The Folkways Philosophy
The Stoneman Family
The cutout image parts make up a lively banjo with type running along two of the strings. The stamped flowers in the background activate the image space and, together with the vibrant colour scheme, capture the spirited rhythms of the old-time tunes.
The Fisk Jubilee Singers
The cut-out style of the type echoes the paper-cut art of the image. The figures, foliage, and radiating lines, all directed upward, complement the spiritual quality of the music. The design was produced in other colour combinations with successive printings. Aaron Douglas, an artist of the Harlem Renaissance, founded the Fisk University Art Department where he taught for twenty-nine years.
Watergate, Vol. 1
Through the use of a broken faceting of the building's facade, this series of album covers vividly and literally illustrates the public's "shattered" faith in the White House in the wake of the Watergate hearings. Colour and typography provide variation within the otherwise consistent layout of the series.
The Women Blues of Champion Jack Dupree
The cover photograph by David Gahr is as intimate and sensual as a French Impressionist painting, capturing the mood of the New Orleans blues period of Champion Jack Dupree. The album is cast as "a song saga--in a setting of boogie woogie from slow blues to surging stomps" and unified thematically: "The theme is woman. Or women. Bad women and good women. Hard times, hooch, hot hands and hot music. Slow songs and sad lines" (liner notes).
Sounds of North American Frogs
Once a bestseller, this album, produced in cooperation with The American Museum of Natural History, presents field recordings of the sounds of different species of North American frogs. These sounds are captured visually on the cover through a series of concentric ovals emanating like sound waves from the frog's mouth. The background, appropriately, is green.
The Pit and the Pendulum
Animation of the typographic pendulum is created by gradually decreasing the height of the repeated titles and tapering the top of each one. Visual weight is suggested by the white "M" hanging at the bottom. The dark background and stark design reinforce the macabre and mysterious quality of Edgar Allan Poe's short story.
The Nuru Taa African Musical Idiom
The lively ink drawing of transparent hands, superimposed on a layering of African instruments, creates a sense of animation and rhythm. The quirky forms of the hand lettering contrast the capital letters in sans serif typeface used for the subtitle.
Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Songs
The cover uses Pennsylvania Dutch design elements, visually situating these songs typical of the Lancaster region and its German-speaking settlers. The cursive handwritten script used by Carlis conveys an untutored traditionalism suggestive of an earlier era in American folk music.
Folksongs of Saskatchewan
The stark expanse of prairie sky dominates and serves as a backdrop for worn, degraded "typewriter" letterforms. The low horizontal format of the photograph superimposed on a taupe ground evokes the isolation of a prairie town. This photograph, taken in 1913, is of Vanguard, Saskatchewan.