Monday, February 23, 2009
A Favorite Record Cover : Lightnin' Rod's Hustlers Convention
This record could actually qualify as post for both "Favorite Score" and "Favorite Album Art" though it's not actually a soundtrack to a filmed movie instead more of a concept record, the narrative, atmosphere and execution are so rich you don't need yr eyes to see this record come to life.
The record features members of The Last Poets 'rapping' non-stop telling the story of a literal Hustlers Convention in the style of an old radio show complete with sound effects and backed by an absolutely perfect Kool and The Gang (among others.) Gunshots interrupt phased out wah-funk jams mixed to the back as Lightnin' Rod tells the story of the arrival at the convention, the hustlers interaction, car chase, shootout and the shit hitting the fan. There are some other perfect conga laced mellow near-jazz tunes that weren't played by Kool and The Gang.
For those who need something to look at while the record spins David Willardson delivered an absolutely amazing air brushed gate fold depicting the well dressed chest of a money-fisted hustler named Lightnin' Rod. Vibrant Blue, Green and Red hold the image firm while the jewelery sparkles; crisp funk, jazz and soul intertwine to create a perfect backdrop for Lightnin' to spin his yarn over. On the inside a smirking Lightnin' Rod, seen through a series of concentric circles, stares out at you as he spreads across both sides of the gate fold flanked by the liner notes, a really beautiful and balanced piece of design for a really well balanced and pretty unique record.
The record also comes with a four page book with all the lyrics and some literal illustrations that don't do much for me, but it's not much concern since I've never grown tired of staring at the cover art.
Worth noting that the cover's style may be most recognized from artwork by the likes of The Tubes, Kansas and Tron and was drawn from the overzealous high gloss air brush artist culture of Los Angeles of the 70's and has been thoroughly documented in an amazing book published by Picture Box Inc called "Overspray" that is definitely worth checking out.