From Geoff With Love

If we know band leader and trombonist Geoff Love (1917-1991) at all, it will be for one of the many dozens of easy listening orchestral albums he fronted during the 60s and 70s for British labels like MFP and Studio 2. Amongst them were his disco arrangements of sci-fi film and TV themes, released in 1978 (on EMI’s Music For Pleasure label) as Close Encounters And Other Galactic Themes – by Geoff Love’s Big Disco Sound.

The sleeve (shown at the bottom of the page) is typical of the genre, a cover painting mixing images from several of the movies concerned, along with brash mis-matched lettering. It turns up in charity shops so regularly you’d think they were repressing it specially for them.

Geoff Love Close Encounters

The version shown above though is one I’d not seen before, and was apparently the first Love album to be issued in America. Licensed by the Moss Music Group in New York for their homegrown Beautiful Music* label, someone decided to commission a brand-new sleeve (credited to Jim Gans and photographer Len Kaltman) to liven it up and perhaps appeal to the space-disco crowd which obviously filled New York’s clubs that year.

And out of this world it certainly is! They (some 14 people are credited for the cover, probably more than Geoff used to record with originally) went to the trouble of doing a painted backdrop (with real neon lighting on the planet in the corner) and building a couple of papier mache boulders. Two models (Stephanie Delay and Rocky Shook) were kitted out in plastic overalls of some sort, and given futuristic props – ray guns, earwings (sic), a box with wire coming out of it, a fancy dress shop space helmet and (the icing on the cake really) silver lace up wellington boots. When photographed with added starburst filter the result is amazing.

I’ve yet to work out what the acid pink logo up the side is, unless it spells the word Love somehow. On the back they got Don LeBrecht, “one of the founders of the independent beautiful music association” to pen two paragraphs about how if Geoff Love didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him. Let’s just hope everyone’s tongues were firmly in their cheeks, and their eyes on the fat fee.

*Beautiful Music is apparently an American term for what we would call Muzak, in-store / in-lift / in-washroom instrumental music. And the album would certainly work in that context, though it is fun in a background disco orchestral way trying to spot the tunes as they roll along.

Geoff Love Close Encounters

About simon robinson

Having worked as a graphic designer in the music industry, mainly in the reissue sector, I now concentrate on the design and publication of books about popular culture - and even write some of them.
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