The success of the Blaxploitation-genre in the 70’s created offspring in another form of art; the design of record sleeves. Many companies who tried to be hip to the jive, stirred their art-departments to wrap their product in sleeves that idealised  ‘black’ in colour and beautified culture.

In the 70’s,  Polydor Records released a series of blaxoplation compilations under the  ‘That’s Soul’ monicker, the sleeves being blessed with gorgeous black models plus a funky attitude and matching Afro-hairdo.

On a smaller scale here in Holland the label Blue Elephant, a subsidiary of Pink Elephant Records, was active between 1968 untill the end of the 70s. The label released a string of  the most memorable ‘black is beautiful’ music with accompanying covers…

on show are some of my favourites of the covers of the Blue Elephant label and the Polydor series ‘That’s Soul’…

see also Manu Dibango album  Blue Elephant(BE 877 041)

Blue Elephant released mainly black music like soul, latin and softpop. Their most famous act on the roster was Dutch-Surinamese singer Oscar Harris and the Twinkle Stars. The label also represented international stars like Kool & The Gang, Ray Barretto,  Prince Buster and Owen Gray. Local performers like Nico Gomez, Davy Jones and Chakachas found a warm nest within  Blue Elephant Records.

see the Blue Elephant Records catalogue (not complete) here

Remarkable twin cover using the same model, first released in Holland by Polydor. Later gracing the sleeve of an album by  the South African group The Syndicate. (Soul Brother Records, South Africa)

4 thoughts on “Blue Elephant -Black Is Beautiful -cover art

  1. It is interesting with this Pezulu copy,and how there is direct ones with just different lettering or graphics,or covers where a new shoot is done off an existing idea.Recently there was the Dazz by City Soul on ElectricJive which is copy of a Betty Davis cover.Or the Ice Cream and Suckers album also on ElectricJive that got used for the Playtime Reggae Compilation and i am sure there are plenty more out there.These Blue Elephant covers are great funky time pieces.There is a rare Manu Dibango on this label,with Black Elephant on the cover and Blue Elephant on the label.

    1. you are right about the Manu Dibango title on Blue Elephant. It’s in my collection, I’ll post a special on that one. Great to read your interest in my post on Blue Elephant. Small Dutch label with some great releases

  2. Just came across another,Rod Hunter’s Soul Makossa Lp,sharing a cover with the Batsumi LP on the DJ Productions label.Looking forward to that Manu Dibango post !

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