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. Record Store Day Black Friday is now almost upon us, so we thought we'd spotlight a few particularly exciting releases arriving to your local brick-and-mortar record shop! Here's our round up of RSD BF must-haves! We're kicking off with Sam's list, and then we'll follow with Randy and Joe's!
Aretha Franklin, The Atlantic Singles Collection 1968 (Atlantic/Rhino)
Last year, fans were treated to a singles box set of all of the Queen of Soul's 1967 sides. While those tracks certainly marked her chart breakthrough, the tracks on this follow-up set of 1968 singles shows her development with favorites like "Think," "Sweet Sweet Baby (Since You Been Gone)," and "I Say A Little Prayer." Limited to only 3,000 copies.
Herbie Hancock, Directstep (Get On Down)
Herbie Hancock has always been a trailblazer, eager to explore new forms, genres, and technologies. The '70s were probably his most adventurous decade and to cap it off, he released Directstep. The Japan-only release utilized a direct-to-disc recording method that allowed performers to perform and record freely without overdubs or studio trickery, a liberating exercise that the jazz master was of course very comfortable with. The album also features the lyricon, a Prophet-5 synth, and Hancock's vocoder system that would become a trademark of his '80s work. Available for the first time in three decades from Get On Down and limited to just 2,200 copies.
Lou Reed, The Raven (Sire)
This 3-LP set marks the vinyl debut of Lou Reed's final solo rock effort (which also provided the score for a stage production directed by avant-garde stalwart Robert Wilson) which saw him reinterpret the evergreen works of Edgar Allan Poe with assists from David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Steve Buscemi, and Willem Dafoe. Limited to 5,000 copies.
Buffy Sainte-Marie, Illuminations (Craft Recordings)
Buffy Sainte-Marie's psych-folk classic celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year. Even today, the electronic experiments sound fresh and new -- especially "Poppies" and the Leonard Cohen-penned "God Is Alive, Magic is Afoot." This RSD BF edition was cut from the analog master tapes, pressed onto 180-gram yellow vinyl at QRP, and housed in a tip-on sleeve replicating the original. It's strictly limited to 1,000 copies, so line up early!
Various Artists, Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration (Verve/Decca)
A star-studded tribute to Joni Mitchell recorded on her 75th birthday at The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in LA arrives to vinyl for the first time. The 16-song, 2-LP set features Brandi Carlile, Glen Hansard, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Chaka Khan, Diana Krall, Kris Kristofferson, Los Lobos with La Marisoul, Cesar Castro & Xochi Flores, Graham Nash, James Taylor, Seal, Rufus Wainwright, and others. The set is limited to just 3,000 copies.
And here are Randy's picks!
Patsy Cline, Sweet Dreams: The Complete Decca Masters 1960-1963 (Third Man Records)
Patsy Cline joined Decca Records in late 1960 after her leaving her first recording home of Four Star Records after six years. Cline would only complete a little over 50 sides for her new label before she tragically died in March, 1963. But these relatively few recordings contained some of the most classic country material ever recorded including "I Fall To Pieces," "She's Got You" and the immortal "Crazy." Cline's recorded output has been anthologized numerous times since her passing, but her complete Decca material has never appeared in one vinyl package before. Third Man Records has packaged the 3 LPs in the set in a tri-gatefold sleeve and the individual discs are colored in pink, purple and pastel.
Bill Conti, Masters of the Universe (Original Soundtrack) (Notefornote)
Fans of the of the 1983 cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe were undoubtedly excited when going to the theater see the live-action film adaptation in 1987. However, their excitement might have waned as the results were...unexpected. The Gary Goddard-directed film bore little resemblance to the television cartoon series or action figure line that spawned it. The names were the same but the movie version seemed to also be inspired by other sources such as Jack Kirby's Fourth World saga. But, hey, at least you got to see Frank Langella playing Skeletor! The film has a cult following today, and so does its soundtrack. Bill Conti, famous for scoring Rocky and The Karate Kid, provided the superlative score in a space-adventure milieu. While the material has been on CD several times, Notefornote Music released a definitive CD edition earlier this year, which this new 2-LP set draws its presentation of the original film soundtrack. The LPs are colored silver and bone white and the package is limited to 800 copies.
The Pretenders, U.K. Singles 1979-1981 (Rhino)
It was forty years ago that the Pretenders' first single, a cover of The Kinks' "Stop Your Sobbing," hit store shelves. To mark the anniversary, Rhino is releasing this box set for RSD compiling the band's first eight U.K. singles into a box set collection. These 45s cover the first two albums from the group: Pretenders I and Pretenders II. You'll find their first big hit "Brass In Pocket" here but also some lesser known cuts. The U.K. singles differ from their U.S. counterparts as the Pretenders were on Sire in the U.S. and Real in Great Britain. So this set includes such tracks as the demo version of "Stop Your Sobbing" from a flexi-disc release and live versions of "English Roses" and "Louie Louie" from the "I Go To Sleep" single.
William Shatner/The Cramps, "Garbageman" (Demented Punk)
Last year saw the release of Dr. Demento's Covered in Punk, where the famous DJ gathered some of his favorite acts to record their own unique versions of punk songs. Among those acts was William Shatner, who contributed his rendition of The Cramps' 1980 song "Garbageman." For this new 12" RSD single release, Demented Punk has paired Shatner's version with the original. They have also added another classic Cramps song: "Human Fly." Two previously unreleased tracks are also included: an instrumental version of Shatner's track along with his a cappella version (because the only thing to improve one's appreciation of Shatner's vocals is to get rid of the music, naturally). New cover artwork has been commissioned by Cramps illustrator Stephen Blickenstaff. The new art is a riff on the cover to the Cramps' 1984 compilation Bad Music For Bad People (which featured their two songs included here). The vinyl comes in neon yellow and is limited to 1,200 copies.
Various Artists, Desperado: The Soundtrack (Real Gone Music)
Director Robert Rodriguez has always featured compelling music in his films and Desperado is no exception. The 1995 film was the sequel to his breakthrough hit El Mariachi. The score was composed by L.A. bands Tito and Tarantula and Los Lobos. The latter would win Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for their "Mariachi Suite" from this album. The soundtrack also included such acts as Link Wray, The Latin Playboys, Dire Straits, and Carlos Santana. Real Gone is bringing the album to vinyl for the first time and has commissioned new artwork by Matt Ryan Tobin which has been approved by Rodriguez and the actors depicted (Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Steve Buscemi, and Joaquim de Almeida). The 2-LP set comes in gatefold sleeve with two inserts of production photos. The "Blood and Gunpowder" colored vinyl is limited to 1,800 copies.
Jimi Hendrix, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (Legacy)
This festive 12" single features the original and extended versions of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Drummer Boy"/"Silent Night"/"Auld Lang Syne" medley which was released as a single in 1979, a decade after its recording. The Electric Ladyland outtake "Three Little Bears" is also included. This compilation has been available before on CD and in 7" and 10" formats, but here it is making its debut on 12" in a picture disc featuring Hendrix dressed as Santa and is limited to 4,500 copies.
John Williams and Anne-Sophie Mutter, Across The Stars: Special Edition (Verve/Deutsche Grammophon)
In August, John Williams teamed with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter to release an album of his film themes he specially arranged for the violinist. In anticipation of his last full-length Star Wars score for The Rise of Skywalker coming next month, Verve has put together this 12" vinyl which features all of the Star Wars selections from the album. This is the only place to get the vinyl version of "Princess Leia's Theme" as it has only been included on the special edition of the CD previously. One side of the 12" features an engraved image of The Death Star. It is limited to 3,000 copies.
Lastly, here are Joe's picks. Happy hunting!
Chet Baker, (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen to You (Riverside/Craft Recordings)
Books have been written and films have been made about Chet Baker's famously tragic life, but his beautiful soul shines through on Craft Recordings' RSD-exclusive mono vinyl edition of his vocal debut, the 1958 Riverside album (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen to You. Fronting Kenny Drew on piano, George Morrow or Sam Jones on bass, and Philly Joe Jones or Danny Richmond on drums, Baker brought the same impeccable sense of phrasing and timing to his vocals as he did to his trumpeting. The ten tracks represent the cream of the crop of the Great American Songbook from writers like Rodgers and Hart (four tunes), Johnny Mercer, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen, and E.Y. Harburg and Burton Lane; whether swinging hard or caressing a ballad, Baker brought affecting sincerity and lyricism as a singer. (He also picks up his horn throughout.) This mono edition has been remastered from the original tapes in an all-analog chain by Kevin Gray at Cohearant Audio and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI. Standards don't come much hipper, or more intimate, than this remarkable album which now sounds better than ever. For even more Baker (which is always welcome!), Craft will be releasing a 5-LP box, The Legendary Riverside Albums, on December 6. This RSD LP is limited to 1,500 copies.
Alex Chilton, My Rival (Omnivore Recordings)
Alex Chilton's My Rival is the latest release celebrating the late Big Star/Box Tops frontman from Omnivore Recordings. This 10-inch EP (coming digitally on December 6) features four previously unissued demos recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis (where else?) by Chilton with his old Big Star partner Chris Bell as engineer. Dating to mid-to-late 1975 after Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers had been shelved, these tracks promise to reveal a brief new chapter in Chilton and Bell's professional lives. The EP has early takes of "My Rival" (later re-cut on Like Flies on Sherbet), "All of the Time" (later re-cut for the Singer Not the Song EP and Bach's Bottom), "She Might Look My Way" (which found its way to Tommy Hoehn's 1978 LP Losing You to Sleep), and "Windows Hotel" (heard in 2015 on the live Ocean Club '77). Any "new" Alex Chilton music is on our must-have list, and this RSD release looks to be no exception. Limited to 1,500 copies.
The Monkees, Christmas Party Plus! (Rhino)
Earlier this year, Rhino brought The Monkees' fun 2018 album Christmas Party to vinyl. Now, the label gives a vinyl debut to a quartet of bonus tracks associated with the album in a two 7-inch single package entitled Christmas Party Plus!. The set contains two versions of Andy Partridge's "Unwrap You at Christmas" (including one sung by the songwriter with a featured vocal from Holly Partridge), and the Monkees classics "Riu Chiu" in its TV version and "Christmas Is My Time of Year" in its 1976 mix. We can't wait to spin this one on Christmas Day.
Various Artists, Records' Land of 1,000 Dances: The Rampart Records 58th Anniversary Complete Singles Collection (Minky Records)
One of RSD Black Friday's most impressive releases isn't a record at all, but rather a CD box set premiering dozens of rare records in the format. Minky Records' Land of 1,000 Dances: The Rampart Records 58th Anniversary Complete Singles Collection proves that one needn't wait for a major number like 60 to release one heckuva box set. This 4-CD, 100+-page hardcover set chronicles Los Angeles' West Coast East Side Sound via 79 tracks from the archives of impresario Eddie Davis' Rampart Records. That's every single released by the independent label between 1961 and 1977 plus selected tracks going up to 1991 from a bevy of Chicano artists and more.
A crate-digger's delight, the set is chockablock with doo-wop, surf, R&B, and soul - and that's just Disc One! On that disc alone, you'll hear Barry White put on his best Ray Charles voice as part of The Atlantics, Ron Holden offer up some torrid soul, and Cannibal and the Headhunters introduce their hit version of "Land of 1,000 Dances" and then sing a doo-wop ballad on the flipside. There are too many highlights to mention, many of which are original songs destined to become favorites. Some familiar tunes are peppered throughout the box - The Blendells doing the early Stevie Wonder B-side "La La La La La," The Atlantics' raucous version of "Hang On Sloopy" entitled "The Sloop Dance," Sammy Lee and The Summits' floor-filling stomp through "Hey Joe," or The Village Callers' spins on Bobbie Gentry's funky "The Mississippi Delta" and Sonny Henry's "Evil Ways" (on the cusp of Santana's hit version). The Callers' "Hector Parts 1 & 2" is also here, as heard in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. What distinguishes all 79 tracks, from doo-wop to disco, is that they pulsate with the infectious energy of the Mexican-American and African-American communities of Los Angeles.
All four discs (each adorned with a unique, period Rampart label), superbly remastered by Mark Wheaton, are housed in the book with detailed essays by Luis J. Rodriguez and Don Waller plus track-by-track annotations. If you're looking for something other than a vinyl record on RSD, you can't go wrong with this comprehensive, compelling collection of hidden treasures.
Various Artists, Motown: Rare and Unreleased (Motown/UMe)
As most everyone reading this knows, Second Disc HQ is perpetually in awe of the amount of amazing material to be found in the Motown vaults. Heck, we've worked with the folks at Motown HQ to liberate some of it on our own Second Disc Records releases, from artists like The Supremes, Bobby Darin, and most recently, Blinky! Now, the fine folks at Motown and UMe are bringing 12 tracks from the label's heaviest hitters - Diana Ross and The Supremes, Martha and The Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Four Tops, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, and more - to a new, must-have LP filled with the best Hitsville, USA tracks you've likely never heard. Every track is a vinyl premiere, and four songs are previously unissued stereo mixes. We can't wait to give this one a spin!
Todd Rundgren, Bang Bang (Yep Roc)
One of the things we love most about Todd Rundgren is his willingness to try anything. In this case, it's covering a very much unloved Squeeze song (writers Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook once nearly disowned it!) in an electropop vein. Whatever the Wizard, the True Star came up with, we'd bet it's worth a listen. This single - part of Yep Roc's Swindles series features the instrumental track of "Bang Bang" on the B-side. It is limited to 1,800 copies.
Tony Joe White, That On the Road Look "Live" (Real Gone Music)
Real Gone continues its RSD celebration with a vinyl edition of the 1971 live recording by Tony Joe White ("Polk Salad Annie") that only saw its first release in 2010 via Rhino Handmade. The white, er, White vinyl LP features the swamp-rocker in his prime backed by a killer band including Donald "Duck" Dunn. This sizzling show from one of the all-time greats is limited to 1,000 copies.
Bruce Springsteen, Western Stars/The Wayfarer (Columbia)
While we were hoping that we might have gotten something unreleased or new to vinyl from Bruce Springsteen for this Black Friday, we can't complain (too much!) about this single collecting two of the finest tracks off his Western Stars (for our money, one of the best - or maybe two of the best, if you consider the film soundtrack, as well! - albums of the year). Bruce brings the title track b/w "The Wayfarer" - two of the album's best songs - to a 7-inch single limited to 4,750 copies. Next time, though, how about "Rhinestone Cowboy" on 45?