-- Happy Black Friday, audiophiles! While holiday shoppers will be braving the crowds to find the best deals at their local malls, today also marks the fall edition of Record Store Day. That's the day that a wide variety of artists release limited-edition album reissues, new singles and rare and unreleased material -- all on vinyl -- to support independent music retailers.
Among the many special Black Friday releases are a reissued version of a 1965 live 7-inch vinyl EP from The Rolling Stones; a three-LP version of the Side Tracks rarities album that was first released on two CDs as part of Bob Dylan's massive Complete Album Collection Vol. One compilation; a 1970 live album featuring rare acoustic performances by The Grateful Dead; and a seven-inch single boasting live renditions of "Fire" and "Foxey Lady" from the Jimi Hendrix Experience's performance at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival.
Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz says he thinks that The Grateful Dead release, titled Family Dog at the Great Highway, is a particularly special collection.
"Everyone who has [heard it] said it is just phenomenal," he tells ABC News Radio. "It's [The Dead] transitioning into what became the Workingman's Dead album, which is one of their most famous records…You just hear the band in all their glory, acoustic."
Kurtz adds his Record Store Day campaign has become quite popular over the last few years, noting that he's seen an increase in the amount of record stores popping up around the country. "Over 300 new record stores have opened in the last three years, which is fantastic news for our community," he explains. "Business is booming, we're doing great, we're connecting with music fans just like we used to back in the glory days, the '70s and '80s, so it's real exciting."
Other interesting Record Store Day exclusives include a four-LP anthology of Roy Orbison's recordings for the Monument label; Harry Nilsson's Rarities Collection, a 12-track LP culled from the late singer/songwriter's recent The RCA Album Collection box set; a seven-inch single featuring previously unreleased early versions of Sly & the Family Stone's "Sexy Situation" and "Mother Is a Hippie"; and a limited-edition 10-inch vinyl disc that features U2's new single "Ordinary Love" and a reworked version of "Breath" from 2010's No Line on the Horizon.
Kurtz says he's thrilled U2 has offered up some exclusive new music, especially since the band has always gotten behind the initiative. "We went to different artists to support that idea, and U2 was the first one to come on board and say, 'Yeah, we wanna support mom and pop stores,' he points out. "They did the very first one, and now we are full circle and they're doing the major one this year."
Visit RecordStoreDay.com to check out all the complete list of exclusive releases.
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