After a series of smaller "Drops" over the past two years, Record Store Day is (mostly) back to a one-day event, and the big day is tomorrow: Saturday, April 23. Over 250 titles will be available at independent stores everywhere - including some CD releases, too! That's plenty of albums in almost every genre imaginable, so visit RecordStoreDay.com in the U.S., RecordStoreDay.co.uk in the U.K., and RecordStoreDayCanada.ca in Canada for the complete list, and sound off below as to which titles you're most anticipating! Below you'll find our staff picks for The Best of RSD 2022, but we have to begin with a title that's close to our hearts: our very first Second Disc Records RSD release from a one-of-a-kind-artist: Miss Darlene Love.
Happy Crate-Digging! - Joe, Mike, and Randy
Darlene Love, The Many Sides of Love: The Complete Reprise Recordings Plus! (Second Disc Records/Real Gone Music)
Second Disc Records' inaugural Record Store Day release, Darlene Love's The Many Sides of Love: The Complete Reprise Recordings Plus!, brings together all of the rare single sides recorded by Darlene for Reprise Records, both as a solo artist and with The Blossoms (the most famous line-up of which featured Darlene, Fanita James, and Jean King). The collection also features the sides The Blossoms recorded (with Darlene on lead, of course) for guitarist Barney Kessel and for maverick producer-songwriter Lee Hazlewood as The Wildcats. But there's still that Plus! in the title. The album, pressed for RSD on way-cool teal vinyl to match the cover, additionally offers Darlene's volcanic rendition of Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, and Phil Spector's "River Deep, Mountain High" from her star turn in Broadway's Leader of the Pack (produced by Ellie and the equally legendary Bob Crewe) as well as two Andy Paley-written and produced cuts from the Dick Tracy soundtrack/companion album and Darlene's delightful duet with Bette Midler on the Spector-era classic "He's Sure the Boy I Love." The labels are adorned in period Reprise style, and the RSD release includes a four-page insert with new liner notes by TSD's Joe Marchese plus photos. And if you're looking to hear this on CD, we've got you covered: a CD is due on May 6! Don't miss Real Gone Music's other RSD releases, too, including The Judybats, Voivod, and more!
Without further ado, here are Mike's picks for RSD 2022!
David Bowie, Brilliant Adventure EP / Toy EP ("You've got it made with all the toys") (Parlophone/Rhino)
Going back to revisiting Bowie's '90s and early '00s so soon after the one-two punch of the Brilliant Adventure and Toy releases might seem excessive. But it was a period I found fascinating enough to continue diving into here (an early, unused "I'm Afraid of Americans"? a few Toy-era rarities that were only digitally released? why not!) - and, as always, I have to applaud the Bowie and Warner camps as being one of the only RSD participants to offer their wares - rare or otherwise - on CD as well as vinyl. CD buyers: we still exist!
Madonna, Who's That Girl (Super Club Mix) (Warner/Rhino)
Whether this officially slots into Rhino's Madonna catalogue plans is anyone's guess, but I'm not going to turn down the opportunity to hear any long out-of-print vintage dance remixes of pop's reigning queen.
Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Altered Reels (ZTT)
Welcome to the Pleasuredome remains one of my favorite British albums of the '80s, and ZTT's recent distribution line-up with Universal Music Group makes for some intriguing opportunities to hear unavailable or rare tracks from the Frankie canon anew. A double dose of pop perfection like "Relax" and "Two Tribes" (with harder-to-find mixes and B-sides) is hard to pass up, and I really love the sleeve design by Phillip Marshall.
Elton John, The Complete Thom Bell Sessions (Rocket/EMI)
It's no secret we're Philly soul fans at Second Disc HQ! Elton John's studio collaboration with Thom Bell sort of has a less-than-the-sum-of-its-parts reputation, but it's hard to argue with songs like "Are You Ready for Love" and "Mama Can't Buy You Love." And while I wish the originally-mixed three-track version was a little more commercially available - it is at least on CD, if you have the CD singles of "The Last Song" back in 1990 - this expanded presentation is worth a listen if you have more than a passing interest in either the singer or the producer.
Nick Lowe, Wireless World (Yep Roc)
Beyond the humorous backstory behind this release - Lowe and Stiff Records' Jake Riviera, having seen Columbia revise and release Lowe's Jesus of Cool in America as Pure Pop for Now People, wanted to get as many faux titles out as they could, with Wireless World being a particularly popular option - it's really nice to see a well-thought out transition of a deluxe CD to a vinyl set. Wireless World is quite a few tracks shorter than the definitive CD reissue of Jesus, which collected everything heard on those debuts, but keeping the track list to what was on both of those original LPs seems like the smart call.
Joe's selected a few faves, too...
Esther Marrow, Sister Woman (Fantasy/Craft Recordings)
With the 180-gram vinyl reissue of vocalist "Queen" Esther Marrow's 1972 album Sister Woman, Craft Recordings has rescued a lost classic from the period in which soul and jazz commingled freely. Sister Woman's credits read like a "Who's Who" of the period's session veterans (primarily those based in New York): arranger Bobby Scott, musicians Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Cornell Dupree, Richard Tee, Chuck Rainey, Ralph MacDonald, Paul Griffin, Buddy Lucas, and Frank Wess, among them. A brass section and vocal group The Reflections added to the record's big sound. Jazz titan Rudy Van Gelder engineered, so Sister Woman was assured to be a great-sounding album - and indeed it is in Kevin Gray's all-analog remastering. Bobby Scott and Ralph MacDonald both contributed songs for Marrow, a powerful singer and actress who performed with Duke Ellington, appeared in four Broadway musicals, and shared the stage with everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Bob Dylan. She also included some well-chosen covers including a lightly grooving take on Tony Joe White's "Rainy Night in Georgia" and a fiery, gospel-infused reading of Laura Nyro's "And When I Die." Sister Woman melded rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel, and soul into an irresistible whole. The package is top-notch, including the sturdy tip-on jacket and protective inner sleeve. Sister Woman is a highlight of Marrow's too-small discography, and also of this Record Store Day.
Art Pepper, Meets the Rhythm Section (Contemporary/Craft) (Limited to 8,600 copies worldwide)
Saxophonist Art Pepper's January 19, 1957 meeting with The Rhythm Section was an auspicious one, indeed. The rhythm section in question was Miles Davis': pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Legend (and the original liner note!) has it that Pepper felt underprepared for the session and his horn was in bad shape - but if he had jitters, they didn't show on the final LP. Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section is a breezy confection of delicious bebop played by four artists at the height of their powers. Their improvised "conversations" on both standards ("You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," "Imagination") and originals ("Red Pepper Blues," "Waltz Me Blues") are seemingly effortless and completely accessible even for the jazz novice, brimming with bright swing and vivid emotion. Craft's reissue of this landmark meeting, produced by Lester Koenig and recorded at Contemporary Records' L.A. studio, is all-analog mastered from the original tapes by Bernie Grundman and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at QRP. There are no liner notes, but the LP is housed in a protective sleeve and the jacket is a heavyweight tip-on beautifully representing William Claxton's striking cover photo of the artist.
Lou Reed, I'm So Free: The 1971 RCA Demos (RCA/Legacy)
"I'll leave out the tricky guitar bits, I think...okay?" laughs Lou Reed after an abortive start to his future standard "Perfect Day." The song, false start and all, opens RCA/Legacy's I'm So Free: The 1971 RCA Demos. This single LP, 13-track set is the first physical release of Reed's first session as a solo artist for RCA Victor. The October 27, 1971 session at Studio E on West 44th Street in New York (where else?) reveals the troubadour in raw form, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar in a room with just producer Richard Robinson and engineers Ray Hill and Pat Martin. As pristinely mastered by Vic Anesini, the songs on I'm So Free reveal a Reed who's altogether disarming, and alternately confident and vulnerable. He introduced a varied bag of songs, all performed in direct and intimate fashion. Some were carried over from the Velvet Underground days including tunes which would appear on his London-recorded RCA debut Lou Reed ("Lisa Says," "Wild Child," "Ride Into the Sun"). Still others would appear on his subsequent albums Transformer ("Perfect Day," "New York Telephone Conversation," "I'm So Free"), Berlin (the title song, also on Lou Reed), Sally Can't Dance ("Kill Your Sons," with an early, different set of lyrics), and Coney Island Baby ("She's My Best Friend"). Collectively they reveal the craft behind Reed's early compositions, with no barrier between singer-songwriter and listener. The set's lone liability is the fact that four songs released on the briefly-available digital version of I'm So Free (Take 2 of "Hangin' Around," Take 2 of "Love Makes You Feel," "I Can't Stand It," and "Walk and Talk It") haven't been carried over to the RSD release due to the space limitations of vinyl. David Fricke has provided the liner notes for this compelling window into the late legend's creative process.
Del Shannon, Rock On! (Demon)
Del Shannon went to the top of the charts with his very first single, 1961's "Runaway." A masterpiece of atmospheric rock-and-roll co-written by Shannon and Max Crook (who also played the song's indelible keyboard part), "Runaway" began a career that saw such other hits as "Hats Off to Larry," "Little Town Flirt," "Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow the Sun)," and "From Me to You," the latter the first U.S. chart entry for writers John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Shannon sat out the charts for much of the 1970s and the 1980s but continued performing and sporadically recording including a 1981 album, Drop Down and Get Me, produced by Tom Petty and featuring The Heartbreakers. Not long before his tragic death on February 8, 1990 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Shannon reunited with Petty to record what would become his posthumous, final album. Petty brought along his bandmates Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, and Howie Epstein, and his fellow Traveling Wilbury Jeff Lynne to record Rock On!, now back on 180-gram red vinyl from Demon Music Group. Lynne produced most tracks, with Campbell handling a few others (including a fine remake of "I Go to Pieces" mixed and engineered by Mark Linett) and the pair collaborating on two songs. The album was nearly-complete at the time of Shannon's death, with just some instrumental parts and background vocals to be added. There were persistent rumors near the end of his life that he would join the Wilburys; if anyone ever wanted to hear what a Shannon-led Wilburys would have sounded like, Rock On! provides the answer. Shannon's distinctive, ever-dramatic voice and songwriting hadn't diminished at all, and if the album was ultimately bittersweet (and remains so now, coupled with Petty's own passing), it's also a fitting and upbeat farewell to one of the greats. Demon's reissue, the album's first time on vinyl since 1991, includes a printed inner sleeve with the original liner notes as well as lyrics and credits for each song. Don't "Walk Away" from this one on RSD!
Patti Smith, Curated by Record Store Day (Arista/Legacy)
Singer, songwriter, musician, author, and poet Patti Smith has been creating uncompromising art for almost 50 years; since 1975, she's recorded eleven studio albums that have earned her the moniker "the poet laureate of punk." Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz has compiled this 2-LP, 21-song collection drawing on the early part of Smith's Arista discography, from her 1975 debut Horses (produced by John Cale) through 1988's Dream of Life (helmed by Jimmy Iovine and Smith's husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith). The collection, newly remastered by Greg Calbi, includes Smith's lone top 20 single (and only one of two Hot 100 entries), the Bruce Springsteen co-write "Because the Night" as well as perennials such as "People Have the Power" and her reinvention of Van Morrison's "Gloria." Smith's collaborations with producers Jack Douglas and Todd Rundgren are well-represented, too. The set's earliest track is "Piss Factory," the B-side of her debut single on the small Mer label, produced by her longtime collaborator Lenny Kaye. He also supplies the liner notes (printed on one of the two inner sleeves housed in the single-pocket jacket), recalling how he first met Smith in a record store. If you're not already a Smith fan, this set could well be the primer that introduces you to her raw, powerful brand of pure rock-and-roll.
Various Artists, The Best of Chi-Sound Records 1976-1984 (Demon)
Demon has served up two platters of late '70s and early '80s funk, R&B, and soul, Chicago-style, with The Best of Chi-Sound Records 1976-1984. This effervescent set celebrates the golden years of the label founded by soul mainstay Carl Davis (Major Lance, Jackie Wilson, Barbara Acklin) in 1976. Chi-Sound was first distributed by United Artists and then by 20th Century Fox before going independent with periodic releases through 1990. Here you'll find such boldface names as Gene Chandler, The Impressions (sans Curtis Mayfield), The Chi-Lites, The Dells, and Walter Jackson, all updating their classic sounds with producers including Carl Davis, Sonny Sanders (a onetime member of Motown's Satintones), Chi-Lite Eugene Record, and Tom-Tom 84 (a.k.a. Tom Washington). This collection, mastered by Phil Kinrade and pressed on two translucent blue 180-gram LPs, is bound to get you and up and dancing with the sound of the Windy City. The LPs are in custom sleeves with credits for each song and housed within a single-pocket jacket.
And Randy's bringing us home...
America, Alternates & Rarities (Rhino/Warner)
Over past few years, fans of America have been treated to several archival projects including a 3-CD career retrospective from Rhino, a 6-CD box set of their Capitol albums, rarities compilations on Omnivore, and the expansive 7-CD/1-DVD Half Century box set from Gonzo which focused on even more previously unheard material. Now, the band is dipping once again into their cache of rare and unreleased material for this special RSD vinyl. Compiled by the group's longtime archivist Jeff Larson, this LP features alternate mixes of hits "Ventura Highway" and "A Horse With No Name," a Spanish version of "Sister Golden Hair," and early versions of "Foolin'" and "Riverside," among other treats. In total, the 14-track collection includes eight new-to-vinyl tracks and six unreleased tracks such as demos of "Goodbye" and "Another Try" plus a live outtake of "God of the Sun" from the Greek Theatre in 1977. It comes on 140g Coke Bottle Clear vinyl and is limited to 2,500 copies. Fans of America can also look for two new vinyl versions of their classic 1976 History compilation from Friday Music on RSD.
Blondie, "Sunday Girl" EP (Capitol)
Back in 2018, Numero Group announced the release of Blondie's The Complete Studio Recordings 1975-1982 box set, collecting the group's first six albums plus two other discs containing rarities. A new 12-inch vinyl version of their smash 1979 "Heart of Glass" was released then as an appetizer, featuring six versions of the song and tracing its development. But there has been no sign of the box and several release dates have come and gone. It is now unofficially scheduled for this year and perhaps this RSD release is a sign that may happen. "Sunday Girl" was the group's follow-up single to "Heart of Glass" and went to No. 1 in the U.K. and Ireland and reached the Top 10 in other European countries (it was not released as a single in the U.S.). This new release comes includes two 7" vinyl singles. The first features the single version of the song and the French version, which was included on the original 12" single. The second 7" debuts two unreleased renditions of the song: the demo and a live version from Portland, Oregon on January 4, 1979. The package comes in a bespoke gatefold featuring period photos and the first single is colored red, while the second is colored yellow. It is limited to 3,000 copies.
Belinda Carlisle, The Heaven on Earth Tour (Demon)
In 2017, Belinda Carlisle embarked on a short U.K. tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her sophomore solo album, 1987's multi-platinum smash Heaven on Earth which featured the hits "I Get Weak," "Circle in the Sand" and "Heaven is a Place on Earth." For the tour, Carlisle performed all of the songs off the album (although not in the original running order) together with other material from her other solo albums. This 2-LP set captures the performance from The Indigo O2 in London on October 13, 2017. The set has a total of 19 songs: the 10 from the Heaven album and nine more such as "Mad About You" and "Runaway Horses." Carlisle and her five-piece band are in fine form during the entire show and it is a good keepsake of the tour. The two 180 gram blue vinyls each come in a full color sleeve and are house in single jacket. It has been mastered by Phil Kinrade at AIR at Alchemy. It is limited to 2,000 copies.
Ramones, The Sire Albums (1981-1989) (Rhino/Warner)
Rhino unveils a 7-LP box set collecting the group's six albums from 1981-1989 (Pleasant Dreams, Subterranean Jungle, Too Tough To Die, Animal Boy, Halfway To Sanity, and Brain Drain) with a bonus LP of rarities on neon pink splatter vinyl. This is the largest set due for this year's RSD. As the series of CD/LP combos from the band's Sire catalogue stalled before getting to 1979's Phil Spector-helmed End of the Century, this is a worthy set to sate the appetite of fans looking for more from Forest Hills' favorite sons.
Santana, Splendiferous (Legacy)
Last July, Carlos Santana released the digital-only compilation Splendiferous. Personally curated by Santana, the 30-track collection focused on his albums after 1998's Supernatural and went up to 2019. This new RSD, 2-LP set cuts the tracks down to 19. They are drawn from the following albums: 2002's Shaman, 2005's All That I Am, 2007's compilation Ultimate Santana, 2012's Shape Shifter, and 2014's Corazon. (The digital version included material from 2019's Africa Speaks, but none of that is reprised here). Among the collaborators you will find here are Placido Domingo, will.i.am, Chad Kroeger, Seal, Tina Turner and Steven Tyler, among others. It is a good look at the more recent part of Santana's catalogue, although it excludes his two biggest hits from this period: "Game of Love" with Michelle Branch which hit No. 5 on the Pop chart and No. 1 on the AC chart and "Why Don't You & I" featuring Alex Band which hit No. 8. ("Game of Love" is heard in a different version with Tina Turner). But it is a fine primer for those who might only be familiar with the artist's hits. The two vinyl LPs are each in full-color sleeves. One sleeve features the full credits for the compilation while the other includes track-by-track liner notes by Santana, Tommy Anthony & Karl Perazzo. Confusingly, the notes are for the entire 30-track digital version and not this 19-track physical edition. It is nice to have if you are listening to the online playlist, but might make you look twice when listening to the LPs. The two vinyl are housed in a single jacket. The album is limited to 9,350 copies.
Lastly, this wouldn't be a Second Disc RSD Guide without a handful of Honorable Mentions!
Laura Nyro, Trees of the Ages: Live in Japan (Omnivore)
Omnivore brings its 2021 CD release to vinyl today. Laura Nyro's Trees of the Ages: Live in Japan was first issued in that country in 2003 as An Evening with Laura Nyro but has been out-of-print ever since, save for a truncated version briefly available on the U.S. EMI Special Markets label. The album, beautifully remastered for Omnivore's edition, comprises 16 tracks recorded at Kintetsu Hall in 1994 as well as five additional tracks recorded at On Air West. At the piano and accompanied by a trio consisting of Diane Wilson, Dian Sorrell, and Diane Garisto, a seemingly contented but no less passionate Nyro ran through her classic songbook ("And When I Die," "Wedding Bell Blues," "Save the Country," "Emmie") as well as most of Walk the Dog and Light the Light, her then-recent studio album that turned out to be the final one released in her lifetime. That wasn't all. Nyro delivered moving covers of the songs that influenced her from Bacharach and David ("Walk on By"), Smokey Robinson ("Ooo Baby Baby"), and The 5 Royales/The Shirelles (Lowman Pauling and Ralph Bass' "Dedicated to the One I Love"). Today, she and her songs are in the pantheon with those greats. Trees of the Ages: Live in Japan restores the once-rare and altogether mesmerizing concert to its rightful place in the Nyro live canon.
Simple Minds, 5X5 Live (Demon)
Making its debut on vinyl from Demon Music Group as a 3-LP set is this 2012 live album from Simple Minds featuring five songs from each of the group's first five albums with bonus tracks. (The tour itself was a tie-in to the 5X5 box set of their albums released also in 2012). The three 180-gram vinyl LPs are colored red, white, and blue and come in individual sleeves within a slipcase. The set is limited to 2,000 copies.
Donna Summer, Donna Summer picture disc (Driven by the Music)
1982's Donna Summer, produced by Quincy Jones, comes to picture disc vinyl from Driven by the Music in time for the album's 40th anniversary. Q brought on an array of his frequent A-team of musicians including David Foster, Michael Sembello, Greg Phillinganes, Ernie Watts, Jerry Hey, and Rod Temperton to join Summer. The latter had authored "Off the Wall" and "Rock with You" for Michael Jackson, and he gifted Donna with the top 10 single "Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)." James Ingram was tapped to add vocals to "Mystery of Love" (he provided backgrounds elsewhere on the album, too) but the guest spots didn't end there. Bruce Springsteen wrote and played guitar on "Protection," and a star-studded chorus joined Donna on "State of Independence." Christopher Cross, Dionne Warwick, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Michael McDonald, Brenda Russell, and Kenny Loggins all supported Summer with their participation. A cover of Billy Strayhorn's art song "Lush Life" harkened back to Jones' jazz roots. Donna was rewarded with a gold record for Donna Summer. The RSD picture disc features a die-cut cover to showcase the suitable-for-framing vinyl.
Scott Walker, Boy Child: The Best of 1967-1970 (Mercury)
The 1990 compilation gets an expanded vinyl presentation today with four more tracks, for a total of 24 cuts from the singer-songwriter. Boy Child covers the period in which Walker pushed the envelope of pop, penning intricate and often-challenging songs which were set to lush, orchestral arrangements from the likes of Peter Knight and Angela Morley. This captivating alt-MOR would form the foundation of Walker's later excursions into the avant-garde. The RSD vinyl presentation is pressed on 180-gram white vinyl and includes the original 1990 liner notes by Marc Almond, the 2000 reissue liner notes by Neil Hannon, and all-new notes by Jarvis Cocker.