With the sale of vinyl LPs growing consecutively over the last 12 years, it’s no surprise the excitement around Record Store Day is at a fever pitch. Whether you’re a serious collector or just beginning to dip your toe into the wonderful world of vinyl, this year’s RSD offerings include something for everyone. From seminal albums to creative singles, let’s have a look at the best of the best from the Record Store Day Class of 2019!
Bob Dylan — Blood on the Tracks: Original New York Test Pressing
Label: Legacy Recordings
When Bob Dylan released Blood on the Tracks in 1975, many viewed the LP as a return to form for the artist, and the album remains one of Dylan’s most critically-acclaimed works. That said, in the months leading up to the release, a small number of test pressings of the LP were circulated, containing recordings taken exclusively from the September 1974 album sessions at A&R Recording Studios in New York City. In the time between the release of this test pressing and the official LP, Dylan would head to Minneapolis and re-record five of the tracks (“Tangled Up in Blue,” “You’re a Big Girl Now,” “Idiot Wind,” “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts,” and “If You See Her, Say Hello”), with these new versions ultimately being the final cuts that made it onto the official version of Blood on the Tracks. In the decades that followed, the test pressing LP became a prized bootleg for collectors and hardcore Dylan fans alike. Now commercially available for the first time, Blood on the Tracks: Original New York Test Pressing is an “exact duplicate of the test pressing, containing unique mixes from the New York session.”
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band — Trout Mask Replica
Label: Third Man Records
Circulation: Unknown at time of press
Of all the albums that routinely show up on “best ever” lists, Trout Mask Replica is perhaps the most puzzling. With producer Frank Zappa at the helm, a wave a free-jazz and avant-garde expression back up Beefheart’s bluesy barking. An easy listen, it is not. But after a few listens, you realize that everything and everyone—from Tom Waits to the Cramps to Jack White (whose Third Man Records oversaw this release in conjunction with the Zappa Family Trust)—owes a hat-tip to Trout Mask Replica. Unavailable of vinyl for the past decade, this double LP release features a remaster of the original album by industry-legend Bob Ludwig, pressed on 180 gram vinyl, and is packaged as a gatefold.
RSD is all about novelty, but every year, one record serves as the novelty within the novelty. “Up in Smoke” is this year’s winner. This colored 7” is die-cut in the shape of a weed leaf and sports an “updated” version of the heady track on the A-side, while the original version from the Up in Smoke soundtrack lines the B-side.
Sly & The Family Stone — Woodstock: Sunday, August 17, 1969
Label: Legacy Recordings
Even though they went on much later than expected (3:30 a.m.!), Sly & The Family Stone treated those still awake to an electrifying performance that included “M’Lady,” “Dance to the Music,” “Everyday People,” and more. Fifty years later, this legendary performance makes its vinyl debut. The double LP includes the entire set, as well as an etching of the Sly & The Family Stone logo on Side D
Various Artists — Howard Stern’s Private Parts: The Album (Blue Vinyl)
Label: Warner Bros.
With only 1500 copies in circulation, the soundtrack to the film adaptation of Stern’s 1993 autobiography of the same name is worth the purchase—if only just for the full version Porno for Pyro’s “Hard Charger” (presuming this edition remains true to the original 1997 release). But, Ozzy Osbourne’s collaboration with Type O Negative for a cover of Status Quo’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” Green Day’s cover of the Kinks classic “Tired of Waiting for You,” plus timeless tracks from Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, and AC/DC make this limited release an enticing addition to anyone’s collection.
While there will be many celebrations going on throughout the day, for your purchasing pleasure, Turntable Lab—located at 84 East 10th St., between 3rd and 4th Aves. in Manhattan—has confirmed they anticipate having all of the aforementioned releases available for purchase on April 13. Naturally, we say “anticipate” because—as with every year—there are last minute cancellations and delays. But, it should be noted that nobody does RSD better than Turntable Lab. The guys and gals at TTL really have the day’s event down to a science. But, be sure to arrive early, as folks will be sure to start lining up with the sunrise!
For a complete list of this year’s RSD releases, as well as an overview of events and participating retailers, visit recordstoreday.com, or visit turntablelab.com for an overview of their anticipated inventory!!
STAFF PICK: TOP 5 ALL-TIME FAVORITE RSD PURCHASES
As part of our detailed Record Store Day coverage, AQ Managing Editor and self-professed vinyl junkie, Dan Alleva, lists his Top 5 All-Time Favorite RSD purchases!
5. David Bowie — “TVC 15/Wild Is The Wind” 7” Picture Disc
(Parlophone, RSD Class of 2016)
As with all picture discs, this 7” is really more for show than it is for listening. But, being these two cuts come from my favorite Bowie album, Station to Station, and the disc images capture the beginnings of Bowie’s “Thin White Duke” period, for me, it was a must-have. Point of note: for the last several years, there has been a new Bowie RSD-exclusive picture disc release. I also own the “Changes/Eight Line Poem” disc from RSD 2015, and this year’s offering is the complete Pin Ups LP.
4. OFF! — Live at the BBC
(Vice Records, RSD Class of 2015)
Los Angeles’ OFF! is led by singer Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks). They also happen to be the greatest punk rock band on Earth. Seriously. The greatest. That’s honestly all you need to know. This, as well as that you should be hitting up their social media accounts right now, following them—preferably while listening to them—and rocking out hard. Really, really hard. I promise this is not a paid advertisement of sorts. I know personally not a soul in OFF! I seriously just love this band. Oh, also—this album was recorded live for the BBC Radio One Rock Show, and features artwork by the brilliant artist (and creator of the iconic Black Flag “four bars” logo), Raymond Pettibon.
3. 311 — “Grifter/Who’s Got the Herb?” 7” White Vinyl
(Volcano Records, RSD Class of 2015)
This nifty little 7” features the A-side, “Grifter”—an outtake from 311’s most underrated album, Transistor. But the real gold is on the B-side: a 2001 studio version of “Who’s Got The Herb?”, a song written and first recorded by H.R. of the Bad Brains on his 1991 solo album I Luv. Though this recording of “Who’s Got the Herb?” is not the original 311 recording (that was released on the first Hempilation compilation in 1995), this recording from 2001 is equally stellar.
2. The Clash — The Clash (White Riot/Protex Blue Split Color LP)
(Epic Records, RSD Class of 2015)
A lot of people have said a lot of things already about The Clash’s first LP. So much, in fact, that I feel somewhat late to the party, if you know what I mean. So, I’m not gonna ramble on about how amazing it is, because you and I both know that—of course—it’s amazing. Right? Right. So, did I mention this version is on 180 gram blue and white vinyl? I thought so.
1. Rammellzee vs. K-Rob — “Beat Bop” (Split Colored 12”)
(Get on Down Records; RSD Class of 2014)
This cult single is easily one of the best records I own. Originally limited to 500 pressings in 1983, this early hip-hop gem was funded by and featured the artwork of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Despite its limited release in ’83 on Profile Records, its effect on pop music is palpable; its influence on then-in-transition Beastie Boys, evolving from a hardcore band into hip-hop group, is perhaps the biggest example of its reach.
*Editor’s Note — all of these items are still in circulation, many of which are still available for purchase. I recommend visiting Discogs (discogs.com), arguably the best online vinyl record exchange/market there is.