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Rare Rock ‘N’ Roll Album Art Collection for Sale to Benefit Veterans

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Joe Taylor curates the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum in Crosbyton, Texas. It holds an extensive collection of fossils and artifacts. Taylor, a renowned fossil restorationist, had a hand in making many of the objects on display. However, what’s hidden amongst the skulls and dinosaur fossils are his real works of art. That would be Taylor’s collection of hand-painted album art, rock ‘n’ roll billboards which Taylor painted in the 1970s. Now Taylor is prepared to sell the unique album art collection to benefit Operation Not Forgotten, which was developed for the prevention of suicide among our veterans and first responders.

Rare Rock 'N' Roll Album Art Collection for Sale to Benefit Veterans

Photo: Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum

In the 1960s, after Taylor left the family farm near Crosbyton, he served in the army and explored New York before moving to the Sunset Strip in ’69. “The Strip was full of people,” Taylor said. “Tower Records was the biggest record seller in the world at the time. Ray Smith was painting copies six feet square on the windows of Tower Records with artist oils. One day, as I stood watching him paint, I said, ‘I can do that.’ ‘Oh, yeah?’ he said. ‘Can you show me some of your work?’ So, I went home and brought back a photo book of my realistic paintings. He hired me and after a week, said, ‘I’m makin’ you my top painter.’”

Taylor had landed a job in art—with a rock ‘n’ roll twist. Over the course of time, he painted close to 700 of these billboard recreations of rock ‘n’ roll album covers while also pursuing his own songwriting and recording ambitions. Taylor was only able to save a few dozen of the billboards from being painted over when their campaigns finished.

Rare Rock 'N' Roll Album Art Collection for Sale to Benefit Veterans

Photo: Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum

Now the collection of Taylor’s rock ‘n’ roll billboards from the ’70s and ’80s is stored in the auditorium of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum. One of these bilbaords was even autographed by none other than Grammy Award-winning James Taylor—no relation to Joe, apparently. James Taylor’s signature graces Joe Taylor’s painting of the 1974 album cover, which the artist arranged for the musician to view and sign at a Lubbock concert in April 2016.

Rare Rock 'N' Roll Album Art Collection for Sale to Benefit Veterans

Photo: Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum

Peter Frampton, Helen Reddy, and Super Tramp’s “Breakfast in America” are just three of the 20-some paintings in Taylor’s unique collection, all of which will be sold in conjunction with related items benefitting Operation Not Forgotten. The all-volunteer program’s mission is to “measurably improve a veteran’s quality of life in these areas: mental, emotional, social, and spiritual.” Joe Taylor returned home to Texas in 1984, and began “fossil collecting and learning in earnest. In order to support the kids, I painted big billboards in Lubbock, 18 feet tall and 48 feet long. Also did a hundred or more portraits, and two large historic murals for local museums,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s hope for the album art collection is to support the Operation Not Forgotten program with the same passion and enthusiasm which he expressed in his art. “People have no idea of the tragic numbers of Veterans who take their lives every day!” he said. “We are working to prevent that. The money from the sale of the boards would go a long way in opening new facilities for the program.” Taylor said that half of the proceeds from the sale will go to Operation Not Forgotten, half will go to Taylor and his brother. For more information on Joe Taylor’s unique collection of rock ‘n’ roll billboard paintings, their sale, and the direction of the proceeds, visit the link available here. You might find that Waylon Jennings’ “The Ramblin Man,” Joe Cocker’s “I Can Stand a Little,” and Olivia Newton John’s “Mellow” are just the works of art you’ve been looking for. And that would put Taylor and Operation Not Forgotten one step closer to furthering their mission.

Contact Joe Taylor via email at  [email protected] or over the phone at 806-675-7777.