Record of the Week: WNXP’s Record Store Day 2024 picks

Record Store Day (the first and largest official one of the year) is Saturday, April 20, with many regional record shops participating in the celebration of all things vinyl. WNXP hosts scoured the list of hundreds of special record pressings sold on this day across the country and handpicked a few favorites as recommendations.

Celia Gregory’s pick: Dr. John’s Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya: Singles 1968-1974

New Orleans is my favorite city on planet Earth, but one doesn’t have to be a world traveler to know that NOLA is special. Beyond the city’s cultural and architectural significance, it’s about the music, for me. It feels a little criminal to highlight a non-Black artist, to be honest, so beautiful is the tapestry of jazz and soul and funk music coming out of the city. But the musical landscape and the history of New Orleans would not be the same without Dr. John. This artist’s singles collection is compiled and released for the first time on vinyl for this year’s Record Store Day in a double-LP set.

After being born and raised in New Orleans, Dr. John moved to California, where he was part of the legendary Wall of Sound Orchestra otherwise known as The Wrecking Crew alongside Carol Kaye, Glen Campbell. So Dr. John didn’t just have solo hits of his own, he contributed to records from the likes of Canned Heat, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, James Taylor, B.B. King, Levon Helm, Gregg Allman, James Taylor and Carly Simon. You might know him from Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz” concert documentary, where he sang “Such A Night” with The Band. Did you know that Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, right in our backyard, is named after Dr. John’s “Destitively Bonnaroo,” too?

I could go on and on but you should really just jam out to these songs like “Right Place Wrong Time” and NOLA standard “Iko Iko.”

Justin Barney’s pick: Soul Jazz Records Presents: 300% DYNAMITE! Ska, Soul, Rocksteady, Funk and Dub in Jamaica

For Record Store Day 2022 Soul Jazz Records released 100% Dynamite! A collection of Ska, Soul, Rocksteady, funk and Dub from Jamaica. Last year they released 200% Dynamite! And this year for Record Store Day they are releasing 300% Dynamite!  

It just keeps getting hotter. These are compilations of the many subgenres of Jamaican music in the ’60s and ’70s, a fertile time for experimental music for Jamaica as it gained its independence from Great Britain in 1962. Because of the colonial relationship between the two countries, Jamaican music heavily influences British music in the ’70s and music from this period influenced so much music around the world today.  

One of my favorite songs from this compilation was recorded by Jamaican teenagers Althea & Donna in 1977 — “Uptown Top Ranking.” It started getting airplay on the BBC that year and listeners kept it on the Top of the Pops and made it a #1 hit on the UK Singles Chart.

Marquis Munson’s pick: De La Soul’s Live at Tramp’s, NYC, 1996

In 1996, a couple months before the release of their fourth album Stakes Is High, hip-hop trio De La Soul performed at the historic New York City nightclub Tramps. The venue had hosted many legendary artists from Prince, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Blondie to being a space for hip hop acts like Public Enemy and The Fugees years before their album The Score.

On May 16, 1996, De La Soul gave audiences a glimpse into their new album while playing familiar favorites from their previous three. They also brought out special guests from Jungle Brothers performing the track “Buddy,” Common joining the group to rap his verse on “The Bizness” and his diss to Ice Cube’s Westside Connection. Also in this live recording we get an appearance from Mos Def performing “Big Brother Beat,” a breakout performance for the man we now know as Yasiin Bey.

Celebrating 20 years with this vinyl recording of the iconic concert, this is a perfect LP to add to the collection while preserving the history of the music that came out of the legendary venue that closed its doors in 2001. De La Soul’s performance captures those moments when the stakes were certainly high and and the trio delivered a performance of a lifetime.

Jason Moon Wilkins’ pick: Bare Jr.’s Boo-Tay

Let me take you back to Nashville in the 90s… long before the bachelorettes took over Broadway and about a decade before Kings of Leon and Paramore broke through as Nashville-based non-country artists, Nashville’s rock and alternative was buzzing. Lots of major labels came to town looking for the next big thing and among them Immortal Records who brought you Korn, Incubus and Nashvilles own Bare Jr!

Fronted by the son of country legend Bobby Bare, the band were an all star group of sorts featuring players who had been staples of the local scene including Michael “Grimey” Grimes. The band issued just two full lengths before breaking up and nearly broke it big on the back of their single “You Blew Me Off” but they never had their music on vinyl until now. Their debut gets a limited pressing this weekend for Record Store Day, which you could pick up at a shop owned by one of the founding members where they’ll be playing on RSD

Emily Young’s pick: Acid King’s Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere

San Francisco’s Acid King are stoner doom royalty. Over their 30-year career, the band has become a cult classic in the acid rock and doom metal universe. Fans feared the band had retired before a decade-long hiatus abruptly ended in 2015 with the release of Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere, an album that many consider to be Acid King’s greatest work. The record has been out-of-print and nearly impossible to find for fans of heavy underground.

Now, hot off the release of 2023’s Beyond Vision, Blues Funeral Recordings is celebrating 30 years of the iconic band with a limited edition double album featuring updated artwork and an exclusive multi-color vinyl configuration pressed specifically for Record Store Day 2024. This record is the perfect addition to any psych and doom lover’s collection.