What good is a good album cover — even a great album cover — if the music on the album itself isn’t up to snuff?
The answer to that, of course, is simple: a good album cover is a good album cover, period. There are, at last official count, literally bunches of good (and great) album covers saddled with so-so or even lousy records, and easily just as many, if not even a dozen or so more, truly excellent albums stuck with covers that don’t do them justice. Life isn’t always fair, folks.
Now, having said that, we can also say this: As luck would have it, the 25 albums we picked as having the greatest album covers in Texas music history also happen to be pretty great albums beneath the covers, too. But did the quality of the music in any way, shape or form factor into our selection process? Confession: Yes. Yes it did — In small part because we’re only human and not infallible. And, in larger part, because we all love music too much for that to not be a factor. So, sure … go ahead and call us suckers for the total package.
But while you’re at it, cue up this playlist we’ve made to accompany our favorite album covers list. We picked one song from each album, or at least the best we could within the confines of Spotify. To wit: Robert Earl Keen’s Picnic is sadly missing from the streaming service, so to represent that album we had to make due with a live version of “Shades of Gray” from nearly 20 years later. And although the 1977 Lightnin’ Hopkins’ album Lightnin’! is on Spotify, the version there is a later reissue with a completely different (and far inferior) cover. Other than that, though, it’s all here: from Willie and Waylon to Guy and Townes to Lizzo and Janis to Selena and Ornette to … well, you get the picture.