Clear your Saturday

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First Posted: 4/14/2015

The third Saturday in April is not a national holiday, but it sure feels like it to music lovers as they celebrate Record Store Day.

The eighth annual event gets underway Saturday morning as hundreds of limited-edition releases by the likes of Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Maroon 5 and Miles Davis hit the racks of independent record stores.

Locally, all three locations of the Gallery of Sound (Dickson City, Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre Twp.) and Musical Energi (24 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre) will take part in the festivities.

“It was originally modeled after Free Comic Book Day,” said Joe Nardone Jr. of Gallery of Sound, who was part of the committee that came up with RSD in 2007. “At that time, the record industry had gone through a lot of shrinkage with the demise of the Virgin and Tower stores, and we wanted to do something to generate some positive press for record stores.

“That first year, we just wanted to give away a bunch of stuff and have a sort of record store appreciation day,” Nardone continued. “But we talked some manufacturers and distributors into creating about 25 unique items, and Record Store Day was born.”

“It’s grown into one of the greatest days of the year,” said Jay Notartomaso of Musical Energi. “It starts with the exclusive records that are only available in the (independent record) stores, but it is also just a fun day to get out and meet some cool people.

“And it’s another excuse for people to bump up their record collection,” Notartomaso said. “We sell a lot more than just the new releases that day.”

RSD 2015 is the biggest one yet with more than 1,400 stores taking part and more than 400 titles available in limited quantities. Nardone said prices range from about $6 for a 7” single to more than $100 for boxed sets. There will also be loads of free records, CDs, posters, bags and T-shirts at all participating stores, plus in-store live music and DJs.

Notartomaso said some of the hottest titles this year could be: Foo Fighters – “Songs from the Laundry Room” (10” record, 4,000 copies available), seven catalog titles from Bruce Springsteen including “Born To Run” and “Born in the U.S.A.” (each LP limited to 3,000 copies), Paul McCartney – “The Family Way: Original Soundtrack” (LP, 5,700 copies), Johnny Cash – “Koncert v Praze (In Prague – Live)” (LP, 4,525 copies), Bob Dylan – “The Basement Tapes” (180g mono LP box signed by Garth Hudson of The Band, 2,500 copies) and “The Night We Called It a Day” (7” single, 4,000 copies), and U2 – “Songs of Innocence Deluxe” (2 LPs, 6,000 copies).

Nardone singled out the Foo Fighters and Dylan titles, plus: Metallica – “No Life Til Leathr” (the band’s demo tape on cassette, 10,000 copies available), The White Stripes – “Get Behind Me Satan” (1 red vinyl LP and 1 white vinyl LP, quantity unknown), Phish – “New Year’s Eve 1995 Live at Madison Square Garden” (6 LPs, 4,500 copies), Grateful Dead – “Wake Up To Find Out: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY 3/29/90” (5 LPs, 5,200 copies), Jerry Garcia – “Garcia (Compliments)” (LP, 7,000 copies), and Rocky Horror Picture Show – “The Time Warp EP” (10” record, 4,000 copies).

Nardone said the split singles put out by Rhino are always hot. This year’s crop include: Syd Barrett/R.E.M. – “Dark Globe” (8,000 copies), David Bowie/Tom Verlaine – “Kingdom Come” (10,000 copies), Gram Parsons/Lemonheads – “Brass Buttons” (5,000 copies), Grandmaster Flash/Stiff Little Fingers – “The Message” (5,000 copies), and the mystery single, which won’t be known until purchased (5,000 copies).

Other artists with limited-edition RSD releases include: Ryan Adams, The Animals, Blackberry Smoke, The Decemberists, The Flaming Lips, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Jett, Bob Marley, Willie Nelson and Robert Plant.

“It’s a big day with lots of releases, it could be confusing,” Nardone said. “But there’s so many titles being released by so many different artists, it’s still fun and exciting for a lot of people.”