One of the nice things about contributing to this blog is that it is forcing me to cull through my collection and find some nice labels -- but a side effect of all this is that I'm rediscovering some records I hadn't listened to in a while. This one, which features recordings of two collabos between Arthur Russell and Allen Ginsberg from the 1970s, stood out primarily because the packaging is really tight. It's a 10-inch and both sides of the cover have been letter-pressed for a textured but super clean feel. Looks like Archer Prewitt of the Sea and Cake did all the artwork, including the drawings of Russell and Ginsberg that ended up on the labels.
I choose the Arthur a-side because I thought it was a bit unusual to get such a close-up on his face. A couple years ago I attended the Arthur Russell Symposium, a pretty amazing event just based on the attendees and speakers (Russell's family, former bandmates, producers and engineers he worked with, writer Tim Lawrence). While we were treated with a number of entertaining stories and performances, one of the details I remember now is that Russell wasn't all that comfortable with his face as he had a lot of residual scarring from acne. I thought the treatment on this label was tasteful -- and it captures a sort of haunted, or maybe concerned, look. I also choose the Russell side because frankly his music does a lot more for me than Ginsberg's yowling. Although I have been known to rock the Kaddish joint on occasion. For those who don't know much about Russell, well, it's about time you got familiar. I'd start with Calling Out of Context and World of Echo. For now, "Let's Go Swimming."