For some, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, outranking birthdays and major gift-giving holidays. Yes, it’s the one day where vinyl trumps all other physical and digital musical vehicles, and indie record stores experience mobs and hysteria akin to a Midwestern Wal-Mart at 12:01 a.m. on Black Friday. Of course, I’m talking about Record Store Day, the movement to get consumers shopping in person at their local brick-and-mortar vinyl outlets (with some sales happening online, too).
RSD 2015 is this Saturday, April 18, and we imagine that most of you already have a rough outline or two of what you’re scouting for, but if you’re still looking for a few coveted exclusives to add to your collection, here are our top 10-ish (I mean, how can you pick just 10?!) releases to grab — if you can find them. They’re not called exclusives for nothing, you know!
1) R.I.P., The Zombies (Varese Sarabande)
Circulating for years as bootlegs and foreign box-set collections in varying degrees of accuracy, R.I.P. was intended as follow-up to the band’s sleeper-hit masterpiece, Odessey and Oracle. The album would have put a cap on the band’s run in 1969 after a sudden interest in Odessey (two years after its release) spurred a surprise Zombies resurgence. By this time, however, the band was pretty much disintegrated, with Rod Argent and Chris White already enmeshed with their prog-rock outfit, Argent. Nevertheless, the pair decided to scrape together a bunch of originals and demos and call it an album — R.I.P. Unfortunately, after two unsuccessful singles, the project was scrapped and relegated to rock ‘n’ roll folklore, until now.
Back by popular demand after its initial run in 2014, Varese Sarabande’s R.I.P. is the first legitimate release of the album organized in its originally intended US running order and mastered from the correct, original mixes. It’s a must-have for any Zombies fan, curiosity collector, or completionist.
More RSD exclusives from Varese Sarabande:
- Chapel of Love, The Dixie Cups
- 15 Everly Hits, The Everly Brothers
- The Family Way: Original Soundtrack Recording, Paul McCartney
2) Sessions ’64!!, Various Artists (Omnivore)
While his hands were certainly full with the Beach Boys in 1964, Brian Wilson had always sought to make his voice heard on both sides of the studio glass. Following in the footsteps of powerhouse producer Phil Spector, Wilson organized recording sessions for local girl group the Honeys (which included his future bride, Marilyn Rovell, her sister Diane, and their cousin Ginger).
On this extremely limited release (only 1,500 units) of 10″ translucent gold vinyl, Sessions ’64!! takes the listener into the studio with Wilson and fellow producer Jimmy Bowen. Side One is solid Honeys and includes three versions of their break out, “He’s a Doll,” along with “The Love of a Boy and a Girl” and “I Can See Right Through You (Go Away).” On Side Two, the Castells deliver an easy-listening version of Wilson’s “I Do,” and the Timers check in with “No Go Showboat.” Each of these singles is rare in its own right, which makes this pressing incredibly special.
3) Blaze, Herman’s Hermits (ABKCO)
Psychedelic, sunshine pop from probably one of the most unlikely sources, 1967’s Blaze has long been considered an important, under-appreciated gem from the nice guys of the British Invasion, Herman’s Hermits. The final album to include all new material from the original Hermits lineup and produced, of course, by Mickie Most, Blaze includes songwriting cameos from Donovan (“Museum”), Graham Gouldman (“Upstairs, Downstairs”), and more. This is its first US pressing in any format since its initial run. It’s presented here in pristine, audiophile-quality 180-gram vinyl and features a reproduction of the original sleeve.
More RSD exclusives from ABKCO:
4) Lows in the Mid-Sixties, Volume 54: Kosmic City, Part 2 (Numero/Numbero)
Known for its regional compilations of kooky, kitschy, and garage singles, Numero (under the guise of its alter ego Numbero) is back with this collection of ’60s garage tracks originally assembled in the 1980s by Bomp! Records and AIP. Culled largely from bands circling Independence, Missouri, between 1967 and 1973, Lows in the Mid-Sixties picks up where the Highs in the Mid-Sixties comps left off. Particularly interesting on this release are the diverse array of covers, not anything unexpected, really — these are kids in garage bands, after all — but, judging by the quality of the tantalizing sample of Here and After’s “Hey Joe” on the label’s site, anyone who’s able to snag a copy of this on Record Store Day is in for quite a treat.
Other must-have RSD-exclusive compilations:
- Thai Pop Spectacular (1960s-1980s), Various Artists (Sublime Frequencies)
- R&B Hipshakers Volume 3: Just A Little Bit of the Jumpin’ Bean, Various Artists (Vampisoul)
- Guitar Safari, Various Artists (University of Vice)
- Sun Records Curated by Record Store Day Vol. 2, Various Artists (ORG Music)
5) Song Cycle, Van Dyke Parks (Rhino)
Van Dyke Parks has long been a darling — and, to some, a prophet (and to others, a pariah) — of psychedelic, folk, baroque pop, bluegrass, and, really, whatever he chooses to turn his musical sights on. His first album, Song Cycle, is a cult classic, a beacon that translates the American experience and traditional folkloric fare into something that, perhaps more perfectly than any other album of its era, represented the changing times. This Record Store Day release will feature Song Cycle‘s first mono pressing since its 1968 debut. The 180-gram vinyl edition consists of only 2,500, individually numbered copies, making it one of RSD’s hottest items.
More RSD exclusives from Rhino:
- Rhino Side-By-Side Series, Various Artists
- Strange Days, The Doors
- Extended, Bee Gees
- Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, Otis Redding
- Live at Carnegie Hall, Jethro Tull
- “Changes” 7″ Picture Disc, David Bowie
- “Black Night” b/w “Speed” 7″ Colored Vinyl, Deep Purple
6) Kinksize Session, The Kinks (BMG/Sanctuary)
Really, the Kinks selection on this list is completely arbitrary; it’s obvious that as the band’s 50th anniversary celebrations continue, it’s essential to snap up everything you see, especially if it’s on vinyl. Kinksize Session, the band’s first EP, is just one of three 7″ exclusives available this year, along with “You Really Got Me (Live)” b/w “Milk Cow Blues (Live)” and their second EP, Kinksize Hits. Each EP is long out of print, while the single, recorded live at Twickenham Television Studios in London, has never been available for purchase in the US. Under the best of circumstances, Kinks releases are popular, but with “exclusive” tacked on? Get up early and be prepared to fight to the death if you want all three.
7) Live at the Fillmore East, Sly and the Family Stone (Legacy)
If there was ever a band to be heard live, it was surely Sly and the Family Stone. In 1968, just after the release of the band’s landmark album Life, Sly Stone & Co. took the stage at Bill Graham’s legendary Fillmore East in New York City for four blistering shows. While its CD version (out in July) features the performances in their entirety, this special edition package includes highlights selected by “Captain” Kirk Douglas of the Roots in a double red and green vinyl set. Says Douglas, “This performance is living, breathing evidence of how much of a force of nature Sly and the Family Stone were at this point of their career…This deserves to be played LOUD!”
More RSD exclusives from Legacy:
- Koncert v Praze (In Prague — Live), Johnny Cash
- “Purple Haze” b/w “Freedom” 7″ Vinyl, Jimi Hendrix
- “Homeward Bound” b/w “Leaves That Are Green” 7″ Vinyl, Simon & Garfunkel
8) My Brother Sings, Chet Atkins (Sundazed)
Considered the rarest record in Chet Atkins’ catalog, a seemingly unplayed copy — the only copy in known existence at the time — was sold at auction in 2013 for $8,100. Though the project was canceled before it could see the light of day in 1958, My Brother Sings was recorded in Nashville’s then-new RCA Victor Studio B and mixed Jim Atkins’ (the eponymous brother, of course) vocals with Chet’s signature picking. Though some of the tracks have turned up in Atkins collections over the years, the full album has never been reproduced. Now, this white whale is available in “Living Stereo” culled from the original masters on 180-gram vinyl for the first time ever.
More RSD exclusives from Sundazed:
- “Love Is Blue” b/w “I’ve Been Drinking” 7″ Blue Vinyl, Jeff Beck
- “Hi Ho Silver Lining” b/w “Beck’s Bolero” 7″ Red Vinyl, Jeff Beck
- “Tally Man” b/w “Rock My Plimsoul” 7″ Gold Vinyl, Jeff Beck
- Complete King Singles, Charlie Feathers
9) Jesus Christ, Alex Chilton (Munster)
In 1975, Alex Chilton went into the Ardent Recording Studios in Memphis with producer Jon Tiven. What resulted was Chilton’s first recorded solo album, Bach’s Bottom. (Though it was released first, his debut solo album, Like Flies on Sherbert, was recorded after Bach.) The Tiven sessions produced raucous, raw tracks; some were included on the album, but others were relegated to the can. This RSD exclusive from boutique label Munster Records includes previously unreleased version of three of Chilton’s tracks, all of which capture a snapshot of a man who was heralded for his natural musicianship, as well as his chameleonic abilities.
Don’t forget to pick up these 7″ exclusives, too:
- “Overture From Zappa’s 200 Motels,” Frank Zappa (Zappa)
- “The Right Time” b/w “Sail Away,” Brian Wilson (Capitol)
- Homburg, Procol Harum (Cherry Red)
- The Pretty Things EP, The Pretty Things (Madfish)
10) The Basement Tapes, Bob Dylan (Other Peoples Music)
Perhaps the most mysterious entry on this list is Bob Dylan’s, The Basement Tapes. Okay, the cover is blank, the title contains a discrepancy, and no one’s really sure what will be on the vinyl, but isn’t that what makes it so cool? And who needs cover art when each copy is signed and numbered by original Band member Garth Hudson? Our best stab in the dark at what you’ll hear when the needle drops is an official version of some Basement Tape bootlegs that have been circulating ostensibly since Dylan’s motorcycle accident in 1967 that produced the material in question. And even though a comprehensive box set of Tapes came out in 2014, the fun in this release is, of course, the vinyl aspect, but also the unknown. Whatever’s between the grooves is sure to be great.
Also from Bob Dylan:
So, there you have it. REBEAT’s official shopping list for Record Store Day 2015. The list of incredible exclusives is seemingly endless, especially with releases from the Moody Blues, Georgie Fame, the Ad-Libs and Small Faces, Captain Beefheart, Doc and Merle Watson, Shocking Blue, and Brenton Wood. With the limited availability and popularity of all of these releases, make sure you arrive early with coffee in hand at your favorite record shop on Saturday, April 18. We’ll see you there!