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Two names that never seems to get a mention when fans discuss Orion's record releases are that of Betty M. Cherry and Gayle Allen. Never heard of them? Then dig out those old Sun albums and take a look again at the covers.  Each album features one of the following credits:

"Cover art by Betty M. Cherry"
or
"Cover art by Gayle Allen"

Much of the credit for the Orion legend goes to Jimmy Ellis/Gail Brewer Georgio and Shelby Singleton, but what about the other people who helped create that image.
Sadly Betty is no longer with us but credit must be given to her unique meditation centred design talent for producing those and other great album covers, some of which can be seen on this page. There's no doubt they catch the eye and Betty was the designer responsible for the controversial "coffin" cover on Orion's first album release.
Betty has also been credited as the designer of the Orion face masks, of which there were said to be twelve different designs although it is evident there were more than this number and Orion himself has quoted there were twenty.

The Orion covers Betty is known to have designed are:
TRIO+
REBORN (Both "coffin" and "blue" versions)
ROCKABILLY
COUNTRY
FRESH
and the Australian album SUN ROCKS ON
it is likely more Orion covers were the work
of Betty Cherry but cannot be confirmed
at this time.


BETTY CHERRY 1939 - 2006

Photo kindly supplied by family


Betty C. Blankers

Betty Cherry-Blankers, 66, of Nashville, TN, died March 7, 2006.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, March 14, at 11 a.m. at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville with Rev. Amelia Canon officiating. Burial was in the Germantown Cemetery in Athens, AL. Woodbine Funeral Home, Inc. was in charge.

Betty Mae Cherry, the daughter of Howard T. Cherry and Delia Bowers Cherry, was born October 3, 1939 in Nashville, TN. She grew up in the Una area. She attended Antioch High School, MTSC, and later Martin College in Pulaski completing a Chr. Ed Diploma in 1959. In 1963 she received a B.A. in Art at Peabody College and was employed as an artist by Yellow Pages. Later employed in the music industry, she designed LP album covers and program notes. She designed Dolly Parton's "Butterfly" album cover and drew designs for several silkscreen shirt printers. She made jewelry, studied metaphysics, was active in Alanon and Angel Women's Support Group. She sang in the symphony chorus, played viola in the Nashville Community Orchestra, and wrote fiction.

Source http://www.yourcommunityshopper.com/archives/a031506/obit.html

Betty Cherry
THE SUN YEARS
ORION - COUNTRY
DOWNHOME ROCKABILLY
Sleepy LaBeef
POLYPHONY WITHOUT
INTRODUCTION
BUTTERFLY
Dolly Parton

Shown above are a few of the known album
covers designed by Betty Cherry.
ORION - GLORY
ORION - SUNRISE
ORION - FEELINGS
GAYLE ALLEN

Designer of three of Orion's LP album covers while he was contracted to Sun Records and continuing to provide fans with eye catching photo sleeves, both front and back giving fans a chance to actually see photographs of the mysterious man behind that fantastic voice.
Gayle worked at Sun Records for more than twenty-five years and was General Manager of Southern Graphics (part of Shelby Singleton's operation) in the early seventies.  
Other than a couple of other album covers where she has provided her artistic stamp for unrelated artists, it has been difficult to track down more examples of her work.
Both the non Orion albums shown below bearing her artwork were issued on Sun or Sun related labels, the Bob Marley selection being on Shelby Singleton's SSI label.
Like those sleeves designed by Betty Cherry, Gayle Allen's artwork for the Orion albums consists mainly of just head and shoulders photographs but still each cover manages to look different and, to Orion fans, unique in its own way.
Currently Gayle resides in Baltimore, Maryland but says her heart will always be in Nashville, Tennessee.




NOTE: The DUETS album cover from the USA gives no design credit but certain foreign versions (eg. Australia and Sweden) give design credit to both Betty Cherry and Gayle Allen.
BELOW, TWO OTHER LONG PLAYING ALBUMS WITH COVERS DESIGNED BY GAYLE ALLEN.


Left - Bob Marley & The Wailers
Right - Sleepy LaBeef - Rockabilly 1977


 
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