Friday, October 25, 2013

A different sort of gold record

Record Store Day, now an international "holiday" celebrated on the third Saturday of April, began with a modest proposal back in 2007: that something should be done, along the lines of Free Comic Book Day — which began in 2002 — to call attention to the old-fashioned, Mom 'n' Pop retail music outlets that were vanishing from the landscape, thanks to the pernicious effect of Internet sellers.

The first Record Store Day took place in 2008; the event has since blossomed into a Very Big Deal that involves special appearances and performances by hundreds of recording artists, who meet and greet their fans at the surviving record stores across the country and around the world. The biggest attraction, however, likely is the release of special vinyl and CD singles and albums: many available only on the day in question, and only at these vintage brick-and-mortar stores.

In 2010, recognizing a promotional opportunity, the folks behind Record Store Day aligned their activities with what has come to be known as "Black Friday": the day after Thanksgiving, which is — for better or worse — recognized as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Dubbing their piggy-back event "Back to Black Friday," the Record Store Day team encouraged their North American brick-and-mortar record store clients to participate just as noisily in Black Friday activities. The sweetener: yet another round (albeit more modest) of artist appearances and vinyl/CD releases.

Which brings us to this year, and the question undoubtedly percolating just behind your lips: What, if anything, does this have to do with our beloved Dr. Funk?

Ahem. By now, you must have noticed the image above.

This year's Back to Black Friday celebration will take place on November 29, the day after Thanksgiving. A few of the special vinyl and CD releases will be keyed to the holiday season, and one of them will come from Fantasy Records: a faithful recreation of their 1964 Vince Guaraldi Trio single — "Linus and Lucy" on the A side, "Oh, Good Grief" on the B side — with a new picture sleeve. 

And the disc will be pressed onto gold vinyl.

Pretty cool, eh?

(My allegiance to historical accuracy compels me to point out that the original 1964 single in question, Fantasy 593X, came from the album Jazz Impressions of A Boy Named Charlie Brown, as opposed to the later soundtrack album for A Charlie Brown Christmas, as this gold vinyl re-release implies. Indeed, "Oh, Good Grief" isn't even on the Christmas album. Had Fantasy really wanted to be authentic, they'd have granted this special treatment to the single that did come from the Christmas album, Fantasy 608X, with "Christmas Time Is Here" on the A side, and "What Child Is This" on the B side. But I digress.)

Now, you can't order this special Guaraldi single online; the whole point is to bring warm bodies into old-style record stores. You can find the closest participating outlet here, and while you're visiting, you'll also want to check out the Back to Black Friday FAQ. This is important, because not every store will stock every special release; most probably will base their orders on customer requests. That's why you're reading these words now, as opposed to a month from now: It's up to you to visit your favorite music store and ask them to bring in a copy of Vince's disc. Or two, or three, if you're thinking of gifts to other deserving jazz fans. Or if you simply wish to hoard a few, against the inevitable rise in value a few years down the road.

Viewing the entire list of anticipated releases, I also note holiday offerings from the Blind Boys of Alabama, John Denver & The Muppets, and Ernie Kovacs (gotta get that one!). Guaraldi's disc, however, seems to be one of very few jazz releases.

So, what are you waiting for? Hopefully, you already know where to find your local music store, because you're a regular customer. If not, check the online resource, take a little trip, introduce yourself and ask for this spiffy Guaraldi special. 

The person-to-person eye contact will do you good.


Justin said...

I love Vince's work on Peanuts, with The Great Pumpkin being at the top of the list. Is there every any chance of the soundtrack (besides the waltz) coming out? I've been looking around, and all I've found is a discussion from 5 years ago where they talk about the master tapes from TGP being lost. Can you shed anymore light on this?

Derrick Bang said...

Sadly, there's no indication that such master tapes — or tapes of any other kind — from "Great Pumpkin" have survived. We'll simply have to continue enjoying the music in the show itself, which does (at least!) include some nice stretches of jazz without dialogue on top of it.