Johnny Griffin – The Congregation – Blue Note 1580

Fifties, Jazz

Let’s complete the Blue Note trio, with Johnny Griffin’s The Congregation. I was lucky enough to buy an original copy with the 47W63Str address, for a reasonable price. Only reason that was possible: the record itself is in pretty bad shape, graded G+ only. If you want the vinyl to be in near mint condition too, you’ll have to compete with the Blue Note collectors, and prices go over $1000 easily. And that’s not about the Warhol cover. I remember reading on a jazz collector’s website they were laughing about my purchase: who on earth would want a record like that?

Well, I wanted the original glossy laminated cover. Not any reissue I have seen matches the brightness and livelyness of the colors of the flowers on the shirt. I made pictures of the laminated cover next to a 1970/80ies reissue, and a very recent one, still sealed. It looks a bit like a commercial for laundry detergents: who washed his shirt with brand X?

Original mono release 1958, laminated cover.
1972 mono release, A Division of United Artists
Still sealed stereo release, 2003 or later
For better comparison: on top the 2003 release, middle the 1972 release, bottom the beautiful laminated 1958 original.

Some alternative versions of this cover were issued on cd only.

Left: In 1993 Blue Note released a compilation album Blue Note plays the Good Book, with a parody of the Warhol drawing. The saxophone player wears a priest’s shirt and collar. The drawing is signed, in Warhol style, Graham Marsh (graphic designer and author of the book Blue Note: The Album Covert Art (1991)).

Right: In Spain only a cd version of The Congregation was released in the Blue Note collection by magazine Time/Life. Color of the cover is dark blue, with orange flowers on the shirt. Year of issue is 1998.


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