Ready To Roll: DownBeat’s Shopping Guide to Black Friday

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Arthur Harper (left), Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Lovelace and Johnny Griffin onstage in Paris on March 27, 1965.

(Photo: ©Jean-Pierre Leloir, Courtesy Resonance Records website, resonancerecords.org)

Independent music retailers will enjoy a spike in sales on Nov. 24 for the shopping event known as Black Friday Record Store Day. Indie shops will be offering numerous exclusive titles, including releases by Chuck Berry, Gary Clark Jr., Petula Clark, Janis Joplin, Greg Lake, Paul McCartney, Ingrid Michaelson, Wes Montgomery, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Sonny Rollins, U2 and Muddy Waters.

This shopping extravaganza is basically a smaller version of the massive Record Store Day event, which happens in the spring, and which celebrated its 10th anniversary on April 22.

Record Store Day (RSD) began as a grassroots effort to raise the profile of independent brick-and-mortar retailers, some of whom were desperately struggling due to competition from online outlets.

The event was so successfully that it spawned a second event in November, which happens on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

In collectors’ parlance, the titles that indie shops will sell on Friday are broken into three categories: RSD exclusive releases, RSD limited-run/regional focus releases and “RSD First” releases.

RSD exclusive releases are available exclusively on Black Friday at participating stores. The rarest titles are the limited-run/regional focus releases, all of which are available in extremely limited quantities, and many of which are only available in certain geographic regions.

In contrast, the least-collectible albums are “RSD First” titles; they are available at participating stores for a limited amount of time before they become widely available at other outlets at a later date. (This is often four to six weeks later.)

DownBeat is proud to present a list of the Top 10 titles on sale this year at participating indie music shops. We’ll list the titles David Letterman-style, starting with Number 10.

10. Chuck Berry, The London Chuck Berry Sessions (Brookvale). Fans can honor the memory of one of the most influential guitarists of all time by scooping up this LP of studio recordings and live recordings, originally released by Cess Records in October 1972. Side One consists of studio recordings, engineered by Geoff Calver. Side Two features three live performances recorded by the PYE Mobile Unit, engineered by Alan Perkins, on Feb. 3, 1972, at the Lanchester Arts Festival in Coventry England. “My Ding-a-Ling” from the live side of the album was edited for release as a single, resulting in Berry’s only hit to top the charts in both the States and the U.K.

9. Jerry Garcia & Howard Wales, Side Trips, Volume One (AT0/Round). Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia (1942–’95) and keyboardist Howard Wales recorded the jazz-rock improvisational album Side Trips, Volume One live at The Matrix in San Francisco in 1970. It was first released on CD in 1998, and is being issued by Caroline on Black Friday for the first time on vinyl in a 2-LP gatefold package. It is limited to 2,500 units.

8. Ravi Shankar, Portrait Of A Genius (Culture Factory USA). Originally released in 1964, this LP is essential for any fan of Shankar or sitar music in general. For RSD Black Friday, Culture Factory has re-issued this classic on mixed opaque purple vinyl with the original label, a printed inner sleeve, and cardboard jacket and an LP spine folder. This RSD Exclusive Release is limited to only 1,200 units.

7. Sun Ra, Exotica (Modern Harmonic). This triple LP is described on the RSD website as a “rhapsodic pandemonium of Afro-centric rhythms, Latin beats, ostinato grooves, and unissued tunes.” This colored vinyl release has gatefold packaging and extended liner notes. There are only 1,000 copies of this RSD limited-run/regional focus release.

6. Muddy Waters, The Best Of Muddy Waters (Sundazed). If your copy of this LP is getting a little worn, pick up this pristine pressing. It’s an exact reproduction of the original 1958 album from the original Chess Records mono reels, except now it’s been pressed on colored vinyl. This RSD Exclusive Release is limited to 1,500 units, so there’s a good chance it will sell out quickly.

5. Sonny Clark Trio, The 1960 Time Sessions (Tompkins Square). This newly remastered reissue of Sonny Clark Trio’s LP on Time Records is now housed with a second LP of outtakes and includes previosuly unseen photographs from the session. The reissue retains the original liner notes by Nat Hentoff, plus new material. This is an RSD Exclusive Release.

4. Albert Ayler, Vibrations (ORG Music). This album by the saxophonist’s quartet was recorded in 1964 and features Don Cherry, Gary Peacock and Sonny Murray. Originally issued by the Freedom label, it also been released under an alternate title, Ghosts. Previously out of print, the recordings were remastered for an audiophile-grade pressing on 180-gram vinyl at Pallas in Germany. This blue and white swirl color vinyl edition is limited to just 1,500 copies worldwide, available exclusively for Black Friday Record Store Day 2017.

3. Sonny Rollins, Sonny Rollins On Impulse! (Elemental Music). This is a reissue of the saxophone colossus’ debut on Impulse! Records featuring pianist Ray Bryant, bassist Walter Booker and drummer Mickey Roker. Pressed on 180-gram black vinyl at United Pressing, and mastered from the original tapes recorded at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio, On Impulse! is being faithfully reissued with all the original artwork and liner notes, including an essay by legendary jazz journalist Nat Hentoff. This album is significant in that marks the only time Rollins and Byrant recorded together. Tracks include “On Green Dolphin Street” and “Three Little Words.” This is an RSD Exclusive Release.

2. Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Run Stop & Drop!! (Legacy). In August 2017, Record Store Day gathered record store folks from around the world for a week long conference and “Summer Camp.” The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed exclusively for this event on Aug. 21, and the concert was recorded for posterity. It is being released to fans as the Run Stop & Drop!! vinyl LP, with a colorful jacket and custom inner sleeve. This RSD Exclusive Release is limited to 2,000 units.

1. Wes Montgomery, In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording (Resonance Records). This two-LP set captures the jazz guitar legend on his only tour of Europe, at the Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris, France, on March 27, 1965. This show has been frequently bootlegged, and Resonance’s new, definitive version marks the first time the Montgomery Estate will be paid for sales of this extraordinary set. Montgomery is joined by pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Arthur Harper and drummer Jimmy Lovelace, along with a special guest: tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin. This RSD Exclusive Release is limited to 3,000 units, each of which is hand-numbered and packaged with a gatefold sleeve and stunning artwork. Run, don’t walk, to snatch this one up.

To read DownBeat’s article “Record Store Day Is Boon for Vinyl Sales,” click here.

To see a list of participating stores, visit the Record Store Day website. DB




On Sale Now
May 2020
Antonio Sánchez & Thana Alexa
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