From The Stacks: Lowell George-Thanks I’ll Eat It Here

lowell george thanksHere we have the one and only solo album from the brilliant mastermind behind Little Feat. It’s a fine album of 1979 lip-biting growed up wock-a-woll, no complaints really. George had some seriously bad ass studio musicians backing him up on this one, including but by no means limited to Bonnie Raitt, Jim Keltner, and most of Toto. He brought out the big guns for that album cover, too: the great Neon Park, who designed most of Little Feat’s album covers. He designed the classic sleeve for Zappa’s Weasels Ripped My Flesh, too.

Frank_Zappa_Weasels_Ripped_My_FleshSo what went so wrong here? Weasels and Little Feat’s Down on the Farm are two of the most iconic album covers ever—witty, clever, bold.

But this mess, man. I get where Park was going—the nod to Édouard Manet’s “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” that worked so brilliantly a couple years later for Bow Wow Wow—but it just doesn’t come together.

I think the problems here are twofold:

– The portrait of Lowell George is too flat. That same style works well in Parks’s other covers because he’s depicting characters, but here we know what the subject looks like, and it isn’t this. The portraiture looks rushed and amateurish.

down on the farm– The picnic is too contrived: Dylan as a faun; Dietrich retaining her black and white; Castro. Castro? What the hell is Castro doing there? The copy of Ginsberg’s Howl. It’s all too self-conscious and precious.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being hard on Park because I love the rest of his work so much. They can’t all be winners, after all.

You’ll find this one in the dollar bin of your used record store or charity shop, which is a real disservice to the spiritual godfather of Jeff Tweedy. Seriously, the man was capable of some genuine musical goosebump moments. The cover may suck, but you’ll get your dollar’s worth out of the glorious “Find A River.” Happy hunting.

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