Feature: Record Store Day, Black Friday (2019)

Here are my top three picks (well, four, technically) for what to keep an eye on when fingering through vinyl on Record Store Day: Black Friday. 

Frank Zappa – Peaches En Regalia

Even in death, Zappa remains a vinyl God. UMe on Record Store Day: Black Friday is set to release a 10-inch picture disc featuring Zappa’s ever-mesmerizing “Peaches En Regalia” to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Hot Rats. This one’s got a pretty substantial run – 4,000, all told – so it might be easier than you expect to track down. And an added perk is that the single features both mono masters and rhythm-track mixes of “Peaches In Regalia” and “Little Umbrellas.” Not just for completists.

Blind Willie Johnson – “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground” b/w “It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine”

This 10-inch 78 RPM platter, offered as an RSN exclusive in a reproduction Columbia sleeve, is a classic in the making. Johnson’s entire repertoire is riveting but it doesn’t get better than “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground,” Johnson’s response to Christ’s Crucifixion. (Ry Cooder: “[It’s] the most soulful, transcendent piece in all American music.”) The song, a haunting piece for slide guitar and Johnson’s gravelly voice, was recorded in Dallas in December 1927 and remains as resonant today as then, even among secular listeners. Don’t miss your chance to own this Delta blues staple on vinyl.

Hank Williams – The 1940 Recordings

You can’t beat Hank on vinyl. This seven-inch EP features four songs captured at Williams’ home when he was just 18. A Record Store Day exclusive. Williams remains one of the most captivating performers in the American canon and this, especially paired with the 1938 recordings released last year, will further buttress the enduring legacy of the 20th century songwriter. I can’t imagine modern-signifier genres like indie-folk and alt-country, never mind classic country, without the influence of Williams’ songwriting, and this little EP should shine a great light on what the man sounded like in his nascency.

HONORABLE MENTION

Jeff Buckley – Live On KCRW: Morning Becomes Eclectic

I chose a Jeff Buckley offering as a Record Store Day pick this spring so I’m hesitant to sound redundant – but this 12-inch EP is a find for those captivated with Buckley’s songwriting chops and, yes, that angelic voice. Features the Grace LP lineup performing staples from that era, including “Mojo Pin,” “Corpus Christi Carol,” “Grace,” “So Real” and “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over.” Buckley was a master at radio sessions – anyone who heard him back in the day on WFMU can attest to that – and, here, on a West Coast appearance, I expect him, as ever, to shine. – Justin Vellucci, MusicTAP, Oct. 18, 2019

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