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    Vinyl Releases of the Week: April 18, 2012

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    Vinyl’s new official unofficial holiday, Record Store Day, is fast approaching, but that's no reason to overlook this week’s vinyl releases:

    Janis JoplinPearl (Sony Legacy)
    Sony Legacy continues the Janis Joplin birthday celebration with this 180-gram audiophile vinyl reissue of her final masterpiece, Pearl. The label will also celebrate Record Store Day with a double 10-inch vinyl set titled Highlights from the Pearl Sessions, which collects rare and unreleased demos, outtakes, and alternate versions of Pearl’s classic songs culled from the recently discovered studio recordings used to create The Pearl Sessions (sadly only released on CD).

    Grateful Dead The Very Best of Grateful Dead (Friday Music)
    For the first time on 180-gram audiophile vinyl, this best-of compilation has been lovingly re-mastered and presented here as a double gatefold LP. It is a fantastic overview of the Grateful Dead's career and most memorable fan favorites, culled from the Warner vaults as well as the band’s Arista Records and Grateful Dead label periods.

    Toto Toto IV (Friday Music)
    In 1982, this album catapulted the Los Angeles quintet to the top with classic hits like “Rosanna” and “Africa.” Now it is available for the first time on 180-gram vinyl.

    Bob MarleyMarley Original Soundtrack (Tuff Gong/Universal Music Enterprises)
    An integral companion piece to the critically acclaimed documentary Marley, its official soundtrack is presented as a triple vinyl set and features a mix of classic studio recordings and live performances from the legendary reggae artist, all hand-picked by the Marley family. Of these (and for the first time on record) is Marley’s performance of “Jammin’” at the 1978 One Love Peace Concert during which he joined hands with his political rivals Michael Manley and Edward Seaga.

    Jerry Lee LewisThird Man Live 04-17-2011 (Third Man Records)
    Live recording of rock and roll icon Jerry Lee Lewis’ Record Store Day performance last year at Jack White’s Third Man Records in Nashville, TN. The special one-off concert features Lewis and his backing band (Steve Cropper, Jim Keltner, and Jack Lawrence) performing such classics as “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Great Balls of Fire,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”

    Elvis Costello and the AttractionsAlmost Blue (Mobile Fidelity)
    Mobile Fidelity presents Elvis Costello and the Attractions’ 1981 album of country and western covers, half-speed mastered from the original master tapes and presented in new sonic brilliance on numbered limited-edition 180-gram vinyl. Considered one of the most passionate cover albums ever made, Almost Blue was recorded in Nashville and finds the hit-making English singer-songwriter interpreting country standards by the likes of Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, George Jones, and Merle Haggard.

    10,000 ManiacsOur Time in Eden (Audio Fidelity)
    To commemorate the 20th anniversary of this seminal 1992 alternative-rock album from 10,000 Maniacs, Audio Fidelity has reissued it on 180-gram vinyl. A textured and varied album featuring R&B horns, lush piano ballads, the strings of Paul Buckmaster, and rich melodies, it sounds amazing on vinyl and includes the hits “These Are Days,” “Candy Everybody Wants,” and “Few and Far Between.” It was also the last 10,000 Maniacs studio album to feature lead singer Natalie Merchant before she departed for a solo career.

    Allen ToussaintSouthern Nights (4 Men with Beards)
    180-gram vinyl pressing of Allen Toussaint’s 1975 R&B concept album. Considered by many to be the New Orleans R&B legend’s best work, it contains two songs which became hits for other artists: “Southern Nights,” a giant hit for Glen Campbell in 1977, and “What Do You Want the Girl to Do?,” which was one of several singles on Boz Skaggs' 1976 smash, Silk Degrees.

    Johnny HartmanI Just Dropped By to Say Hello, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Original Recordings Group)
    A classic 11-song set from jazz singer Johnny Hartman, I Just Dropped By to Say Hello has been re-mastered from the original analog tapes and presented here as a limited-edition double 180-gram 45 RPM vinyl LP. Features the songs “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," "Sleepin' Bee," "Stairway to the Stars," and "Charade," among others. Also from Johnny Hartman is his well-known 1963 collaboration with the saxophone great John Coltrane, an instant jazz classic featuring what many consider definitive renditions of the songs "Lush Life," "My One and Only Love," and "They Say It's Wonderful.” It is also presented as a limited-edition double 180-gram 45 RPM LP.

    Hank Williams III Long Gone Daddy (Curb Records)
    From Hank Williams’ fiercely independent grandson comes Long Gone Daddy. Featuring outtakes from Hank3's first two solo albums, 1999’s Risin’ Outlaw and 2002’s Lovesick, Broke & Driftin’, this 10-song collection features plenty of his grandaddy’s shuffling country blues and covers a few Hank Williams tunes along with songs by the artists he influenced like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson.

    Jack Johnson & FriendsBest of Kokua Festival (Brushfire Records)
    This double LP highlights the best of Jack Johnson’s eco-minded Kokua Festival over the past six years and features onstage collaborations with legendary musicians like Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Dave Mathews, Ziggy Marley, and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, to name a few. One hundred percent of the net proceeds benefit the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports environmental education in the schools and communities of Hawaii.

    311 – Soundsystem (Sony Legacy)
    Double LP reissue of the rock/reggae/hip-hop band’s 1999 album featuring the tracks “Come Original” and “Flowing.” (A little birdie told me that their 1993 debut album, Music, will also get the vinyl treatment for RSD.)

    Operation IvyHectic EP, Energy (Epitaph)
    These Op Ivy vinyl reissues celebrate the 25th anniversary of this seminal Berkeley ska/punk band’s first show at Gilman Street, the legendary all-ages punk venue that launched the career of bands like Green Day and AFI.  The 1988 Hectic EP and its 1989 full-length follow-up, Energy, were the only albums released by Operation Ivy - as its members Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman would go on to form Rancid - and they are back on vinyl for the first time in years.

    Black Francis/Frank Black and the Catholics - The Golem, Live at Melkweg (The Bureau Records)
    From the Pixies frontman is this double LP soundtrack to the 1920s silent film The Golem, which tells a popular story set in a 16th-century Jewish ghetto. Also from Frank Black and the Catholics is the double live album Live at Melkweg. Recorded in Amsterdam in March 2001, it finds Black and his band tearing through his expansive catalog and includes a few Pixies songs like “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Where Is My Mind?”( Look out for a definitive box set from Frank Black and the Catholics in late 2012.)

    Grinderman Grinderman 2 RMX (Alternative Distribution Alliance)
    Collection of remixes, reinterpretations, and collaborations of songs from Grinderman 2, the Nick Cave-fronted band’s final album. Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, the National’s Matt Berninger, legendary guitarist Robert Fripp, and A Place to Bury Strangers are just a few of the artists that have a hand in this. Deluxe double vinyl package includes CD insert.

    The Brian Jonestown MassacreTheir Satanic Majesties’ Second Request (A Records)
    180-gram double vinyl reissue of the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s sophomore album. Originally released in 1996, it is of course an homage to the Rolling Stones’ 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request. Yellow vinyl with white sun splash.

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