THIS Saturday sees the eighth annual Record Store Day — a day when vinyl freaks, collectors and independent record shops come together to celebrate the art of music and to support small and specialist record shops worldwide.
The event was born in 2007 when over 700 independently owned record stores in the US came together to celebrate a unique culture — and to tell music fans that the independent record stores had not gone away.
They still exist in a world dominated by downloads, manufactured artists and corporate domination of the music industry.
It is also a day on which record collectors can purchase special limited-edition vinyl releases, collectors’ items and promotional products released exclusively by hundreds of artists and record companies.
This year there are over 220 record stores taking part in Britain and Northern Ireland, selling over 600 releases on 45s, EPs and LPs, with something for every kind of music fan from rock, metal, indie, dance and country to folk and soul.
And the day is not just for the dedicated vinyl enthusiast looking for that rare first edition or unusually shaped disc. It’s also a day for those just discovering the joys of independent record shops, with knowledgeable staff who are passionate about music and who know their stuff.
Among the many indie bands, highlights of this year’s releases are special editions from the Grateful Dead (a live set from 1990), Bob Marley, Mumford And Sons, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Hawkwind, Deep Purple and Rory Gallagher and a 45 from Bob Dylan.
There are also EPs from The Small Faces and The Kinks and The Pretty Things, plus Springsteen’s early albums.
Also look out for the official re-issue of the Northern Soul classic Do I Love You (Indeed I Do), a 45rpm demo by Frank Wilson, the original of which sold for over £25,000 plus reissues of folk material from Bert Jansch including an EP and reissues of Ann Briggs’s albums on Topic. Even James Last and Monty Python have releases this year.
Among the limited-edition surefire sellers will be a 10" vinyl release by Glastonbury headliners the Foo Fighters called Songs From The Laundry Room, with never-before-heard tracks and demos.
There is also an offering from Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters — a 10" disc More Roar featuring three tracks recorded during his current world tour plus a version of Whole Lotta Love.
Other winners are bound to be the eight-track live album from guitar hero Joe Bonamassa and a double yellow vinyl live album by Captain Beefheart, recorded in Leicester in 1972.
Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl, who is this year’s ambassador for Record Store Day, says: “Here’s listening to vinyl!”