Ahmad Jamal – Count ‘Em 88

Released:  1956
Label:  Argo Records/Chess Producing Corp.


Front cover:  This is in better shape than it should be given its age.  This is NOT a reissue; this is the real deal.  It’s lived in a sleeve protector for a number of years but before then (and for many years prior), it didn’t so I’m not sure why it looks as good as it does.  Still, it wasn’t without its issues.  First, age has browned it a bit so I did a “remove color cast” on it to restore the color of the image.  I had to get rid of some cracks so I cloned those out.  This one took some time but it looks amazing for its age.

Sleeve-front:  This looks great now but it took work.  It’s actually been entirely rebuilt.  I started with the border text.  All sides are the same so I took one, cleaned it up, and duplicated it four times so I could create a new border with it.  There was no choice here since the sleeve is pretty off-balance.  I next scanned the inside stuff, removed all the browning from it with a paint bucket, and pasted it into the new graphic I was making.  Then, I cloned as much as I could without destroying the images or the text.  

Sleeve-back:  This has all the same stuff done to it.  I actually used the first sleeve I frankenstein’d and simply pasted the new album jackets and info over it.  It was the same stuff so why not?  I made sure to remove the “Columbia” by-line as that’s not repeated.  You’ll note that the Percy Faith album and the one below it appear damaged and that’s really how they look.  I didn’t try to fix either one.  By the way, Yes, yes, I know Chess had nothing to do with Columbia but this was the sleeve the album was in so I included it here.  These are so cool.  

Back cover:  Another replacement of all the white areas and some cloning took care of this one.  Simple explanation but this took some time too.  Pretty amazing how it came out in the end.

Labels:  Even the labels needed work.  Both are pretty scratched up so I had to clone those things out.  On the second side, I even did some letter replacement.  The “E” and “S” in “Jimmy Loves Sue” had been scratched up pretty badly so I took the “S” and “E” in “Sue” to fix the corresponding letters in “Loves.”  They’re all in caps so that made it easy.