1. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (50th Anniversary)

June 1st, 2017, marks a whole half-century since the release of one of the Beatles most enduring classics, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and to mark the occasion comes the arrival of a “Super Deluxe Edition” which promises an additional 33 recordings (most of which are previously unreleased) and a collection of 4 CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays, alongside a 180 gram vinyl pressing.

Receiving a new stereo mix from the original 4 track masters, the double LP pressing appears alongside a second LP of alternate takes for all of the album’s 13 tracks, mixed and sequenced in their original chronological order at Abbey Road Studios by Giles Martin and Sam Okell. Also included in the package is a 1992 documentary by Alan Benson which documents the recording of the album, and a collection of assorted memorabilia which includes posters and replicas of the original inserts.

Arriving on May 26th, this will no doubt be the perfect way for avid fans to celebrate a landmark anniversary of one the most enduring rock albums of all time.

2. Sun Ra – Discipline 27-11

Gilles Peterson put it perfectly when he said, “Sun Ra was the man, the ultimate artist for any vinyl collector.” The afro-futurist jazz titan’s records remain some of the most sought after pressings, and this year’s Record Store Day (which takes place on April 22nd) looks set to bring another rare classic to a lucky few, with the first ever vinyl reissue of The Arkestra’s 1973 LP, Discipline 27-11.

The reissue comes courtesy of the excellent Strut Records, fresh off the back of their 7” box set collections of Ra’s singles, and finds the Arkestra in typically exploratory mood, accompanying Ra’s idiomatic vocal dramatising. The collective’s original pressings are often notoriously hard to find as they were originally sold at live shows, in small runs, and often featured intricately hand painted designs which limited their reproducibility.   

All of this means you’ll need nimble feet to bag a copy on Record Store Day. Best of luck…

3. David Bowie – Cracked Actor/Bow Promo

Record Store Day looks to set to bring forth a wealth of new music from the archives, the highest profile of which comes from David Bowie, with the first ever release of his Cracked Actor live album, and a re-release of a very limited promo album, Bow Promo.

The former documents the rock star’s September 1974 performance in Los Angeles, as part of his Philly Dogs tour, and features some of the material previously broadcast in the BBC ‘Cracked Actor’ documentary, and, notably, Luther Vandross on backing vocal duties. Meanwhile the latter is a repress of a very limited promo album which originally appeared very sparsely in 1971, which feature early versions of songs which would eventually appear on Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

These pressings arrive as limited editions in celebration of the tenth anniversary of Record Store Day, so it may be some time before we see a wider reissue release of these collections.

4. Nina Simone – A Very Rare Evening

Tidal Waves Music returns this month with a very special reissue: Nina Simone’s highly sought after A Very Rare Evening LP, which has remained out of print on vinyl since 1979. The album features a collection of European recordings made a decade prior in 1969 at a German concert, and features songs written by Randy Newman, Aretha Franklin, Barry Gibb and Peter Seeger.

Instrumental talent includes American composer Weldon Irvine on organ, jazz maestro Gene Perla on bass and Dona Allias playing drums. The set focuses on the then contemporary material of the Gibb brothers but also displays Simone in her prime, as an assuredly confident performer in her own right.

5. Gorillaz – Demon Days

Ahead of their hotly anticipated new album due for release later this year, Damon Albarn’s animated pop quartet Gorillaz make a return to vinyl with the first ever reissue of their 2005 classic Demon Days.

Featuring some of the group’s biggest hits, including the Shaun Ryder-featuring ‘DARE’, the album casts its net over a diverse array of musical collaborators, including Neneh Cherry on ‘Kids With Guns’, Roots Manuva on ‘All Alone’ and the inimitable MF Doom on standout ‘November Has Come’. Preceding the equally impressive Plastic Beach LP, this album highlights Albarn and co.’s eclectic tastes – a chaotic mishmash of hip-hop, rock, pop, and electronica, which, somehow, manages to gel into an impressively cohesive musical narrative.

This long-awaited reissue comes courtesy of subscription service Vinyl Me Please, and features a new set of artwork prints, wth music spread across a double LP red vinyl pressing.    

Owen Jones

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