The shops are open, spring is in the air, and the record buyer’s thoughts turn to, well - records. Luckily, it’s Record Store Day again on April 23, so what are the limited-edition, super-covetable releases to look out for, and what trends can be gleaned from the combined efforts of the dozens of labels getting involved?
First up, the big guns have anniversaries to mark. The Rolling Stones’ More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) (UMC/ABKCO) gets a fiftieth anniversary refresh on double coloured vinyl with embossed Gered Mankowitz litho prints. Joni Mitchell’s Blue 50: Demos, Outtakes And Live Tracks From Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 2 (Rhino) is a single 180-gram black LP pick of rarities from last year’s archive box.
Repressed on vinyl for the first time since ‘72,Dusty Springfield’s See All Her Faces (UMC/Mercury) gets a five-decade double-disc expansion with out-takes and extra tracks. **T. Rex’**s The Slider (Demon), meanwhile, marks half a century with a fetching picture disc: a 40th Anniversary edition of Dire Straits’ Love Over Gold (UMC/Mercury) is a half-speed master to benefit the War Child Charity.
Other anniversaries are less strictly observed. The Doors’ four LP L.A. Woman Sessions (Rhino) reveals song-by-song in-studio development of the group’s 1971 farewell, including a Riders On The Storm demo with soon-to-quit producer Paul Rothschild. A new iteration of Stevie Nicks’ 1981 LP Bella Donna (Rhino) adds bonuses never released on vinyl before, while a repress of Groundhogs’ Hogwash (Fire Records) has its original 1971 tri-fold sleeve restored and gets an extra disc of live album tracks from a BBC In Concert broadcast.
Lou Reed’s I’m So Free: 1971 RCA Demos (Sony CMG) is a favourites-heavy, first-time-on-album document of Lou’s first solo session.
The mysterious frisson of coloured vinyl is, as ever, well represented. Blur’s Bustin’ + Dronin’ (Parlophone) is reborn on double blue and green LP with a replica Japanese OBI strip, while Soul Jazz Records make super-fine comps Betty Harris: The Lost Queen Of New Orleans Soul and Studio One Classics re-available on green and purple wax respectively.
Scott Walker’s solo comp Boy Child (UMC) gets expanded onto two 180-gram white albums with and new notes from Jarvis Cocker, while The League Unlimited Orchestra’s 1982 remix classic Love And Dancing (UMC) get the half-speed treatment and a white vinyl makeover. At 40, The Who’s It’s Hard (UMC/Polydor) gets expanded on orange and yellow vinyl.
Elsewhere, archival compilations become fully-fledged LPs in their own right. Pearls Before Swine’s The Exaltation Of Tom Rapp (Earth Recordings) collects unreleased recordings and rarities from the psych folk cult. Karen Dalton’s Shuckin’ Sugar (Delmore Recording Society, INC) selects from three 1963 reel-to-reel tapes, with Dalton singing solo and in duet with Richard Tucker. Including seven never-heard songs, it’s pressed by Third Man on “transparent, natural vinyl.”
Sandy Denny’s two-LP The Early Home Recordings (Earth Recordings) sees 27 pre-Fairport cuts make their vinyl debut, including two versions of Who Knows Where the Time Goes. Sandy can also be heard singing her signature song for the last time on Gold Dust Live At The Royalty (UMC/Island), where her final gig from 1977 makes its vinyl debut. Her husband, bandmate and producer Trevor Lucas’ long-lost 1966 LP Overlander (Earth Recordings) also gets an official RSD reissue.
This year, the noble seven-inch single remains an essential format. Five 45s by Ronnie Wood’s first group The Birds are boxed as The Birds Ride Again (Flood Gallery), while from Blondie, the Sunday Girl EP (UMC/Capitol) is a 7” double-pack featuring the original 1979 hit version and the French version (on red wax), and the ’78 demo and a live ’79 version on a second yellow disc. Foo Fighters’ Making A Fire (Mark Ronson Re-Version) b/w Chasing Birds (Preservation Hall Jazz Band Re-Version)(Columbia) finds Grohl’s musical pals covering Medicine At Midnight tracks.
On 10”, David Bowie’s Toy E.P. collects rarities from 2000, while four-track 12” Brilliant Adventure features unheard material from the 1.OUTSIDE era, (both Parlophone). Newly upgraded to 12”, U2’s A Celebration (UMC/Island) adds two unreleased takes to the 1982 original. Turning singles back into albums, conversely, is Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Altered Reels (UMC), which collects the capricious, lunatic “cassingles” for big hits Relax and Two Tribes.
The live LPs are also tempting this year. Laura Nyro’s Trees Of The Ages: Laura Nyro Live In Japan (Omnivore) was previously a 2003 Japanese CD-only release of 1994 performances in Tokyo and Osaka, while Grateful Dead’s Wembley Empire Pool, London, England 4/8/72 (Rhino) comes on five LPs in a ‘Two Piece Telescope Box.’ Jefferson Airplane Live at The Monterey International Pop Festival (The Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation) marks the first time the group’s 1967 show has been released on vinyl.
It’s fair to say live jazz aficionados will feel catered to. Revelations (Elemental Music) is a five-LP, illustrated and annotated complete document of two French gigs by free jazz sax colossus Albert Ayler, recorded by the French national broadcaster ORTF just months before his death in 1970. Resonance Records make two Bill Evans shows in Buenos Aires from 1979 and 1973 officially available for the first time, mastered by Bernie Grundman: Grundman also does the honours on Charles Mingus’ three-LP, 1972-recorded The Lost Album From Ronnie Scott’s (Resonance Records).
There are also movie soundtracks of note: **Angelo Badalamenti’**s OST to David Lynch’s 1986 masterpiece Blue Velvet (Concord/UMG) is expanded with an hour of extra and alternative cues on ‘Marbleized Blue’ vinyl, while Ennio Morricone works including Una Pistola Per Ringo /Il Ritorno Di Ringo (BTF) and Trio Infernale (Rustblade) are available on a variety of eye-catching vinyl hues. Bruno Nicolai’s “sensual, deranged” film score La Dama Rossa Uccide Sette Volte (Decca/CAM Sugar) is inevitably available on ‘Blood Red Vinyl’: Hip Hop OST Breakin’: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Get On Down), by contrast, comes in a ‘Coke Bottle Clear Pressing.’
Other RSD initiatives include a 15th Anniversary limited edition turntable from Rega, available on the day, and numerous grassroots larks across the nation, such as Shrubs & Dubs of Hackney giving away a shrub with RSD purchases (see the RSD site for more incentives to get out and mingle). Finally, does a book count for RSD? It does if it’s Jonny Trunk’s A-Z Of Record Shop Bags (Fuel). Available this RSD, it’s a nostalgic, poignant and fascinating trawl of more than 500 carrier bags from vinyl outlets from the ‘40s to the ‘90s, from Rumbelows to Muzik City and all stops in between. Time to go and get some bags, as well as records, to treasure, then.
See recordstoreday.co.uk for more info. Support your local record shop!
More admirable RSD oddities to watch for.
- Ronald Binge
Sailing By (Theme from the Shipping Forecast)/ Elizabethan Serenade
(Vinyl Exotica 7”)
Radio 4’s etherising late night mood masterpiece and the ‘light music’ classic, together at last on blue wax.
- Ambrose Slade
US-only ’69 Slade LP, on translucent blue vinyl and in original livery. Notes mis-spell Dave Hill’s name as ‘Hilton’!
- Nick Lowe
(Yep Roc LP)
Nick’s 1978 LP was Pure Pop For Now People in the US, and Jesus Of Cool everywhere else. He mischievously told one outlet it was to be called Wireless World, and they reported it. 44 years on Wireless World is finally released… on “Dustbin Green” vinyl.
- Brian Bennett
Voyage (A Journey into Discoid Funk)
(Real Gone Music LP)
Shadows sticksman’s breaks’n’synths cult classic for louche, tipsy androids, on ‘Blue with Black Swirl’ wax.
- The Damned
40th anniversary reissue goes Smellyvision with “strawberry scented, pink & red swirl vinyl.” Sniff up!