The smaller sibling to April’s main Record Store Day event, Record Store Day Black Friday has become an annual calendar fixture. Taking place this year on 24 November, Record Store Day Black Friday 2023 maintains the high standards set by the RSD team, with the best Record Store Day Black Friday 2023 releases being essential for vinyl collectors everywhere.
10: Willie Nelson: ‘Shotgun Willie’ (2LP, black vinyl)
An important milestone in Willie Nelson’s career, 1973’s Shotgun Willie was the first fruit of a new deal between the iconic country singer and Atlantic Records. Recorded after Nelson relocated to Austin, Texas, the album – which featured songs penned by Bob Wills and Leon Russell, plus collaborations with Nelson’s fellow outlaw-country icon Waylon Jennings – was also influenced by the hippie scene centred on Austin’s live-music venue Armadillo World Headquarters and reflected Nelson’s break with the more traditional country sound of his earlier recordings.
Originally a cult-level release, Shotgun Willie is now widely accepted as one of the first “outlaw country” albums. Taking its place among the best Record Store Day Black Friday 2023 releases, it finds Nelson offering an alternative to the conservative restrictions of a genre then effectively dominated by Nashville.
Must hear: A Song For You
9: Linkin Park: ‘Lost Demos’ (translucent sea-blue vinyl)
Despite its title, Lost Demos won’t be entirely unfamiliar to Linkin Park fans, as this 14-track collection of fully realised songs and work-in-progress sketches, laid down during the sessions for the band’s multi-million-selling second album, Meteora, first saw release on CD as part of its parent album’s 20th-anniversary super-deluxe box set.
A breakout release from one of the best Linkin Park albums, Lost Demos stands as an essential title among the best Record Store Day Black Friday 2023 releases, as it now makes its vinyl debut (on translucent sea-blue wax). Among the three songs which the band finished during the sessions, but which remained in the vault until now, is Lost, whose belated release has seen it become embraced by fans as one of the best Linkin Parks songs of all time.
Must hear: Lost
8: Grateful Dead: ‘Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA, 3/2/1969’ (5LP, black vinyl)
Recorded right in the heart of Grateful Dead territory, at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West, in San Francisco, the four-night stand the group staged at the venue across the end of February and early March 1972 is still the stuff of legend. The first three nights produced much of the material featured on Live/Dead, that perennial entry among the best Grateful Dead albums, but the fourth and final night was arguably even better, opening with an epic 21-minute plough through Dark Star and including further Grateful Dead classics such as St Stephen, Morning Dew, That’s It For The Other One and Death Don’t Have No Mercy. Panacea for all self-respecting Deadheads, Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA, 3/2/1969 has been mixed from the original 16-track master tapes by Jeffrey Norman, who also mastered the release alongside tape restoration by Plangent Processes.
Must hear: That’s It For The Other One
7: War: ‘The World Is A Ghetto: 50th Anniversary Edition (5LP, yellow and black vinyl)
Making a timely return to vinyl, The World Is A Ghetto was initially released through United Artists in late 1972, though it really caught light early the following year, topping the Billboard 200 en route to going gold, and also being crowned Billboard’s Album Of The Year for 1973. Often favourably compared to similarly pioneering titles from the early 70s, such as Curtis Mayfield’s Curtis and Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, The World Is A Ghetto captured the tough yet dextrous Californian soul/funk fusionists at the very top of their game, and it features several of the group’s key tracks, among them Cisco Kid, the sprightly instrumental jam City, Country, City and the potent, widely sampled title track. The album returns in multi-disc form for Record Store Day Black Friday 2023, touting a host of alternate takes and reimagined versions of its songs.
Must hear: The World Is A Ghetto
6: The Beat: ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’ (2LP, crystal-clear vinyl)
One of the leading lights of the 2 Tone explosion of the late 70s, Birmingham-based sextet The Beat (rebranded The English Beat in the US) released three sublime albums during their all-too-brief lifespan, with their debut, I Just Can’t Stop It, arguably the pick of the crop. Sprinkled with ska, punk, reggae and liberal doses of pure pop, this sunny yet politically aware collection was stuffed with hits (Mirror In The Bathroom, Hands Off… She’s Mine, Best Friend) along with a ream of fan favourites (Twist And Crawl, Big Shot, Stand Down Margaret), and it simply refuses to age. Its reissue on crystal-clear vinyl places it among the best Record Store Day Black Friday 2023 releases, thanks in no small part to a bonus disc of rarities, alternate versions and live tracks.
Must hear: Best Friend
5: Faces: ‘Had Me A Real Good Time… With Faces! In Session And Live At The BBBC 1971-1973’ (“orange crush” vinyl)
A treat for diehard Faces fans, this self-explanatory collection captures the Rod Stewart-fronted group at the height of their lascivious pomp. The tracklist mixes lippy originals (Had Me A Real Good Time, Oh Lord I’m Browned Off) with gloriously well-oiled covers (Bobby Womack’s It’s All Over Now; Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed; Sam Cooke’s Twistin’ The Night Away), all slapped down with excitement to spare from a variety of Beeb-sponsored performances, including a couple of previously unreleased numbers from the band’s appearance on John Peel’s Sunday Concert, recorded on 13 May 1971.
Must hear: It’s All Over Now
4: The Flaming Lips: ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots: Live At The Paradise Lounge, Boston Oct 27, 2002’ (pink vinyl)
It’s been a bumper year for Flaming Lips devotees, with the past 12 months yielding coloured-vinyl debuts for several coveted EPs, including Hypnotist and Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell, in addition to a gold-coloured vinyl edition of the band’s Greatest Hits Vol.1.
If that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, fans with deep pockets will also have snapped up the deluxe multi-disc reissue of arguably the Lips’ definitive album, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, and that same record now spawns a spin-off live recording.
As part of the promo for the original Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots release, The Flaming Lips swung by Boston’s Paradise Lounge for an intimate show broadcast by local radio station WBOS. Before a small crowd of competition winners and invited fans, Wayne Coyne and company played a sparkling 40-minute set that included album highlights Do You Realize?? and Fight Test alongside covers of Pink Floyd’s Lucifer Sam and Beck’s The Golden Age. This much sought-after recording now makes its (pink) vinyl debut as an exclusive for Record Store Day Black Friday 2023.
Must hear: Lucifer Sam
3: The Doors: ‘Live In Bakersfield’ (2LP, transparent orange vinyl)
After Jim Morrison was put on trial for allegedly exposing himself during The Doors’ notoriously chaotic show in Miami on 1 March 1969, everyone around the band was forced to accept that a prison sentence for their iconic singer was now a very real possibility. To the band’s credit, they did their best to not let the situation interfere their art, responding with February 1970’s Morrison Hotel and performing well-received shows across the US, from New York City’s Felt Forum to The Winterland, in San Francisco.
Heartened by the response, the band pencilled in further North American gigs during the summer of 1970, to keep their hand in before returning to Europe to play what turned out to be their final UK show, at that year’s Isle Of Wight Festival. At Bakersfield, in the heart of agricultural California, on 21 August 1970, the group performed a well-received concert that leant on medleys and covers in addition to recently minted shoo-ins among the best Doors songs, such as Roadhouse Blues and Ship Of Fools. Only recently unearthed, this first official release of the Bakersfield recording makes for a standout among the best Record Store Day Black Friday 2023 releases.
Must hear: Roadhouse Blues
2: Prince And The New Power Generation: ‘Get Off (Damn Near 10 Min. Mix)’ (one-sided 12”, black vinyl)
The first single release from his Diamonds And Pearls album, Gett Off was initially self-pressed in a run of just 1,500 and delivered to select US radio and club DJs as a promotional record on 7 June 1991, Prince’s 33rd birthday. A one-sided promo 12” featuring the extended Damn Near 10 Min. Mix of the song, it became an instant Prince rarity which, for this year’s Record Store Day Black Friday, is returning to the shelves in a limited run of 7,000.
Showcasing the hip-hop inflected sound Prince had worked up with his newly assembled band The New Power Generation, Gett Off was so well received that an edited version of the song was added to Diamonds And Pearls. Both of these mixes, plus the Housestyle mix and an extensive live take, are included on the recently released super-deluxe edition of the album, though this one-sided standalone release remains one of the biggest draws among the best Record Store Day Black Friday 2023 releases.
Must hear: Gett Off (Damn Near 10 Min. Mix)
1: Joni Mitchell: ‘Court And Spark Demos’ (black vinyl)
A nigh-on perfect blend of jazz sensibilities and traditional songwriting, Joni Mitchell’s Grammy-nominated sixth album, Court And Spark, remains her biggest-selling release, peaking at No.2 on the Billboard 200 in 1974, and spawning spin-off hits in the shape of Help Me and Free Man In Paris. Now, thanks to this scintillating collection of demos, fans can gain an insight into how some of the storied Canadian singer-songwriter’s most enduring songs come together. Topping our list of the best Record Store Day Black Friday 2023 releases, Court And Spark Demos features engrossing early takes of some of the greatest Joni Mitchell songs of the era, among them Raised On Robbery and Down To You.
Must hear: Raised On Robbery
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