Good morning and happy monday, all.
Independent record stores and vinyl junkies all over the world celebrated the 15th annual Record Store Day this weekend, where cool exclusive titles are released in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it promotion to promote these indie suppliers.
For the first time since the pandemic, Record Store Day was held as a single drop (as opposed to three spread-out dates in an effort to stay socially distanced). It came at a time when vinyl sales are at their highest level in 30 years - in fact, this is the 14th straight year where vinyl record sales have increased.
While your hoddler-in-chief in Record Store Days past has waited in queue since the pre-dawn hours of the morning (4 a.m.) to get his vinyl fix, this year he took a more relaxed approach. That’s because he has to allocate some more funds to his upcoming move to Washington, DC.
Instead, I ventured to the solitary Caffe Nero in Connecticut (a future hoddle) to enjoy a nice morning cup of coffee and a book before digging through the records.
I made a promise to myself this year: Only ONE RSD title, no exceptions!
After five minutes at Johnny’s Records I somehow managed to have four records in my hands: Stevie Nicks’ Bella Donna (with demo sessions), Lou Reed demos from 1971, Max Roach’s We Insist! on clear vinyl and Dave Davies’ Kinked. This isn’t even counting the mounting temptation of a 3LP Charles Mingus set (tempting! an expensive), Doors LA Woman sessions, and the Grateful Dead and Ramones boxsets. Blondie’s Sunday Girl 7”, it appeared, was one of the hot-ticket items this year.
But I promised myself: Only ONE RSD title, no exceptions! And, after going back-and-forth between two titles, I put down Stevie Nicks and picked up Max Roach. How could I say no to clear vinyl and a record from analog taps master-produced by Bernie Grundman? You just know it’s going to be good.
I’ve had my eye on this album for some time now. I’ve listened to Roach before, but not as the primary artist. It took me some time to appreciate the cover art - three black men sitting at the counter of an American diner. This album was released in 1960, a bold statement of the sit-in movement of the Civil Rights era, and an image that would have been outrageous to many white-collar purchasers.
It’s rather avant-garde, and didn’t get the best reception upon release. But, like all great pieces of artwork, was eventually scene as an indispensable treasure.
It was an important collaboration from Max Roach, quite possibly the greatest drummer of all time. It was a turning point for the drummer, who finally found how to use his voice and his gift to advocate for justice.
Fitzie’s track of the day: Freedom Day, by Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite
And now for your links:
Small business owners fear regeneration scheme in Tottenham could push them out of their livelihoods
The Athletic ($$): Do Spurs need Antonio Conte to roll the dice?
Alasdair Gold’s latest video: Conte, PSG and summer transfer overhaul
Aleksander Mitrovic wins EFL Championship player of the season
WSJ ($$): Barcelona has a winning team again, and it’s the women