A Collection of New Vinyl for the Audiophile - May, 2013


Record Store Day

As I mentioned, there wasn't tons of stuff going on for this year's Record Store Day that really blew my skirt up. I got off especially light on the long players. My priorities were the Big Star, White Stripes, and Willie sets that we've looked at already. Built To Spill had a live thing that I was interested in. There were a ton of 7" offerings that I thought would be cool, but I narrowed my list down to a few by Mike Cooley, Jason Isbell with Elizabeth Cook, and the Sir Douglas Quintet. I also grabbed a 10" of Yuma by Justin Townes Earle. I have some reverse buyer's remorse as I'd liked to have had the split 7" of "Soul Kitchen" as performed by the Doors and X. McCartney had a 12" single of various versions (stereo/mono) of "Maybe I'm Amazed" that's probably pretty cool. And the only record that I wanted that I whiffed on was a 7" of some live performances by Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels. I spent about five minutes in the store after waiting three hours for the doors to open. And I'm crazy enough to call that success. I'm really excited about the stuff I brought home.

Especially the double 7" Sir Douglas Quintet set. I sent a confederate to the Country section for Willie and Justin Townes Earle (but, foolishly, not Gram) while I blazed through the Rock section for Big Star and the Stripes. Then, I headed straight to the Oldies section to snap up Sir Douglas. That may have been a tactical error as I seem to be the only person in the world who cares about it. Which is nuts. It's got Doug Sahm singing four songs on it. In Spanish. Including "Mendocino." What's the hold up, folks? It's presented in a miniature gatefold package with liners and a killer band photo. And it's one of the coolest things in the world.  

Cooley's 45 includes two live takes that were not included on his recent long player, The Fool On Every Corner. The song titles ("Self-Destructive Zones" and "Get Downtown") will be instantly recognizable to Drive-By Truckers fans, but the performances may not be. Cooley's a fingerpicking maniac and it's been a blast to see him step into his own spotlight with it. He seems to be having fun. This one's on his own Cooley Records label and includes what is by now considered traditional Truckers artwork by Wes Freed along with a download coupon. He called it Too Pretty To Work. Super cool.

I'm unfamiliar with Elizabeth Cook, but her collaboration with Jason Isbell on a couple of Townes Van Zandt covers (31 Tigers Records) is a fun addition to the 45 crate. I didn't hear much about this one leading up to RSD. It felt a little "last second" when Isbell announced it on the Facebook (where he has to rank among the most active participants). And it may have really been "last second" because the record's labels are reversed. "Tecumseh Valley" is listed as "Pancho and Lefty" and vice versa. It's an intimate recording of couple of Townes' greatest.

Bloodshot Records did us a kindness by finally releasing Justin Townes Earle's Yuma on vinyl. Orange vinyl, at that. It's a 10" EP that is much more in line with what I was hoping for when I bought Earle's Midnight At The Movies a while back. It's Earle and his guitar and a few killer tunes. You can't argue with that. It also includes a download coupon of Yuma along with a sampler of other songs spanning the rest of Earle's career.

All in all, it was a grand day. Some of the releases are priced reasonably on Ebay right now, especially the Sir Douglas Quintet set. I tend to think that now's the time if you're going to take that route. I guess that's what folks have to do if they don't have access to a local independent record store. It's a sad state of affairs when you have to type sentences like that last one. I think the Record Store Day folks are providing us with an invaluable service and a great all-around experience. I encourage your support.