What’s In A Name?

Naming an album is a tricky thing. It needs to be snappy, memorable, unique, relavant to the group and the material on the album. Designing a cover illustration to go with it is just as important…

Daddy Fox front coverFor our first album, Daddy Fox, the cover illustration came first. I was telling Tom Bower about the songs on the album. When I mentioned Daddy Fox, he grabbed a pen – an old-fashioned one with a scratchy nib that you dip in ink – dipped it in some black ink and dashed off the image that ended up on the cover.

Plain English front coverPlain English is the name of one of my tunes, and I think we all agreed that it was also appropriate for our second album. Concertina aficionados were confused by the cover because it’s not an English concertina but a Crane duet. Again, Tom Bower was involved in the cover design. We were thinking in terms of a collage made from bits of instruments, so we put Dick’s concertina on Tom’s scanner, to get some samples, and this perfect image appeared on the computer screen. After that, it was just a matter of choosing a font and working out where to put the lettering. We even considered not putting any names on the front, but decided that was too much like a self-indulgent prog-rock band!

Our latest effort began life as “3PM3”. That’s what we wrote on the disc labels and so on during the recording sessions. As time passed (lots of it) we started to call it “Pressing On”, or sometimes “Getting On”, as a way of reminding ourselves that we weren’t getting any younger and it still wasn’t finished. We still thought it would be “Pressing On” when Ian and I sat down with Tom Bower (again – why break up a winning team?) a few weeks ago to thrash out ideas for the cover. After going round and round we identified three themes: farming/peasants, soldiers and ships/sailors. I don’t know who said “Scythe, Sword and Anchor” first, but once it had been said, the album wasn’t going to be “Pressing On” any more.

Incidently, we decided on “Scythe, Sword and Anchor” rather than “Sword, Scythe and Anchor” because the soldier has got the tallest hat, so needs to be in the middle. You’ll see what I mean when we reveal Tom’s finished design…

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