The organizers behind Record Store Day have struggled this year, first needing to push their namesake holiday back and then into three separate “RSD Drops” days this fall across a series of months. It’s all worked out pretty well thus far, but now comes what used to be known as “Back to Black Friday,” heretofore one more aspect of pushing the mom and pop shops who carry vinyl, arguably the best way to listen to music.
This year’s Record Store Day Black Friday edition is a good one, chock full of items that any music lover on your list will fall hard, whether it shows up in their stocking or as a Thanksgiving Day side dish. Below are some of the best to look out for when shopping about on this most decadent of quasi-holidays at your local record stores, a full list of which can be found at recordstoreday.com
ALICE IN CHAINS
The second studio EP by Alice in Chains is finally released on vinyl as a standalone. SAP took a departure from the band’s heavy sound, focusing on acoustic guitar and marked the first time guitarist Jerry Cantrell sang lead vocals on a release by the legendary Seattle outfit. It contains the hit “Got Me Wrong” along with “Right Turn,” featuring Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell. Side B includes an etching of the Alice in Chains logo. The release is limited to 8,500 copies.
BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE: 50TH ANNIVERSARY
Back in 1970, most of the members of Jefferson Airplane were missing in action, but guitarist Paul Kantner and singer Grace Slick holed up in a San Francisco studio in alongside a cast of West Coast rock and roll legends including Jerry Garcia, David Crosby and Mickey Hart to cut what would become Kantner’s finest solo work, his rock space-opera, Blows Against The Empire. The 180g 50th anniversary edition LP is credited to under the name of Jefferson Starship, pressed on green marble vinyl and limited to 3,000 copies.
THE GREAT RADIO CONTROVERSY
Released in 1989, The Great Radio Controversy is Tesla’s second album and contains the hit singles “Love Song,” “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out,)” “Hang Tough” and “The Way It Is.” All received considerable MTV airplay and rocketed the band to stardom. This RSD Black Friday deluxe package is pressed on red opaque vinyl and includes the original labels and a printed sleeve, with an OBI side spine, a paper strip unique to the format with 1,000 copies made in total.
Originally recorded in 1975 and 1976, On Parole was intended to be Motörhead’s debut album. Things didn’t quite work out that way, and it was eventually released in December 1979 after the albums Overkill and Bomber came out earlier in the year. The On Parole LP remains the only album to feature the band’s original line-up of Lemmy Kilmister on vocals and bass, Larry Wallis on guitar and vocals and Lucas Fox on drums. The expanded and remastered version here is a 2-LP affair and features the original album plus the 1997 bonus tracks on vinyl as a bonus 12” EP and is limited to 3,000 copies.
MICK FLEETWOOD & FRIENDS
“GREEN MANALISHI (WITH THE TWO PRONG CROWN)”
An all-star-studded one-of-a-kind concert honoring the early years of Fleetwood Mac and its founder Peter Green was held at the London Palladium this past February. This split release features three versions of the same track, a previously unreleased Mick Fleetwood & Friends rendition from that night on which the “Friends” included ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett – and both a studio version and a live Fleetwood Mac recording from 1970. Here it’s pressed on 3,000 copies of green vinyl.
“CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE”
This is the first ever 7-inch single for the Vince Guaraldi classic “Christmas Time Is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas. It includes an alternate take of the song never before available on vinyl. Pressed on green vinyl, limited to 2,500 copies, this is a hard one to pass up.
THE ROLLING STONES
LET IT BLEED [COLLECTOR’S EDITION]
The Rolling Stones’ groundbreaking multi-platinum selling album Let It Bleed came out in 1969, with this 50th anniversary remaster a year removed an exclusive collector’s edition handcrafted on the press, using layers of color on top of one another to create a truly unique set. Due to the nature of the manual process to pour each color onto the press by hand, each piece is unique in design. There’s also a hand-numbered “Certificate of Authenticity” included for collectors of what’s only a wildly short 900 copies.
BOY [40TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION]
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the debut by U2, Boy, the album features the singles “A Day Without Me” and “I Will Follow” as well as live favorites “Out of Control” and “The Electric Co.” This limited-edition white vinyl pressing includes an additional double-sided poster plus a lyrics and credits insert. No danger in this one running out though…there’s 10,000 copies available.
ELLIOTT SMITH ALTERNATE VERSIONS
While preparing the reissue of Elliott Smith’s 1994 self-titled album, the label Kill Rock Stars unearthed alternate versions of some of the songs and put them together with some original photography from the same era for a limited edition 45 RPM 12” vinyl companion piece, exclusive to indie record stores on this year’s Black Friday and limited to 2,000 copies.
VARIOUS 3-INCH SINGLES
It wouldn’t be a Record Store Day event without some unique items, and ORG Music is coming in strong with a series of 3″ single releases by Johnny Cash, made for the RSD3 mini-turntable and other turntables, like the RSD2020 clear mini-turntable. Four Cash singles are being dropped here; “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Get Rhythm” and “Guess Things Happen That Way.” Each is limited to 1,000 copies.
This article originally appeared in the November 27, 2020 print edition of The Daily Times.