Friday, June 29, 2018

How a really bad album cover picture became my obsession

UPDATED 4/14/23 -  Just added #34 (!!!)

I admit to having a fascination (some might say obsession) with private issue (vanity) albums. But somewhere in time, I became preoccupied with LPs featuring this out-of-focus, faded picture of a man wading in a stream, along a mountain backdrop.

Is that man on this cover relieving himself, burying a body, fishing, dancing... or is it Bigfoot?

Here's the deal - I have amassed, not a couple, not even a half dozen, but a grand total of 34 different albums, with the exact same stock photo (so far).       

No kidding.

It all started with this Colorado Springs folk gem, by the Emanon Majority. Then I spotted another one, and another...(see all of them, at the end of this post). Saying I was fascinated, is an understatement. Who is this guy and what the hell is he doing?

I mean, come on, how is one not scratching their head over this, especially when you learn that all of the artists could have chosen any one of the other (much cooler) 49 cover art options, from the custom album art outfit, Bert-Co., the company responsible for this picture.

(Thanks to my friend George Gimarc, for finding the original 1966 Bert-Co custom cover art brochure - click on image to see a larger picture)

Was the art chosen because there is a mountain in it? I guess I get that, for a Colorado group, but what about Al Stewart's (not THAT Al Stewart) Collegiate Singers, out of Chicago? How does mystery guy best represent a choir recording, out of Illinois?

Catalog picture is actually flipped, compared to the final product.

One might wonder if, after receiving their albums, the client also wondered who this guy was. I couldn't help but notice that "Bigfoot" is really unnoticeable in the original picture of the art sample (above). So, I completely understand how it could have been the obvious choice for mountain state recordings (or they could have picked the other mountain art, below).

The back of the brochure shows a drawing of the Bert-Co building, in Los Angeles (which looks very much like the Century Custom building, I might add)

A bit of history: Bert-Co was based out Los Angeles, and founded, in 1930, by Berton P. Couturier. The company was originally in the printed matchbook and travel brochure business, when they started printing record labels for RCA, Capitol and Columbia. In the 1950s they began to include stock album cover art, whereas a guy in his basement recording studio could press a couple hundred LPs for friends and family, and include a cool custom cover.

But don't think Bert-Co was only catering to unknown vanity vinyl. The company's typesetting efforts can be found on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, and Elvis Presley, Loving You, just to name a few. According to the company's website (yup, they are still in business) "Bert-Co had the distinction of printing, Abbey Road, the first record jacket produced in the U.S. for The Beatles."

(Full disclosure, Bert-Co had no clue who the model is in the picture, nor did they have any additional information on cover production, including locale).

No telling how many artists used the "mystery man wading in the water" cover. I'm surprised I even uncovered a dozen, let alone more than 30. Needless to say, if you find any others. I'm buying!

Colorado LPs:

(Colorado Springs) 
The Thunderbird Band - Cheyenne Mountain High School 1964
10" record
(Colorado Springs)

Polkas From the Rocky Mountains - George Meier and his Polka Band

 The Emanon Majority
(Colorado Springs)

 Larry Taylor Plays For The Handicapped
(Colorado Springs)

 MIA Conference 1968
Other States: 
JUST ADDED 4/14/23: He's Mine, I'm His - Gospel Five 
(Hendersonville, NC)

Clover Park High School
(Lakewood, WA)
Praise to the Lord - Young Men's Chorus - Salem Mennonite Church
(Freeman, SD)
 Gospel Favorites by the Jubliaires of Hammond
(Hammond, IN) 
It's Cool on the Banks of Jordan - The Revelators Quartet 
(Lexington, KY)
Sandy Union High School Music Department
(Prineville, OR)

Blue Springs High School Band and Choir
(Blue Springs, MO)

For The Beauty of the Earth - Boise Honor Concert 1970
(Boise, ID)
Eastern Oregon Fiddlers 1969
23'rd Annual Spring Program  - The McHenry Choral Club 
(McHenry, IL)

Just Beyond the Blue  - The King's Daughters (Frances, Patsy and Sandy Osborne)
(Santa Anna, TX)
San Augustine High School Band
(San Augustine, TX)
Donauschwaebische Blaskapelle - Danube Swabian Brass Band
(Cleveland, OH)

Oregon's Old Fashioned Camp Meeting - Bethel Gospel Park
(Brooks, OR)
How Great Thou Art - Dick Pollard and Bill Ness 
(Des Moines, IA)
York College Presents the East Hill Minstrels and The Newfolk Trio
(York, NE)

The Rices - Valley of Peace
(Tulsa, OK)

The Bill Daniels Family - Sweeter as the Days Go By
(Hayward, CA)

Danny Hibbard
(Coeur d'Alene, ID)

 Surely Goodness and Mercy - Gene and Bobby Moore
(Abilene, TX)

 Beside Still Waters - First Baptist Church Choir
(Las Cruces, NM)

 The King's Harvesters - Gospel Favorites
(Twin Falls, ID)

 Matt Shumac - Mother Lode Laments
(Placerville, CA)

 Meet the Sneed Family
(Spanaway, WA)

 Ray Turner and Dick Barron - Christ For Me
(Fort Worth, TX)

 Glen Walker - Christ in My Heart
(Baytown, TX)

 Al Stewart's Collegiate Singers (Chicago, IL)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Heat up the Bar-B-Q with Friction


 Hey all! I figure, since today is the first day of summer, it's time to dust off the outdoor grill and get the coals or mesquite (or whatever your favorite cooking method is) ready for the season. And oh, the perfect song I have found...

I've had this 1985 Colorado Springs 12" single for a few years and, admittedly, I have never put a needle on it. One of those "I'll get around to it" things. Was not expecting what I heard. The Prince meets Humpty Hump and Michael Jackson vibe on this dance disc is ("Let's Go...") crazy. 

Creative Minds HM-001 (1985)

Told ya.

The group Friction included Larry Martinez, Maverick Gaither, Larry Francis, Buck Stroud, Danika Oatez, and Al Hazard. Springs engineer mastermind Tom Gregor's name also shows up (the disc was recorded at his StartSong Studios).

Vocalist Gaither, who was originally from New York, came to the Springs via a military stint at Fort Carson. He would later go on to be the lead vocalist, saxophonist, and master of ceremonies for New York Entertainment’s Central Park Orchestra, with whom he has performed since 1990. 

Happy summer! 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Sam Bachicha Celebration

Phil Rico (left) presenting Sam Bachicha (sitting) with a commemoration, honoring his contribution to Southern Colorado music - June 1, 2018

Hey all! So eight years ago I interviewed Southern Colorado singer, Sam Bachicha, about his contribution to the area's music history. Fast forward to today, and I receive an email from fellow local musician, Thomas Lang.

"I wanted to let you know about an event, this June, honoring Sam Bachicha's much-deserved contribution to Colorado... especially the SoCo music scene."

How cool is that?

On June 1, the good people of Trinidad, including the city's mayor and other city officials, gathered together, on the porch of the Bloom Mansion, to celebrate Mr. Bachicha's talents.

According to Thomas, "It was wonderful night, as Sam and family were present, as well as our mayor and city manager. We performed "I Like Trinidad," and Mayor Rico presented an award, and a framed certificate, for Sam's contributions to the local music heritage."

My sincere thanks to Thomas Lang for sending me pictures of the event, and for sharing this news, with me.

Folks, it's easy to cast a spotlight on those national Colorado acts with the most gold records, or those with the most radio airplay, but let's not forget those bands and singers who chose to stay their hometowns. We need to start honoring those talented people who have given so much to their LOCAL communities - especially while they are still with us. Ya dig?

Hat's off to the city of Trinidad, for making sure nobody forgets Sam.