Spring’s Record Store Day has a lot of Philly in the mix

Record Store Day

The twice-a-year tribute to vinyl that is Record Store Day is always a worthwhile treat — and its Spring iteration is right around the corner.

Though officially, Record Store Day is Saturday, April 20, it is important to start the ball rolling now, as every independent record store has limited supplies of each already limited-edition product. And this go-around, there are plenty of local treasures in the mix.

Here is a breakdown of the best Philadelphia and New Jersey-related artists selling Record Store Day rarities in their hometown.

The Dead Milkmen — Bucky Fellini (The Giving Groove)

Philadelphia’s kings of absurdist post-punk rock have re-released the album on a local label dedicated to area charities. For this first-time Record Store Day re-pressing of the Rodney Anonymous & Co.’s classic ‘Bucky Fellini‘ — since its initial release on Enigma Records in 1987 — local producer Phil Nicolo remixed the project on Ducky Yellow vinyl, and it now features everything from news clippings and show posters, to a sleeve with lyrics and song-inspired art from Dead Milkmen’s Joe Jack Talcum.

Record Store Day

Plus, Dead Milkmen hits such as ‘Instant Club Hit (You’ll Dance to Anything),’ ‘Surfin’ Cow’ and ‘Jellyfish Heaven’ never sounded better than when remixed by Nicolo.

Sun Ra and his Arkestra — Pink Elephants on Parade (Modern Harmonic); Sun Ra — At The Showcase: Live In Chicago 1976-1977 (Jazz Detective)

Germantown native pianist, composer and Afro Futurist Sun Ra created his own vinyl rarities by independently releasing albums with his own handdrawn artwork on the covers. Along with those gems, Ra and his Arkestra recorded many projects that went unreleased in their time.

Doing a full album on the music of Disney film – on ‘Pink Elephants‘ – was always a dream of the late Ra, and here, you can hear the childlike whimsy — albeit creepier than you might have initially remembered these songs of your youth — of ‘Someday My Prince Will Come,’ ‘Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah’ and ‘Whistle While You Work’ in one place.

The freshly-discovered, live Chicago Showcase album from the mid-1970s is prime time wonky free jazz from one of the best labels in the reissue/rarity game with touches of carnival song, funeral dirges and Saturn-like ambience on tracks such as ‘View from the Other Dimension.’

Jim Croce — Live: The Final Tour (BMG Rights Management)

This RSD release is epic. The late Jim Croce was born in the heart of South Philly, raised in Upper Darby Township and graduated from Villanova University. Though he had massive hits with ‘You Don’t Mess Around with Jim‘, ‘Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)’ and ‘Time in a Bottle,’ he never lost his blue-collar vibe and personal touch beyond the limelight of the record business.

Record Store Day

While on tour in September, 1973, before releasing his next single, ‘I Got a Name,’ Croce’s plane crashed into a tree, killing Croce and his on-board band members. Along with the fact that there has not been a Record Store Day release from Croce prior to 2024, this never-before-released live album celebrates the tour he was on before his death with still folkie fresh chart-topping classics, two songs never released on Croce’s studio albums — ‘Ball of Kirriemuir’ and ‘Shopping for Clothes’ — and between-song humorous monologues that were the crux of any great Croce concert.

Joe Pesci — Little Joe Sure Can Sing! (Real Gone)

The New Jersey-born actor is, of course, feared for his menacing roles for director Martin Scorsese starting with ‘Raging Bull’ (1980) then going onto ‘Goodfellas’ (1990), ‘Casino’ (1995), and ‘The Irishman’ (2019). But along with being Jersey Boys adjacent as a friend to Frankie Valli and the rest of the Four Seasons, Pesci is a singer (his most recent album came out in 2019), who released his first album in 1968: ‘Little Joe Sure Can Sing!’ And he sure can.

Inspired by singers such as Little Jimmy Scott and Billie Holiday, Pesci has an interesting jazzy way with Beatles classics such as ‘Fool on the Hill’ and ‘Got to Get You into My Life.’ Plus, it’s on swirling orange vinyl – nice touch.

Record Store Day

Schoolly D – Saturday Night: The Album (Get On Down)

The still-innovating rapper-producer-painter from Parkside, West Philadelphia, Schoolly D, reaches back to his raw, second full-length, 1986’s ‘Saturday Night: The Album‘ for an RSD release on his own imprint. Not only is this the second chapter in the bible verse that was the start of gangster rap and golden-era hip hop (before NWA and Ice-T), Schoolly is releasing this on a lemon pepper colored vinyl.