Who dares to venture forth on that mad, fateful date known as…
Usually I do.
I like to take my son out to a few stores, grab lunch, and maybe go see a movie. It’s a good opportunity for us to get out and do something fun and as long as you avoid the big box stores, there’s a great energy in the American marketplace on that day. Like a lot of things, if you embrace it, it’s fun. If you want to hate it, you’ll be miserable.
Record stores a great on Black Friday. They never get too busy – not in Metro Atlanta, anyway – but they do have a little extra buzz thanks to the Record Store Day event that’s been a part of things for the past few years.
Technically I’ve been collecting records since the 70s. I was born in 1976 and the first record my parents bought for me was The Muppet Show soundtrack album. In the following years I would end up with all of the Muppet movie soundtracks, Michael Jackson albums, and plenty of notable 80s records like Men at Work’s Cargo.
I was lured by the versatility and magic of cassette tapes and CDs just like everyone else was, but as I limp towards geezerhood I find myself enjoying the simple pleasures of vinyl again. The joy of listening to an entire album, getting up to flip it to the second side or put the next LP on, and the reward of a carefully selected opening B-side track can’t be duplicated on CD or digital media.
So now I collect records, or as those accursed Millennials call them, vinyl.
Part of the fun of record collecting is finding limited editions and special releases, which is what Record Store Day is all about. While the actual date for RSD occurs in April, they also have a Black Firday event, because why not?
Every year I take a look at what’s coming out, make my list, and put together a little post so that you, too can be lured by the promise of holographic, 180 gram, translucent green and yellow records from your favorite artists!
What follows is my personal “Greatest Hits” list for this Friday. You can find the full list of Record Store Day releases here.
RSD3 Mini Turntable Releases – You might remember this adorable gimmick from my Record Store Day post from earlier this year. Somewhat surprisingly I did not get suckered into buying one of the tiny turntables that play 3” vinyl records.
Semi-surprisingly it looks like it’s somewhat of an enduring gimmick despite my reluctance to participate, and there are more tiny 3” releases coming on Friday, including a number of songs from Disney’s animated classics:
Beck – “Uneventful Days”
Lea Salonga and Brad Kane – “A Whole New World” (from Disney’s Aladdin)
Ernie Sabella, Joseph Williams, Kristle Edwards, Nathan Lane, and Sally Dworsky – “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (from Disney’s The Lion King)
Jodi Benson – “Part of Your World” (from Disney’s The Little Mermaid)
Randy Newman – “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” (from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story)
Vince Guaraldi – A Charlie Brown Christmas RSD3 Blind Box Series
Estelle & Zach Callison – “True Kinda Love” (from Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe: The Movie)
I have to admit that all of the sweet Disney magic and the promise of reward/frustration from A Charlie Brown Christmas blind boxes have me tempted, but there aren’t any indications as to whether or not the little turntables that play these things will be available again. I’d imagine they have to be if someone is seeing this as a sustainable sub-format of the vinyl collecting niche.
Acid Witch – Black Christmas Evil – I have heard the name “Acid Witch”, but I won’t claim to have any idea what they are. I will, however, claim this red 7” if I can based solely on the fact that it is a Christmas-themed release.
Chuck Berry – Chuck Berry in London – At first I thought this was a live album, which is why I was mentioning it. Recordings of live concerts seem to be a common special release for RSD and the ones I have picked up have been great.
This, however, isn’t one of those. Instead, it features songs Barry recorded in 1965 in London with The Five Dimensions, as well as additional tracks recorded in Chicago with the Jules Blattner Group in 1964. It’s not a concert record, but this is the first official release of these recordings in over fifty years.
Black Label Society – Nuns & Roaches – Zakk Wylde is a living rock legend that, despite being wildly popular, doesn’t seem to get the credit he deserves. His band, Black Label Society, recorded this six-song EP in 1999 and I can’t seem to find out a whole lot about it. But you can buy it Friday. Obviously the title is a play on “Guns N’ Roses” – who Wylde tried out for in the mid-90s – and that amuses me.
Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies Live: April 28, 1973 – This is the first vinyl pressing of this live concert recording from Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas. The release features eleven songs and a bonus 7” with studio recordings of “School’s Out” and “Under My Wheels”.
Alice Cooper – Dragontown – A new pressing of Alice’s fifteenth solo album, now 2 LPs on colored vinyl. This is one of Alice’s heavier albums and will be great to put on the turntable.
Devo – Devo Live! – I never went back and purchased the Devo box set that came out in April and I kind of wish I had. It was just a big financial commitment for a newly found interest. But I’ll definitely grab this live album if I can, especially considering the interesting story behind it:
In the early 1980s the “Warner Bros. Music Show” series was mailed to radio stations as promo copies, to be aired only once as a radio show. Pressings were probably a run of a few hundred copies and may have been included as part of the Rockpool service that was sent to 250 college stations. For RSD Black Friday this edition of the series’ promo has been replicated, for commercial use for the first time. Six songs from this recording, including an unlisted intro, were used to make the DEV-O Live 12″ mini-album.
Dio – Rainbow in the Dark (Live) – Ronnie James Dio is the greatest rock vocalist of all time. I have spoken.
Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me with Science/One of Our Submarines – – If you’re my age, there’s no way you could walk out of a record store on Friday without buying this.
Fight – War of Words – Rob Halford’s other band, Fight, played at Atlanta’s Masquerade back when I worked there and they blew me away. I had been a “just the hits” Judas Priest fan at that point – and that’s still mostly the case – but Fight captured something a little harder and different that appealed to me, especially in that setting.
This is Fight’s first album, which I honestly don’t think I’ve heard. They only have two proper studio albums, so that’s kind of sad. There’s only so much time for rock n’ roll, you guys!
Sammy Hagar – Santa’s Going South for Christmas – Sammy Hagar is fine as long as he isn’t with Van Halen. I’m curious to hear what his idea of a Christmas song might be. I mean, I’m not going to buy this or anything, but I’ll find the track streaming somewhere.
Daryl Hall & John Oates – Home for Christmas – I’m sure all of you miserly shits think that Hall & Oates are some kind of joke because your dumbass heroes, Beavis and Butthead, made fun of their video for “Jingle Bell Rock” almost thirty years ago and that’s the only frame of reference your tiny little minds have held onto.
I know that’s how I felt. Until I experienced the unparalleled awesomeness of a live Hall & Oates show around the turn of the century and had my mind expanded and my heart touched. There’s nothing like seeing a herd of screaming, middle-aged Alpharetta moms desperately hurling their panties at a stage to make you appreciate the true meaning of rock n’ roll.
Anyway, I decided I needed to add some Christmas albums to my vinyl collection this year and Home for Christmas will absolutely be one of them.
Huey Lewis and the News – Plansville – This 7” includes two previously unreleased tracks – “My Other Woman” and “Got to Get You Off My Mind”.
Life of Agony – The Sound of Scars – This is a limited pressing of their newest album on black and red spattered vinyl.
John Linnell – State Songs – One of the Johns from They Might Be Giants recorded an album about states! For the 20th anniversary of State Songs, we’re getting a first-ever vinyl release.
Lisa Loeb – Stay (I Missed You) 25th Anniversary – I mostly just mentioned this to get the song stuck in your head. Because sometimes I can be diabolically evil. BWAHAHA.
The Monkees – Christmas Party Plus! – This is sort of an addition to last year’s Christmas Party, which I liked but don’t love. It includes two 7” records – one green and one red – with alternate versions of “Unwrap You at Christmas”, “Riu Chiu”, and “Christmas is My Time of Year”.
Soundtrack – Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas – For everyone that missed out on last year’s soundtrack release, this is a new picture disc pressing.
Elvis Presley – American Sound 1969 – Ever since our Blue Hawaii Needless Commentary I’ve been a little bit more of an Elvis fan than I was before. But the man has an insanely prolific library and it’s hard to know what’s for casual fans and what’s for die-hards.
William Shatner/The Cramps – Garbageman – For me this is a must-have release and one of the most exciting records being offered on Friday. The 12” yellow vinyl features three versions of William Shatner’s cover of “Garbageman” by The Cramps, as well as the original version and “Human Fly” on the B-side.
If you haven’t heard Shatner’s version it’s available on the unbelievable “Covered in Punk” album compiled by none other than Dr. Demento, who is no relation to Damien Demento.
Frank Sinatra – My Way/My Way Live – I’m not really a big Sinatra fan and this song can be found under “overused” in the dictionary, but my Granny loved ol’ blue eyes and this song in particular. And she certainly did things her way. So I’ll grab a copy of this if I can for purely sentimental reasons.
Squirrel Nut Zippers – Christmas Caravan – This is a brand-new pressing of one fo the great holiday albums of the 90s. Unlike most other Christmas collections, the Squirrel Nut Zippers recorded original material in their swingy, jazzy style. It’s a unique and delightful celebration of the Yuletide, but I’d still love for them to release an album of standards.
Tenacious D – Don’t Blow It, Kage – Jack White produced the single track on this 7”. I bet you won’t get your money’s worth in music, but you probably will in comedy. If I can get my hands on a copy I’ll let you know how it turns out.
They Might Be Giants – Don’t Let’s Start – Despite the fact that I own several different versions and copies of each track on this 12” EP – “Don’t Let’s Start”, “We’re the Replacements”, “When it Rains it Snows”, and “The Famous Polka” – I’ll be doing my best to get a copy of this one. They Might Be Giants are one of my favorite bands and I’ll buy pretty much anything they release.
Soundtrack – Desperado – Real Gone Music clearly put a lot of effort into their write-up for this one, so I’ll share it here:
Like his buddy and occasional collaborator Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez is one of those film directors whose movies always come with incredible soundtracks. But it’s tough to top the array of music he assembled for his gun ‘n’ guitar-slinging western Desperado, the 1995 sequel to his breakthrough debut El Mariachi. Not only was the Desperado score composed and performed by the L.A. bands Los Lobos (whose performance of “Mariachi Suite” won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance) and Tito and Tarantula (memorably seen the following year as the house band at the Titty Twister in Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn), but it also boasted contributions from Dire Straits, Link Wray, Carlos Santana, and the Latin Playboys among other artists. A blend of ranchera, Chicano, and garage rock, it’s the perfect accompaniment for the blood-soaked imagery of the film…and for this, the first vinyl release of the soundtrack, we at Real Gone Music have created the perfect visual accompaniment as well. For the gatefold jacket housing our 2 X LP set, we commissioned Illustrator Matt Ryan Tobin to create one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-reprinted illustrated artwork, a lyrical yet lurid tableau that was approved not just by Robert Rodriguez but also by all four actors depicted (Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Steve Buscemi, and Joaquim de Almeida). Inside the gatefold, we designed two 4-color inner sleeves offering production stills from the film, and pressed up 2500 copies in sultry “Blood & Gunpowder” vinyl. This pressing is exclusive for RSD Black Friday, and, again, both the jacket and the colored vinyl will never be reprinted…this might be the most collectible release we have ever created!
1. Los Lobos with Antonio Banderas “Canción Del Mariachi (Morena De Mi Corazón” 2. Dire Straits “Six Blade Knife” 3. Link Wray & His Ray “Jack the Ripper” 4. Latin Playboys “Manifold De Amour” 5. Latin Playboys “Forever Night Shade Mary” 6. Roger & The Gypsies “Pass the Hatchet” 7. Los Lobos “Bar Fight” 8. Tito & Tarantula “Strange Face of Love” 9. Los Lobos “Bucho’s Gracias/Navajas Attacks” 10. Los Lobos “Bulletproof” 11. Carlos Santana “Bella” 12. Salma Hayek “Quédate Aqui” 13. Los Lobos “Rooftop Action” 14. Los Lobos “Phone Call” 15. Tito & Tarantula “White Train (Showdown)” 16. Tito & Tarantula “Back to the House That Love Built” 17. Los Lobos “Let Love Reign” 18. Los Lobos “Mariachi Suite”
This is another must-have for me. I’ll look for it Friday, but chances are I’ll be waiting for Turntable Lab to list it afterward.
Various Artists – Merry Christmas from King Records – This is the kind of thing that I buy on a whim that will turn out to either have a few delightful gems or will sit in my crates never to be heard again. I’m not familiar with the label or any of the artists, but this 1959 release intrigues me with its mix of standards and originals.
Various Artists – Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits – Another must-have. I bought this compilation the day it came out back in 1995. It features then-current alternative acts covering classic cartoon theme songs and every single track is a delight, even the ones from bands I didn’t like at the time.
Highlights include Liz Phair and Material Issue’s Banana Splits Adventure Hour theme, Juliana Hatfield and Tonya Donnelly’s “Josie and the Pussycats”, “Spider-Man” by the Ramones (probably the best-known track from the album), Violent Femmes’ “Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means I Love You)” from The Jetsons, and Reverend Horton Heat’s absolutely incredible version of the Jonny Quest theme that transitions into “Stop That Pigeon” from Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
This is a phenomenal album that belongs in the collection of any self-respecting member of Generation X. Even if you don’t collect vinyl, find yourself a copy in your preferred medium.
That’s just my list. There are PLENTY of other interesting releases hitting your local record store this Saturday. Even if you hate gimmickry and capitalism, get out and support them. You’ll find a fun kind of busy there and maybe even make new friends and discover some new music!
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