ITM album covers

ITM album covers

I think it’s fair to say that, with few exceptions - early Chieftains, in particular - ITM albums/CDs have not been distinguished by the quality of their artwork. I’ve just got Dartry Céilí Band’s ‘The Killavil Post’ and the great music is matched by the simple, yet tremendously eloquent cover.

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Agreed. And the music, of course, is equally good!

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What about that lovely painting of Tommy Peoples on "The Quiet Glen"?

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"What about that lovely painting of Tommy Peoples on "The Quiet Glen"?

Personally, I think the sentimental background detracts from it.

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I missed that one - so no harm in doing it again.

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I dare say that photo would have been considered rather daring when it was taken, back whenever.

(On the cover of "The Killavil Post", I mean.)

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Watch out, folks, it’s the taste police coming again !
I don’t think we can really criticize any previous generation in their choice of artwork - they were a previous generation, after all. Not like us sophisticated post-ironic people.
What I deplore is the lack of space on cd covers. Bring back the gatefold album sleeve, I say !

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Pete…

Then, by your logic, we’re not supposed to have an opinion on any work of art not created by our contemporaries?

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No, not ANY work of art, just old ITM album covers.
After all, the people doing this designing had no internet resources or education to show them how to do things tastefully.
Even the old Planxty covers can be regarded as a triumph of ’70s’ Celtic kitsch.

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Planxty’s covers ’ 70s Celtic kitsch’?

I think that the ‘The Well Below the Valley’ is the only one that might enter that category. If you’re also including ‘The Woman I Loved So Well’, Pete, then that’s almost struck me as primitive.

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Stlll the best by far is the Horslips Happy to meet sad to part sleeve cover.

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Richard B, the link to the Mustrad review shows a later cover for Paddy In The Smoke, but your comment seems to refer to the original hazy photo by Brian Shuel of a line of navvies outside a building site fence.

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The Planxty album covers are The Book Of Kells compared to your actual ubiquitous Celtic Kitsch. The girl whose breast is being fingered by Andy Irvine on the cover of "The Well Below The Valley" always struck me as rather sweet.

One day some seventy+-year-old dame will pop up and say, "That was me!"

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I was always puzzled by ‘After the Break’ by Planxty. I mean, what exactly is going on? Are we looking at the band through a serving hatch? In a mirror? On some sort of wooden television…

Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part was a beauty. Paddy in the Smoke is the all time great. I had an early copy of Stockton’s Wing’s first eponymously titled album that was just a disaster, sky blue and white with drawn on clouds and appalling photos of each member looking like a big gawm in each cloud. It made your average Lourdes gift shop look like a Francis Bacon.

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Oh, and The Red Crow and Horse With a Heart by Altan were cool. For the cover of Old Hag You Have Killed Me the photographer must have asked Donal Lunny to either kneel or squat to get his head in frame. Which must be why he is looking so glum.

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How tall do you think Dónal is, sergeant fox?

All of Planxty, bar Liam, are shortarses.

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If he squatted any lower Kevin Burke’s bow would take his eye out. Mind you, given the studied look of calm on Donal’s face maybe he’s taking a dump back there.

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Surely it’s the quality of the music that matters rather than its wrapping?

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Of course you are right Ebor! We’re just having a natter about covers - that’s all. What about Dulaman by Clannad with the table on the beach - a bit Pink Floyd don’t you think Ebor?

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De Danaan’s Star Spangled Molly was imaginative. And memories are drifting back of perfecting the three skin technique on an early Moving Hearts gatefold.

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An album Mary Bergin i got recently had a really nice cover. Other ones with nice covers include:

Tim Collins and Brian MacNamara - "Reed Only" - very nicely done black and white photos of the two men dressed well and modern standing with their instruments against a stone wall. When I saw it, I thought this kind of album cover would appeal to a wide audience
Noel Hill and Tony Linnane - Photo of a concertina and fiddle placed on a wooden table against a lantern
Tommy Peoples, Matt Molloy and Paul Brady - An impressionistic painting of the three playing in a pub

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My favourites, from back in the days of large vinyl albums, tended to be ones with photography rather than graphics or artwork.

Like the Bothy Band album where the group is in darkness, silhouetted against a lighter background, but spotlights highlight areas here and there. Very nice.

I also like the old Cheiftans album where it’s just a group photo, them holding their instruments, against a background of foliage.

My least favourite are corny artwork like the Cheiftans album of the leprechauns dancing around like it’s Darby O Gill or summat.

So much has been lost on the current generation of kids, who consume music through seperate songs they get off of iTunes, single songs floating in a void they experience on their iPods in Shuffle Play mode. Back in the days of vinyl albums each "side" was a larger work, the two sides combining to create the whole. (At least on good albums!)