Friday, 29 July 2016

Once Upon A Time...

I caught some discussion on Facebook yesterday about the paintings of Roger Dean, the great English fantasist, and it jogged a memory of a West German Lou Reed/Velvet Underground compilation LP I own which features the kind of sci-fi artwork that would be better suited to a prog rock outfit. I first thought the sub-aquatic adventure pictured below might be a Dean painting but on closer inspection it falls a little short. Unfortunately no artist is credited on the album sleeve but opening the gatefold, it seems the album was part of a Polydor compilation series called appropriately enough, Once Upon A Time which also included Cream, The Who, Eric Burdon & The Animals and James Brown, all packaged with similarly fantastic artwork showcasing surreal and primordial landscapes. It's not terribly visible in the blow-up of the gatefold sleeve, but the James Brown edition of the series must rank as the strangest covers design ever to grace a James Brown album. Despite the obvious fantastic flavor, the unknown artist gave this a sly political bent, with the image of a black panther stalking an urban landscape...

Front cover
Inside gatefold - James Brown edition second row, far left

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