Did you know that there was an internationally-celebrated Record Store Day held on the third Saturday of April each year (which would be April 21 this year)? I simultaneously hang my head in shame when I acknowledge that, while the holiday did previously ring a bell, I couldn’t have been sure on what day it takes place. I’ve never done anything for it, except bask in the convenience that online music retailers afford me. It’s probably not a coincidence that the holiday has only been a thing since 2007 either; celebrating Record Store Day during the mid-90s would sort of be like having a VHS Rental Day during the same period — what other choice did we have? Despite the general rarity of my doing so, Record Store Day is a reminder that, acquiring music, for the time being, doesn’t have to be an impersonal activity facilitated by computer cursors and Shopping Carts.
Sure to be just one of many specials coordinated specifically around that day, the San Francisco-based label Tompkins Square has announced a series of 78 rpm, 10-inch vinyl releases, beginning with two previously unreleased recordings from bluegrass living legend Ralph Stanley, and Luther Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars. Both records will be released as limited editions of 500 copies on April 21, and given the nature of 10-inch 78s, both include roughly three minutes of music per side. Here’s what Tompkins Square owner Josh Rosenthal has to say about the project: “A lot of new turntables play 78’s, and many 78 collectors listen to their records on modern equipment. Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe have all recently released 78’s. So I thought it would be fun to start a line of them.” Considering that the heyday of the 78 was close to 100 years ago, this seems like a splendid opportunity for vinyl (and folk/country/blues) enthusiasts to grab a piece of history.
• Tompkins Square: http://www.tompkinssquare.com