“Discoveries happen every day in record stores, whether that’s an older release or an artist that’s just new to you,” says Carrie Colliton, a Raleigh, North Carolina, resident who has spent her career working in record stores. Along with a cohort of record store-owners and staff members nationwide, Colliton co-founded and is a current manager of Record Store Day, a vinyl-lovers holiday that marks its fifteenth anniversary this year on April 23. Independent record stores across the country and world celebrate Record Store Day with concerts, in-store shopping specials, and exclusive album releases.
The idea of the celebration sprouted in 2007 at Baltimore’s Sound Garden record store, where shop owners and staff from across the country gathered to think of ways to support independent music stores. Fifteen years later, despite a few painful shop closures (Nashville’s Ernest Tubb Record Shop recently announced it’s shuttering its Broadway building after seventy-five years in business) interest in vinyl has soared to a twenty-five year high. “The resurgence in vinyl records continued for the fifteenth consecutive year,” states the most recent report from the Recording Industry Association of America. “Revenues grew 61 percent to $1 billion in 2021. The last time vinyl records exceeded $1 billion was 1986.”
That figure includes online sales, but Record Store Day encourages a completely analog experience whenever possible: physical records purchased in brick-and-mortar stores, Colliton says. “Some of the most iconic record stores are in the South,” she says. “We’re blessed to have about five shops in Raleigh alone.” She also highlights the End of All Music in Oxford, Mississippi, as one of her favorite shops. (Find the entire list of participating stores here.)
This year, she’s headed back to the spot that started it all in Baltimore. “Sound Garden is one of those places that shows what a record store means to its community,” she says. “They’ve got a great new garden space and I know tons of people are going to be coming out because it’s our first real Record Store Day back in person since the pandemic started.”
This year’s special offerings include reissues of tough-to-find records, new albums, recent releases with bonus content, and notable curated collections. Here are a handful of 2022 Record Store Day releases that Southern music fans just might get excited about. (Note that individual stores carry different offerings—each store places orders based on its location and customer tastes.)
From Peach Records comes the vinyl version of a 2018 CD release produced by Warren Haynes, comprising songs from six different Allman Brothers Band concerts in the late summer of 2003. Gregg Allman leads the closer: “Whipping Post” live in Raleigh.
Betty Harris flew in from her home in Florida to record with Allen Toussaint and his New Orleans sessions players, laying down stunning soul and funk singles from 1964 to 1969. But the recordings weren’t distributed widely beyond New Orleans, and Harris retired her gorgeous voice to raise her family in Florida. New Orleans music fans consider her the “Lost Queen” of the city’s music scene, and for a special Record Store Day double LP release, her soulful songs come soaring back.
“I love Roky Erickson,” Colliton says of the musician who was considered a pioneer of psychedelic rock. “He was from Austin, Texas, this really prolific songwriter who was like an outsider artist—the musical version. So many people don’t know him but would absolutely love his music.”
The Texas-born mega star released her “divorce album” last fall, but for Record Store Day, she’s issuing a special double-sided picture disc of the record. “We wanted a big run of this album because people love Kacey, and there are also plenty of people who might still be discovering her,” Colliton says.
Anyone who is a fan of mountain music knows Ralph Stanley. The American bluegrass music legend originally released this in 1968, and there hasn’t been another reissue since. This new edition comes pressed on grass-green vinyl.
One of the most popular albums of Ray Charles’ career, Genius Loves Company won eight Grammy Awards including Album of the Year and Record of the Year in 2005. It’s tough to find on vinyl, but Record Store Day brings 2,000 more copies from Charles’ own label, Tangerine. Listen for duets with James Taylor on “Sweet Potato Pie,” “Sinner’s Prayer” with B.B. King, and “Crazy Love” with Van Morrison.
For this limited release, a handful of record store staff members came together to choose songs that honor the seventieth anniversary of producer Sam Phillips’ founding of Sun Records in Memphis. Song highlights include Johnny Cash’s “Big River” and Jerry Lee Lewis’s “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native John Fred gained popularity for his 1968 pop hit “Judy in Disguise (With Glasses).” None of his New Orleans’ “Playboy Band” albums have ever been rereleased—until now—and record collectors are sure to delight in this version pressed on psychedelic purple vinyl.
Record Store Day marks the first release on vinyl of a beloved 1992 CD that captured the sounds and scene of the new Outlaw Country vibe in Austin, Texas, in the early 1970s. Originally recorded over two nights in 1974, the songs capture the young Willie Nelson Family Band before their stars rose.
And a little later…
To accommodate publishing schedules and supply chain issues, Record Store Day will celebrate a sort of encore “Record Store Drops” date on June 18. Two highlights from that second release day include an LP of seven solo acoustic songs by the My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, and a remastering of 1970’s Color Me Country from Linda Martell, the first Black woman to play the Grand Ole Opry.
Find the full list of releases here and at your favorite local record shop.