating at the bottom of his pool.

Stories are now arising in the British press that Jones's life was complicated by poor relationships with those around him. When Jones declined to turn over his artistic rights to the band (after they sacked him), this led to sour feelings.

In the beginning, the Stones portrayed themselves as anxious rock icons, snarkily rebellious, with a homegrown passion for American music.

By the late seventies everything was cooling off and they were a corporation as much as a band. In the beginning, it was Jones who inspired their raw rock sound, a franchise, made in America.

Brian was an ingenious comparison to the prissy well-kempt stars of the era. More than a rock-and-roll pretty boy, he was the crucible of musical change happening in England in the mid-1960's.

With rare capacity, Brian was at odds with standard middle class values. His individuality may have bothered several of those dealing with him, the Stones manager for instance, who described him as 'a shit' but working with him in the studio was amazing. Like Hendrix, Brian could play nearly any instrument offered to him.

Naturally, Richards and Jagger refuted his songwriting contributions. However, it seems likely Jones wrote the Elizabethan melody in Lady Jane, or the dark chords of Paint It Black.

Andrew Oldham later encouraged Jagger and Richards to pen a few songs, intitially though, Jones was the creator of their early and most unique material

Working on the institutional album, Beggars Banquet, Jones's status within the band deteriorated to the point where he wandered off in a drug haze in San Antonia.

He had no genuine ambition to continue working with Jagger and Richards, he was searching for new direction, hooking up with Hendrix, and even writing songs with Lennon.

When Jagger and Richards enacted the famous 'heave ho', well recorded in the annals of history, Jones was barely astounded, possibly even happy.

It was the loss of the 'evil glamour bitch queen', Anita Pallenberg that caused him to suffer most. The Stones' women were interchangeable, and Richards was adept as a pirate. Jones knew that the partnership with his erstwhile bandmates, was over permanently.

He was just pulling himself together when he died.
Home of Funk, Percussion and Blues.

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

VIDEO: John Cleese Plays the Devil, Makes a Special Appeal for Hell, 1966

by , Open Culture:

Hell. We tend to take it for granted. Have you ever stopped to think about the heating bills, or the stupendous overhead?

John Cleese plays a cash-strapped Prince of Darkness in this classic sketch from The Frost Report, the show that launched Cleese as a television star in Britain. He was 26 years old at the time.

The program was hosted by David Frost, who is perhaps best known for his 1977 interviews of Richard Nixon.

There were four other future Monty Python comedians on the writing staff of The Frost Report - Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Eric Idle - but only Cleese was a cast member.

The show was broadcast in 1966 and 1967, with each weekly episode centered around a particular theme, like love, leisure, class and authority. The “Souls in Torment Appeal” is from a March 24, 1966 program about sin. It’s a funny sketch.

Friday, September 6, 2013

VIDEO: Hear the Isolated Vocal Tracks for The Beatles’ Climactic 16-Minute Medley on Abbey Road

by , Open Culture:

I have many memories growing up of gingerly placing my father’s Abbey Road LP on the turntable and spending the afternoon lying on the floor and peering at the photos inside the album cover’s gatefold - trying to wrap my head around what kind of hairy geniuses could make music like this.

I had no inkling that this was their final recording together, that the band was about to come apart. None of that mattered to me.

I didn’t quite grasp how this band evolved from the teen pop sensations in identical suits and haircuts with their legions of flailing schoolgirl fans and goofy comedy troupe banter.

This seemed like an entirely different entity - and the particular sublimity of the medley on side 2 had me lifting up the needle and dropping it back at the intro to “You Never Give Me Your Money” over and over.

That medley is such an impressive demonstration of The Beatles’ range of voice and sensibility that it almost functions as a capsule for the sound of their whole later career - all the weird narratives, blues, ballads, and gorgeously lush hymns and lullabies.

What remains constant throughout every Beatles’ record - even before George and Ringo’s songwriting contributions - is the vocal and lyrical interplay of Lennon/McCartney, and it’s all on fine display in the medley.

George Harrison described side 2 in 1969 as “a big medley of Paul and John’s songs all shoved together.” Lennon gave George and Ringo more credit for the medley in an interview that same year:

We always have tons of bits and pieces lying around. I’ve got stuff I wrote around Pepper, because you lose interest after you’ve had it for years. It was a good way of getting rid of bits of songs. In fact, George and Ringo wrote bits of it … literally in between bits and breaks. Paul would say, ‘We’ve got twelve bars here - fill it in,’ and we’d fill it in on the spot. As far as we’re concerned, this album is more ‘Beatley’ than the double (White) album.

However it all came about, it’s the medley’s strange lyrical twists, mélange of vocal styles, and powerful harmonies that stay with me, and that I find myself singing softly, even after having gone several years without hearing the album in full. Perhaps you do this too.

Now we can hear what The Beatles’ themselves sounded like in the studio sans instruments with the isolated vocal tracks for the side 2 medley at the top of the post. Hear the full album version above and see the Medley tracklist below.

You Never Give Me Your Money
Sun King
Mean Mr. Mustard
Polythene Pam
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
Golden Slumbers
Carry That Weight
The End

via Eric Alper

Thursday, September 5, 2013

VIDEO: Andy Warhol Quits Painting, Manages The Velvet Underground (1965)

by , Open Culture:

During the early 1960s, Andy Warhol became an international celebrity when he produced his iconic Pop Art works - 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans, the Marilyn Monroe DiptychGreen Coca Cola Bottles and all of the rest.

The provocative artist had achieved more than 15 minutes of fame - he coined that phrase too - and it was time for something new.

In ’65, Warhol took a break from painting, immersed himself in filmmaking and multimedia projects, then threw his influence behind the up-and-coming NYC band, The Velvet Underground.

He became the band’s manager and “produced” their first album, which meant designing the album cover and giving the band members (Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker and Nico) the freedom to make whatever album they pleased (Lou Reed has more on that here).

As Brian Eno later put it, the album, The Velvet Underground & Nico “only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.” It was that influential.

The clip above comes from the PBS American Masters series, Andy Warhol - A Documentary Film and tells you more about Warhol’s patronage of VU.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Two Legends Together: A Young Bob Dylan Talks and Plays on The Studs Terkel Program, 1963

by , Open Culture:

In the spring of 1963 Studs Terkel introduced Chicago radio listeners to an up-and-coming musician, not yet 22 years old, “a young folk poet who you might say looks like Huckleberry Finn, if he lived in the 20th century. His name is Bob Dylan.”

You can listen to the interview below.

Dylan had just finished recording the songs for his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, when he traveled from New York to Chicago to play a gig at a little place partly owned by his manager, Albert Grossman, called The Bear Club.

The next day he went to the WFMT studios for the hour-long appearance on The Studs Terkel Program.

Most sources give the date of the interview as April 26, 1963, though Dylan scholar Michael Krogsgaard has given it as May 3.

Things were moving fast in Dylan’s life at that time. He was just emerging as a major songwriter. His debut album from the year before, Bob Dylan, was made up mostly of other people’s songs.

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, which was finished but hadn’t yet been released, contained almost all original material, including several songs that would become classics, like “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” and “A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall.”

Within a few months Dylan would make his debut at the Newport Folk Festival and perform at the historic March on Washington.

But when Dylan visited WFMT, it’s likely that many of Terkel’s listeners had never heard of him. In the recorded broadcast he plays the following songs:
  1. Farewell
  2. A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall
  3. Bob Dylan’s Dream
  4. Boots of Spanish Leather
  5. John Brown
  6. Who Killed Davey Moore?
  7. Blowin’ In The Wind
Dylan tells Terkel that “A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall” is not about atomic fallout, even though he wrote the song in a state of anxiety during the Cuban missile crisis.

“No, it’s not atomic rain,” Dylan says, “it’s just a hard rain. It isn’t the fallout rain. I mean some sort of end that’s just gotta happen ... in the last verse, when I say, ‘the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,’ that means all the lies that people get told on their radios and in their newspapers.”

But as the conversation progresses it becomes clear that the motivation behind Dylan’s comments isn’t to dispel myths or to clear up any of the “lies that people get told on their radios.” Rather, he’s driven by his life-long dread of being pigeonholed by others.

Dylan is happy to spread his own myths. At one point he tells Terkel a “stretcher” that would have made Huckleberry Finn proud: He claims that when he was about ten years old he saw Woody Guthrie perform in Burbank, California.

Regardless of its factuality, the Dylan-Terkel interview is an entertaining hour, a fascinating window on the young artist as he was entering his prime.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

VIDEO: Record Cover Art by Underground Cartoonist Robert Crumb

by , Open Culture:

Music and comic book art are the two passions of Robert Crumb’s creative life.

In this video from W.W. Norton, Crumb talks about his obsessive interest in the old-time blues, folk and country music of the 1920s and 1930s. “I think it’s neurological,” he says. “Some quirky types of nervous systems are just attracted to that old music.”

As one of the pioneers of the underground comix movement in the late 1960s, Crumb’s work often related in some way to his love of music. His famous “Keep on Truckin’” comic of 1968 was inspired by the lyrics of Blind Boy Fuller’s song, “Truckin’ My Blues Away.”

That same year Janis Joplin, who was singing with Big Brother & the Holding Company, asked Crumb to design the cover of the band’s album Cheap Thrills.

Since then, Crumb has designed hundreds of album covers and music posters. His new book, R. Crumb: The Complete Record Cover Collection, brings together all the covers and many related works.

The book contains portraits of famous artists like Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie, along with works featuring obscure artists with names like “Ukelele Ike” and “Big John Wrencher and his Maxwell Street Blues Boys.”

There are also covers and posters made for Crumb’s own band, the Cheap Suit Serenaders.

Crumb is a banjo and mandolin player. One group he has sat in with in recent years is Eden & John’s East River String Band. This video was directed by the group’s co-leader, John Heneghan, and includes appearances by himself and his partner Eden Brower.

The video features the following songs:
  1. “Sing Song Girl” by Leroy Sheild (1930)
  2. “Some of these Days” by Cab Calloway (1930)
  3. “Lindberg Hop” by the Memphis Jug Band (1928)
  4. “Down On Me” by Eddie Head and His Family (1930)
  5. “Chasin’ Rainbows” by R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders (1976)
  6. “Singing in the Bathtub” by R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders (1978)
  7. “So Sorry Dear” by Eden & John’s East River String Band, featuring R. Crumb