Album Covers

From The Stacks: Richard and Willie, ‘Willie and Rising Dick’

Now this one has a couple of stories behind it.

First, there’s the story of Richard Sandfield, a Los Angeles City College music major turned comedian-ventriloquist. By the early ’70s, Sandfield did well for himself on the L.A. nightclub circuit, had played the Cotton Club, and had been “discovered” by Dootoo Records founder Dootsie Williams. Dootoo was an essential label for black comedy, releasing records by Redd Foxx and Rudy Ray Moore, but they also pressed some Martin Luther King platters and quite a bit of music.

Next, there’s the story of ventriloquists on vinyl. I get it–it’s all about the comedy–but ventriloquism is such a visual act that I’ve always found these recordings weird.

 

Finally, there’s the story of how this album found its way into my stacks. I love bad album covers–love them–so when I saw this one online I immediately posted it on my social media feeds. That led to someone asking me if the copy in my post was mine. I admitted it wasn’t, but promised not to rest until I owned a copy. “Why don’t you just buy it online?” somebody else asked.

“Because the fun is in finding it in the wild, and I doubt I will ever find this one in the wild,” I said. The copy you see here (a sealed copy, by the way) showed up in the mail maybe a week later, courtesy of a friend who to this day remains anonymous. I have a hunch who sent it, though, and if I’m right I hope to someday say thank you with a bowl of Brunswick stew, or a game of Simon Says where I say “be a saint” and watch the fun.

Anyway, please welcome Willie and Rising Dick to the Bad Album Cover Hall of Fame.

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