From all of us here at Second Disc HQ to all of you, we hope you’ve enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving in the company of beloved family and friends. Of course, from this day which conjures nostalgic and warm feelings comes a celebration of a different kind with this year’s annual Black Friday shopping extravaganza – and Record Store Day’s miniature cousin to April’s yearly event.
In keeping with TSD tradition, Joe, Randy, and Sam have elected our top picks of the numerous titles being released tomorrow from many of our favorite labels, including Legacy Recordings, Rhino, Real Gone Music, Omnivore Recordings, Varese Sarabande, and more. Don’t hesitate to head over and drop by your local independent record store tomorrow, and don’t fear the crowds. With everybody at the mall and the big boxes, the Black Friday RSD event is usually much more manageable than the April festivities. Without further ado, Sam’s selections come first, then Randy’s, then Joe’s!
Roy Buchanan, Live at Town Hall 1974 (Real Gone Music)
Roy Buchanan is a guitar god’s guitar god. While he never received the same level of notoriety as, say Hendrix or Clapton, his unique tone has captivated generations of guitarists. Jeff Beck dedicated a song to him on his landmark Blow By Blow, The Rolling Stones offered him a spot in the band, and legend says John Lennon once requested to perform with him (Buchanan said no.) Among the best examples of Buchanan’s work is the Live Stock album, a fan favorite culled from his performances at New York City’s Town Hall on November 27, 1974. Though Roy Buchanan performed 21 songs across two sets that night, only six featured on Live Stock (a further track, an incendiary “Down By the River” would appear on a later compilation). Now, Real Gone presents the entire performance on a brand-new, 3-LP set: Live at Town Hall 1974. The recordings on the Bill Levenson-produced collection are sourced from the original Record Plant Mobile Studios multitrack tapes, mixed and mastered by Tom Lewis at Studio 1093 in Athens, and pressed on “Telecaster blonde” colored vinyl in a limited edition of 1,000 copies. Rounding out the lavish package are detailed liner notes by Buchanan biographer Phil Carson and photographs by Charles R. Cohen, both of whom attended the famed concerts. An essential addition to the Roy Buchanan catalog, and to any guitar aficionado’s record library!
Herbie Hancock, Flood (Get On Down)
Herbie Hancock was in full-on funk-fusion mode when he launched his Japanese tour in 1975. Backed by his group, The Headhunters, setlists included songs from his genre-defining albums Head Hunters, Thrust and the yet-to-be-released Man-Child. The Tokyo dates were immortalized on wax with Flood. The 2-LP set was originally only available in Japan and is now making its first-ever authorized U.S. vinyl appearance. The two LPs include replica CBS Japan labels and are housed in a deluxe gatefold package replicating the original Japanese release. Limited to 1,200 copies, this remarkably rare document of the master musician at his funkiest is a must-have for any jazz fan!
Sun Ra, Crystal Spears (Modern Harmonic)
Originally intended to be released on ABC/Impulse! in 1975, Crystal Spears was initially rejected by label heads who just didn’t get the far-out sounds of Sun Ra’s latest offering. Business manager Alton Abraham retained the rights, rechristened the album Crystal Spears and assigned Saturn Records catalog # 562, but it remained unissued. Now, more than 40 years later, Modern Harmonic is issuing the first-ever legitimate LP release of the album. Limited to 1,350 copies, the album comes on red vinyl and includes liner notes by Sun Ra authority, Brother Cleve, plus a quad-ra colored poster of the album art. The set will also be released on CD in an edition of 650 copies.
The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo: Legacy Edition (Legacy Recordings)
From the jangly rock of their earliest work, to jazz-inspired psych and far-out experiments, The Byrds never shied away from traversing genres. By 1968, founder David Crosby had exited and was replaced by Gram Parsons, whose penchant for old-time country and folk impacted their next change-of-course. With a new direction, The Byrds went to Nashville armed with a repertoire of classic bluegrass, folk, and country. Backed by many Nashville session cats, the resulting LP gave rise to the burgeoning country-rock genre. In celebration of the album’s 50th anniversary, Legacy Recordings is offering a new 4-LP box set of their Legacy Edition of the album. Originally released on CD in 2003, the collection arrives to vinyl for the first time on Record Store Black Friday. Across the four 150-gram discs are the original classic album plus 28 bonus tracks featuring demos, outtakes, rehearsals, and more. The package also includes detailed liner notes and a download code so you can take the music with you wherever you go.
Soul Asylum, The Twin/Tone Years (Omnivore)
More than a decade before their hit “Runaway Train” won them a Grammy, the Minneapolis rock group Soul Asylum began their career on the hometown label, Twin/Tone. Omnivore Recordings’ new 5-LP set celebrates those early years, giving the deluxe box set treatment to Soul Asylum’s Twin/Tone output. The set collects the band’s first three albums (Say What You Will…Anything Can Happen, Made To Be Broken, and While You Were Out), along with their classic EP, Clam Dip & Other Delights, and a bonus LP of Twin/Tone Extras, which collects bonus tracks from Omnivore’s recent CD reissues. The set also includes a 20-page booklet with liner notes, memorabilia, and rare photographs. All the music has been restored by Michael Graves at Osiris and cut to vinyl by Chris Muth at Taloowa. Limited to 1,500 copies, the set is a welcome addition to any discerning rock fan’s collection.
Here are Randy’s five picks!
Bobbie Gentry, Ode To Billie Joe (Elemental Music)
This has been a good year for fans of Bobbie Gentry with the release of Universal’s excellent 8-CD box set The Girl from Chickasaw County which gathered all of the elusive songstress’ Capitol recordings including a host of unreleased tracks. Now, vinyl fans will have an opportunity to revisit her catalog with Elemental Music’s new 180-gram vinyl reissue her debut album Ode To Billie Joe from 1967. This No. 1 album featured the Grammy-winning classic title song which launched Gentry’s career as well as a host of other indelible songs penned by the singer. Elemental’s new reissue has been cut and mastered for vinyl by Kevin Gray directly from the original tapes so it should sound superb for enthusiasts of the format. It is limited to 1,500 copies.
Guns N’ Roses, “Shadow of Your Love” b/w “Move To The City” (1988 Acoustic Version) (Geffen)
Back in June, Guns N’ Roses released a reissue of their seminal 1987 Appetite For Destruction in a variety of formats. Among those was a gargantuan box which retailed for nearly $1000 called the Locked and Loaded version which included a plethora of exclusive vinyl discs. One of those number was this newly created 7-inch single featuring two previously unreleased songs from the 1986 Sound City Sessions (early sessions for the eventual album). The songs from those sessions make for fascinating listening for fans of the album. In the box set, this single was pressed in yellow vinyl. Here, it comes in red and is limited to 7,000 copies.
Paul Williams, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (Varese Vintage)
Paul Williams will, of course, be forever linked to Jim Henson and the Muppets due to the classic “Rainbow Connection” from 1979’s The Muppet Movie. However, this collaboration with Henson predates that song. In 1977, Williams was brought on board to write the music and lyrics for a television special directed by Henson. Based on a children’s story of the same name, the plot revolves around Emmet Otter forming a jug-band to compete in talent competition around Christmas with the inevitable complications that ensue. Airing on HBO in the US on December 17, 1977, the program was critically acclaimed and nominated for four Emmys. It has been released on DVD but the soundtrack never got an official album until earlier this month when Varese put out a CD of its delightful songs. This is the 16- track album’s first appearance on vinyl and should be an excellent listen for fans of Williams and Henson’s beloved Muppets. It is limited to 2,000 copies.
The Mamas and the Papas, The Complete Singles (Real Gone Music)
From their very first single, 1966’s “Go Where You Wanna Go,” The Mamas and the Papas spread their singular brand of California sunshine. John Phillips, Michelle Phillips, Denny Doherty and Cass Elliot were aided by producer Lou Adler, engineer Bones Howe, arranger Marty Paich, and the studio veterans of the Los Angeles Wrecking Crew (including Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel and Joe Osborn), among others, for their harmony-rich, sun-kissed recordings. The group released five studio albums and 31 unique single sides on Dunhill between 1966 and 1972. Among those singles are such classic songs as “Monday, Monday,” “California Dreamin’,” “Creeque Alley,” “I Saw Her Again,” “Words of Love,” “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Glad to Be Unhappy,” “Dedicated to the One I Love,” and “It’s Getting Better.” Real Gone’s new vinyl set includes each single side in its original mono mix. It has been remastered by Aaron Kannowski. Also included are liner notes from co-producer Ed Osborne featuring quotes from Michelle Phillips and Lou Adler as well as rarely-seen photographs. This compilation was first available back in 2016 on CD in celebration of the group’s 50th anniversary. The CD version boasted 53 tracks as it included the solo singles from the individual band members. This new vinyl edition contains only the singles from the group. This is a great way to experience the music of the one of the most unique bands of the 1960s. The 2-LP set is limited to 750 copies.
Madonna, Ray of Light (Rhino)
Madonna’s successful 1998 electronica album celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The album ushered in a new era for the Material Girl after her initial dance-pop hits in the 1980s and then her move into more ballad-oriented material for the majority of the 1990s. Featuring the hit title song and “Frozen,” the album went four times platinum and topped the charts in the U.K.; it was only kept out of the peak position in the U.S. by the Titanic soundtrack. It won four Grammys, including Best Pop Album. While some might say Madonna has kept this particular sound going for a little too long, Ray of Light remains a classic album in her discography. This 2-LP limited edition of 7,000 copies comes on 180-gram clear vinyl.
Lastly, here’s Joe’s top five!
America, Highlights from Heritage: Home Recordings/Demos 1970-1973 (Omnivore)
Omnivore offers a selection of essential highlights from its acclaimed 2017 collection of America’s early demos and home recordings. This is the period that yielded the classic albums America (1971), Homecoming (1972), and Hat Trick (1973), and this set includes fascinating, embryonic renditions of both hits and hidden treasures from the trio of Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, and Dan Peek. Bunnell’s liner notes are reprinted in this first-time-on-vinyl edition. Limited to 1,000 units.
Duke Ellington, Plays with the Original Motion Picture Score: Mary Poppins (Reprise/Rhino)
Since the film’s debut in 1964, the music of Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins has enchanted audiences worldwide. Upon the movie’s release, the songs of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman inspired countless cover renditions including full-length LPs by Louis Prima, The Do-Re-Mi Children’s Chorus with Broadway superstar Mary Martin, Lawrence Welk, The Flintstones, and even more peculiarly, Ray Walston of Broadway’s Damn Yankees and television’s My Favorite Martian. But the finest is undoubtedly the interpretation by jazz legend Duke Ellington. Recorded for his friend Frank Sinatra’s Reprise label, Ellington’s Mary Poppins found the pianist-bandleader and longtime collaborator Billy Strayhorn recasting the songs in swing, blues, and jazz. This utterly absorbing, magical record is back on vinyl today from Rhino in a replica edition on colored vinyl featuring the original Disney cover artwork. Limited to 3,000 units.
Al Jardine, A Postcard from California (Friday Music)
Al Jardine is sending a very special Postcard for RSD Black Friday with the vinyl premiere of his 2010 solo debut. A Postcard from California blends nostalgic lyrics with good-time rock-and-roll riffs as Jardine welcomes a “Who’s Who” of talents including the late Glen Campbell, three-quarters of CSNY (David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young), Steve Miller, America’s Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell, plus Brian Wilson, David Marks, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, and even the late Carl Wilson. This vibrant slice of sunny California music adds an actual postcard hand-signed by Al Jardine. Limited to 1,000 units.
Harry Nilsson, The Nilsson Popeye Demos (Varese Vintage)
2017 saw Varese Vintage do the impossible with the first-ever authorized CD release of Harry Nilsson’s Popeye soundtrack. But rather than just reissue the original album, Varese went one step further by offering a plethora of bonus tracks including an entire disc of demos recorded by Nilsson in his inimitable style. Now, those enjoyably zany demos from one of rock’s true iconoclasts are making their vinyl premiere in an edition boasting all-new, specially-created artwork. Well, blow me down! This return to Sweethaven is a delightful addition to any collection. Limited to 1,800 units.
Todd Rundgren, Something/Anything? (Bearsville/Rhino)
Todd Rundgren’s third and most beloved album, 1972’s Something/Anything?, gets the deluxe vinyl treatment with one red LP and one blue LP plus a bonus 7-inch single of the “Hello, It’s Me” single edit b/w “Cold Morning Light.” Rundgren’s sprawling and diverse masterwork, Something/Anything? offers one remarkable song after another in a blaze of sound and fury including the Carole King-inspired “I Saw the Light,” the scorching metal of “Black Maria,” the power pop explosion of “Couldn’t I Just Tell You,” and the beautifully wistful “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference.” It still might be the finest hour (plus) from a true original. Limited to 3,500 units.
And “Honorable Mention” goes to…
The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, The Dream Syndicate and Rain Parade, 3×4 (Yep Roc)
“The Paisley Underground” was the name given to a loose group of pop bands from California in the early-to-mid-1980s incorporating jangly guitars, lush harmonies, and a dose of psychedelia. Now, four of those enduring bands have come together to pay tribute to one another! The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, The Dream Syndicate, and Rain Parade have all joined forces on 3×4, covering each other’s songs with joyful abandon and top-notch production values recapturing the Paisley Underground spirit. This blast from the past is available on CD and as a psychedelic purple swirl 2-LP set limited to 900 units. This title will be released to general retail on January 19, 2019.