By Michael Kurtz
There will be approximately 375 RSD releases by an amazing list of bands, from the Allman Brothers to Frank Zappa.
Here are my personal five favorite RSD 2019 releases:
1. The roots of this year’s Todd Rundgren Record Store Day release goes back to 2016 conversations with Mike Batt, the owner of Silver Platters in Seattle (www.silverplatters.com). We had this idea to create a Todd album focused on only the tracks Todd recorded while living in Los Angeles. The tracks start with “We Gotta Get You a Woman” and end with the songs recorded for side three of Something/Anything? We got as far as a track listing and the cover photo taken in the early ’70s by a young college student by the name of Marty Jourard (later to be the keyboard player for The Motels) with liner notes by Paul Myers (author of A Wizard a True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio).
Like many Record Store Day projects this one evolved into something different but equally as cool. The Complete U.S. Bearsville & Warner Bros. Singles 4-LP set (above) is pretty special and includes 43 remastered Todd Rundgren songs that were released as singles by Bearsville and Warner Bros., stretching over four albums, starting with “We Gotta Get You a Woman,” and ending with “I Love My Life,” arguably one of the best songs Rundgren ever performed. The set also includes new liner notes written by Paul Myers, as well as a note by Todd Rundgren to all the fans who buy the album.
2. The Doors London Fog release is to our knowledge the first 10-inch record ever released by The Doors and it features a 1966 recording of the group when they were the house band at the Sunset Strip bar the London Fog, including the song “Strange Days,” later to be the title track on their second album and the very first full-length album that I ever bought as a kid. This 10-inch is limited to 7,000 copies and also features “You Make Me Real,” later to surface on their album Morrison Hotel.
3.I remember being 17 years old standing in the surf at Wrightsville Beach, NC in 1975 arguing with my childhood friend Danny Brock about whether John Lennon’s Walls And Bridges was more significant than Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks. We loved them both, but I argued for Lennon, Danny for Dylan. Both albums have grown in significance over time but for very different reasons. That argument aside, I think Danny would love this year’s Bob Dylan RSD offering. It is the original New York version of Blood On The Tracks, and is a replica of the 1974 test pressings, featuring unique mixes available for the first time ever. Before the version of Blood On The Tracks that we all know and love was released, there were a small number of test pressings containing the New York version of the album circulated. Those rare records were soon bootlegged and the alternate history of Blood On The Tracks was born. This RSD release is an exact duplicate of those original test pressings. Limited to 8,000 copies.
4. One of the earliest, and arguably coolest, Record Store Day releases was the John Lennon “Singles Bag” 7-inch set. It blew everyone’s mind. This year’s “Imagine” offering by John Lennon is no less mind blowing. It’s a 180 gram black vinyl, limited-edition album of recordings done by John and the Plastic Ono Band, recorded live on the soundstage located at the center of the Ascot Sound Studios inside John and Yoko’s home in Tittenhurst.
5.I was lucky enough to attend the U2 concert in Madison Square Garden last year when the band performed for the President of Ireland, along with over 100 representatives from countries around the world who were in NYC to meet at the United Nations. Some of the rock’n’roll eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE spectacle that fans were stunned to experience is represented in this year’s RSD release U2 Present The Europa EP (shown above), but from the European perspective. Side A opens with Charlie Chaplin’s final speech from the movie The Great Dictator, and underscores a unique musical mash up of “Love Is All We Have Left” with 1993 classic "Zooropa," leading into a ‘live’ performance of “New Year’s Day” from Dublin in November 2018. And Side B includes two ‘Euro’-tinged remixes. The St. Francis Hotel’s mix of “New Year’s Day” and Jon Pleased Wimmin’s Euromantic mix of “Love Is All We Have Left.” Like the artwork from last year’s U2 RSD Black Friday release, this one is no less inspired and includes an eXPERIENCED Chaplinesque homage to the artwork of the Zooropa Album.
Read everything else Michael Kurtz and the Goldmine staff have to say about Record Store Day past and present in the latest print issue of Goldmine (below), on the newsstands at Barnes & Noble and Books A Million until April 9, 2019.
You can also purchase a digital edition by clicking on the image cover, below.