Musiquarium Aug 2 2018
SOPHIA IN STEREO
I got your soft jazz right here.


Is Sophia Loren flipping off the camera? Sure looks like it, but we'll give her a pass—in Italy a raised middle finger doesn't mean what it does in the U.S. In fact, though Italians have dozens of hand gestures, we don't think a raised middle finger means anything. In any case we love this image of Loren on the cover of Jimmy Smith's LP Memories in Rhythm. We saw this at lpcoverlover.com recently and gave it a much needed clean-up. You can see the original image here. If you're thinking of the jazz Jimmy Smith who performed on the Hammond B-3 electric organ, it probably isn't him. There were many Jimmy Smiths in music and we have no way of knowing which this one is. We do know the record was pressed in South Africa, if that helps. Didn't help us. But there you go.

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Musiquarium Jul 4 2018
TWILIGHT ZONE
It's even nicer up here than you said. So where are we again? Like exactly. Like if I wanted to come here with someone else.

Keeping on the lookout for pulp style in unusual places, we ran across this GGA style sleeve for Francis Scott and His Orchestra's Moods for Twilight. It's part of a series of records that include Moods for Starlight, Moods for Firelight, and Moods for Candlelight, but this is the only one with cover art that could front a paperback. We're guessing the couple is supposed to be parked above L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, possibly on famed Mulholland Drive. What's this album sound like? Haven't heard it, but since it's orchestral renditions of pop hits we can guess that it's pretty cheeseball stuff, even for 1952. The artist on this was not credited.

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Musiquarium Mar 17 2018
ONE GOOD TURN
Monroe goes for a spin in Italy.


Marilyn Monroe fronts this RCA soundtrack album sold in Italy featuring songs from the film Follie dell'anno, which originally appeared in the U.S. as There's No Business Like Show Business. There are four numbers written by Irving Berlin here and Monroe handles the vocals. If you want this platter it'll cost you probably a hundred dollars or more, so good luck with that. We're content to enjoy the sleeve. The shot of Monroe turned backward in her director's chair is one we've never seen before. 

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Musiquarium Sep 26 2017
BRENOT THE ONLY ONE
Raymond Brenot proves he's one of the top album sleeve artists of his era.


Above, more pin-up style vinyl sleeves from French artist Raymond Brenot, aka Pierre-Laurent Brenot, for records pressed in France during the 1950s and 1960s. We have a previous sleeve from him here, and you can see more of his art in general by clicking his keywords below.

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Musiquarium Aug 24 2017
MIDNIGHT HOURGLASS
When the clock strikes twelve Jayne's ready to party.


Curvy Jayne Mansfield stars on these LP covers from the 1960s that caught our eye because of the clock striking midnight on all of them. You would think these are all from the same company, but no—Smashing Hit Parade, for example, is an album that despite its English name actually came from Japan's Union Records. The platters contain songs such as “Hello Mary Lou” by the Brooklyn Bluegrass Collective, and “Tonight, My Love, Tonight” by Dany Locker. Regardless of the musical content, the real attraction here is Mansfield. We'd love to see what she looks like around 3 a.m. 

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Vintage Pulp | Musiquarium Mar 3 2017
BLOWING HIS FUTURE
Work hard, play hard, die young, live forever.

Dorothy Baker's hit 1938 novel Young Man with a Horn tells a story inspired by jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, who, along with Louis Armstrong, was one of the most important early jazz soloists, but who drank himself to death in 1931, when he was only twenty-eight. Baker's protagonist is Rick Martin, who gets to live a couple of years longer than Beiderbecke before she knocks him off. Hope that didn't give too much away. The book was optioned by Hollywood and became a 1950 movie starring Kirk Douglas, which we talked about last year. The great cover, our primary interest today, was painted by British artist Josh Kirby, a legendary illustrator who during his long career did fronts for westerns, crime thrillers, James Bond novels, and non-fiction books, as well as creating many fronts and interior illustrations for sci-fi magazines. As you can see, he had a bold vision and a very confident hand. We'll keep an eye out for more of his work. This one is from 1962, for Corgi Books.

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Musiquarium Mar 1 2017
TOURS DE DANCE
One good turn deserves another, and another, and another...

French illustrator Raymond Brenot, aka Pierre-Laurent Brenot painted many magazine covers and pin-ups, and a few paperback fronts, as well. He also painted sleeves for numerous records. You see a beautiful example above for French trumpeter Fred Gérard's Si nous dansions... en 16 tours. The close-up image shows the unique aspect of the art—its mise en abîme element, or what the Dutch call a Droste effect, an identical image within the image, with infinite repetitions implied.

The title of the record translates to “If we danced... 16 turns,” which is weird because there are actually twenty songs. The tunes cover various dance styles, such as mambo, Charleston, foxtot, etc., and we know what you're thinking. You're thinking sixteen dance styles must be covered. No—only nine styles are played, so the 16 tours part of the title is a mystery to us. If you know the answer to the riddle, you know how to reach us. But don't expect an immediate response—we'll be busy foxtrotting.

Update: It is incredibly informative having readers from all over the world. The answer came from Jo B. in France, who informed us: "16 tours is the rotation speed of the record in 1 minute."

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Femmes Fatales | Musiquarium Dec 16 2016
SILVER FOX
A season for Joycing and re-Joycing.

Joyce Bryant is a former jazz singer who was very famous back in the day. When we came across two photos of her and couldn't choose between them, we decided to use both. In the first she's done up in a frosty silver motif, and the second one, below, shows her in normal mode. But maybe it would be more accurate to call her silver persona the normal one—she performed in a silvery hairdo and shiny dresses, and the look earned her the nickname “The Bronze Blond Bombshell,” among others. Her singing career ran from the late-1940s until 1955, when she stopped performing to focus on church activities. That's the condensed version. The long version is she managed to keep the music industry's hustlers, gangsters, and drug dealers at arm's length for years, but the mighty stress of doing that, plus performing nightly, was eventually too much, and she just had to leave. She made a comeback ten years later as a classical vocalist. She's still around at the age of eighty-eight. The year on the top photo is 1953, and on the bottom it's unknown.

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Musiquarium Nov 28 2016
OUT FOR A SPIN
Webber and friend go for a dip—in the style of their dresses.

On the cover of Looks Like Fun!, a Café Society Series album by comedian Cliff Ferré, both models have decided to test the far limits of 1956 fashion with their dresses. Diane Webber, on the right, gets all Vikki Dougan with her asscrack, while her unidentified friend goes the more conventional route with a neckline that plunges so far it becomes a navel line. Not that we're complaining. The only thing we're unhappy about is not being able to name the model on the left. She's the same person as in this Technicolor lithograph, and we know that the photo was made by Tom Kelley. Beyond that we got nada. We would love to know who she is because we have her on three more lithographs we're reluctant to share without info.

As far as the content of the record goes, what you get is a collection of comical musical pieces. Sample titles: “A Cocky Cowboy” and “Fifi's Got the Biggest One in France.” Yeah. It's really bad. But you don't have to take our word for it—if you're the courageous type you can have a listen here. At least the platter is made from red vinyl, as you see at right. That's almost worth the purchase price. Almost. If you have any ideas on the unidentified model please drop us a line at the usual place: editor@pulpinternational.com.

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Musiquarium Jun 13 2016
MONROE FOR A SPIN
If only the music were as flawless as the cover art.


Here's little curio from the former Yugoslavia—a record sleeve from Serb pop-rock artist Boris Bizetić with a Marilyn Monroe cover motif. We've seen her image rather poorly used on album covers, but this one is nice, we think, if almost certainly unlicensed. And the music? Hah hah. We dare you.  

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 14
1912—U.S. Invades Nicaragua
United States Marines invade Nicaragua to support the U.S.-backed government installed there after José Santos Zelaya had resigned three years earlier. American troops remain for eleven years.
1936—Last Public Execution in U.S.
Rainey Bethea, who had been convicted of rape and murder, is hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky in what is the last public execution performed in the United States.
August 13
1995—Mickey Mantle Dies
New York Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle dies of complications from cancer, after receiving a liver transplant. He was one of the greatest baseball players ever, but he was also an alcoholic and played drunk, hungover, and unprepared. He once said about himself, "Sometimes I think if I had the same body and the same natural ability and someone else's brain, who knows how good a player I might have been."
August 12
1943—Philadelphia Experiment Allegedly Takes Place
The U.S. government is believed by some to have attempted to create a cloak of invisibility around the Navy ship USS Eldridge. The top secret event is known as the Philadelphia Experiment and, according to believers, ultimately leads to the accidental teleportation of an entire vessel.
1953—Soviets Detonate Deliverable Nuke
The Soviet Union detonates a nuclear weapon codenamed Reaktivnyi Dvigatel Stalina, aka Stalin's Jet Engine. In the U.S. the bomb is codenamed Joe 4. It is a small yield fission bomb rather than a multi-stage fusion weapon, but it makes up for its relative weakness by being fully deployable, meaning it can be dropped from a bomber.
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