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Record Store Day Black Friday previews

A quick look at the Black Friday albums to pick up quickly... and a few, perhaps, to avoid.
1

It’s probably not atop many people’s RSD wants lists, but one to definitely keep an eye out for is the first ever vinyl release for one of Jorma Kaukonin’s latter-day triumphs, 1998’s Too Many Years (Fur Peace Ranch).

Exquisitely packed in a hefty gatefold sleeve, the two discs pressed, respectively, in blue and orange vinyl, and sounding utterly exquisite, it’s one of those albums that just carries you away — first through a skillful mix of originals and covers (Johnny Cash’s “Home of the Blues” receives a terrific airing), but also through the manner in which the mood just build and builds, side by side, until side four delivers the 10 minute “Hypnotation Blues” — which is indeed hypnotic; and a closing drift through “Friend of the Devil.”

2

Also eyeing you up from the shelves will be David Bowie’s The Next Day Extra EP (Legacy), just one in what is fast looking like a tsunami of new Bowie releases in the end-of-year pipeline. This one, thankfully, is not too essential. If you picked up the expanded version of the original Next Day album when it was released in 2013, all seven tracks here were included on the bonus CD (alongside three more that didn’t make it aboard).

Vinyl completists, of course, will want it, and will doubtless play it as often as they spin the original bonus CD. Even for them, however, there will likely be regret that the compilers chose to devote 10 minutes of precious wax to Steve Reich’s yawn-inducing remix of “Love Is Lost,” when all three absentees could have as easily taken its place. There again, maybe next year will see a Next Day Extra Extra 12-inch to finish up the story.

7

With Jimi Hendrix’s Hollywood Bowl concert making its way out as a regular release, it’s not surprising that his latest RSD offering should be a mere vinyl reissue of some past CD favorite. What’s remarkable about Burning Desire (Legacy), however, is not that it’s just an old album in new trousers, its the fact that it’s also an old Record Store Day exclusive, in different colored trousers - orange and red ones, as opposed to the boring black that sufficed in 2015. That aside, it’s the same Billy Cox and Buddy Miles sessions that Hendrix completists have already picked up at least twice in the past, and one sincerely hopes that this is not going to start a brand new trend in RSD issues.

6

Or maybe it already has. For, if you missed the Fleetwood Mac “alternate album” collections that have drifted out across past RSDs, you can now catch up on all of them with the eight LP/six CD Alternate Collection (Rhino), comprising The Alternate Fleetwood Mac (originally released in 2019), The Alternate Rumours (2020), The Alternate Tusk (2016), The Alternate Live (2021), The Alternate Mirage (2017) and The Alternate Tango In The Night (2018).

All are excellent - Mac’s outtakes, as you’d expect, are usually just as finely wrought as their finished versions, and while none of these discs is likely to rival the “real thing” in anybody’s mind, still they’re well worth picking up. Again, colored vinyl is the biggest lure for the Mac completist, while an edition limited to 9,000 copies will probably make this a hard one to find. You may want to set the alarm.

3

With the original Animals LP collection being lined up for reissue at the end of the year, it’s fitting that RSD this year includes a look at a later Eric Burdon project, in the shape of his collaboration with War at the beginning of the 1970s.

A four album package, sensibly titled The Complete Vinyl Collection (Rhino) rounds up fresh remasters of three albums: Eric Burdon & War: Eric Burdon Declares War on transparent violet wax, Black Man’s Burdon on translucent sunny yellow, and Love Is All Around on transparent red vinyl. All three are highly recommended, with the first of the set ranking among Burdon’s career-best releases.

9

Following on from the rapid sell-out of Nico’s Live at the Hacienda album at this year’s first RSD, next up is a yellow wax pressing for Live at the Library Theatre ’83 (LMLR) a vinyl-go-round for a concert recording that has previously circulated on CD as Janitor Of Lunacy and All Tomorrow’s Parties. (Before that, bootleg cassette copies happily did the rounds.

As a quick glimpse at the track listing will inform you, 1983 was a great year in which to see Nico live; unfortunately, the quality of this one is at the dodgy end of Not Very Good, with even the obi admitting it’s a “rough live recording.” Your decision….

5

Back in 1993, Bryan Ferry’s Taxi album (BMG) was widely proclaimed his return to form — an opinion which was a little harsh, bearing mind it had been six years since his last new release (the disappointing Bete Noir), and the one before that was a stone cold classic (Boys and Girls).

In fact, the album was really a return to the dawn of his solo career, an (almost) all covers collection that skipped across the years in search of material, and did indeed include some storming revisions. “I Put a Spell On You” is as sexily slinky as most other versions are scary; “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” is as grandiosely heartbreaking as the old crooner has ever sounded. And if the rest of the album struggles to recapture those two early highs, it’s nevertheless a pleasant listening, with only “Amazing Grace” falling flat on its face.

Whether the yellow vinyl RSD edition will help slash demand for original copies, however, is a different matter. Trading now for close to $100 in NM, Taxi was released on vinyl in Europe alone. And this time around, they’re only pressing 1,750 copies.

10

Ultravox’s Rage in Eden - their second album with Midge Ure, and fifth overall - was given the deluxe CD treatment earlier this year; now the component Steve Wilson remix makes it out on its own on vinyl and CD (Chrysalis).

What you make of it really depends on how you feel about modern remixes, and Wilson’s efforts in particular. But he did a fair job on Vienna a couple of years ago, and if it’s any incentive, this package also includes an otherwise exclusive all instrumental version of the parent album. Again, they did that with Vienna, and jolly enjoyable it was, as well. And you know how much you want to perform “The Thin Wall” at your next karaoke session.

4

The Cure reissues keep coming, with the CD box set of 1992’s Wish album joined now by a double picture disc edition (Rhino). It’s a funny old album - the band[’s first studio set since Disintegration (or Mixed Up, if you want to be pedantic) , Wish firmly divides the core Cure audience between those who liked “Friday I’m In Love,” and those who didn’t.

Hindsight, too, portrays it in a less than flattering light, as the album that marked the beginning of the band’s decline as a creative force — tellingly, they have released just four new studio albums since Wish, and that despite Robert Smith insisting (for several years now) that there’s at least one new set ready to go.

8

Of course, RSD is not only about records. There are other formats, after all, and while we await the inevitable Stones on 78 box set, Alanis Morissette tops the list of artists looking towards cassette tape this year. Of course, it’s only the latest permutation of 2020’s Such Pretty Forks In The Road (Epiphany). And why not? We’ve already had colored, clear and black vinyl copies. Next time around, maybe she’ll give us an 8-Track.