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img524In the early 1960’s, the LP record shown below appears on the Philips label. The brown and cream cover show a woodcut (top pf post) by an unknown artist, the image on the back is in the reverse direction of the front cover. No credit appears to the graphic or lay out designer anywhere, except the name of the United States printing company on the back. The inside gate fold is made up of different size paper and what appears to be African sculpture images.

PRIVATE33 021The record features a “native” Catholic Mass titled Missa Luba, and it is a most unusual record. Below is a 1 1/2 minute YouTube video of the Missa Luba by Les Troubadours du Roi Baudouin.

It is an unusual album not for the music alone, but for the entire graphic design and the written text done by the American actor, author, novelist, and broadcaster Studs Terkel (1912-2008) from Chicago.

Mr. Terkel, was a fervent writer about music who loved jazz. He also loved folk music, and contributed much to the oral history of that type of music. He was also a staunch defender of civil rights in many ways.

PRIVATE33 011In the midst of the text explaining the music in itself is the following “history lesson” shown below.

img520The province of Katanga was run as a separatist territory from 1960-1963. The Congo was led by Communist sympathizer President Patrice Lumumba after whom the Russians named one of their Universities in Moscow, Russia the Lumumba University. The subsequent United Nations intervention was coupled with atrocities committed on all sides. Lumumba was disposed and killed by his own Congolese. Katanga failed and the rest is history in books and records. Reading the words uranium, diamonds, and gold said it all.

More can be found on the subject of Katanga in Wikipedia here.

For more on the life of Studs Terkel go here.

So much for this history lesson! Yes, I have listened to this beautiful record, and I deem it an interesting item where music, commentary, politics and religion come together in one package.

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