By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 18, 2024 at 9:01 AM

Record Store Day is upon us once again, bringing a slew of special releases to independent record shops on Saturday, April 20.

As always, there are hundreds of gems hitting your local PVC purveyor, including oddities like a clutch of three-inch Beatles 45s (and a special tiny turntable) and the two I’m most eagerly awaiting: a deluxe double-LP reissue of Parliament’s “Osmium” and a vinyl version of On-U Sound's compilation of Prince Far I gems called “Cry Tuff Chants On U.”

While we wait, here are some recent releases and RSD nuggets that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and hearing in person so far...

You can find all your Record Store Day 2024 info here, and here is a guide to Milwaukee record shops.


The Aggrovators – “Dubbing at King Tubby’s Vol. 1 & 2” (Gorgon/VP)

For Record Store Day, New York’s VP Records plates up two double-LP sets of classic 1970s dubs by the late, great pioneering dubmaster King Tubby and his proteges Prince (later King) Jammy and Phillip Smart. Each set has 22 mashups of Bunny “Striker” Lee-produced tunes that had been voiced  by the likes of Horace Andy, Barry Brown, Johnny Clarke and others. Volume one is pressed into limited edition red vinyl and volume two is blue. This music is foundational for reggae fans and helped to create the culture of dub mixes that now exists in everything from house to hip-hip and beyond.

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Ron Carter with Eric Dolphy, Mal Waldron – “Where?” (New Jazz)

One of the surprises of the social media era is how Twitter has been adopted by one of the living greats of jazz, bassist Ron Carter, who posts daily, sharing news and interacting with his many fans and admirers. It’s a pleasing thing to see, especially considering how bassists have often been stuck -- willingly or otherwise -- in the background in jazz (and many other genres). But Carter has long been a household name, at least to jazz fans, and another positive development is this high-quality reissue of Carter’s first release as a leader, from 1962 and with no less than reedsman Eric Dolphy, pianist Mal Waldron and drummer Charlie Persip in support. Interestingly, George Duvivier on bass, presumably when Carter is on the cello. The music is as exploratory and inventive as you’d expect from this group and it sounds better than ever in this 2024 remaster as part of the Original Jazz Classics series, with lacquers cut by Kevin Gray and stamped on 180-gram vinyl by RTI. Not only does it have tip-on jacket, but one that’s textured on the front like the original release.

Also out in the OJC series – with a high-quality pressing and jacket – is a reissue of the Red Garland Trio's 1957 session, "Groovy," on Prestige. Garland had come to fame as Miles Davis' pianist and on this session he's supported by his Davis quintet colleague bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor. While the session is a pretty straightforward piano trio record of the era, the group is especially swinging as it romps through blues, ballads and standards.

Harold Land – “The Fox” (Contemporary/Craft)

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There are also some new releases coming from Craft Recordings’ ongoing Contemporary Records Acoustic Sounds Series by Hampton Hawes, Sonny Rollins, Art Pepper, Shelly Manne, Howard McGhee, Prince Lasha, Ben Webster and Helen Humes, but next up – released April 12 – is this 1959 sizzler from tenor man Harold Land, with support from Monk and Bud Powell’s good friend Elmo Hope on piano, Herbie Lewis on bass and drummer Frank Butler. If California jazz was supposed to be cool, no one told these cats, as this is hot hot hot. And the pressing is ace. Lacquers by Bernie Grundman, pressed on 180-gram vinyl at QRP and slipped into heavy duty tip-on jackets. Sure, vinyl may be pricier than ever, but in cases like these, your money is buying quality all-around.

Louie & the Flashbombs – “Bang” (Self-released)


Local veteran Louie Lucchesi has already released two LPs, including this one, since we caught up with him less than two years ago for this interview. His new one, again has smart, power-pop tunes co-written by the singer and his guitarist (and in this case, producer) Mike Benign, and solid performances by a band that can only really be described as Milwaukee all-stars, with Paul Biemann, Matt Meixner, Bo Conlon and Al Hildenbrand. Recorded with Shane Hochstetler at his Howl Street Recordings, Testa Rosa’s Damian Strigens completes the Milwaukee trifecta by creating an eye-catching cover. The Flashbombs are currently getting airplay on WMSE and they’ve been playing up a storm of gigs, where I’m sure you can grab one of these discs (word is there will be vinyl, but not just yet).

Johnny Lytle – “People & Love” (Milestone/Craft)

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Another of the incredible Craft Records’ series is Jazz Dispensary, which focuses on reissuing music that has, “jazz as its source, and the high-flying sounds and youthful exuberance of the greatest classic funk and rock as a guiding philosophy.” That definitely describes this harp-laden 1973 outing by vibraphonist Lytle. It’s so “of its era” that it sounds a bit like the soundtrack to a cool early ‘70s New York City cop show shot in grainy color. As promised, it’s a bit lite for jazz but not down and dirty enough to be called hardcore funk. Instead, it inhabits some of the same territory Isaac Hayes was mining around that time, too: sophisticated and soulful. Since it’s Craft, you know its on 180-gram wax (cut by Kevin Gray and pressed at RTI again) and in a tip-on sleeve, this one textured like Ron Carter’s.

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Prince Far I – Cry Tuff Chants On U (On-U Sound)

The late, great Voice of Thunder – lost to gunmen in 1983, an especially violent year that claimed numerous reggae stalwarts – was all over On-U Sound releases during that U.K. label's heyday in the early 1980s, but he never had a full LP of his own. This set – a limited vinyl edition of which is available for RSD (it's already out on CD and digital) – rectifies that by collecting his best performances from 10-inch dubplates, releases by Singers & Players and compilations, including some alternate and rare mixes. There's also an essay from producer and friend Adrian Sherwood and notes on the individual tracks, too. Far I's unique, gruff delivery may take some getting used to at first, but once you're in, you'll be hooked. This is a fitting tribute to the Prince.

The Rolling Stones – “The Rolling Stones Singles 1966-1971” (ABKCO)

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A couple years after the 1963-66 singles box (which I wrote about here), ABKCO dishes up another solid block of Stones wax in the form of this companion box with reproductions of 18 singles and EPs, including some lesser-heard b-sides and mixes and most in picture sleeves. The discs were remastered by Bob Ludwig and pressed at Third Man in Detroit, so they sound really good. The whole thing looks pretty great, too, with its heavy duty box, 32-page booklet with photos, essays and info, five photo cards and a poster, too. This set takes us to the end of the ABKCO years, but perhaps the Stones’ own eponymous label will follow up with a 1970s-’80s singles box, too, to help keep this going.

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Sonny Rollins – “Freedom Weaver: The 1959 European Tour Recordings” (Resonance)

Resonance Records’ Zev Feldman – aka the Jazz Detective – is on a real roll lately as you can see from this four-LP boxed set (and a bunch of releases further along in this post) that collects 26 performances by Sonny Rollins on his 1959 tour with bassist Henry Grimes and a series of drummers that included Pete La Roca, Joe Harris and Kenny Clarke. Though there will be CDs, too, the vinyl box is a Record Store Day limited edition of 5,000 and is a thing to behold, both visually and sonically. The box is lovely, with a hefty booklet that has photos, essays and info on the tour and four albums packed with Rollins radio and TV performances that are so good it seems amazing they’ve never been released (officially, that is) before.

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Art Tatum – “Jewels in the Treasure Box: The 1953 Chicago Blue Note Jazz Club Recordings” (Resonance)

I’m leading with this Tatum release but there’s a lot here from the aforementioned Zev Feldman, whose moniker The Jazz Detective is well-earned, as he keeps digging up, cleaning up and dressing up in real pretty packages, incredible performances by landmark performers that we’d not likely otherwise ever get to hear. The ones mentioned here are available on vinyl, but I have experienced them in CD versions (which come in attractive fold-out packages).

The three-disc Tatum set captures nearly three hours of performances from Chicago with guitarist Everett Barksdale and bassist Slam Stewart. I love that it has some club vibe, too, including an appreciative crowd digging a genius at work. The packaging has photos and memorabilia from the archives of the family of Milwaukeean Frank Holzfeind, who owned the club on Madison, near Dearborn.

Save your shekels, folks, though, folks because Feldman also has Chet Baker & Jack Sheldon’s “In Perfect Harmony: The Lost Album,” recorded in 1972, as well as a never-before-released 1972 double live set from France featuring Yusef Lateef with Tootie Heath, Bob Cunningham and Kenny Barron, called “Atlantis Lullaby: The Concert from Avignon.”

Back to Chicago, Feldman dishes up the two-disc “Sun Ra at the Showcase: Live in Chicago 1976-1977,” recorded at Joe Segal’s legendary venue, which has photographs taken by Milwaukee-area-based musician Hal Rammel. The music is as outrageous and intense as you’d expect from the 19-piece Arkestra at this point, which at the time included tenor man John Gilmore and multi-instrumentalists Marshall Allen, Danny Thompson and Danny Ray, among others.

Last but not least, we catch up with pianist Mal Waldron again (remember him from way up above), for a two-disc 1995 live set called “The Mighty Warriors” with soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille, recorded in Belgium. Lengthy explorations of tunes penned by Monk and all the performers (except Cyrille) capture the chemistry of these sympathetic musicians who had performed together for many years.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe – “Live in France: The 1966 Concert in Limoges” (Elemental)

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Zev Feldman strikes again, although this time he’s more the Rock & Roll Detective as he presents two slabs of explosive vinyl from the gospel, blues and R&B singer and guitarist that’s often called the godmother of rock and roll. Tharpe was really a genre unto herself, but go to YouTube, find some live footage of her and you’ll see that there has never been anyone more rock and roll than Tharpe, slinging her white Gibson Les Paul Custom (which is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art). Here, 21 recently discovered live recordings remind us of her power, her energy, her passion, her magnetism. The gatefold sleeve and booklet have rare photos, essays and more. Though the CD release is not limited, the first-pressing vinyl is a Record Store Day special, limited to 2,200 copies.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.