Indie Retailers Prep for Annual Record Store Day
Mid-April has arrived, which means two big things—taxes and vinyl. While many Americans dread Tax Day on April 15, a growing number of music collectors remain focused on another important event happening four days later this year: Record Store Day. The seventh annual Record Store Day will take place on Saturday, April 19, at more than 1,000 independent retail shops in the United States and abroad.
Record Store Day (RSD) began as a grassroots effort to raise the profile of independent brick-and-mortar retailers. It has evolved into a massive international celebration that features in-store performances, film screenings, book signings and exclusive releases on vinyl, CD and DVD.
Because quantities are limited, not every store will receive every title. When planning their shopping spree, most collectors focus on three categories: RSD exclusive releases, RSD limited-run/regional focus releases and “RSD First” releases.
RSD exclusive releases are available exclusively on Record Store Day at participating stores. Such titles include saxophonist Charles Lloyd’s Live At Slugs’ (Resonance), a 1965 quartet date recorded at the Manhattan venue with guitarist Gábor Szabó, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Pete La Roca. This release has a limited edition, worldwide pressing of 2,000 copies on opaque, orange-colored 10-inch vinyl LPs that play at 33 1/3 speed.
Resonance is also offering two Wes Montgomery titles on 10-inch vinyl LPs: Wes Montgomery & The Montgomery-Johnson Quintet, featuring five tracks from 1955 originally produced by Quincy Jones; and Live At The Turf Club, recorded in Indianapolis in 1956.
Other RSD exclusive releases include The Allman Brothers’ Play All Night: Live At The Beacon Theatre 1992 (Legacy), a double 12-inch vinyl release of live songs previously only available on DVD; Big Mama Thornton’s Sassy Mama! (Vanguard), a 1975 live set on 12-inch vinyl; Dave Matthews Band’s Live Trax Vol. 4 (Bama Rags), a four-LP colored vinyl box set recorded on April 30, 1996, in Richmond, Va.; and the Grateful Dead’s Live At Hampton Coliseum (Rhino), a live two-LP set from the band’s first appearance at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va., on May 4, 1979.
The rarest titles are the limited-run/regional focus releases, most of which are limited to less than 1,000 copies. This year’s batch includes Sun Ra’s Outer Spaceways Incorporated (ORG Music) on 12-inch vinyl; and the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s Millions: Live In Denver (Royal Potato Family), a 12-inch LP recorded at Dazzle, including the songs “Thelonious Monk Is My Grandmother,” “Grub Ridge Stomp” and “Muppet Babies Get Lost At The State Fair.”
“RSD First” titles are available at participating indie stores for a limited amount of time before they become available at other outlets (typically four to six weeks later). Among the “RSD First” titles are the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Live At Monterey (Legacy), a 12-inch LP remastered on 180-gram vinyl; and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings’ Dap-Dippin’, the first release on the Daptone label back in print on colored vinyl with a previously unreleased bonus track, “Will You Be True” featuring Lee Fields. The colored vinyl version will be exclusive to RSD outlets.
Blue Note Records will celebrate the earliest phase of its 75-year history with a 12-inch vinyl LP of its first two releases: Meade “Lux” Lewis’ “Melancholy” and ”Solitude” (BN1) and Albert Ammons’ “Boogie Woogie Stomp” and ”Boogie Woogie Blues” (BN2).
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band’s upcoming album Landmarks (Blue Note/Mid-City Records) will get an early release on vinyl for RSD. (The CD and digital versions will officially hit stores on April 29.)
Also in digital stores now is something related to RSD’s “Back To Black Friday” event last November: Robert Glasper Experiment’s three-song digital EP Porter Chops Glasper (Blue Note). The EP, which features remixes of Glasper’s work by Mr Porter (aka Denaun Porter), was originally released as an exclusive 10-inch vinyl LP.
Warner Bros. has announced a new batch of limited edition T-shirts for RSD, including an Eric Clapton T-shirt that was originally designed in conjunction with the guitarist’s Aug. 3, 2006, concert in Moscow’s Red Square. The concert was canceled unexpectedly after Russian authorities withdrew a permit.
Omnivore Recordings is issuing Jaco Pastorius’ Modern American Music … Period! The Criteria Sessions as a special limited edition vinyl LP. (A CD version is also available.) Recorded in March 1974 during after-hours sessions at Criteria Studios in Miami, many of the songs would go on to appear in different versions on the bassist’s eponymous debut solo album on Epic in 1976.
For many participating shops, April 19 will be their biggest overall sales day of the year. In addition to boosting indie retailers’ profits, the event also promotes a sense of community and encourages consumers to shop at locally owned businesses.
Many RSD outlets will host in-store events on April 19. Sweat Records in Miami will present bands, DJs, films and an autograph signing by vocalist Eric Burdon, famous for his work with The Animals and later, War. Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers will perform at Twist & Shout in Denver.
RSD events will also take place in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands.
This year’s official “Record Store Day Ambassador” is Chuck D of Public Enemy. Among the other artists expressing enthusiasm for the event, as evidenced by quotes compiled on the official RSD website, is Nellie McKay: “Independent record stores are aural cathedrals, havens for those who find music as much a spiritual endeavor as passing entertainment. Indie employees will go out of their way to help you find a rare or back-catalogued recording, commiserating over neglected artists and all-but-forgotten masterpieces. They offer discounts and suggest records they enjoy with genuine interest and enthusiasm. Indies embody Mom & Pop individualist expression—they’re in it for love, not to turn a huge profit or to bend popular taste to a uniform will. Viva la indie!”
Booker T said, “[Independent stores] were a library and a breeding ground for me when I was growing up—that’s where I got all my influences and how I learned to play.”
For more information, including a list of participating shops and a list of releases, visit the Record Store Day website.