As if we need more heartache in 2020, the mother of my longest friend passed away a couple of days ago, and it honestly has me back in a funk. Judy was a good woman who tolerated so many shenanigans from Mike and me as we were growing up. Not to mention that she was the mother of my friend, she cut my hair all through middle and high school. It seemed like she cut my hair whenever she could corral me for twenty minutes or so each month I was there. What I didn’t realize at the time was she was the hairstylist for the high school basketball team. By getting my hair cut by her back in middle school get me in with the varsity players who went to her. When you are an awkward teen getting on the “good” side of the older guys was always a plus. And, it got you picked in pick-up games.
As Mike and I went to college, we drifted apart, mainly because I was attempting to break away from my hometown, and he was splitting too much of his time between the two worlds. I know he regrets this now, but why should he? He’s had one helluva a career and currently lives in St. Louis. Around 2000, we had a chance meeting at the hometown high school and renewed our friendship as if we never missed a beat. It seems we have a connection that is rare, from our senses of humor to our obsessions with music and sports. Still, my heartbreaks for him, and for me too since she was another of my away from home moms. Likewise, I mourn with his dad, brother and sister and all the spouses and grandchildren. Plus, the man drove all the way back from the Arch for my mom’s funeral, so how can I not be there for him when I’m right here. So, here’s to Judy! Godspeed!
Now, Monday, I was suggesting a series of seven-inch singles that could be released to spark new interest in Record Store Day. In all honesty, the record companies could rotate odd releases by the Grateful Dead, Phish and Kiss, and that would awaken giant fan bases every three years. Then, you could always do something with the current darlings of the industry, like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and the rest.
But, what would interest the money from the Boomers and Xers? First, you could due a little series with all the old MTV Unplugged shows. If Pearl Jam’s recent release of their legendary set was any indication, there is a market for the vinyl versions. But, there are a bundle of unreleased albums by established artists from over the years that was excite vinyl collectors to get their hands on these albums. So, here is my next suggestion of vinyl that could be released on future Record Store Days.
- Amy Winehouse – unreleased material. The rumor is that there is more shelved material from Ms. Winehouse not included on the odds-and-sods collection that was released shortly after her untimely passing.
- Andre 3000 – solo album. Allegedly, the big personality of OutKast has a solo that is in the can, but has been shelved indefinitely.
- Ariana Grande – This lady has improved with each release. Still, she released a couple of EPs of Christmas music for downloads only. I bet her fans would love it on vinyl.
- Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash – The Dylan/Cash Sessions. Even the Johnny Cash biopic alluded to this collaboration. C’mon Bobby! This is one people have been pining for since reports of the two working together got out.
- Bruce Springsteen – Electric Nebraska. The Boss’ first solo album, Nebraska, was essentially the demos of the songs. Legend has it that the E-Street Band initially fleshed these stark tunes together, but Bruce shelved the tapes. The Springsteen Nation would LOVE this one.
- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Human Highway. Of course, this one remains on the shelf since Neil Young was going through one of his cantankerous moments. Now that Homegrown finally saw the light of day, let’s get this one out.
- D’Angelo – James River. After the success of Voodoo, D’Angelo began working on this album which supposedly is 95% finished. Of course, mental health and addiction problems shelved this one.
- Dr. Dre & Ice Cube – Helter Skelter. Word on the street was the the two former N.W.A mates had collaborated on this one after their individual solo successes. Who wouldn’t want to hear these two at the height of their powers?
- Duran Duran – Reportage. By the middle of the 2000s, The Beatles of the Eighties had made a dramatic comeback with a well-received tour of the original line-up. So, they went in the studio and created an album that all members felt finally represented how they sounded on stage. Then, the label wanted them to be produced by some current hot-shot producers who ruined everything, causing guitarist Andy Taylor to leave the band again.
- Ghostface Killah & MF Doom – Swift & Changeable. Two of alternative hip hops best forces of nature joined forces to create an album that piques the interest of the hip hop world.
- Green Day – Cigarettes & Valentines. According to the story, this album was ready for pressing, when the tapes were stolen. Distraught, the band went back and wrote a completely new album, which ended up being their crown jewel American Idiot. Still, it would be cool to hear this if the guys would re-record the songs.
- Jeff Beck – The Motown Album. In the late-Sixties/early-Seventies, Beck went to Detroit to work with the Funk Brothers in order to come up with a combo of their funk and his metal. The trouble was Beck brought HIS drummer, eschewing the great timekeepers of all those terrific Motown hits. Of course, tensions ensued, and Beck took off with the only copy of the tape.
- Jimi Hendrix – Black Gold. This was the album that Hendrix was working on when he died. I cannot count how many times I have heard that this album was poised to be finally released. There’s no better time…
- Marvin Gaye – Love Man. Leave it to Gaye to plan a “dirty” album in which to stage his comeback. Unfortunately, he got divorced instead and released Here My Dear, an album whose royalties went to his ex-wife in a divorce agreement.
- Mick Jagger – The Red Devils collaboration. Back during the Nineties, producer Rick Rubin suggested to Jagger that he team up with an up-and-coming band called The Red Devils. They hit the studio and allegedly created some magic. Then, everything stopped, including the Red Devils’ career.
- OutKast – 10 the Hard Way. Here is the follow-up to their huge album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
- Paul McCartney – Cold Cuts. Who wouldn’t love to hear the best outtakes by Sir Paul from his best years of the Seventies and early Eighties? I know I would.
- Pink Floyd – Household Objects. After the game-changing The Dark Side of the Moon, the Floyd wanted to get back to their experimental roots. So, the idea was to create music with ordinary objects found around the house. Seriously!
- Prince (or is it The Artist?) – The Dawn. For some reason, the Purple One had a running fantasy to release a triple album, which he finally fulfilled with Emancipation. In the year or two before that aforementioned album, Prince had The Dawn, which part of it ended up as The Gold Experience and another part as Chaos & Disorder. Bootlegs are around with the whole thing on CD. It is a tour de force and would be terrific on vinyl in a box set.
- Prince – Dream Factory. After Prince broke up The Revolution, he went nuts in the studio. During that time, he created THREE complete albums: the altered vocals on Camille, a triple album opus called Crystal Ball (not to be confused with the 3-CD set of unreleased material he released in the late-Nineties) and a double-album called Dream Factory. All three were cannibalized for the terrific Sign ‘o’ the Times double album. At the end of September, his Estate released a super deluxe set that contains many of the songs supposedly recorded for Dream Factory. What would it take to just release the damn thing?
- The Beach Boys or Brian Wilson solo – Adult/Child – It is said that during lead Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s mental breakdown, he actually created this album that has been attributed to being a solo album and a Boys album. Either way, since SMiLE was finally released, this is the next Holy Grail in America’s first great band’s vault.
- The Clash – Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg. So, as The Clash were hitting the big time in 1982, the band was suffering from extreme tensions between its two creative forces, Joe Strummer (the rocker) and Mick Jones (the pop artist-turning-into-a-hip hop-aficionado). Initially, the sessions that would become Combat Rock were more like the one-off single “This Is Radio Clash,” a mash-up of hip hop and punk rock, not unlike what was being heard in the NYC hip hop clubs drawing mixed crowds of punks, new wavers and hip hoppers. The Clash’s manager gave the tapes to a different producer who stripped much of the experimentation of the original recordings. Who would have needed Big Audio Dynamite if this one had been released?
- The Killers – The best Eighties band of the 21st century spent the first decade of their career releasing download-only Christmas originals to raise money for AIDS research. Now, it would be fantastic for the Christmas music crowd to get this material on vinyl.
- The Strokes – Post-First Impressions of Earth recordings. These recordings were intended to be on their third album. Then, all the usual rock star problems cropped up, ending the sessions. We all know now how lackluster that third album was. This stuff had to have been better because they were in a groove at the time.
- Weezer – Songs from a Black Hole. Ah, that nutty musical genius-nerd Rivers Cuomo. His original idea for the second album was to create a sci-fi rock opera. Then he changed his mind when it was completed. The band recorded new material, and we got the lasting classic Pinkerton. Oh, but what might have been…
So, there’s a few shelved albums that might get people back to attending Record Store Day, be it on its usual day in April or on Black Friday. Either way, just go support your local independent record store. I can’t wait to go bin diving again! Peace.