The 10 best collector’s items

The 10 best collector’s items

Vinyl is the king of the physical formats once more. Sales last year broke the five million mark making it the highest sales figure of the vinyl in the last 30 years. Record Store Day has no doubt been a huge part of its epic resurgence.

Since the event was inaugurated in 2007 to help promote independent record stores, the physical format has boomed. What originates with the allure of rarities and bright colours evolves into a passion for the whole shebang of record collecting: leafing through the racks, making a day of it, and eagerly returning home to give your new 12 inches a spin. 

Thanks to this age-old cathartic tradition a new generation of passionate record collectors has been spawned. This has meant that the market is a little more competitive and you have to keep your head on a swivel to snap up the best rarities and collector’s items these days. Thus, we’ve waded through the Record Store Day 2022 releases longlist to bring you ten cracking records that are certainly worth a look in. 

The 10 best collector’s items at Record Store Day 2022:

Berlin 91 – Iggy Pop

First and foremost, Iggy Pop is a live act to behold. Like a wind-up toy, someone seems to twiddle with his coccyx backstage and sends him bounding out like a proto-punk lemur. Naturally, that makes for a great experience, and that experience translates brilliantly to a live record. 

This orange and white double album is a reissue for the first time of his iconic Brick by Brick Tour in Berlin in 1991. With classic Stooges tracks like ‘I Wanna Be your Dog’ thrown into the wild mix and Iggy sporting his red electric guitar as underwear, while his pants are around his ankles, you can almost hear his belt buckle rattle as he does the jailbreak shuffle across the stage. This is as raucous and rare as it gets. 

Blue Highlights – Joni Mitchell

Released just over 50 years ago in 1971, Joni Mitchell’s Blue is one of the finest albums of all time, period. Her beauteous breakup masterpiece leaves listeners with wet cheeks and a headful of thoughts, as she weaves her poetry in purring fashion. 

This exclusive LP delves into the archives of her classic record to bring previously unreleased epics to life. With a combination of rarities, demos and live recordings, this album looks behind the curtain of a timeless classic. And it is made all the more collectable considering the folk star recently left Spotify. 

L.A. Woman Sessions – The Doors

Another amazing record born in 1971 is The Doors’ masterpiece L.A. Woman. This numbered 4xLP version of rarities is the definition of a Record Store Day classic as the demos are so early that you can literally hear them taking shape.

In fact, one track even captures Paul Rothschild on ‘Riders of the Storm’ before he quit. All of this is housed in a cool recreation of the session recording slip making for a rarity of the highest quality and utmost insight.

Live in Paris, The Radio France Recordings 1983-1984 – Chet Baker

Chet Baker is the undoubted king of the crooners. With his matinee-idol good looks, boyish charm and effortless performances, he typified a timeless generation with his trumpeting ways. However, in later years his story drifted towards addictions, and he began to pop up in odd corners of the world as he drifted around in wayfaring existence.

In some ways, this backstory imbues his later recordings with a deeper air of mysticism. In Paris, he pulled this lived-in style off with perfection as his drum-less trio rattled off ethereal ditties. All of these are pressed onto this unique record alongside interviews and essays on the star. (NB this release is not available until June 18th).

Original Pirate Material Boxset – The Streets

The Streets’ debut record is increasingly being recognised as a pivotal album in the development of British culture. Beyond the seismic impact that it had on genre and identity development, it is – most importantly – crammed with a string of fat-free classics. 

This unique three-LP boxset spreads the collection out over two orange, transparent vinyl and a black classic 12 inch. Accompanied by prints and liner notes, this limited edition OPM collection is a must-have musical memoir of English artistry.

The Early Home Recordings – Sandy Denny

In some ways, Sandy Denny is very much a musician’s musician. That is not to say that she has a limited commercial fanbase, it is merely the case she crops up in the key influence of certain psychedelic bands, fellow folk star favourites and even rappers too. Her ethereal style is highly singular and that will always be alluring to artists. 

As the official listing states: “This essential collection includes two different demos of her classic ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes’ (and other songs penned by her – some later recorded by Fairport), plus heartfelt covers of songs by Jackson C. Frank, Fred Neil, and traditional folk songs. The definitive collection of Denny’s home demos and authorized by her estate.”

the L.A.M.F demo sessions – Heartbreakers

At the time when L.A.M.F was recorded, bands were swapping members around like a spliff in downtown Kingston. It seems like you’d wake up on a stranger’s sofa and then later that night you’d be on stage with them. With Johnny Thunders, Walter Lure, Billy Rath and Jerry Nolan all listed personnel and Richard Hell floating somewhere in the welter, L.A.M.F is a tricky album to pin down. And there is an element of that elusive nature in its sound. 

That is added to tenfold by this lookback with the early demo sessions. Recorded mostly in Essex, London as punk switched shores, this demo collection contains a story of its own—it is a raucous story and it’s still as vibrant even with this sketchy sound. 

(Credit: Track Records)

The Lost Album from Ronnie Scott’s – Charles Mingus

You don’t really get jazz fans; you get jazz aficionados. That makes jazz records all the more collectable. When it comes to a never-before-released live recording of the legendary Charles Mingus no less, that ups the ante when it comes to collectability. 

Masterfully re-engineered by Bernie Grundman, this new three-LP record finds Mingus reaching a live highpoint in one of the most famed London establishments. Recorded in 1972, this album has the air of history about it that will have Mingus fanatics salivating. 

The Sire LPs 1981-1989 – Ramones

Punk had morphed into new mangled forms by the time that the 1980s came around, but the Ramones kept the original tenets alive. Their albums during the period saw them get playful with classics like ‘Baby, I Love You’ and ‘Chinese Rocks’. 

In a stylish numbered slipcase, the boxset contains the albums Pleasant Dreams, Subterranean Jungle, Too Tough To Die, Animal Boy, Halfway To Sanity, Brain Drain, and one LP of rarities all of which are available on vinyl for the first time since the original release. 

Wembley Empire Pool, London, England 4/8/72 – Grateful Dead

If ever a band can be said to be a ‘live band’ then the Grateful Dead are probably it. Living the day-tripping lifestyle of Tom Wolfe, they travelled around amassing an army of fans with some of the most kaleidoscopically colourful shows imaginable.

Their 1972 tour is famed for its high levels of carnage and superb sound. This snippet of history makes this five LP set an essential for collectors. Remastered by Dave Glasser, this is one of the best sounding Dead records around, and that includes their studio outings.

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