Record Store Day comes but once a year, but its Back to Black Friday event in November brings the focus back to independent record stores during the biggest shopping day of the year. And for Omnivore Recordings, it’s an important and fun event.
“Everyone at Omnivore is a fan and a collector, most of us have worked at a record store at some point in our career, and as a label, it’s an opportunity for us to make something that we might not otherwise get the chance to make,” says the label’s Cheryl Pawelski. “We’ve gone to each Record Store Day as a company, getting in line before the sun comes up, just because we’re fans and we want to take a shot at getting all the stuff on our lists (never quite works out, but the pursuit is part of the fun). We love supporting record stores because we all grew up in them and feel that they are an important part of how people learn about music.”
In order to celebrate Black Friday Record Store Day (November 23, 2012), Omnivore has prepared four ten-inch vinyl EPs by country legends Merle Haggard, Wanda Jackson, George Jones and Buck Owens, with much of the material making its vinyl debut. At another end of the musical spectrum, Jellyfish’s Stack-a-Tracks presents never-before-heard instrumental mixes of the band’s two studio albums in a limited-edition, numbered, first edition digipak.
On November 23, 2012, Omnivore will release these ten-inch discs, which will preview full albums due in 2013: George Jones’ United Artists Rarities; Wanda Jackson’s Capitol Rarities; Merle Haggard’s Capitol Rarities; and Buck Owens’ Buck Sings Eagles. Jellyfish’s Stack-a-Tracks also hits the racks on the same day.
According to Pawelski, “Our very first Omnivore release, the Big Star — Third [Test Pressing Edition] is an example of being a little extra creative for Record Store Day. It was an expensive release to make, and without the event that is RSD, we probably couldn’t have pulled it off. It gave us that extra latitude to be able to push the creative limits as far as we could go and justify it.”
The November 2012 Record Store Day releases:
• George Jones – United Artists Rarities: As Jones prepares for his farewell tour in 2013, Omnivore is planning the release of The Complete United Artists Solo Singles. Jones had two label homes prior to signing to UA in 1962, and while his tenure there was short (four years), it produced hits like “She Thinks I Still Care” and “The Race Is On.” The United Artists Rarities ten-inch vinyl EP in a beautiful picture sleeve presents four alternate versions of UA recordings plus two previously unissued duets with Melba Montgomery (“There Will Never Be Another” and “Alabama”).
• Wanda Jackson – Capitol Rarities: 2012 was a big year for the Queen of Rockabilly on the heels of career-reinvigorating new albums produced by Jack White and Justin Townes Earle. While Omnivore puts the crowning touches on its 2013 release The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles, the six-song vinyl EP Capitol Rarities sets the stage. Included are previously unissued versions of songs recorded between 1956-62 including “Step by Step” “In the Middle of a Heartache,” “The Wrong Kind of Girl” and three more.
• Merle Haggard – Capitol Rarities: One of the pioneers of the Bakersfield sound, Haggard toured with Buck Owens in the early ’60s and in 1965 was signed to Capitol Records (already home to Buck) by producer Ken Nelson. Omnivore is planning a full-length CD The Complete Capitol ’60s Singles for 2013 release, to which the Capitol Rarities ten-inch vinyl EP sets the stage. The EP contains songs never released back in the day, and alternate versions of well-known tunes. All six songs emanate from unique Nashville and Hollywood recording sessions, making this EP a very cool, collectible piece.
• Buck Owens – Buck Sings Eagles: If Buck Owens, Father of the Bakersfield sound, wasn’t already a household name by 1968, the advent of the hit TV series Hee Haw cemented his fame. Music for the show was recorded in Buck’s studio and then played back on the show with live-to-track vocals. Omnivore will issue these previously unissued made-for-TV recordings as Honky Tonk Man: Buck Owens Sings Country Classics in 2013. Among these recordings were four previously unissued cover songs by the California country-rock torch-carriers the Eagles that comprise the ten-inch vinyl EP.
• Jellyfish: Stack-a-Tracks: While recording their two pivotal studio albums, 1990’s Bellybutton and 1993’s Spilt Milk, “instrumental” mixes of each record were created by Jellyfish and their producers. Unheard and untouched for decades, these recordings will finally see the light of day on Omnivore Recordings’ Jellyfish – Stack-a-Tracks. This is not a “re-imagining” of what these records “might” sound like as instrumentals. They’re the real deal, transferred from the original 1/4-inch masters. With an individually numbered edition of 2,500 units, housed in a digipak for the limited first edition with new illustrated artwork (created for the release by artist Mike McCarthy), this two-CD set is destined to become the newest gem in the collection of power-pop fans everywhere.