Ballsy. The Last Poets released a number of albums on Douglas Records, the label founded by Alan Douglas. For Jimi Hendrix fans, the name will bring chills to the spine, as he is considered by some Hendrix fans as the man responsible for a number of albums after Hendrix’s death to be released, all of which featured overdubbed instrumentation. Today, that is part of the fabric of the music industry but what Hendrix fans wanted to hear was pure Hendrix, not added musicianship recorded after his death.
For jazz fans, Douglas is considered by some to be the one responsible for ruining the two albums Mahavishnu John McLaughlin recorded for him, including one album (Devotion) that was mixed and mastered without McLaughlin’s approval.
However, he made a bold move when his promotional team came up with this ad for The Last Poets album, This Is Madness. While Mati Klarwein’s album cover artwork suited the times (he was the man responsible for Santana’s Abraxas and Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew), it seems Douglas Records’ promotion department reduced it to a thumbnail and used bold text to promote its arrival in stores. Talk about a bold move but then again, the works of The Last Poets were also very bold, thus it becomes a striking and appropriate means of hype and promotion.
Also, Klarwein’s artwork is more down to earth than the fantasy-may-be-reality approach of the Abraxas and Bitches Brew covers, presenting The Last Poets as being guys you may find around the corner. Well, depending on what corner you lived on, one that was surrounded in fields of fire.