Record Store Day co-founder picks his Top 5 favorite releases for Black Friday

Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz has five personal picks for 2017’s Record Store Day – Black Friday event. Here they are.
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Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz has five personal picks for 2017’s Record Store Day – Black Friday event. Here they are:

By Michael Kurtz

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1. Nothing says Christmastime like a new record from The Beatles or a member of the band. Paul McCartney gets into the holiday spirit with two unique 7-inch singles. Both feature Macca performing “Wonderful Christmastime” with The Roots and Jimmy Fallon on the A-side, while one features The Decemberists covering Big Star’s “Jesus Christ” on the B-side, and the other’s B-side features Norah Jones performing “Peace” from a live New York City performance. One is green and one is red.

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2.Greg Lake’s “I Believe In Father Christmas” was originally written and recorded with King Crimson’s Pete Sinfield and released in the U.K. in late November of 1975, where it reached No. 2 on the charts (just behind Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”). Record Store Day is super proud to honor Greg with a fantastic 10-inch white vinyl rerelease featuring both the original version and Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s version.

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3. Having a totally unique Todd Rundgren record made for record stores is always exciting. This year’s Record Store Day Black Friday offering includes the original demo versions of three of the best songs from Utopia’s “P.O.V.” album and they are fantastic to hear. Both Todd and Willie Wilcox’s versions are arguably better than the versions on the original album. The liner notes are extensive and written by Paul Myers (author of “A Wizard A True Star - Todd Rundgren in the Studio”).

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4.There was a period in the early ‘70s where a loose group of California-based artists performed and wrote songs on various albums freely, and they did it because they genuinely loved the music they were making. David Crosby’s “If I Could Only Remember My Name” is one of the most famous of these albums. One of my favorites from this time period is violinist Papa John Creach’s first album. It’s a total joy to listen to this Record Store Day reissue and includes contributions by Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, Quick Silver Messenger Service’s John Cipollina, Jefferson Airplane’s Joey Covington, Paul Kanter, Jorma Kaukonen and Grace Slick, and the original members of Santana’s band, Gregg Rolie, Dave Brown, Pete Sears and Carlos himself. Beyond all of that, Papa John Creach was able to do what is most difficult: develop a sound that is totally unique and instantly recognizable.

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5. Record Store Day doesn’t release a lot of box sets these days but we made an exception for the 5-LP Grateful Dead Records Collection Box Set, containing: “Wake Of The Flood, From The Mars Hotel, Blues For Allah, Steal Your Face” (2 LPs). Each album will be faithfully replicated, housed in a rigid slipcase, with a book containing liner notes and iconic photos of the band. Limited Edition of 5,000.

Michael Kurtz is the co-founder and co-manager of Record Store Day. In 2013, Kurtz was made a Chevalier of the Ordre Des Arts et Des Letters in France, honoring Record Store Day’s contribution to the cultural and artistic life of the French people.

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