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 Record Store Day event.
In keeping with tradition, Mike, Randy, and Joe have once again selected some essential picks of the roughly 200 titles being released tomorrow at independent record stores everywhere. With so many shoppers at the mall and the big boxes, the Black Friday RSD event is usually much more manageable than the April festivities, so we hope you're all able to find your own favorites. Click here for the list of all participating stores. Without further ado, Mike's selections come first, then Joe's picks, then Randy's!
Prince and The New Power Generation, Gett Off (NPG/Legacy)
We'll have more to say in our review of the Diamonds and Pearls box, but the lack of all the remixes from various era-appropriate maxi-singles on the collection's bonus material is somewhat offset by the presence of one of the rarest mixes of the period: the first version of lead single "Gett Off" sent to DJs and clubs on a single-sided 12" and listed as "Damn Near 10 Minutes!" - a bit longer than the commercial extended mix. This slightly more minimally dubbed version allowed the rhythm track to skitter and pulse alongside some of the bawdiest lyrics from the Minneapolis legend in some time. That promo single is one of the prime jewels of the latest Record Store Day event.
INXS, Shabooh Shoobah Rarities (Atlantic/Rhino)
Another entry in the "finally, some digital bonus material is available physically" file that is so commonplace on Record Store Day celebrations. A brace of bonus tracks from last year's digital 40th anniversary edition of INXS' Shabooh Shoobah, this disc features extended mixes, B-sides and some great performances from the Australian rockers' set at the US Festival in 1982.
The English Beat, I Just Can't Stop It (Expanded Edition) (Rhino)
If you recall the spate of Beat reissues on both sides of the Atlantic a few years back, you've probably scored some of the bonus material that's included on a bonus LP with this new vinyl reissue of the ska group's debut album. But who are we to turn down an opportunity to reintroduce The Beat to your record collection? "MIrror in the Bathroom," "Ranking Full Stop" and the rest still pack a punch.
Dr. Dre, The Chronic (30th Anniversary Edition) (Interscope)
Finally, we love it when Record Store Day shows some love to the compact disc - and this is an oddly satisfying tribute to the format. Dr. Dre's landmark solo album, one of the best hip-hop albums, is remastered and pressed on CD, packaged in a retro-style longbox with rolling papers that'll light you up in ways the songs won't.
And here are Joe's picks...
Chico Hamilton, The Master (Craft Recordings)
Craft Recordings unveils a beautiful AAA master of drummer Chico Hamilton's 1973 classic The Master. The West Coast jazz veteran was always looking to stretch out; hence, this session with the members of Little Feat (vocalist/guitarist Lowell George, keyboardist Bill Payne, bassist Kenny Gradney, guitarist/vocalist Paul Barrere, and percussionist Sam Clayton) released the same year as the band's own Dixie Chicken. The result is a heavy, rhythmic, boogieing, and very funky outing unlike anything else in Hamilton's impressive discography - or Little Feat's, for that matter. The Master demonstrates one killer groove after another, and this purple marble 180-gram vinyl pressing - housed in a tip-on jacket - is unlikely to be topped any time soon. Limited to 4,000 units.
Joni Mitchell, The Court and Spark Demos (Rhino)
One of the many highlights of Joni Mitchell's third Archives volume was the premiere of a number of demos from 1974's Court and Spark, the singer-songwriter's first true "band" album and a SoCal pop-jazz masterwork. This RSD Exclusive release presents those demos on vinyl including the sidelong, stunning "Piano Suite," and demos of the hit "Help Me," "People's Parties," "Raised on Robbery," "Just Like This Train," and "Trouble Child." Limited to 12,300 units.
War, The World Is a Ghetto: 50th Anniversary Collectors' Edition (Rhino)
Rhino revisits War's The World Is a Ghetto for its 50th anniversary on five newly-remastered 140-gram LPs. The hard-hitting, socially-conscious soul-jazz (-funk-blues-rock-psychedelia) best-seller was the California band's fifth album and third following the departure of vocalist Eric Burdon of The Animals. The LP gains six previously unreleased session tracks as well as another six "Making Of" tracks which promise to trace the evolution of each song from demo to final take. Limited to 4,000 units.
Splinter, The Place I Love / Leon Russell, Hank Wilson Vol. 2 (Dark Horse)
BMG continues to roll out releases from the reactivated Dark Horse label. Perhaps most anticipated is this reissue of the debut album from Splinter, the duo signed by George Harrison to inaugurate Dark Horse. George produced and played on The Place I Love, with other guest musicians including Billy Preston, Jim Keltner, Alvin Lee, and Gary Wright. This remastered reissue marks its first official reissue since the 1970s; hopefully an authorized CD is to follow this RSD First release which is limited to 1,000 units. It's joined by the first vinyl reissue of Leon Russell's 1984 LP Hank Wilson Vol. 2 in which the Master of Time and Space once again assumed the identity of country singer Hank Wilson for another set of standards including "Heartaches by the Number," "Tennessee Waltz," and "On the Wings of a Dove." This title is an RSD Exclusive limited to 1,700 units with no plans for a general-retail release.
Various Artists, Jazz Dispensary: At the Movies (Craft Recordings)
The popular Jazz Dispensary series returns with another high-flying and trippily eclectic volume, this time dedicated to some of the funkiest, most psychedelic, and utterly out-there sounds to come out of the cinema. Naturally, composer-musician-singer-songwriter-director-writer-actor Melvin Van Peebles (Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death, Watermelon Man) is here with a couple of smoking cuts from Don't Play Us Cheap and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, the latter featuring the youthful Earth, Wind & Fire lineup. Isaac Hayes is another legend who shows up here with cuts from the Blaxploitation films Truck Turner and Three Tough Guys. There's more from Booker T. and the MG's (the hit "Time Is Tight") and The Blackbyrds ("Wilford's Gone" from Cornbread, Earl, and Me) and even a sizzling tune from the score to the X-rated animated film Fritz the Cat. It's limited to 5,400 units and pressed on "purple haze" vinyl. This RSD First release is limited to 3,600 units. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em!
Now, Randy offers up his selections!
Bo Diddley, I'm A Man: Chess Masters, 1955-1958 (Third Man Records)
Bo Diddley of course needs little introduction as one of the most influential rhythm and blues artists of all time, not to mention his influential role in the beginnings of rock n' roll. This set goes back to the very start of his recording career with the legendary Chess Records and kicks off with an alternate version of the immortal "Bo Diddley" from 1955 (the final master of which topped the R&B chart) and continues through 1958. It features all of his recording for the label, also including such songs as "I'm A Man," "Pretty Thing," and "Say Man." Quite simply, these recordings helped change the shape of popular music.
This compilation was first released as a 2-CD set back in 2007 by Hip-O-Select and is now out of print. It came to digital in 2019. It is now hitting vinyl for the first time from Third Man Records with the set's 48 songs spread over four LPs. Pressed on 150g vinyl, the set comes with a wrapped craft paper slipcase with four wrapped inner jackets and four printed inner sleeves. This RSD exclusive silver flake vinyl variant is limited to 900 copies.
The Doors, Live in Bakersfield (Rhino/Elektra)
1970 was a tumultuous and busy time for The Doors. February saw the release of their fifth studio album, Morrison Hotel. At the same time, Jim Morrison faced a prison sentence stemming from an incident during a flight in 1969, but those charges were dropped in April 1970. Three months later, the group released their first live album, Absolutely Live. The album captured audio from the still ongoing Roadhouse Blues Tour, which had started in January and concluded on August 29 at the Isle of Wright Festival. Rhino/Elektra is now releasing another full concert from that tour, recorded near the end on August 21, 1970 at the Bakersfield Civic Auditorium in Bakersfield, California. Featuring several improvisations and medleys, the show is one of the more unique sets in The Doors canon. Live in Bakersfield is available in two formats: a "RSD First" 2-CD edition, limited to 12,500 copies and an RSD exclusive 2-LP vinyl, limited to 7,500 copies. No Doors fan should want to miss this release.
The Mamas & The Papas, The Mamas & The Papas: Live At The International Monterey Pop Festival (Monterey)
While Woodstock is the most famous music festival of the 1960s, The International Monterey Pop Festival held two years earlier on June 16-18, 1967 had arguably as great a line-up and served as an inspiration for the later show. Regarded as kicking off the summer of love, among its many highlights include the first major American appearances by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who and Ravi Shankar, the first mass performance by Janis Joplin and exposing Otis Redding to a larger audience.
With "Papa" John Phillips as one of the festival's organizers, The Mamas & The Papas were chosen to close the show. They hit the stage on Sunday night, right after Jimi Hendrix. Introduced by Paul Simon, their set included their own hits like "Monday, Monday" and "California Dreamin'" along with covers like "Spanish Harlem." They joined with Scott McKenzie to perform his Phillips-penned hit, "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)."
The music from Monterey Pop has been released and anthologized many times over the years. In fact, this release is part of an ongoing series by the Monterey label of performances from the shows. But this new vinyl does contain The Mamas & The Papas' complete set along with the introduction and it is nice to have it all in one place. The gold vinyl comes in a tip-on jacket with a gloss cover and four color inner sleeve. It is limited to 2,750 copies.
John Murphy, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (Original Soundtrack) (Hollywood Records)
We always like to highlight holiday-related releases for Black Friday RSD, and this looks like a fun one. Last November saw the release on Disney+ of The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Directed by James Gunn and starring the cast from the blockbuster film series, the show led into this year's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The plot saw Drax and Mantis coming to Earth to kidnap Kevin Bacon (playing himself) to cheer Peter Quill (Star-Lord) up for the holidays.
The Guardians series is known for its attention to music and this entry is no exception. Gunn approached the band Old 97's about being in the show and they agreed. Gunn and the group co-wrote the opening track, "I Don't Know What Christmas Is (But Christmastime Is Here)" and Kevin Bacon joined with the band to perform their "Here It Is Christmastime" on the closing track. The rest of the album is made up of the orchestral score by John Murphy, who also wrote the score for Vol. 3. As the rest of the series has had successful soundtrack albums, this is welcome to release to join those in a physical format (the soundtrack has previously been available digitally). It comes on color splatter vinyl and is limited to 5,000 copies.
Various Artists, Black Jazz Records - The Complete Singles (Real Gone Music)
Real Gone completed their reissue series of all twenty albums from the Black Jazz label back in 2021. They are now turning their attention to all of the singles released by company founded by pianist Gene Russell and percussionist Dick Schory in 1969. The label was only operating and releasing material from 1971-1975, but there is some great jazz music to be heard on their releases.
This new 2-LP set gathers up all 15 songs released as singles during Black Jazz's existence. Here you'll find music from Russell, Walter Bishop Jr., Jean & Doug Carn, Rudolph Johnson, Calvin Keys, Chester Thompson, Kellee Paterson, and Cleveland Eaton. This compilation makes a fine companion to Real Gone's Black Jazz album reissue as this includes several unique edits. It also make a great sampler for Black Jazz if you've never listened to any of their releases before. It might make you want to explore further. The package includes a gatefold jacket featuring liner notes by Pat Thomas (who also contributed notes to the Real Gone album reissue series) and comes pressed on tawny orange with black swirl vinyl. It is limited to 1,750 copies. Hopefully a CD version will follow to complete the series in that format!