Looking for our usual Release Round-Up? Alas, there’s not much new in the way of catalogue music this Friday (and we’ve already filled you in on Billy Paul and Leon Russell!), but for a very good reason: tomorrow sees releases a-plenty as part of Record Store Day! Without further ado, welcome to our annual rundown of Must-Haves for this year’s RSD event! Once you’re through reading, let us know what you’re most looking forward to picking up tomorrow at your favorite local independent retailer! Our list features just a sampling of our favorites from our friends at Legacy Recordings, Varese Sarabande, Rhino Records, Real Gone Music, Omnivore Recordings, Universal Music, Walt Disney Records, and more!
Joe’s kicking things off with his picks!
Various Artists, Simply Sherman: Disney Hits from the Sherman Brothers (Walt Disney Records) (Limited to 4,300 copies)
There can never be too many celebrations of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious songwriting team that provided the soundtrack of our collective childhood. One vinyl LP isn’t nearly enough to paint a full portrait of the Shermans’ oeuvre, but Simply Sherman is a delightful sampler from the team that wrote the indelible scores to the original Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, “It’s a Small World,” and many more. It’s the feel-good release of RSD ’19 from the songwriters that made an art out of deceptive simplicity and in doing so, found their way into our hearts.
Louis Armstrong, Disney Songs the Satchmo Way (Walt Disney Records) (Limited to 4,200 copies)
Disney reissues the 1968 Buena Vista LP that found the raspy-voiced legend dipping into the Mouse House’s songbook as only he could. There are Sherman Brothers tunes, of course (“Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “‘Bout Time,” and “Ten Feet Off the Ground”- the latter two from The One and Only, Original, Genuine Family Band) as well as earlier standards such as “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “Heigh Ho,” and “Whistle While You Work,” all delivered loose and swinging in the trademark Satchmo growl. Happily, the original cover artwork absent from the last CD reissue has been restored for this RSD exclusive.
Todd Rundgren, The Complete U.S. Bearsville and Warner Bros. Singles (Rhino)
For the first time, all of Todd Rundgren’s American singles released on the Bearsville and Warner Bros. labels are compiled in one place – in this case, a 4-LP set. Rhino promises that all tracks will be included in their original single versions, making this an indispensable release for fans of The Individualist. “Hello, It’s Me,” “I Saw the Light,” and “Can We Still Be Friends” only tell part of the story of this remarkable artist and musician; this comprehensive set of truly diverse pop and rock should fill in the gaps.
Dennis Wilson, Taylor Hawkins, Brian May and Roger Taylor, Holy Man (Caribou/Legacy) (Limited to 3,000 copies)
The late Dennis Wilson only completed an instrumental track for his moody “Holy Man,” which finally saw the official light of day in 2008 on the 30th anniversary edition of the Beach Boy’s lost masterwork Pacific Ocean Blue. For that reissue, Foo Fighters’ similarly raspy-voiced Taylor Hawkins was tapped to record vocals for the track, with the blessing of Wilson’s collaborator and lyricist Gregg Jakobson. Now, more than a decade later, Legacy has brought along Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May to add their muscular style to the Wilson/Hawkins gem. Taylor has added tuned percussion and background vocals; May has added expectedly scorching guitar and background vocals, in addition to providing the vocal arrangements and even contributing the cover to this 45 RPM black vinyl single. Side A has their new interpretation of “Holy Man” – think The Beach Boys meets Queen, thanks to the new, soaring harmonies and added sense of drama – while Side B boasts the original Wilson instrumental.
Elvis Costello and The Imposters, Purse (Concord) (Limited to 3,000 copies)
Elvis Costello’s Look Now was one of 2018’s best albums; now, the musical renaissance man, his band The Imposters, and co-producer Sebastian Krys are back with a new four-song EP featuring a quartet of his favorite collaborators. Side One has a never-before-released song co-written with Burt Bacharach (co-author of three of Look Now‘s finest songs), “Everyone’s Playing House,” as well as the vintage McCartney co-write “The Lovers That Never Were.” Side Two boasts “If You Love Me,” featuring lyrics by Johnny Cash, and “Down on the Bottom,” with words by Bob Dylan. The latter was previously heard in a version on Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes. Expectations are high for this Purse of future Costello classics.
Next up, here are Sam’s selections!
Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks: The Original New York Test Pressing (Legacy Recordings) (Limited to 7,500 copies)
Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks was given the deluxe treatment last year with a 6-CD Bootleg Series box set that chronicled the New York and Minnesota recording sessions for his landmark album, all newly remixed from the original tapes. Now, fans who want even more blood and even more tracks will be queuing up for Blood on the Tracks: The Original New York Test Pressing, featuring 1974 alternate mixes of material from his A&R Studios recordings in New York City. The release is an exact replica of the original test pressing, which contains unique mixes that are available officially for the first time ever.
Various Artists, Stax Does The Beatles (Stax/Craft Recordings) (Limited to 2,500 copies)
The enduring influence of The Beatles’ knack for songcraft was far reaching and almost instantaneous. They created a new repertoire of modern standards that were covered not only by other rock bands, but also by stars in jazz, pop, Broadway, and of course, soul music. Stax Does The Beatles brings together 15 thrilling Beatles covers from the Stax catalogue onto vinyl for the first time. The 2-LP set features a who’s who of Stax stars, including Otis Redding, Booker T. & The MGs, Isaac Hayes, Carla Thomas, David Porter, The Mar-Keys, Reggie Milner and John Gary Williams and is packaged in a deluxe gatefold sleeve with embossed front cover art and extensive liner notes. From Isaac Hayes’ sprawling “Something” and Otis Redding’s rollicking “Day Tripper,” to Carla Thomas’ live take on “Yesterday” and guitar legend Steve Cropper’s instrumental version of “With A Little Help From My Friends,” the collection is an all-killer, no-filler set of first-rate covers from some of the best talent to record for Stax.
Elton John, Live in Moscow (UMe) (Limited to 4,000 copies)
Forty years ago, Elton John made history as the first Western rock musician to tour Russia. His May 28, 1979 show in Moscow was broadcast by the BBC and now, tracks from the famed concert with Ray Cooper will arrive on a 2-LP, ultra-clear vinyl edition with a download card. With a stunning setlist of hits and fan favorites, remastered by Bob Ludwig from the original tapes, and cut at Abbey Road, this set is one of the highlights of Record Store Day 2019.
Woody Guthrie, I Don’t Like The Way The World’s A-Treatin’ Me (Omnivore Recordings) (Limited to 1,500 copies)
Woody Guthrie was among the pillars of the folk movement, a songwriter and singer whose songs of struggle, political strife, and freedom have left an indelible mark on music. On Record Store Day, Omnivore Recordings – in collaboration with the Woody Guthrie Archives – will release a 10″ EP featuring a lost song by Guthrie: “I Don’t Like the Way This World’s A-Treatin’ Me,” originally written and recorded as a home demo in 1952. The EP will also include a version of demo with new accompaniment from Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, alongside two versions of “Beech Haven Ain’t My Home” (otherwise known as “Old Man Trump”). The song’s lyrics chronicle Guthrie’s time as a tenant to Fred Trump and are performed by Ryan Harvey featuring Ani DiFranco and Tom Morello. Another recording by the band U.S. Elevator also features on the EP.
Various Artists, Woodstock: Original Soundtrack [Mono PA Version] (Warner Bros./Rhino)
Since the music festival took place in 1969, Woodstock has come to exemplify the hippie era. In those fifty years, many a promoter has sought to recapture the magic of that August weekend, to varying degrees of success. (Watch for more such attempts this summer!) While later Woodstock-branded festivals may have featured excellent music, none has proved quite as magical as the first. Now, listeners can get “back to the garden” with Rhino’s new look at the Woodstock soundtrack album. Woodstock: Mono PA Version follows the same track listing as the original soundtrack, but while the original was pieced together from various sources (including a few tracks that weren’t recorded at Woodstock at all!), the new version is sourced from the mono PA feed tapes of the actual concert. Among the tracks making their debut are Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “Sea of Madness” and “Wooden Ships.”
Various Artists, Poppies: Assorted Finery from the First Psychedelic Age (Craft Recordings) (Limited to 2,500 copies)
The psychedelic era gave rise to many a music legend, but there were several whose music may have been just as compelling but who never quite ascended to stardom. In the decades since, those tracks by overlooked and forgotten psychedelic acts have become increasingly hard-to-find. But for Craft Recordings is set to bring some of that lost gold to listeners with their RSD red vinyl edition of Poppies: Assorted Finery From The First Psychedelic Age. The 13-track album (also coming soon to CD) collects tracks from the vaults of Vanguard, Stax, Hip, Musart, and Original Sound, including cult classics by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Southwest F.O.B. and long-lost psych goodness from the likes of The Honey Jug, The Sot Weed Factor, Erik, The Serpent Power, and The Human Jungle (whose previously unreleased “When Will You Happen To Me” is a highlight of the set). Listeners can also enjoy the new liner notes by Grammy nominee Alec Palao which provide details on the artists and songs on the set.
Pink Floyd, A Saucerful of Secrets [Mono LP] (Pink Floyd Records/Legacy) (Limited to 6,500 copies)
A Saucerful of Secrets is a classic psychedelic gem from the early days of Pink Floyd. It was the only album to feature the “five-man Floyd” lineup of Roger Waters, Richard Wright, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett and Syd’s future-replacement, David Gilmour. on guitar and vocals. With such classics as “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” “Remember a Day,” and Barrett’s swan song “Jugband Blues,” the album remains a favorite among Pink Floyd fans and its mono mix has been something of a holy grail. Now, fans can enjoy a new pressing of the original mono mix of A Saucerful of Secrets, which has been newly remastered by James Guthrie, Joel Plante, and Bernie Grundman from the original 1968 analog tapes. The album will be pressed on 180-gram vinyl and housed in a poly-lined inner sleeve within a reproduction of the original LP package (though not in a tip-on jacket).
Various Artists, Stax: Boy Meets Girl (Stax/Craft Recordings) (Limited to 1,000 copies)
50 years ago, Stax released a compilation that brought together some of the best male and female singers on the label for an album of duets. With appearances by William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, Carla Thomas and Cleotha, Mavis and Pervis Staples, the album spotlights the talents of not only vocalists on Stax, but the songwriters, musicians, and production team that created such enduring soul classics. Craft Recordings will bring the album back in print on vinyl for the first time since its original run, presented on high-quality black vinyl.
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, 4 Way Street (Atlantic/Rhino)
4 Way Street was the final album of Crosby Stills Nash and Young’s classic era. Originally recorded on the road in 1970, the double-album has been expanded for RSD with an additional LP of bonus tracks: “King Midas in Reverse,” “Laughing,” “Black Queen,” and “The Loner/Cinnamon Girl/Down By the River.” The four tracks spotlight the individual talents of CSNY and make their vinyl debut here. all the tracks have been newly remastered and were cut by Chris Bellman and pressed onto 180-gram vinyl.
Last but not least, here are Randy’s faves!
Badfinger, So Fine – Warner Bros. Rarities (Real Gone Music – Limited to 900 copies)
Last November, Real Gone released expanded editions of Badfinger’s two Warner Bros. albums, 1973’s Badfinger and 1974’s Wish You Were Here. Each album boasted alternate mixes and an unreleased song, proving to be the highlights of the releases. Here is your chance to get the previously unreleased material in one set. The tracks provide an interesting and alternate look at each of the two albums. This 2-LP set also replicates the notes from the CD reissues highlighting the differences between these versions and the originally released tracks.
Billy Joel, Live at Carnegie Hall 1977 (Legacy Recordings – Limited to 3,000 copies)
Prior to the release of The Stranger in September, 1977, Columbia was thinking of dropping Billy Joel. After its release, he would be one of the biggest artists on their roster. A few months before the release of his commercial and creative breakthrough, Joel gave a concert at Carnegie Hall in June, 1977. Featuring two songs from the upcoming LP, “Just The Way You Are” and “Scenes from An Italian Restaurant,” the show would remain unreleased until the 30th anniversary CD edition of The Stranger in 2008. As Joel continues his record-breaking run at Madison Square Garden each month, it is fascinating to hear him relatively early in his career on the brink of superstardom. Making its premiere appearance on vinyl, the concert comes on 2-LPs housed in a gatefold. David Fricke has written new liner notes for the release.
Stu Phillips, Knight Rider (Original Television Soundtrack) (Varese – Limited to 2,000 copies)
Knight Rider, running four seasons from 1982-1986, is a full blast of the 1980s. The action adventure show starring David Hasselhoff about crime fighter Michael Knight and his advanced AI car KITT might not hold up against some of the greatest TV shows of all time, but it remains a lot of fun. However, despite all of the ’80s excess, the score by the venerable Stu Phillips was actually groundbreaking for its use of electronic music. This collection of Phillips’ music from the first season of the program was originally released on CD by Film Score Monthly back in 2005. That edition is long out of print and can be expensive to track down on a physical format. Now, Varese is premiering the content on vinyl with this new 2-LP set so fans of the show can relive the music.
Elvis Presley, Live at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, NV August 23, 1969 (RCA/Legacy Recordings – Limited to 3,000 copies)
1969 was a very good year for Elvis Presley. After his Comeback Special in late 1968, Presley released the critically-acclaimed From Elvis in Memphis in June. The LP contained the No. 3 hit “In The Ghetto,” his first top 10 entry in four years. On July 31, Elvis kicked off a four-week stand at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, his first live shows since the early 1960s. Recordings from these concerts formed the basis for the first LP of the double album From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis, a live/studio hybrid, released in October. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of these concerts, Legacy is releasing this previously unheard concert: the dinner show on August 23rd. (Other shows from the month-long stand have been released over the years). Ranging from his early material to more recent fare, Presley also gives a 10-minute monologue on his career. The 2 LPs of this package are housed in a gatefold and feature replica labels. A sticker on the front of this release announces that this concert will also be part of an upcoming box set featuring all of Elvis’ August 1969 live recordings.
Various Artists, Where The Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets Highlights (Rhino)
The Nuggets series goes all the way back to 1972 and Elektra’s 2-LP compilation of underground psychedelic rock music. In the 1980s, Rhino revived the title with a series of CDs and eventually released five box sets beginning in 1998. The most recent of these, released in 2009, focused on Los Angeles area music from 1965-1968. To celebrate the set’s 10th anniversary, Rhino is now releasing a 2-LP highlights collection for RSD. And while the term “underground” might be stretched a bit when your artists include The Doors, Love, Buffalo Springfield, Sonny & Cher, the Monkees, Tim Buckley, and Randy Newman, among others, the set does focus on some of their more off-the-beaten track material. And it’s the quality of the music which makes this a definite recommendation.
Honorable Mention: Prince, The VERSACE Experience: PRELUDE TO GOLD (Legacy Recordings – Limited to 4,000 copies)
This release replicates one of the most elusive items in Prince’s discography: a promotional cassette given out during Fashion Week in Paris in 1995, featuring remixes and unreleased material. These types of items recreating unique and hard-to-find treasures from the past are some of the best things about RSD. And fans of earlier Prince work can check out Rhino’s RSD release replicating a Japanese single package of His Majesty’s Pop Life/The Purple Mix Club.