This week I take a look at some of the new releases by Sony/Legacy for Record Store Day, which is Saturday.
The increase in vinyl sales over the past five years spurred a new interest in vinyl, both from young people fascinated by sound coming from a needle and a piece of plastic and those of us who grew up with the sound medium.
A lot of companies, both independent and established labels, have taken to pressing limited, high quality vinyl pressings of albums for special release on the day.
Record Store Day began in 2007 with several vinyl lovers getting together to nudge the fledgling interest in vinyl. Since then the day has succeeded magnificently, with vinyl lovers looking forward to the third Saturday in April for re-presses of releases they might never see again on vinyl.
Most of the reissues by Sony are 180-gram, sterling vinyl, which really helps with the bass response. They are also individually numbered, and many of them sound better than the initial releases because of the upgraded vinyl.
Sony/Legacy has been observing the day and releasing some real gems in its back catalog, and this year is no exception. Probably the most exciting re-releases are four records from Aerosmith's glory days, including "Rocks," "Draw the Line," "Night in the Ruts" and "Rock in a Hard Place." These are the albums that made the band's reputation back in the 1970s, and all are still much loved today.
I was lucky enough to score vinyl copies of "Evolver" and "311," both remastered from the original analog tapes. Both sound outstanding, and fans of '90s alternative rock would love to have these.
In conjunction with QRP vinyl comes a re-issue of the Jimi Hendrix Experiences' "Live at Monterey," pressed on a glorious slab of 200-gram vinyl. This is a must-have for any serious Hendrix fan. You may have listened to this album a thousand times - like myself - but you'll be hearing it for the first time with this pressing, which will undoubtedly be one of the finest pressings ever in the album's history. I've heard this album on a high-quality pressing before, and it's light years away from the initial pressing and re-issues in terms of sonic quality. A murky-sounding album on CD, it sounds absolutely heavenly on good quality vinyl, especially in the bass response.
Other highlights include re-releases of Dean Martin's "Dream With Dean," initially released in 1964; a 12-inch re-mix copy of The "Giant"; "Oracular Spectacular" and "Congratulations" by the band MGMT; OutKast's hip-hop masterpiece "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik"-A special 20th anniversary vinyl edition of the groundbreaking hip-hop manifesto and debut recording from rappers Andre 3000 and Big Boi, featuring the call-to-party-arms "Player's Ball." This is one I didn't get but will probably invest in.
There also are some oddball releases, like Henry Mancini's "The Pink Panther - Music from the Film Score Composed and Conducted by Henry Mancini." There additionally are singles by Eric Carmen, Ray Parker Jr. and the most odd combination of Ronnie Spector and Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band 7-inch single of "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" with "Baby Please Don't Go." You're never going to see anything like that again - believe me.
One of my favorite places to pick this stuff up is at SoundKat Records in Pittsburgh's Bloomfield neighborhood at 4526 Liberty Ave. The store will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. If you visit, expect a packed house, as the store will be carrying most of these and dozens of other titles for the day. The store number is (412) 5621-3256. Tell Karl, the owner, Mark said "hello."