Why is this day different from any other day? Because it is Record Store Day. April 21, 2012.
RSD has been going on since 2007, getting bigger and better every year. I remember going to Amoeba Music in San Francisco that first year, finding one small end-bin full of about dozen or so special vinyl editions. Not much pomp and circumstance at all in 2007, and I really didn’t need a holiday-event to get me physically into a record store. But now, just five years later, it has become a really big deal. A really huge day!
I’ve attended RSD 4 out of the 5 years, and this year, that same Amoeba store was packed with hundreds of record buying fanatics, grabbing up limited vinyl editions from artists as diverse as Abba, Arcade Fire, Bonnie Prince Billy, Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, the Clash, Lee Hazelwood, Miles Davis, the Misfits, Mississippi John Hurt, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Paul Weller, Sigur Ros, T Rex and hundreds more.
At 10:30 am just before the store opened, the line of people waiting outside stretched around the block from the Haight Street entrance, in to the McDonalds’s parking lot that parallels Golden Gate Park, and all the way onto Waller Street, a block away. Once inside, hundreds of people roamed the cavernous former bowling alley, picking through the rows of vinyl LPs and 45s, grabbing many of the limited edition releases. The line waiting for the 8 or 9 cashiers, stretched to the back of the store with most people carrying large stacks of vinyl under their arms, something I haven’t witnessed since holiday rush time when I worked in record stores back when vinyl was king. It was so great to see this again.
Sales gimmick or not, it’s just wonderful to see music lovers back in the actual stores touching the product, talking about, and buying the music they love in one huge place at the same time. This is true social networking in its richest form, even though it’s a zoo for one long day!
Anyway, here are the records I picked up on this year’s RSD. They are listed in no particular order and there’s no rhyme or reason why I chose some of them. But it was a wonderful weekend shopping for music, going home and opening up the packages, viewing the cover art, reading the liner notes, placing the discs on the turntable and watching the stylus gently drop into the grooves and then hearing that wonderful music blasting throughout the house.
Leonard Cohen Live in Fredericton 12-inch Vinyl EP
A selection of live cuts from his 2008 tour of Canada.
Tracks: 1. “Dance Me To The End of Love” 2. “In My Secret Life” 3. “Heart With No Companion” 4. “Bird On The Wire” 5. “Who By Fire”
Tracks: Original track listing (the entire full album). Plus unreleased live tracks on 7″: “Sister” and “Moneymaker”
An intimate interpretation of American icon and musical legend Woody Guthrie’s unrecorded lyrics from a dream team of Americana torchbearers: Jay Farrar (Son Volt), Will Johnson (Centro-matic), Anders Parker (Varnaline), and Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket).
Gene Clark One In A Hundred / She’s The Kind Of Girl 7″ 45
This was recorded in 1970 and was the first time all of the original Byrds (Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, Chris Hillman and Michael Clark) had played come together in several years. They supported Gene Clark on two new original songs but because of typical music business legal crap , the record wasn’t released at the time. It’s too bad because it has that wonderful folksy-rock 12 string classic Byrds sound that many have tried to copy and many have failed.
Tracks: “One In A Hundred” / “She’s The Kind Of Girl”
Janis Joplin Highlights from The Pearl Sessions 2 x 10″ LPs
Highlights from The Pearl Sessions presents an alternate view and an inside look at the Pearl recording sessions, with several previously unreleasd and almost-never-heard alternate takes and early versions of classic songs. There’s also a new two disc CD release with much more music out now. How can you not buy something from at least one San Francisco act when you are in Haight-Ashbury (it was either this or another very long version of Dark Star by the Grateful Dead).
Tracks : Side 1: Get It While You Can (take 3), Move Over (take 6), Me And Bobby McGee (demo version) * Side 2: Cry Baby (alternate version) *, A Woman Left Lonely (alternate vocal), My Baby (alternate take) Side 3: Move Over (take 13), Me And Bobby McGee (take 5 – alternate), Get It While You Can (take 5) Side 4: My Baby (alternate take) *, Get It While You Can (take 3), Pearl (instrumental) * All tracks previously unissued except *
Tracks: “Another Day” / “Oh Woman Oh Why”
A classic Paul McCartney vinyl single reissue manufactured exclusively for Record Store Day! “Another Day” was originally recorded in 1970, during the sessions for the album RAM. It was the first single of his solo career.
Ralph Stanley Single Girl / Little Birdie 78 RPM vinyl
Tracks: “Single Girl” / “Little Birdie”
San Francisco-based record label Tompkins Square first in a series of releases in the 78 rpm vinyl format. Ralph Stanley’s “Single Girl”, with “Little Birdie” on the B side., a limited edition of 500 copies on Record Store Day.
A red and white splatter 7-inch with MC5’s “Kick Out The Jams” recorded in 1967 paired with Afrika Bambaataa’s version from 1986. A great rock and roll records and crap, it just looks cool!!!
Obligatory RSD/Amoeba Records T-Shirt. Sales benefit arts for local kids.