Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eat that Pumpkin Pie

Just released by Euclid Records, a new 45 rpm single by Terry Adams & the Whole Wheat Horns whose sleeve features a Jim Flora musician montage. The chaotic combo, which incorporates cartoonish players from numerous Flora 1940s and 1950s sources, was created by Barbara Economon and yrs trly for our second book, The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora.

The calamitous crew evolved from a trio to include as many as eleven figures, until our beloved book designer Laura Lindgren, who doubles as our de factor editor, urged us (smartly) to downsize the book version to a quintet. Dubbed "Kid Flory's Hot 5," it appears on page 10 of TCSA.

Joe Schwab of Euclid approached us about using Flora figures on the cover of the Adams single. We proposed the Kid Flory variations, and Joe opted for the septet version.

The single is a solo release for Adams, keyboardist for the legendary NRBQ since the late 1960s. A consummate showman and idiosyncratic master of the 88's, Terry is also one of the masterminds behind the Shaggs revival, having helped convince Rounder Records to release Philosophy of the World on vinyl in 1980.

6 comments:

Bill Ross said...

This blog is soooo great! Thanks for sharing.

J.D. King said...

Okay, I'm going to cause a stir:

I have a real problem with taking a dead person's art and, I don't know what the right word is here, remixing it? Enhancing it? Reworking it?

I HATE it when someone takes and old song and feels free to add a new voice or something. I guess that horrid trend began when they added Natalie Cole to an old song by her father? Y'know, Nat had no say in the matter, and it was his song.

I don't want, when I'm dead, for someone to feel as if they're allowed to mess around with my work.

This record cover looks like a hodgepodge. It's something less than a real Flora. And a real Flora could've been used.

Maybe all of this funny business is legal, but it's still wrong.

Irwin Chusid said...

With all due respect JD, the cover is a montage (or "adaptation") of Flora elements. No attempt is made to assert that it is an original Flora work. The less cluttered version appears in our second book, The Curiously Sinister Art of JF, and it is clearly labeled "montage by Barbara Economon and Irwin Chusid." The cover of that book is a montage based on elements from Flora's 1940s painting, The Rape of the Stationmaster's Daughter. You wrote the Foreword for that book, but you registered no objection to the cover. The cover of our first book, The Mischievous Art of JF, is an adaptation of the Flora illustration for the LP The Sons of Sauter-Finegan, with elements of the original repositioned. You registered no objection. The cover of our forthcoming omnibus, The Sweetly Diabolical Art of JF, features a montage from a dozen unrelated Flora works. All three covers were designed by Laura Lindgren, a highly regarded book (and book cover) designer for two decades. We don't tell Laura what to do; she created these montages (or adaptations) on her own, and I doubt she sees such "messing around with" the original Flora versions as being disrespectful or offensive.

You are a music enthusiast. Do you object when a singer or instrumentalist takes verses and choruses from twelve different Cole Porter songs and creates a medley?

Do you consider Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations a wrongful "reworking"? Bach was dead and "had no say in the matter."

I heard John Coltrane's version of "My Favorite Things" recently. Sounds like 'Trane added some noises that were not in the Julie Andrews original. Does that offend you?

J.D. King said...

1) I didn't realize there was an expiration date on voicing a complaint. My apologies!

2) Your trendy and trite arguments sound like the dithering and dissembling of a guilty party. ("What if we spin it this way? How about we look at it through this lens? Or from this angle? What if your glasses were really, really smudgy? What then?!?")

Bach composed his work to be played by others. That's why he wrote it down. Taking a standard and giving it a jazz treatment is perfectly legit.

Sir, I believe there is a place for you in politics! You are a perfect fit for the District of Corruption! Or, you could make big bucks with a three card monte table! Or, if dare to sink really low, the legal profession.

Why not simply use a Flora image without chopping it up? (Granted, no original art was mutilated in the process.) I fail to see how anything's been gained. I submit that something's been lost.

Stuff that in your pretzel-like pipe and puff away! I stand by my opinion! I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this digital age's fashions.

Irwin Chusid said...

That minds me—there are two acrylics on canvas in the Flora collection, neither previously published (to my knowledge), both of which will appear in future Flora compendia:

Paul Klee in Venice (1974), which appropriates (i.e., borrows, lifts, copies, adapts, steals, etc.) elements—with little alteration—from Klee's 1926 painting Sinbad the Sailor (and I believe from other Klee works as well) and places them in a new context in what amounts to a "remix" of original Klee figures; and The Berengaria in Hieronymus Bosch Land (1986), which reproduces (with great exactitude) figures taken directly from Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights and juxtaposes them against a giant ocean liner.

Of course these works pre-date "this digital age's fashions," so I guess we'll excuse the artist's taking license with the art of others because he didn't use Photoshop.

Mr. King, we have three words of advice for you: switch to decaf!

J.D. King said...

"...switch to decaf!"

N-E-V-E-R!!!