Welcome to Vinyl Week on What Hi-Fi?, in association with Technics. You can find out more about how Technics has been defining turntable culture for half a century and the company's SL-1200M7L Limited Edition turntable.
With Record Store Day 2022 just days away, we've entered that inevitable pre-event stage of repeatedly casting our eyes over the RSD release list (opens in new tab), scribbling down more records on the wishlist each time and totting up how many months' pay cheques we feel justified to spend on them this Saturday (23rd April). Not quite there yet? Well, we reckon it's about time you were.
A small number of RSD 2022 releases (such as Billy Bragg's Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy and Tangerine Dream's Live at Reims Cinema Opera, 1975) won't be available until June 18th due to production delays, but the overwhelming majority should be stocked in a participating record store near you (opens in new tab) on the day.
The list below, which we've curated as part of our Vinyl Week in association with Technics, is team What Hi-Fi?'s pick of the lot, featuring a beginner-friendly Patti Smith compilation, Bernard Butler B-sides with a twist, and a first time outing on vinyl for the Pixies' iconic live Coachella performance. (We have to say, though, it's a particularly cracking list this year so this selection could've easily included thrice that many.)
- Browse the entire Record Store Day release list (opens in new tab)
- See our special Vinyl Week features and reviews
Ray Charles - Genius Loves Company
By Ketan Bharadia, International Technical Editor
Ray Charles's last album would be easy to dismiss as a final frill on a career that spanned over five decades, but it deserves more than that. As the album name implies, the idea is that guest vocalists join Charles on each of the songs. There’s the odd misfire but enough occasions where it works well. Highlights include It Was A Very Good Year with Wille Nelson, Sinner’s Prayer with B.B. King, and the glorious Heaven Help Us All with Gladys Knight. The production is lush and sound quality, lovely and rounded. At its best, this album is a real treat.
Tegan & Sara - Still Jealous
By Tom Parsons, TV & AV Editor
Now this is what Record Store Day is all about. Canadian twin sisters Tegan and Sara, now slightly unfortunately best known as the singers of Everything Is Awesome from The Lego Movie, recently re-recorded their excellent, pop-tastic 2004 album So Jealous as a stripped-back acoustic collection, with each sister recording the other’s parts. It’s a cracking release that’s ideal for vinyl, so it’s well worth trying to get your hands on one of the 3100 pressings (only 750 of which will be available in the UK) when they go on sale on 23rd April. Need more convincing? It’s an opaque red vinyl. Nice.
Patti Smith - Curated by Record Store Day
By Becky Roberts, Hi-Fi & Audio Editor
As has become customary for the annual RSD event, three exclusive albums are being released in association with Record Store Day's official charity partner War Child, with £1 from every copy sold donated to help protect, educate and stand up for the rights of children living in conflict. If you haven't already guessed, this Patti Smith compilation is one of them (alongside Deacon Blue and Dire Straits releases). Not only is this charitable cause especially worthy of support this year, but this double-LP, limited to 2,250 copies, also sounds like a right blinder – not least for music fans who, criminally, don't already own Smith on shellac. The RSD-curated album features her classic hits from 1974 to 1996, including Because The Night, Dancing Barefoot and, of course, Gloria.
Betty Harris - The Lost Queen of New Orleans Soul
By Joe Svetlik, Freelancer
If you’re yet to discover Betty Harris, know this: she was the protege of Allen Toussaint, and her backing group was The Meters, both legends of the New Orleans funk scene of the 1950s and 60s. Still not convinced? One listen to her soulful voice is enough to see why she deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as her collaborators. This collection of her 21 singles spanning 1964-69 shows her at her finest.
Rick Astley - Whenever You Need Somebody
By Ruben Circelli, Staff Writer
Years on, the spectre of COVID-19 continues to loom and many out there still feel the pain of isolation. Luckily, pop legend Rick Astley is here once again to hold you close with a remaster of his chart-topping, loneliness-crushing debut record for Record Store Day 2022. Whether it’s the dulcet tones of his timeless classic Never Gonna Give You Up; the funky, synth-laden groove of the album’s self-titled track; or, quite frankly, anything else off the record, Astley’s take on glitzy, smooth '80s pop still transcends over 35 years later.
Bernard Butler - People Move On: The B-Sides 1998-2021
By Becky Roberts, Hi-Fi & Audio Editor
Suede fans during the band's early glory days will painfully remember Bernard Butler's bitter exit, but while it marked the end of his magnificently cinematic guitarwork for the Britpop piece, fans weren't left high and dry for too long. The guitarist released a debut solo album, People Move On, four years later, and from next Saturday the B-sides will be available on vinyl for the first time, with side A featuring the original 1998 vocals and the flipside providing re-vocalled versions recorded only last year.
Sepultura - Revolusongs
By Andy Madden, Deputy Editor
Heavy metal isn’t usually near the top of my streaming playlist but it can occasionally sneak in there, usually when a band releases a cover version that piques my interest. This is why I’ll be snapping up a copy of Sepultura’s Revolusongs, a rare EP choc-full of covers including U2’s Bullet the Sky and Jane Addictions’s Mountain Song. There’s even an, er, interesting rap-metal cover of Public Enemy’s Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos. But I’m more excited about the cover of Massive Attack’s Angel – moodier than the original and dripping in metal.
Joni Mitchell - Blue Highlights
By Mary Stone, Staff Writer
Fifty years from its initial release, Joni Mitchell’s Blue has achieved the kind of exalted adulation that can seem to weigh heavily on a record, especially one that brims with candid transparency and seemingly effortless poise. Keen to dispel the myth of creative divinity, Blue Highlights is the ninth issue from an ambitious project by Mitchell to make available previously unreleased material from across her vast archive. In the style of the recent The Beatles: Get Back documentary, Blue Highlights reveals Mitchell’s process of writing and re-writing, illuminating listeners with unfinished but revelatory versions of some of her most iconic songs, including the original, staccato demo of canonical break-up ballad Case of You followed by a more caustic rendition with James Taylor while the two were in the first throws of romance. Essential and inspiring listening for fans of Mitchell's work.
Fats Domino - Here Comes... Fats Domino
By Becky Scarrott, Staff Writer
Originally released in 1963, re-issued in 1975 and not since – and never on heavyweight violet-coloured vinyl with individual hand-numbering – Here Comes…Fats Domino was the first studio album Domino recorded away from the Imperial label in over 13 years, thus ending his long-standing relationship with producer/arranger/frequent co-writer Dave Bartholomew. Why the collaboration came to an end is lost to the sands of time, but the new label, ABC, allegedly dictated that Domino record in Nashville rather than New Orleans, where he was assigned a new producer (Felton Jarvis) plus a new arranger (Bill Justis). Jarvis and Justis changed Domino’s sound somewhat – it’s a little shinier, doo-wop and even poppy, with a countrypolitan-style backing chorus in most of his new recordings, but the soulful vocal shines through.
Whether you enjoy the production here or not, the album features the hit Red Sails in the Sunset and cements Domino’s reputation as a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer – let’s not forget, this is an artist Elvis Presley called “the real king of rock ‘n’ roll” and of whom he said in 1957, “Let's face it: I can't sing like Fats Domino can. I know that.”
Keith Richards - Talk is Cheap / Live At The Hollywood Palladium
By Tom Bailey, Freelancer
Apparently, Record Store Day isn't just about vinyl; there are exclusive cassettes up for grabs too! Keith Richards doesn't so much 'sing' as holler. But when that hollering spills over some expertly crafted licks and Stones-y live drums, it's pure voodoo magic. Thank goodness this man survived a coconut falling on his head. With any luck he'll keep playing the likes of Take It So Hard for many years to come. If you feel the same, don't miss the chance to snatch up one of 650 double cassette releases of Talk is Cheap, Keef's debut album, on Record Store Day.
Pixies - Live from Coachella 2004
By Becky Roberts, Hi-Fi & Audio Editor
Undoubtedly one of those "I can't believe I missed that" moments for any Pixies fan who didn't attend, the Coachella festival gig from Pixies in 2004 has become one of those iconic live performances. Not only was the band on top form (which you can tell simply from the clips in Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert film (opens in new tab) and by listening to the performance of Debaser (opens in new tab) ), it came after the band's decade-long hiatus. This was always going to be a big occasion and it wholeheartedly delivered. The 20-song set has been streamable for just over a year now, but now it's finally hitting vinyl for RSD 2022. And orange and yellow marbled vinyl, at that.
Browse the entire Record Store Day release list (opens in new tab)