Crumb had originally intended his art for the LP back cover, with a portrait of Janis Joplin to grace the front. But Joplin who was an avid fan of underground comics, especially the work of Crumb, so loved the Cheap Thrills illustration that she demanded Columbia Records place it on the front cover. It is number nine on Rolling Stone’s list of one hundred greatest album covers.
I value R. Crumb’s insightful articulation of the blues. He has created various collectibles which uniquely educate and tell us about the blues. One such collectible is the Heroes of the Blues Trading Cards.
The trading cards complement the book, R. Crumb Draws The Blues, in which his homage to the life of Delta bluesmen Charley Patton, is beautifully rendered. Almost of comparable quality is the story of jazzman Jelly Roll Morton‘s struggle with a career-damaging voodoo curse. Crumb’s fondness for pre-war (WWII) country and blues records predominates this title.
If this type of content peaks your interest in R. Crumb as an album art graphics designer, may I also suggest, R. Crumb: The Complete Record Cover Collection. For music/album cover fans (like myself) this is one of Robert Crumb’s finest books.
I also discovered that R. Crumb is very good friends with Eden & John’s East River String Band. He has illustrated three of their covers and plays mandolin on their latest album, Be Kind to A Man When He’s Down.
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