Sunday September 02, 2012
Other Delights Besides Whipped Cream: Dolores Erickson & Soul Asylum
Remember the girl on the cover of the Herb Alpert album 'Whipped Cream & Other Delights'? The other delights? Of course you do.
Her name is Dolores Erickson, and she's 76 now, and lives in Longview, Wash., and she recently traveled to Seattle to help celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Golden Oldies record shop in Wallingford. The Seattle Times had the story a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, they cadge their best lines from The New Yorker, as many of us do. Worse, they: 1) don't mention the original author (Nick Paumgarten), 2) mess up the year it appeared (it's 2006, not 1996), and 3) don't provide a link to the original. Here's the Paumgarten quote in full:
It was a variation on a sentiment that decades ago fogged the minds of many young men, as they gazed at the album cover and attempted to ascribe personalized come-hitherhood to the woman staring back. In the picture, she sits holding the stem of a rose in her left hand, above which the inner portion of a bare breast protrudes from the foam. She is licking cream from the index finger of her right hand, and a dollop of the stuff rests atop her forehead, like a tiara. (This is the only real whipped cream in the shot. The rest is shaving cream.) The image still seems a little raunchy, in a home-movie kind of way, but in the virtually pornless atmosphere of the suburban mid-sixties it was—and we’re relying on the testimony of our elders here—the pinnacle of allure. The Whipped Cream Girl, as she came to be known, helped make Alpert and his Tijuana Brass even more famous than his loungy arrangements, smooth trumpet work, and suave song production destined them to be. The album shot to No. 1 and stayed on the charts for more than three years. Alpert would say, when performing live, “Sorry, but I can’t play the cover for you.”
Here's what all the fuss was about:
There have been many parodies of this album cover since, but the one I remember is the one Soul Asylum did in 1988, on their final EP for Twin-Tone Records, “Clam Dip & Other Delights,” before going national with A&M (Alpert's label). The cover featured bassist Karl Mueller similarly ensconsed in clam dip. Was Alpert not pleased? Did he sabotage their career as a result? I seem to remember hearing that. Not sure if it's true.
“Clam Dip,” I should add, includes one of my favorite Soul Asylum songs, “P-9,” an homage to the 1985 strike at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minn. I used to listen to it while schlepping at the University Book Store warehouse in the 1990s. Among its lines:
- “You gave me nothing/ Now you're taking it away”
- “If we could see eye to eye/ We could see just exactly who is small.”
- “Is it just a job I'm working for?”
Shit doesn't get old.
Here's the video, which is a little old: