Spring is here, and with it comes Record Store Day, the annual celebration of records and the shops that sell them. As you know, RSD always brings with it a catalog of limited edition releases, reissues, and long lines of eager collectors forming outside stores in the hours before opening. And while we’re proud to say here at Reverb LP that some of the best record stores in the world sell through our platform, for many, visiting a shop on Record Store Day is as much about the communal experience of being surrounded by like-minded music fans as it is about grabbing that rare reissue.
To that end, we hope that this weekend you'll have the chance to visit and support a shop in your area. (You can browse their wares any other day of the year from the comfort of your home on Reverb LP.) Go for the limited editions, but take the time to thumb through the rest of their crates, chat with other clientele, and just generally enjoy the warm RSD vibe that inevitably comes when you have a store full of people connecting over the music they love.
For those of you who are interested in gripping some limited releases, we've assembled just a few of our favorites from this year’s selection, which you can peruse below. There are plenty of other cool releases that you can see on the Record Store Day website, but here are the 10 RSD releases that most caught our eye.
The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend was a misnomer upon its original release in 1971, just months after the soul singer’s untimely death. Produced by Curtis Mayfield, it wasn’t a hit at the time but contributed greatly to hip-hop. The album’s standout "Hard Times" has been sampled for songs from A Tribe Called Quest, Ice Cube, Lil Wayne, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, and many more. This Record Store Day exclusive reissue is a two-LP set that includes an album’s worth of unreleased instrumentals being released on vinyl for the first time.
As co-leader of Big Star alongside Alex Chilton, Chris Bell’s reputation as a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer has continued to rise, with the continued interest in the power-pop band and Bell’s first and only solo album I Am the Cosmos. Originally recorded in 1975 at the Chateau d’Hérouville, the album wasn’t released until 1992. This Record Store Day exclusive 7-inch single of the title track will be limited to a quantity of 1,300 and feature a new gatefold sleeve and booklet.
This is the debut album of Pink Floyd, recorded by Beatles engineer Norman Smith at the birth of British psychedelic rock. It’s famously the only Pink Floyd album to feature the contributions of then-bandleader and songwriter Syd Barrett. This Record Store Day exclusive reissue is in the original mono format. Only 6,000 LPs will pressed.
Originally released in 2006 as a limited-edition three-CD set titled Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards, these editions separate each disc into its own standalone two-LP sets. Brawlers is the more rock and blues-based affair. Bawlers, fittingly, has the sentimental ballads, and Bastards is Waits at his most free-wheeling and strange. Each release is limited to a quantity of 4,500.
Trumpeter Bunk Johnson got his start during the birth of jazz at the turn of the 19th century, but his contributions to the history of New Orleans brass bands wouldn’t be widely recognized until years later, with the 1939 release of the Jazzmen anthology. By taking stories Johnson spun as hard fact, that book helped make him a living legend, though some of his remembrances have been questioned, especially those that place him in the echelon of Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong, and other pioneering greats. This two-LP collection of restored master recordings, released on vinyl for the first time, will have a quantity limited to 1,000.
This absolute classic of a live album was the result of not one, but two mavericks—Johnny Cash and producer Bob Johnston—who risked their careers to record at Folsom Prison against the wishes of Columbia Records. The original 1968 release was a comeback hit for Cash that solidified his reputation as a towering figure in country music, but it wasn’t a complete picture of the two concerts, including 15 tracks from the first and only two tracks from the second. This 5-LP 50th Anniversary Legacy Edition (in an exclusive pressing of 2,500) captures the complete performances by Cash, June Carter, Carl Perkins, and the Statler Brothers, as well as previously unreleased audio from rehearsals.
This live album was recorded in 1956 at the birth of Verve Records and a turning point in Ella Fitzgerald’s career. The new jazz and pop label, created by Fitzgerald’s manager, would have an immediate success with Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook, and this recorded performance would instead languish, unreleased, for more than 60 years. Though its official release was in December 2017, this "RSD First" pressing of 1,500 2-LP sets will be on opaque pink and blue vinyl.
Nas’ debut album, Illmatic, was a sensation upon its release, catapulting the rapper to stardom and still landing on best-of lists to this day. Even Jay-Z, who publicly feuded with Nas for a decade, had to admit on his "Takeover" diss track that Illmatic gave Nas a "one-hot-album-every-ten-years average." In 2014, Nas performed the record in full with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. This "RSD First" pressing of 5,000 2-LP sets features vinyl, poster, and exclusive photos all embossed with gold foil.
Composer and producer David Axelrod’s 1968 debut Song of Innocence is a wild assemblage of Earl Palmer’s funky backbeats, Carol Kaye’s silken bass, and Axelrod’s impeccable and varied orchestrations. It’s a psychedelic masterpiece whose focus is sharper and whose scope is broader than most dared at the time. Because of its grooves and crisp production, it became a favorite sample source for hip-hop producers decades later. This "RSD First" release of 2,375 copies is newly remastered from the original tapes.
Another talent underappreciated when she debuted in 1970, Linda Perhacs and her lush, multi-tracked vocals have had a late-career renaissance. For 2017’s I’m a Harmony, the avant-folk songstress collaborated with younger artists she’s influenced like Devendra Banhart and Julia Holter, as well as members of Wilco. This "RSD Limited Run" is limited to 1,000 pressings in black vinyl, to be sold exclusively at independent record stores.