You can learn a lot about another time and place by reading the liner notes.
For instance, my 1958 LP, Sultan of Bagdad, describes its titular city as an “oasis of oriental splendor, jewel of the Middle East. Welcome to a city immortalized by music, literature, art, commerce and the sciences. Welcome to this mecca of princes and paupers, this sprawling oriental metropolis whose name alone calls to mind visions of strange fact and stranger fancy.”
Aside from the possibly offensive and repeated use of the term “Oriental,” we sort of doubt that today’s liner notes would read like a travel brochure for Iraq.
And then there’s bands like Funkadelic, who used their liner notes to dispel psychedelic space fantasy parables and riddles that, quite frankly, hold up pretty well today. 1973’s Cosmic Slop commands “LISTEN, and ye shall believe—when it comes to pass…that what shall penetrate thy ears shall truly be a gas! But, FAIL those of FUNKADELIC and thou shalt be cast away with the last vestiges of mental salvation. For the TRUTH is the WAY and FUNKADELIC is, verily, TRUTH.”
As accurate today as when it was written.
We really don’t want you to go through life without knowing stuff like this exists. So every Thursday, we’ll travel to another time and place for Throwback Thursday’s old school liner notes of the week.