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Record Store Day Black Friday: The Must-Haves for Your Collection

Releases from Nas, Los Lobos are on our wish list
(Credit: Burak Cingi/Redferns via Getty Images)

Your family members might be spending their time after dinner on Thanksgiving sifting through circulars in search of deals this coming Black Friday. But you already know what your plan is: compiling your wishlist from the 171 titles getting unearthed and updated for the Record Store Day festivities on the biggest shopping day of the year.

It can be tough to comb through the Record Store Day: Black Friday list and decide which releases you want to pick. This year’s selections include a wide array that will get any passionate record collector motivated enough to rustle out of that Thanksgiving food coma and head out to their local record store early Friday morning. 

Here are seven albums we are on the hunt for this year. Follow our lead. 

Various Artists, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Judgment Night (Legacy Recordings) 

Hip-hop and alt-rock were the twin towers at record stores in 1993. And while few may remember the Emilio Estevez-starring thriller, the soundtrack to 1993’s Judgment Night remains a significant touchstone in the evolution of the rap-rock connection. What makes this collection so essential 30 years later is how it forecasted the limitless boundaries of the rhyme-riff fusion across these 11 songs. Powerful partnerships such as Cypress Hill and Pearl Jam (“Real Thing”), De La Soul and Teenage Fanclub (“Fallin’) and Del the Funky Homosapien and Dinosaur Jr. (“Missing Link”) provide a glimpse of what’s to come later in the ‘90s. This 30th anniversary edition was cut on red vinyl for a limited run of 3,150 copies. 

Nas, I Am… The Autobiography (Legacy Recordings) 

Shelved at the onset of the internet piracy era and split in 1999 in favor of two of the more inferior titles in the Nas catalog, I Am… The Autobiography is the third album Mr. Jones deserves. Released for the first time commercially, this abridged version of the original double album is comprised of key material from I Am…, Nastradamus, and 2005’s Lost Tapes compilation along with three previously unreleased songs. In this configuration, the work lives up to its promise as Nas traverses his life from birth to death across an economical 13 tracks. Had it been released in this fashion, I Am… The Autobiography would’ve been up there alongside Black On Both Sides and Things Fall Apart as one of the best rap albums of ‘99. 

Los Lobos, Kiko: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Rhino)

Looking to expand their sound beyond “La Bamba,” Los Lobos teamed with producers Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake to deviate from the structure of their Mexican folk-rock heritage on 1992’s Kiko. What transpired was a funky, experimental voyage punctuated by guitar fuzz and studio trickery, evidenced on such standouts as “Angels With Dirty Faces,” “Reva’s House” and “Wicked Rain.” This 30th anniversary deluxe edition includes a bonus LP containing previously unreleased alternate versions of songs like “Two Janes” and “Whiskey Trail” along with a whole side of pure instrumental jams. With a run limited to 3,500 copies, the deluxe Kiko adds another dimension of intrigue to Los Lobos’s OK Computer

War, The World Is A Ghetto 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (Rhino)

There wasn’t another band from the Vietnam era quite like WAR, whose fifth album—released 51 years ago this month—is one of the most sampled records in hip-hop.  Especially the 10-minute title cut, which can be heard on tracks by the likes of A$AP Mob, Geto Boys, M.O.P., Onyx, and many more. This funk fusion masterpiece was the bestselling LP in the United States in 1973, with a message of hope and equality that still resonates 50 years later. This 5 LP set includes alternate takes and extended jams of key album tracks on a bonus disc. Highlights include the 13-minute original jam “L.A. Sunshine” and the searing “Blues For Papa Dee.”

Wes Montgomery / Wynton Kelly Trio, Maximum Swing: The Unissued 1965 Half Note Recordings (Resonance Records)

The official release of this quintet of 1965 recordings found guitar master Wes Montgomery smokin’ at the Half Note in New York City with the Wynton Kelly Trio beyond the set captured on their famous live album for Verve. Originally culled from radio broadcasts aired on WABC-FM, the crisp fidelity of these tapes capture this combo of Montgomery, pianist Kelly, drummer Jimmy Cobb, and bassists Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Larry Ridley and Herman Wright in transcendent form. Limited to 3,000 copies, this 3-LP set also contains a booklet with rare photos from the gigs and new interviews with Carter, Herbie Hancock, Mike Stern, Bill Frisell and Marcus Miller, who is also Kelly’s cousin.  

Chico Hamilton, The Master (Craft Recordings)

An album featuring acclaimed jazz drummer Chico Hamilton with Little Feat as his backing band cut in 1973? Sign me up! Originally released on the Stax’s short-lived jazz subsidiary Enterprise Records, the album fell by the wayside at the time of its original release because it was too rock for jazz fans and most Feat fans barely knew of its existence. Now, 50 years later, The Master is essentially a lost Little Feat instrumental record that showcases exactly why Lowell George played guitar in the Mothers of Invention. This 50th anniversary edition is pressed on 180-gram marble purple vinyl with a limited run of 2,000 copies. 

The Jesus Lizard, Blue (Real Gone) 

The final proper studio LP from this Chicago noise-rock institution is the most straightforward work in their catalog. It also means it’s one of the most maligned as well. In their panning review of Blue in the June 1998 issue of SPIN, Jane Dark even compared the band to the Spice Girls at the time in reference to how much it represented real rock. But 25 years later, the Lizard’s attempt at a funkier edge is more endearing than annoying, with producer Andy Gill assuaging their Gang of Four influence in ways Steve Albini never could. This RSD edition marks Blue’s overdue debut on vinyl, pressed on metallic blue wax and limited to 2,500 copies.