Like most things that have gone on this year, Record Store Day 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride. The result: three days of Record Store Drops. This Saturday, October 24, music fans will be joining the queue - whether in-person if it's safe to do so or online - for their chance at some limited-edition vinyl. Ahead of the event itself, we thought we'd break down what you can expect and detail some of the releases for which we're most excited.
The main change from years past? Shorter lines and an embrace of online storefronts. With COVID precuations still very much a part of our day-to-day lives here in the States, the Record Store Day organization has recognized that safety comes first. (Indeed, the same goes for other RSDs around the world.) So they're showing some leniency about online sales. Shops have been allowed to put their stock up online starting typically at 4pm EST the day of the event. While it's always good to support your nearest local record shop, this change means you'll likely have a good shot at finding the albums on your list while supporting independent shops across the nation and the world. In addition to shopping at our favorite local stores - shout-out to Vintage Vinyl, Princeton Record Exchange, CD Cellar, Sound Garden, Songbyrd and Byrdland - we've also had good luck perusing the online stacks at Bull Moose, Rough Trade, Amoeba, Comeback Vinyl, Monster, Luna, Zia, Badlands, Shuga, Plaid Room, Port of Sound, Spin Me Round, and others. So, on this Record Store Day Drop 3, it's especially important (and easier than ever) to avoid those nasty auction flippers and purchase from the places that can really use your help!
As for the titles, well, there are plenty! The official Record Store Day website lists over 100 products due to hit shelves. Here's a sampling of what we've got our eye on! All descriptions are by Sam except where indicated!
Booker T & The M.G.'s, McLemore Avenue (Craft Recordings, LP, 2,500 copies)
50 years ago, Booker T & The M.G.'s released their ode to The Beatles' Abbey Road, and to the street where Booker and his band recorded: McLemore Avenue. Here Booker T. Jones (keyboards), Steve Cropper (guitar), Donald "Duck" Dunn (bass), and Al Jackson Jr. (drums) deliver funky, bluesy takes on 13 songs from The Beatles' album, making them all their own. In fact, their renditions caught the ears of The Beatles, and Paul McCartney has used the M.G.'s version of "The End" as his walk-on music on tour for years. Cut from the original analog master tapes by Jeff Powell in Memphis, pressed onto 180-gram vinyl at MRP and housed in a Stoughton-printed sleeve, the music and the iconic album art have likely never looked or sounded better. It's worth lining up across the street for!
Johnny Cash, Classic Cash: Hall Of Fame Series - Early Mixes (1987) (UMe/Mercury) (2-LP, 5,000 copies)
Two years after signing with Mercury Records, Johnny Cash released Classic Cash: Hall Of Fame Series. The album featured re-recordings of his best-known material (you can hear it as part of the recent Complete Mercury Albums box set). On October 24, you can get your hands on an early mix of that album, mastered from newly unearthed tapes from the vaults at Mercury. For longtime fans and collectors, this one is worth walking the line.
Cheap Trick, Out To Get You! Live 1977 (Legacy, 2-LP, 4,700 copies)
It's June 1977, Los Angeles. The Rockford, Illinois-hailing Cheap Trick have booked some shows at The Whiskey A Go Go in L.A. Energized by the response to their debut and the sessions to its follow-up, In Color, the band deliver a staggering 22-song set featuring a healthy dose of album cuts, covers, and even songs that wouldn't appear on album for years. It's all here on Out To Get You!
The Church, Gold Afternoon Fix (Real Gone Music, LP gold, 1,700 copies)
The Australian band's fan-favorite 1990 album arrives on vinyl in a special gold vinyl pressing. With the pressing run limited to just 1,700 copies, you'll want to head to the record shop and get your fix!
Alice Cooper, Live from the Apollo Theatre Glasgow Feb. 19, 1982 (Rhino/Warner, 2-LP, 7,000 copies)
Recently unearthed from the Warner vaults, this classic Alice Cooper concert arrives in complete form on vinyl for the first time ever. Three of these performances - "Who Do You Think We Are," "Under My Wheels," and "Model Citizen" - appeared as B-sides in the '80s, but just wait 'til you hear the 15 other songs that Alice Cooper and the band unleashed on the audience: "Billion Dollar Babies," "School's Out," "I'm Eighteen," "No More Mr. Nice Guy"...it's all killer and no filler.
Miles Davis, Double Image: Rare Miles From the Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (Legacy, 2-LP red, 6,000 copies)
It's been 50 years since Miles Davis unleashed Bitches Brew, the jazz-rock fusion double album that forever changed the landscape of jazz. To celebrate that anniversary, Legacy will release another double-LP set, this one featuring a clutch of session material from the creation of the landmark album. These selections (previously released on CD) offer an alternative reality version of Bitches Brew with material recorded between August 1969 and February 1970 spotlighting Wayne Shorter, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, and many more. On vinyl for the first time ever, this 2-LP red vinyl pressing is sure to be a sought-after addition to your jazz collection.
Rory Gallagher, Cleveland Calling (UMe, LP, 3,000 copies)
Fans of Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher will be lining up to hear this one. This previously unreleased radio session from WNCR in Cleveland was unearthed from Gallagher's personal archive. The intimate acoustic session makes its debut for Record Store Day Drop 3.
Grateful Dead, Buffalo 5/9/77 (Grateful Dead/Rhino, 5-LP, 7,700 copies)
Grateful Dead Records and Rhino continue their exploration into the band's 1977 Northeast run with a 5-LP set of the May 9th show in Buffalo, NY. The full show has been remastered by Jeffrey Norman from the original soundboard tapes and prepared for release by archivist David Lemieux. This contender for the best show of the run makes its vinyl debut here with a special tenth-side etching. Fittingly, it's limited to 7,700 copies.
J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding, Stonebone (UMe/A&M/CTI/Verve, LP, 4,000 copies)
One of the rarest CTI albums, trombonists Johnson and Winding's Stonebone was issued only in Japan and never digitally available. That all changes with this red vinyl pressing. Drop the needle and enjoy the sounds of JJ and Kai, along with all-star session players like Herbie Hancock, Bob James, George Benson, Ron Carter, and Grady Tate.
Modern English, I Melt With You (Blixa Sounds, 12", 1,700 copies)
The beloved '80s smash hit arrives on a special 12" single alongside the single edit and two songs from the band's 2016 album, Take Me To The Trees.
Randy Newman, Avalon [LP, blue vinyl] and The Natural [LP, aqua blue vinyl] (Warner Records, 3,000 copies each)
Warner/Nonesuch brings two classic film scores from Randy Newman back to vinyl. (In the case of Avalon, it only ever received a small LP pressing in Brazil.) Both films were directed by Barry Levinson and feature gorgeous Newman scores - orchestrated by Jack Hayes - brimming with a melodic, often nostalgic evocation of classic Americana. In the case of 1990's Avalon, the tale of an immigrant family in Baltimore returned him to the dramatic milieu of the 1981 film Ragtime, albeit set decades later. If you only know Randy Newman from his often brilliantly sardonic songs (or, heck, even his heartwarming Disney movie tunes), these two albums make a fine introduction to his achingly beautiful and poignant orchestral scoring. - JM
Prince, Sign O' The Times (Warner, 2-LP picture disc, 6,000 copies)
In recent weeks, Warner Records and NPG brought Prince's 1987 double-album masterwork back into print in a variety of remastered formats including a sprawling 8CD/1DVD or 13LP/1DVD super deluxe edition. Now, that powerfully shambolic album makes another appearance on vinyl - this time as a double album set of picture discs.
Keith Richards, "Hate It When You Leave" / "Key To The Highway" (Mindless Records/BMG, 7" red, 4,000 copies)
Paired together for the first time, this new single features the Main Offender album cut "Hate It When You Leave" alongside a hard-to-find performance of blues standard "Key To The Highway," first only available on the Japanese version of the album. Nearly 30 years on, these recordings - which feature Steve Jordan, Waddy Wachtel, and more - still brim with that '70s soul throwback energy. Could there be more Main Offender-era Keith Richards rarities on the way? Well, time will tell. In the meantime, treat yourself to this special limited edition single!
The Rolling Stones, Metamorphosis (UK ) (ABKCO Music & Records, LP green, 7600 copies)
Originally released in 1975, Metamorphosis was first official rarities compilation under The Rolling Stones' name. You'll hear outtakes, demos, and other rarities from The Stones' early days, featuring session legends like Big Jim Sullivan, Clem Cattini, and one Jimmy Page. Side B, meanwhile, includes session material from Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. Though the result may have been a bit piecemeal, Metamorphosis presets a compelling collection of intriguing rarities and critical session material. Now, the compilation arrives on hunter green vinyl with a special iron-on of the album artwork.
Soul Asylum, Hurry Up And Wait (Deluxe Version) (Blue Elan Records, 2-LP, 1,500 copies)
Soul Asylum has returned with their twelfth full-length album, Hurry Up and Wait, which was recorded back at Nicollet Studios where While You Were Out was tracked in 1986. This special edition is pressed on 180-gram vinyl with a bonus 7" single including a cover of "Rhinestone Cowboy" on Side A and an acoustic version of the fan favorite "We 3" on the flip. Originally planned for April, this one will certainly be worth the wait, so hurry up to your nearest store and snag your copy!
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery [color], The Spy Who Shagged Me [color], and Austin Powers In Goldmember (Hollywood Records)
Yeah, baby, yeah! Swingin' London's grooviest spy is back with new vinyl soundtracks to each of Mike Myers' colorful comedies which were originally released between 1997 and 2002. Seeing as Myers has cited Burt Bacharach and Hal David's song "The Look of Love" (from Casino Royale, itself a spy spoof) as the inspiration for the series, it's only appropriate that every title features Bacharach songs. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery has Susanna Hoffs doing "The Look of Love" and Burt joined by The Posies for "What the World Needs Now Is Love." The Spy Who Shagged Me boasts Bacharach and Elvis Costello on "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," and Goldmember brings Hoffs back into the fold for "Alfie," or "What's it all about, Austin?" These musical romps also feature contributions from Madonna ("Beautiful Stranger"), Lenny Kravitz ("American Woman"), Quincy Jones ("Soul Bossa Nova"), The Wondermints ("Austin Powers"), R.E.M. ("Draggin' the Line"), The Mike Flowers Pops ("Call Me"), and many more. - JM
Various Artists, Double Whammy! A 1960s Garage Rave-Up (Craft Recordings, LP, 2,000 copies)
Craft Recordings has followed up last year's Poppies: Assorted Finery from the First Psychedelic Age with a new collection focusing on garage rock sounds. Double Whammy! A Sixties Garage Rock Rave-Up lives up to its title. Like Poppies, it's not an overall anthology of the genre but rather an impeccably curated journey through rarities and oddities. The biggest names here are Count Five (with the unedited version of their 1966 top five hit "Psychotic Reaction") and The Music Machine (with the previously unreleased, full-length version of "The People in Me"). But the other artists are no less worthy. Producer/compiler Alec Palao writes that "perhaps the easiest way to explain garage rock is simply as the American grass roots response to the British Invasion, as the Beatles kicked a stale record industry into overdrive, and a generation was primed materially, emotionally, and philosophically to create and consume." Create they did, often only armed with guitar, bass, drums, and organ - and perhaps a harmonica and the occasional vocal harmony! There's plenty of D.I.Y. goodness here from a variety of labels including Fantasy, Scorpio, Vanguard, and even Art Laboe's Original Sound and Stax - not to mention some professional, polished productions that nonetheless managed to capture that primal, raw garage spirit (the Sonny Bono-produced cover by Joey Paige of Bill Wyman's "'Cause I'm in Love with You," Trade Martin's production of The Vagrants' "I Can't Make a Friend"). Hooks and riffs abound on the catchy likes of The Torquays' "Harmonica Man (From London Town)," The Bittersweets' "In the Night," and Lonnie Duvall's British Invasion-influenced "Attention." En toto, the set produced and compiled by Alec Palao features three previously unheard cuts out of 16. Steve Stanley has designed a beautiful package including a reflective silver jacket and a gorgeous, four-page booklet at LP size which boasts Palao's detailed track-by-track annotations. The album itself is pressed on blue vinyl. With every track crisply mastered in AM radio-ready mono by Joe Tarantino, energy abounds on this Double Whammy! - JM
The Who, A Quick Live One: Captured Live At The Monterey International Pop Festival (The Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation, LP red/white/blue, 6,500 copies)
It's hard to believe, but there was a time when The Who weren't ubiquitous, practically synonymous with loud rock concerts. For U.S. audiences, their real breakthrough came in 1967 with their appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Here they showed their talents as a singles band with "Happy Jack" and "Substitute," they demonstrated their penchant for art-rock with their rock opera "A Quick One While He's Away," and nearly stole the show with simply smashing finale to "My Generation." Now that career-changing performance makes its way to red, white, and blue striped vinyl for Record Store Day Drop 3. Limited to just 6,500 copies, you'll want to drive that magic bus to your local shop and get in the queue!
Frank Zappa, You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore (Sampler) (UMe, 2-LP red and yellow, 5000 copies)
Back in 1988, Frank Zappa began a vault-diving series that was intended to both beat the bootleggers and show off the relatively novel medium, the compact disc. This sampler featured highlights from the 6-volume, 12-disc series ranging from 1969 to 1984. The 12 selections show the range of Zappa's talents as a composer, bandleader, guitarist, and performer. Now, the sampler returns to vinyl, newly remastered by Bernie Grundman from the original digital masters and pressed on 180-gram vinyl (one red and the other yellow) at Pallas. You Call That Music? We sure do.
Warren Zevon, Warren Zevon's Greatest Hits (According To Judd Apatow) (Rhino, LP, 4,500 copies)
Screenwriter-director Judd Apatow has selected a dozen of his favorite recordings from the late Warren Zevon for this new compilation. Apatow knows his Zevon; every year, he stages a celebration of his life at Los Angeles' Largo. Here, he's picked tunes including "Carmelita," "Desperadoes Under the Eaves," and "Accidentally Like a Martyr" as well as live selections from The Roxy ("Werewolves of London," "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me"), New York ("Hasten Down the Wind"), and London ("The French Inhaler") as well as one track from Zevon's "supergroup" Hindu Love Gods ("Junko Pardner"). As a special bonus, the set includes Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith and Blake Mills' tribute performance of "Something Bad Happened to a Clown." - JM
Look for all of the above titles, and more, on Saturday at your local record store!