Over the past few years, “doorbusters” have become a thing of the past on Black Friday, as America has shifted back toward staggered online shopping and marked the day after Thanksgiving as a day to sleep in, again. Unless, that is, you are a fan of music on vinyl, in which case: no sleep till Brooklyn. There may or may not be tent cities popping up outside your nearest independent record shop, but rest (or don’t rest) assured that lines have formed nearly everywhere new records and cassettes and, God forbid, CDs are sold, queuing for the Black Friday adjunct of Record Store Day.
The lines may not be half as long as they were for the main edition of RSD back in April, not just because it’s colder, but because… no Taylor Swift. In fact, the lineup of about 170 exclusive vinyl releases is nearly free of current pop superstars, which will no doubt be fine with some of the usual semiannual RSD customers who have armloads of relative obscurities they want to pick up and don’t care for single-minded newbies blocking their path. Still, even without marquee stars, there is something for just about every taste on the full list, which you can find in handy, printable PDF form here or in more expansive, clickable web format here. (A search form for participating stores and locations can be found here.)
As always, Variety has perused the list and reviewed some advance copies and come up with a shortlist of desirable titles, which by no means exhausts all the good stuff. We haven’t included here, for instance, any of the usual titles from RSD mainstays David Bowie and the Grateful Dead. We also have mostly left you to fend for yourself in lookin the many straightforward repressings of individual albums, whether they be straight reissues of classic titles by Mingus, Monk, the Monkees and some Motown classics or recent albums by Billie Eilish, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Weeknd that differ from the standard editions only in cover art or packaging. (That’s not to say that the rainbow-foil-embossed new cover of Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” wouldn’t add a nice shine to anyone’s shelf.)
Here’s a selection of titles we’ve picked out from the ’22 crop, with notes on the number of copies available, what color the vinyl is (actual black being very outre for Black Friday), and whether the releases are being classified as true RSD exclusives (i.e., not destined to be repressed for general release in this form) or “RSD First” (meaning likely to get a wider release, if probably not in the same color variant). On your marks… get set… door-bust.
Fleetwood Mac, “The Alternate Collection”
(9,000 copies on vinyl; 10,000 on CD – exclusive – clear vinyl)
Most of the time, when RSD releases are gone, they’re really gone (or at least relegated to the realm of Discogs and eBay). But sometimes, there is a form of amnesty for those who missed a bet previously. That’s the case with this catch-up collection that boxes up all six of the “alternate” Fleetwood Mac discs that Rhino/Warner previously put out, creating separate but equal versions of the albums from “Fleetwood Mac” through “Tango in the Night” using demos or different versions that first appeared in other boxed sets from the group. I know I’d picked up an “Alternate Rumours” and then wondered why the hell I’d passed on “Alternate Tusk,” so I’m grateful for the second chance. Also, there’s a CD edition of this set, which will give consumers who don’t care so much about the vinyl revolution a reason to step in. (It’s still short-sighted of the record companies not to do more CD editions for RSD, which is not supposed to be just about LPs.)
The Doors, “Paris Blues”
(10,000 copies – exclusive – blue vinyl)
Hard as it is to believe there could be any remaining previously unreleased original compositions by the Doors to put out, amid one of the world’s most aggressive ongoing archival campaigns, there was one, and it’s the title track of this seven-track EP. Why hadn’t the track “Paris Blues” come out before? Because, the liner notes tell us, Ray Manzarek’s kid had accidentally taped over part of the cassette that had the only surviving copy of the tune. Now the Doors’ camp has come up with a suitable edit that skirts around that child’s play — and supplemented it with some other bluesy studio outtakes and a live mini-set that had the band joined on stage by guitar great Albert King. Is the “new” song essential. Not at all. Does the EP do a nice job of framing the rescued obscurity, for hardcore fans, in a subgenre-specific package? For sure.
Duran Duran, “Live at Hammersmith ’82”
(4,500 copies – exclusive – gold vinyl)
Rhino probably didn’t even know that Duran Duran was going to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November 2022 when this double-LP release was first planned and put on the docket (it’s tagged as a a 45th anniversary piece). If that’s the case, the timing couldn’t have worked out more serendipitously, with double-D fever back at a modern-era peak. This ’82 show has been released in various ways in the past — including as a DVD/CD combo — but never on vinyl. The gatefold jacket includes a full run-down of the band’s tour itinerary from that year, plus a fan-club-style questionnaire that was filled out by members of the nascent Britpop outfit, with Andy Taylor boldly declaring: “I’m the balls of the group.” Check out Duran’s cover of Cockney Rebel’s “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” to see if he was right.
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, “Cheek To Cheek: Live!”
(unknown number of copies – RSD First – black vinyl)
Nothing too unfamiliar here; this rendering of the odd couple’s 2014 Lincoln Center joint performance has been seen a lot, on PBS and then as a DVD and Blu-Ray. But it hasn’t been heard a lot, in isolation; this apparently marks the set’s first appearance as a purely audio product (aside from, maybe, a rare import CD). The “RSD First” label would seem to indicate that this may become available in multiple formats later, so if someone ahead of you grabs the last copy, you can probably afford to turn the other cheek.
Todd Rundgren, “Something/Anything?”
(3,500 copies – exclusive – ruby, grape, cobalt and light-blue vinyl)
Wait — didn’t Rundgren’s classic breakout album just come out for Record Store Day, already? Let the record show that it indeed did, for Black Friday 2018. But if you have good enough taste to be a Todd-head, you’re probably going to want to add this to the collection of “Something/Anything?s” you already own, even if the four-LP format does render it pricier. The reason it comes as a quadruple-album is because the fresh remaster was cut at 45 rpm, by one of the bigger names in that profession, Chris Bellman, “from the original tapes.” Not ideal if you have an aversion to side-flipping, but very idyllic if you want this material in possibly best-ever sonic form. Gilding the lily are a flip-top box, twin gatefold jackets within that box that portray the original ’72 reel-to-reel boxes, and multiple inserts that include educational liner notes by Rundgren exert Paul Myers — plus four shades of vinyl for four LPs, making it both indulgent and necessary. Those liners remind us that Todd himself actually doesn’t love this album as much as everyone else, because he considered writing classic pop songs to be picking low-hanging fruit. We can still esteem its brilliance even if it seemed too easy for him.
Korla Pandit, “Genie Of The Keys: The Best Of Korla Pandit”
(2,500 copies – RSD First – blue vinyl)
Pandit has been so godlike to the exotica/tiki cult crowd, it’s hard to believe the organist never got anything close to a complete anthology until this RSD LP release from Fantasy. He recorded a few albums before he got to the label, but put out 13 albums once he got there, from the mid-’50s through mid-’60s, making up the bulk of his recorded output, so “Genie of the Keys” is pretty close to being a complete representation. If you don’t know Pandit’s story, as explained in the liner notes, prepare for your jaw to drop. Unbeknown to the public that adored him in his prime, or really much of anyone until the 21st century, he was a Black man who was light-skinned enough to bypass certain segregation and racism by creating a faux persona for himself as an Indian immigrant, becoming a TV star with a mystical persona as enticing as his Hammond organ instrumentals. There’s a kitsch aspect, obviously, but this best-of is still a terrific lesson — it lulls you into believing he was who he said he was, or that we can all become who we want to be, as we pour another mai tai.
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, “Clear Spot (50th Anniversary)”
(4,500 copies – exclusive – clear vinyl)
Captain Beefheart was one of the great rock avant-gardists, when he came out with albums that fell as much into the “acquired taste” mode as 1969’s great “Trout Mask Replica.” So what was he doing working with future Van Halen producer Ted Templeton on 1972’s “Clear Spot”? Only making some of the most accessible music of his career. Here, he and the Magic Band sound mostly like a kinda-weird but not altogether outlying bluesy-roots-rock outfit; if you’ve already had an introduction to Beefheart by way of “Trout,” this is practically easy listening by comparison. But it’s still really good stuff, even if it is a little less challenging. This 50th anniversary package is exemplary, from the embossed front cover to a second LP’s worth of outtakes and instrumental versions, most previously unreleased.
Ahmad Jamal, “Emerald City Nights: Live At The Penthouse (1963-1964)”
Ahmad Jamal, “Emerald City Nights: Live At The Penthouse (1965-1966)”
(3,000 copies each – exclusive – black vinyl)
You can read much more about these twin Jamal live albums in Variety‘s story about producer Zev Feldman and his new Jazz Detective label, for which these are the two premiere releases. (There’s one more volume of Jamal recorded at Seattle’s Penthouse in the ’60s yet to come next year.) Rest assured that anyone who has loved Feldman’s series of archival jazz albums for the Resonance label will love what they find if they follow him here. Leading various trios over the course of a couple of years as he stops in at the titular club for shows that were recorded in top-quality mono to go out as radio broadcasts, Jamal is in peak form. And you can see why Jon Batiste takes to the highly extensive liner notes to extol the pianist as someone whose influence informed every fiber of his being. CD and digital editions will follow the LPs by one week, but as usual with these products, the numbered vinyl editions will become highly collectible.
Jaco Pastorius, “Truth, Liberty & Soul – Live In NYC: The Complete 1982 NPR Jazz Alive! Recording”
(2,000 copies – exclusive – black vinyl)
Speaking of Feldman and Resonance, here’s a rare instance of that jazz label reissuing something that was promised as an exclusive, when it first came out for RSD six years back. But similar to when Resonance reissued a particularly hot Bill Evans title after a number of years, there are some differences that allow the first edition to maintain its collectibility… and that’ll make some who already own the previous version to want this, too. The packaging and a little bit of the artwork are different; this one comes in a tri-fold jacket instead of a flip-top box. More significantly for hardcore audiophiles, it’s an all-new remastering, by Kevin Gray instead of the earlier issue’s Bernie Grundman. But in any event you’re coming from the Jaco, historically accompanied by a big band that makes this unlike anything else the late virtuoso ever did in establishing his mega-cult.
Marshall Crenshaw, “Marshall Crenshaw 40th Anniversary Edition”
(1,200 copies – exclusive – black vinyl)
Crenshaw’s 1982 debut is one of the signature albums of power pop. This exclusive LP edition augments it with a bonus disc of seven tracks of live material and demos, including an early version of “(You’re My) Favorite Waste of Time,” a song that would have to wait till his next album to see release, because he already had so much for the debut. This will come out in CD and digital form in February, but if you need the vinyl, it’s been pressed in a low enough quantity that you shouldn’t wait for “Someday, Someway” to pick it up.
Fountains of Wayne, “Traffic and Weather”
(3,500 copies – RSD First – gold with black swirl vinyl)
It’s kind of crazy that a catalog as great as Fountains of Wayne’s has not been out in its entirety on vinyl before — but such was the era that FoW came up in, when the LP format was considered dead, CDs were here to stay and streaming was something you did in a raft. Real Gone scored with its previous RSD vinyl premiere of the classic “Welcome Interstate Managers,” and while the 2007 “Traffic” is probably the least mandatory of all the band’s albums, it’s still essential, if that makes any sense. As is often noted, Chris Collingwood was a bit checked out on this one, making it particularly a showcase for the late Adam Schlesinger’s whimsy in character-driven numbers like “Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim.” It will surely get a subsequent release on black vinyl, but if you want the swirl, now’s the chance. (More good news: “Traffic” will be succeeded on vinyl by the Jan. 13 general release of the odds-and-sods collection “Out-of-State Plates.”)
Willie Nelson, “Live at Budokan”
(9,100 copies – exclusive – black vinyl)
This 1974 show was recorded for release but, until now, only ever came out via a 1984 Japanese laserdisc. Back before he was on the road again and again and again, Nelson’s family-style shows were still in their formative era, even though many of the songs that remain in the set to this day were already in place 48 years ago. So, with this (un-previewed by us) performance, it’ll be interesting to see if we can detect any then-versus now points of departure in this two-LP set.
Oscar Peterson Trio, “On A Clear Day – Live in Zurich, 1971”
(1,800 copies – RSD First – clear vinyl)
It’s the second release in this roundup with “clear” in the title and “clear” as the vinyl color(lessness) of choice. And, actually, there’s a certain transparency to why this would be one of the most coveted jazz titles of this particular Record Store Day, after other Peterson Trio releases have sold through so quickly at past RSD events, from “Tenderly” in 2016 and “Night Train” in 2017 to “A Time for Love” last year at this time. The eight previously unheard tracks that make up “Clear Day” represent the only time the version of the great pianist’s trio that included bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and drummer Louis Hayes have been put on record.
Gary Saracho, “En Medio”
(3,500 copies – RSD First – black vinyl)
Universal has mostly sat out this RSD adjunct event this year, but the one release they do have for Black Friday is a real cred item — a reissue of a crate digger’s delight that hasn’t been in print since its initial commercially underwhelming 1973 release. Saracho’s sole studio album won praise from pal Herbie Hancock and raves from Downbeat and the New York Times, but as a press release says, the Chicano musician’s debut did not “gain the traction it so deserved at the time,” so Saracho just quit the business. He recently returned, at long last, with “Garrett Saracho JID015,” representing one of the longer freshman-to-sophomore album gaps in music history.
Various Artists, “Jazz Dispensary: Haunted High”
(3,600 copies – exclusive – pink splatter vinyl)
You don’t have to be high to enjoy the Jazz Dispensary compilation series of soul-and-jazz tracks; this volume includes a track by Woody Herman, not exactly known as the all-time greatest stoner in this world. But why ask high, when the dispensers in question are giving us a collection so heady it encompasses artists ranging from that clarinetist to Flora Purim with Carlos Santana to McCoy Tyner and vibraphonist Cal Tjader to soul singer Barbara Lewis covering pop hit “The Windmills of Your Mind.” For as long as the Dispensary blows this eccentric a brand of smoke in our ears, we’d follow them anywhere.
Townes Van Zandt, “At My Window (35th Anniversary Edition)”
(4,000 copies – RSD First – blue vinyl)
“Window” already came out once for Record Store Day, 10 years ago; the main difference may be the shift from black to blue vinyl. But that previous edition consisted of a scant 1,000 copies, and it’s not like the original 1987 pressing would have had any great quantities, so fans of the influential Americana singer-songwriter will welcome the chance to have a clean and affordable copy of this in any hue. “Window,” his penultimate studio album (and the only one he released in the ’80s, before making his exit in the late ’90s), is probably not the album to start with if you’re new to Van Zandt — there’s a kind of muted feel to it, despite the strong songwriting — but it’s wholly worthy of filling out a collection of his still influential work.
John Williams, “The Cowboys (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [50th Anniversary]”
(3,000 copies – exclusive – gold vinyl)
Before John Williams was JOHN WILLIAMS — which is to say, pre-Lucas, and mostly pre-Spielberg — he was renowned more for his delicate touch in rueful ’70s movies like “The Cowboys” than the martial masterpieces to come. This neo-Western score was overdue to have its day again, and the market for it among fans was barely sated by a CD that went out of print almost as soon as it went in in 2018. This vinyl followup promises to take advantage of the same restorative care that made the compact disc of a few years back such an instant collectible.
Some other Black Friday limited editions to look out for:
David Bowie, “The Next Day Extra EP” (11,850 copies)
Eric Burdon & War, “The Complete Vinyl Collection” (2,500 copies)
Jim Carroll Band, “Catholic Boy (Deluxe)” (1,500 copies)
The Cure, “Wish (30th Anniversary Edition” (picture disc) (11,150 copies)
Grateful Dead, “Wembley Empire Pool, London, England 4/7/1972 (Live)” (7,500 copies)
Janis Joplin & Jorma Kaukonen, “The Legendary Typewriter Tape: 6/25/64 Jorma’s House” (3,500 copies)
Madlib, “Medicine Show No. 11: Low Budget High-Fi Music” (5,000 copies)
Charles MIngus, “MIngus” (3,500 copies)
Thelonious Monk, “The Classic Quartet” (3,500 copies)
Pete Rock, “Return Of The SP-1200 V.2” (3,500 copies)
Martha and the Vandellas, “Dance Party” (2,500 copies)
The Weeknd, “Dawn FM” (6,000 copies)
Originally published at variety.com