Bill Alexander African-American Artist of Vintage Sleaze (Part One)
Bill Alexander was an African-American illustrator about whom virtually nothing is known. He did have some famous friends, I hope to write more about them later. A new CD release from the wonderful Acrobat label in the UK offers scarce images of his work in "Roy Milton's Miltone Records Story." I had known Alexander for his striking, colorful but inept fetish paintings done for the covers of vintage sleaze paperbacks (five from my collection shown here) after he moved from LA to NYC in the late 1950's or early 1960's. These books were published in 1967 and contain not a swear word, much less any graphic sex. Vintage Sleaze paperbacks are a wonderful, affordable hobby. They LOOK filthy, that was the idea after all, to attract consumers with lurid, tease covers, but the actual sex was no more graphic than in any romance novel. However, I had only seen a few of his drawings done for Miltone. The incredible new CD comes with a small 34 page book illustrating many of the illustrations Alexander produced for early 78 rpm "Picture Discs." Like the music, they were hip, urban, swinging, rocking and raunchy. Acrobat releases tend to sell out quickly, so get on your friendly provider's website and purchase soon. They have a wonderful back catalog and have been documenting many small independent R&B labels, all worthy and all beautiful. But this one, while offering no more information about the illustrator I love, does provide great illustrations which fit the music to a T. A great package and a wonderful introduction to an unsung Black Artist who deserves more research. I intended to link to the Acrobat website but seems to be a broken for now, and I read a recent blog posting which says the label may be in financial duress. They may continue as a download company only. If so, too bad. In the meantime, search your suppliers for this and all their previous releases!
Five"Vintage Sleaze" Paperback books Illustrated by Bill Alexander c.1967 (Private Pose, Pen Pals, Fair Choice, Be My Guest, Bath House Peeper) Collection Jim Linderman