Malachi Lui | Mar 18, 2019
On April 13, Record Store Day is back for its 12th year with over 500 releases only available at independent record stores. This year’s list is arguably the best one since I’ve been attending RSD starting in 2014 (at age 8!), with fewer picture disc and colored vinyl re-hashings of common material and seemingly more unique items. Here are some highlights from the list:
Hot off the heels of the 14th “Bootleg Series” installment More Blood, More Tracks, Columbia/Legacy will release 7500 replica copies of the original 1974 test pressing of Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks. The original test pressing features material from the mostly acoustic sessions at New York’s A&R Studios before Dylan re-recorded half of the album with a full band at Minneapolis’ Sound 80. Only five copies of the original test pressing are known to exist. This replica will feature the same mixes as the test pressing, which are unique to this release.
Archival jazz label Resonance Records has two offerings for this year’s RSD. Bill Evans’ Evans In England captures his trio with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell live at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in 1969. These recently discovered London recordings are being released for the first time as a 2LP and booklet set limited to 2,000 copies, with CD and high resolution digital releases set to follow on April 19.
Resonance’s other RSD 2019 offering is Wes Montgomery Back On Indiana Avenue: The Carroll Decamp Recordings recorded in Montgomery’s hometown of Indianapolis in the mid to late 1950s. Previously unissued, these recordings captured by arranger/pianist Carroll Decamp will be available with an extensive booklet in a run of 1500 copies. Like the Bill Evans album, CD and high-resolution digital releases will follow shortly after Record Store Day. Both LP sets from Resonance are mastered by Bernie Grundman and pressed at RTI.
Craft Recordings, the Concord subsidiary who now controls the rights over R.E.M.’s catalog, announced a 2LP release of a 1991 London concert in which the band played under the pseudonym “Bingo Hand Job.” Bingo Hand Job Live At The Borderline 1991 marks the first official release of the mostly acoustic, sold-out concert on March 15, a week after the release of Out of Time. However, the live album doesn’t feature the entire concert as the songs with Billy Bragg and Robyn Hitchcock are mysteriously missing (licensing issues?).
The 50th anniversary of Woodstock is coming up in August, so it’s no surprise that Record Store Day 2019 features a smattering of Woodstock performances. Legacy is releasing the shows of Sly & The Family Stone and Janis Joplin for the first time on vinyl (they were previously released as CD sets paired with Stand! and I Got Dem ‘Ol Kozmic Blues Again, Mama!, respectively). Atlantic is putting out the “mono PA mix” of the 3LP Woodstock concert film soundtrack. According to the RSD UK website listing, this mix is “exactly what you would have heard coming out of the loudspeakers” had you attended Woodstock. Interestingly, actual Woodstock performances of Arlo Guthrie’s “Coming Into Los Angeles” and Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young’s “Wooden Ships” and “Sea of Madness” will appear on the Woodstock album for the first time. The original album used other performances yet billed them as “live at Woodstock” like the rest of the recordings on the album. The CSNY cuts here are being released for the first time.
At CES in January Crosley unveiled the limited edition RSD3 turntable, which exclusively plays 3” records like the 8ban ones popularized in Japan. Stylized after the Technics SL-1200, the RSD3 utilizes a standard-size Audio-Technica AT3600L moving magnet cartridge and has a 3.5mm AUX/headphone output. It can be either battery powered or plugged in, and also features a pitch control slider. A copy of Foo Fighters’ “Big Me” 3” comes with every Crosley RSD3 turntable, which will retail for about $70.
8ban records gained exposure among American record collectors after the White Stripes released several 3” singles and marketed a player known as the “Triple Inchophone” in 2005. Jack White’s Third Man Records is releasing 3” singles from the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, the Dead Weather, and Jack White, with most White Stripes 3” singles available at Third Man storefronts only. Third Man storefronts will also carry a special Third Man-branded edition of the RSD3 turntable.
Following the success of last year’s mono reissue of The Piper At The Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd Records/Legacy will follow it up with a mono reissue of A Saucerful Of Secrets. While the Piper mono came in an Aubrey Powell-designed envelope with a poster, Saucerful will come in a bare-bones sleeve like the standard stereo reissue. Digitally remastered by Joel Plante and James Guthrie and cut by Bernie Grundman, this reissue of the rare mono mix is limited to 6500 copies for the United States (more for the rest of the world).
UMe announced a standalone vinyl release of the “raw studio mixes” from John Lennon’s Imagine super deluxe CD/Blu-ray box set released last year. For more information about the box set and these mixes you can watch the Imagine unboxing on the AnalogPlanet YouTube channel or read the review posted here by Michael Fremer. For around $35 (prices from Bull Moose and other indie retailers with online price listings) the content of the box set’s third CD will be on 2LP 180g vinyl packaged in a hideously bad jacket that most bootleg covers can beat. Don’t freak out with worry over snagging it on RSD though; Imagine (Raw Studio Mixes) is listed as an “RSD First” release that will be available on a normal basis in the near future.
ABKCO will reissue the Rolling Stones’ Big Hits (High Tides & Green Grass) UK and Through the Past, Darkly compilations with restored artwork (the “fish-eye” cover on the former and the color-coded stereo inner sleeve on the latter’s octogonal jacket) on green and orange vinyl, respectively. Both records are cut by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios, pressed in the United States, and limited to 7000 copies.
In addition to the 3” records, Third Man Records will release a standard black vinyl reissue of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s Trout Mask Replica following last year’s “Vault” subscription-only colored vinyl reissue of the album. It’s cut by Chris Bellman from Bob Ludwig-mastered 96/24 files sourced from safeties (except “Frownland” and “Hair Pie: Bake 2” which are DSD transfers from the original damaged master tapes), pressed at Third Man Pressing in Detroit, and comes in a heavyweight Stoughton tip-on gatefold. No need to panic over it on RSD as it’s listed as an “RSD First” release but I can attest that the “Vault” reissue (now going for $100 on third-party marketplaces) sounds excellent given the original recording quality, and the jacket is beautifully done.
Industrial hip-hop group Death Grips announced the first physical release of their 22 minute “Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber)” megamix EP, now backed by “electronic drum solo dub mix” and the Les Claypool-featuring “More Than The Fairy.” For those who aren’t familiar, the “Steroids” megamix is a handful of song ideas patched together in one long wonderful assault on your eardrums. Not everybody enjoys it but I’ll be lining up for it!
Following last year’s autobiography Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc. and the closely released solo album Warm, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy will unleash another album of new compositions, Warmer. Recorded in the same sessions as Warm, Warmer will be limited to 5000 vinyl copies for RSD (others will be available at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, Massachusetts).
Rhino/Atlantic announced a 3LP expanded edition of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young’s 1971 live album 4 Way Street. Originally a double LP, this expanded edition contains four bonus songs – “King Midas In Reverse,” “Laughing,” “Black Queen,” and “Medley: The Loner/Cinnamon Girl/Down On The River” – previously only available on the 1992 CD edition. The 3LP set is cut by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering and limited to 9000 copies.
Modern Harmonic will release a special 7”/DVD set John Cage Meets Sun Ra with unreleased footage of the time the avant-garde composer and the space-jazz musician met each other at the Coney Island boardwalk for a concert together in June 1986. The 7” contains two selections from that concert while the DVD features a documentary combining VHS footage with the original audio master, warts and all. This is an RSD Exclusive limited to 1350 copies. (Modern Harmonic previously released the full concert on CD, available on their website.)
4AD is coming out with the first vinyl reissues of Pixies lead singer Black Francis/Frank Black’s first two solo albums since their original release back in the 1990’s. Frank Black and Teenager of the Year will be pressed on orange and white vinyl respectively, and are the first official US pressings of these albums. Original UK and European pressings of both albums (especially Teenager of the Year) command high prices on the used market, and these reissues are limited to only 4500 copies each so act quick on RSD if you want them!
Rhino has a smattering of records from many genres, but one that will be of interest to early hip-hop enthusiasts is a 6 12” box set of Sugar Hill Records singles and EPs. The Sugar Hill 40th Anniversary DJ Box Set features monumental tracks from the Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, and more in a slipcase with liner notes and a digital download of the tracks. The box set is limited to 2000 copies worldwide.
Lou Reed’s 2000 studio album Ecstasy will receive its first-ever vinyl reissue on 2LP 180g vinyl courtesy of Rhino. Limited to 7500 copies, Reed’s last solo rock album will finally be available on vinyl outside of original pressings (only available in the US via import) which are extremely rare and cost hundreds of dollars.
I will definitely be lining up early this year at Portland’s Everyday Music on West Burnside St with a couple hundred bucks in my hand, ready to buy many of the records mentioned above. Last year, I lined up outside EM forty-five minutes before opening and had a great, lengthy conversation with the guy in front of me about Kanye West and Frank Ocean records. At 8AM, we all rushed into the store with most people crowding around the dedicated RSD bins, but I found the three albums I wanted within the individual artist bins in the store (where they also stocked the RSD albums). The main difference between last year and what I predict for this year is that last year, I walked out with leftover money. This year, I’ll be broke by the time I walk out but insanely happy! As they say, “steal a man’s wallet and he’ll be broke for a week. Teach a man how to use a turntable and play records and he’ll be broke for life.”