If only every day could be like Record Store Day. On a mid-April Saturday, the hearty breed of surviving disc emporiums teem with music fans and crate diggers — all hoping to get their hands on the many limited-edition vinyl records issued by the labels.
Omnivore Recordings will contribute four titles to the Record Store Day mix: Hank Williams’ The Garden Spot Programs, 1950 — Extended Play (eight-song EP on brown vinyl), Jaco Pastorius’ Modern American Music . . . Period! The Criteria Sessions (CD and multi-colored LP), Harry Dean Stanton’s Partly Fiction (7-inch picture disc with movie poster), and the compilation Live From High Fidelity: The Best of the Podcast Performances (translucent green vinyl LP featuring Sam Phillips, Jon Auer [Big Star/Posies], Rhett Miller [Old 97’s], spoken word by Van Dyke Parks and more).
All will be available only at record stores only on April 19, 2014 and are expected to go fast. The Hank Williams and Harry Dean Stanton releases are limited-edition appetizers for long-form recordings to be issued later this year, while the Jaco Pastorius collection will remain in print in Omnivore’s catalog.
Hank Williams, broadcasting on behalf of Texas’ Naughton Farms Nursery in 1950, made the following announcement, which appears on the Record Store Day vinyl EP: “All right sir, right now, friends, we got a tune here, one of mine, you can find this one on wax if you care to, sometime when you’re in town shopping around your record store, a little tune that I wrote and recorded called ‘I Don’t Care If Tomorrow Don’t Never Get Here’.”
Little did he know that the performance would be available on wax and in record stores . . . some 64 years later!
Omnivore Recordings’ Record Store Day releases
• Hank Williams – The Garden Spot Programs, 1950—Extended Play: In February of 1950, country music pioneer Hank Williams hosted several Garden Spot radio shows for the Naughton Farms plant nursery in Waxahachie, Texas. Backed by a studio group, Hank sang his hits as well as songs he’d rarely (if ever) performed elsewhere. This collectible 10-inch brown vinyl single (plays at 33 1/3), packed in a 78 rpm-style sleeve with notes by Colin Escott, contains nearly 15 minutes of Hank Williams, unheard since they were first broadcast 64 years ago. From hits like “Lovesick Blues” and “Mind Your Own Business” to instrumentals, standards and a radio jingle, the vinyl EP is the perfect primer for the full-length release The Garden Spots Programs, 1950, coming in May from Omnivore.
According to Williams’ daughter Jett Williams, who helped oversee the Garden Spot Programs’ restoration, “It’s incredible to me that we’re still finding new recordings by my dad. Great ones at that! No one even suspected that these recordings existed. We partnered with Omnivore Recordings for this release, and I especially love it that they’re taking my dad back to vinyl.”
• Jaco Pastorius – Modern American Music . . . Period! The Criteria Sessions: Jaco Pastorius’ 1976 debut set a new standard in both jazz and the electric bass guitar. Many of the tracks on that eponymous album had their genesis when a 22-year-old Pastorius and friends used after-hours time at Criteria Studios to work out new songs and jam. Eventually six of those songs were transferred to acetate. Many of the songs found their way onto the debut album, and others remained unreleased until now. Omnivore’s Modern American Music . . . Period! The Criteria Sessions, produced in conjunction with the Pastorius estate and Metallica’s Robert Trujillo, contains 11 revolutionary tracks plus essays from Trujillo and Pastorius biographer Bill Milkowski. The original six-song acetate is being expanded and reproduced for RSD on CD and multi-colored LP with a download card for the entire CD program (to be released on the same day) as well as an insert with both essays and rare photos. The material was unearthed and restored in conjunction with the upcoming documentary Jaco (directed by Stephen Kijak and produced by Trujillo and John Battsek), the official Record Store Day film for 2014.
According to Trujillo: “Omnivore’s release of Jaco Pastorius’ Criteria Sessions is a raw unique statement — a statement that lets you know you are experiencing a powerful historical musical moment. Jaco’s sound, and facility alone, take you on a trip that is totally new and fresh! This is punk at it’s best, and the attitude and edge is pure.”
Record Store’s Michael Kurtz said: “I fell in love with Jaco Pastorius in 1976 when I heard Weather Report’s Black Market being played in my local record store. In 1977 I caught the band on its Heavy Weather tour and heard Jaco perform live. It was like I had been exposed to a force bigger than life. Performing on the Fender bass he’d personally stripped of frets, Jaco propelled the band with ferocity and finesse. He was shirtless, with an axe bold as love. Thirty-seven years later it is a dream come true to be a part of helping Omnivore unearth and release the recording of a very young Jaco performing with his own band in Miami’s Criteria Studios.”
Mary Pastorius, Jaco’s daughter, added: “Once I allowed the memories associated with records to come in, it was like opening the proverbial floodgates — especially so when I started looking through my own records, having a visceral sensory overload experience with every one. Them records is powerful stuff!”
Harry Dean Stanton – Partly Fiction: The career and legacy of Harry Dean Stanton are explored in Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, a documentary directed by Sophie Huber that has screened at more than 20 festivals (including SXSW). It shows the iconic actor in intimate moments and screen clips, as well as performing his own heartbreaking renditions of country and folk songs. On Record Store Day, Omnivore Recordings, in conjunction with Adopt Films, will spotlight Stanton’s musical talents (accompanied by Jamie James, formerly of Steppenwolf and the Kingbees) with a seven-inch picture disc featuring two songs from the film. The A-side features a cover of “Tennessee Whiskey” (a 1983 smash for George Jones) while the flip is a new version of “Canción Mixteca,” the Mexican folk song Stanton originally recorded with Ry Cooder for Paris, Texas. The picture disc with a movie poster, released specially for Record Store Day, previews the soundtrack album to be released later this year by Omnivore.
Live From High Fidelity: The Best of the Podcast Performances: The Live From High Fidelity podcast started two years ago when two chatty vinyl obsessives, music publisher Tom DeSavia and musician/arranger Eric Gorfain, were inspired by mutual friend Sam Phillips to record themselves talking about recent finds and wish lists. They decided to record the shows at L.A.’s High Fidelity Records store and musicians began to stop by. While the popular podcasts are available in entirety on iTunes, the musical segments have never before been available separately. Live From High Fidelity: The Best of the Podcast Performances LP (available in translucent green vinyl) features 14 live performances from nine guests — Rhett Miller (Old 97’s), Jon Auer (Posies/Big Star), Grant-Lee Phillips, Matt Nathanson, Sam Phillips, Spain and Gorfain’s ensemble, the Section Quartet. Comedian/actor Paul F. Tompkins chimes in as well, and the LP sides are book-ended by spoken words pieces from Van Dyke Parks. The Live From High Fidelity LP contains a digital download card.