10 Record Store Day 2017 Essentials: An Okayplayer Guide

Record Store Day is upon us once more and the first installment of 2017’s crate-digging holiday (ritually, two days and change past the highest holiday) is another goliath. Rather than subjecting you to hapless discovery, we’re inclined to direct those of you that will be on the vinyl hunt towards some of the year’s most uniquely essential releases.

From unreleased J Dilla productions on a hard-hitting Frank N Dank EP to a rare Bowie performance circa ’74 to a newly discovered Thelonious Monk album dug up from a French film, RSD offers no shortage of rarities and first-time pressings (that splatter-cast Space Jam soundtrack and the late Sharon Jones‘ late-seventies gospel funk loosies are must-cop material.) Below you’ll find 10 of the most compelling Record Store Day exclusive releases.

For a full list of releases by region, both stateside and internationally, head over to their site. And don’t fret if it didn’t work out for you today. These things don’t vanish past the stroke of midnight. Just get an early start and don’t hurt yourself in the trenches. There should be enough to go around. Get out there and support your local wrecka stow.

Big L – Devil’s Son EP

Quantity: 3,000

A 12-inch pressing with full instrumentals and four bootlegged-to-death unreleased cuts from the Lifestyles Ov Da Poor & Dangerous sessions.

David Bowie – Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74)

Quantity: 5,000

Marking the transition from Diamond to Philly Dogs, this mid-seventies show is the late Ziggy at his most soulful on a 3xLP full concert release, mixed by an eternal member of The Spiders from Mars, Tony Visconti.

Frank N Dank & Jay Dee The Jay Dee Tapes

Quantity: 1,500

Amongst the more limited releases on this list, Frank N Dank’s peek into their unheard J Dilla stockpile is a treat for novice and seasoned collectors alike. Pressed to 10-inch red wax with all (sample-less) instrumentals, The Jay Dee Tapes are a necessary addition to anyone’s Dilla Dawg catalog, and it’s available to purchase in The Shop today.

Jimi Hendrix with Curtis Knight – Live at George’s Club, 20 1965 & 1966

Quantity: 3,000

The years before Hendrix jumped ship to London and stormed the scene are full of sporadic session work and on-stage one-offs with r&b pioneers. The Isley Brothers, Little Richard, and Curtis Knight were all, at times ungrateful, benefactors of the OG Purple One’s magic. The latter more than others. Voodoo Chile’d play a grip of gigs with Knight & The Squires, including this one in an old Hackensack haunt. This 2xLP release compiles 20 live cuts from those shows that provide early glimpses at the raw and immutable talent that was Hendrix on the cusp of discovery.

Sharon Jones with The E.L Fields Gospel Wonders – “Heaven Bound” b/w “Key To The Kingdom”

Quantity: 2,500

This 7-inch single holds some the very first known recordings from a young Sharon Jones. A tribute to the late soul singer, who passed late last year, arrives by way of Daptone and holds all of the late-seventies gospel funk your heart can bear, not to mention Jones’ actual high school portrait (pictured above.) R.I.P. to the legend.

Thelonious Monk – Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960 2xLP

Quantity: 2,000

Monk’s only recorded soundtrack for Roger Vadim‘s 1960 French film, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, is released for the first time ever in a 180 gram 2xLP package with detailed notes and unseen shots of the never-chased jazz giant.

Prince – “Little Red Corvette/1999” 7-inch Picture Disk

Quantity: 5,000

As we celebrate the life and legacy of the late icon one year past his tragic death, this 7-inch picture-disc pressing sees the light of day for the first time since 1985. Purple patrons take heed.

Sun Ra – Janus

Quantity: 2,000

Swirling into record bins a high-style all-astral compilation of Sun Ra recordings makes between 1963 and 1970. Put this on and finish off Thursday’s leftovers.

The Time – What Time Is It?

Quantity: 2,500

Because “777-9311” could be Prince’s best song, though it isn’t his most perfect.

Space Jam Soundtrack

Quantity: 3,500

The fact that D’Angelo wrote “Playa Playa” for MJ’s Looney Tunes mammoth should be enough to prove just how monumental a momment this is in pop culture. The fact that this is the first time the soundtrack has been pressed to vinyl (on a stunning marbled blue and white acetate, no less) should have you clutching your wallet already. Throw in The Roots, Chris Rock and The Monstars Anthem, and the money’s gone, but the nostalgia is overwhelmingly enjoyable. Oh, and there’s R. Kelly. But let’s leave it at that.


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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