Monday, October 13, 2014

100% Undiluted

Pretty much a staple on "weird album cover" sites, this simple but striking LP art catches most off-guard and produces at least a few laughs caused most likely by unclear or confused connotations; for one - "lesbian concentrate", which conjures up all sorts of impressions. Two - ...well, no, I think that finishes it.  

It is, of course, a visual spin on a can of Minute Maid frozen concentrate orange juice, with some condensation rippling the bottom and oranges on the side made into the "Venus" symbol, BUT WHAT THE HELL DOES ORANGE JUICE HAVE TO DO WITH LESBIANS!? I hear you profanity-laced-screaming at your monitor (the walls are thin in this building). After all, something you're not familiar with can be pretty damn funny.
When I was younger, my hetero-male and media-fed imagination only brought up two dissimilar forms of imagery when the L-word was ever passed through my ear canals and those of course were A) boyish creatures with shag haircuts that hated men with such hate and B) super-hot porn-action!! and as time wore on I learned that the media likes high-contrast stereotypes for whatever evil reasons and most lesbians are neither seething cauldrons of rage bent on castration-sprees nor walking XXX-DVD covers, which was a great relief as I just can't handle either of those types of people.

Another thing I did when I was younger was listen to the Dead Kennedys, which was awesome. And somewhere in the seemingly mountainous reams of information (translated into punkese via hardcore rhythms, scathing satire-rage lyrics and dada-esque photo-collages) contained in the DK's magazine-size inserts and booklets in the albums there was a picture of Hollywood screen-star and songstress Anita Bryant. Covered in pie.
Deciding that if it was worth Jello Biafra's derision, I had to know more. 
During the 60's, Anita sang her way through music charts, sorta like a female Pat Boone (or vice versa) with innocuous pop tunes and some country stuff and religious things. 1969, she becomes the spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission. She also gets more religiousafied, in that bad way that makes some of them filter their 'discomfort' with gayness through like two misinterpreted lines out of a 12,000,000-line book, and started to proudly denounce a good chunk of humanity as 'less-than'.
So that wasn't good. Some people have problems with other people, and that's fine. When those problems are based on misinformation and fear, then we move out of the 'fine' area, and when someone has a modicum of authority/fame and uses that to impart their imaginary moral high-ground to the masses, then someone named Tom Higgins just might smash your face with a banana-cream pie.
Boycott-time, and the LGBT community hit the OJ market hard, gaining huge support through celebrities like Barbra Streisand and from the beginning of all this there came out this album from the national women's recording label (Olivia) with a plain white cover and a mocking can of orange juice as one more slap in Anita's face.
So there you have it! I sort of get an anti-climactic feeling now after knowing the context of the cover art, though; kind of deflates the WTF-ness and wonder of it all, doesn't it?  

Musically, I was wrong about this album; I owned it for years with only a smattering of chords from each track listened to when first getting it and then somewhere down the line I mentally mixed it up with one of the other lesbian LPs I have and thought it was all bad folk-music (a lot of bad folk came out in 70's DIY). Until I recently - wait, yeah - today, tried ripping it to the PC and found out it's pretty cool. Some funk, some folk, some spoken word, most of the lyrics are awesome and the first track, "Don't Pray for Me" being a scathing rebuttal/attack on Mme. Bryant ("Stop quoting scriptures out of context, to stir up feelings of bigotry!"), followed by the track "Nina" which I thought was about Nina Simone, who as it turns out was not exactly a supporter of all that is gay, but nope. That track is performed by Meg Christian, who I also happen to have an album by and is also the very first LP that the Olivia label put out in '74. Amazing voice. 

So there ya go: a seemingly-silly album jacket with some very strong stuff underneath that was a lending hand in the LGBT equality movement. Like I said, I tried to rip my copy, but it turns out it's pretty trashed with skips & everything, so I grabbed a copy from the Internet Archive and it includes the front & back covers as well as liner notes and inserts. Check it out, very worth it! And here's a page that has the covers and inserts and lyrics (included in the dl below).

Track list:

A1 Linda Tillery - Don't Pray for Me
A2 Meg Christian - Nina
A3 Teresa Trull - Prove It on Me Blues
A4 Cris Williamson - Sweet Woman
A5 Judy Grahn - A History of Lesbianism
A7 Sue Fink - Leaping Lesbians
B1 Gwen Avery - Sugar Mama
B2 BeBe K'Roche - Kahlua Mama
B3 Mary Watkins - No Hiding Place
B4 Pat Parker - For Straight Folks...
B5 Meg Christian - Ode to a Gym Teacher
B6 Teresa Trull - Woman-Loving Women
Juice!  (contains image-files of front and back covers, liner notes and inserts)


Muff Diver said...


And I thank you :)