Soulful Spinnin': Must-Own R&B Records for Record Store Day Black Friday 2021

Record Store Day Black Friday titles, 2021
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Thanksgiving weekend: you've eaten your meal and put away the leftovers - now how will you spend the rest of your holiday?

If you're like us, you'll be checking the scene at your local independent record store. Once again, this Friday (Nov. 26) is Black Friday, and participating Record Store Day locations will be carrying special titles you can't get anywhere else. And if you're a lover of soul music, you'll want to snag copies of these!

For the jazz fan who loves a surprise... Verve Records has been releasing a series of "Original Grooves" releases, which feature a pair of side-by-side grooves on the vinyl, meaning you never know which one you'll hear when you drop down the needle. The third in their series, A Gift to Pops, is devoted to the one and only Louis Armstrong; this 12" single features versions of his hit "What a Wonderful World" and "Swing That Music" - both his own and new recordings by an all-star band led by jazz musicians Nicholas Clayton and Wycliffe Jordan.

For those who missed The Genius in concert... Ray Charles never lost his shine the longer his career went on. The box set True Genius shines a light on a lesser-known side of his career, after he departed the Atlantic label in 1962. A centerpiece of that box is a previously unreleased concert recorded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972, featuring versions of hits like "I Can't Stop Loving You," "What'd I Say," "I've Got a Woman" and more. That eight-song set will be pressed on vinyl for Record Store Day Black Friday.

READ MORE: The Genius on Atlantic: A Selection of Ray Charles' Best

For Sam Cooke fans who want to know where the story began... Before knocking fans over with soulful sides like "You Send Me," "Wonderful World," "Twistin' the Night Away," "Chain Gang" and countless others, Sam Cooke was a member of influential gospel group The Soul Stirrers. The First Mile of the Way collects three 10" records detailing his tenure in the group and on the Specialty Records label, both in the studio and in concert.

READ MORE: Sam Cooke's First Solo Venture Was Almost a Disaster

For the neo-soul lover... Few defined the spacey sounds of neo-soul in the late '90s and early '00s quite like Maxwell. After a pair of conceptually-minded albums, 2001's Now saw him pursue a more traditional album structure while still keeping the same sounds, as evidenced by tracks like "Get to Know Ya" and a stunning cover of Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work." For the 20th anniversary of this chart-topping record, Now is being pressed on root beer brown vinyl and featuring a new 12-page booklet with unseen photos and an essay by critic Nelson George.

READ MORE: The 'Suite' Success of Maxwell's Debut

For the son of a preacher man... Though Dusty Springfield was already a proven hitmaker by the time she signed to Atlantic Records in 1968, her time on the label featured classics of Southern soul ("Son of a Preacher Man") as well as collaborations with the rising Philadelphia legends Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff ("A Brand New Me"). The Complete Atlantic Singles 1968-1971 collects on two LPs all two dozen sides Dusty issued on 45 during that time, in their original mono mixes.

READ MORE: Just a Little Lovin': Dusty Springfield's Greatest Atlantic Hits

For Motown cratediggers... "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." "You're All I Need to Get By." "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing." The duets of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell are the stuff of soul legend - romantic classics that became more than just hit pop songs, but enduring, romantic standards to this day. Sadly, Terrell didn't live to see her songs become immortal; in 1967, she collapsed in Gaye's arms during a concert and was subsequently diagnosed with the brain tumor that took her life three years later, when she was only 24. A RSD-exclusive reissue of her only solo album, 1969's Irresistible, shines a light on her incredible voice, with favorites like "I Can't Believe You Love Me," "Come On and See Me" (both of which would be remixed to feature vocals by Gaye before her passing) and The Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart of Mine (is Weak for You)."

READ MORE: Were Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell Motown's Greatest Duo?

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Scepter Records; Atlantic Records

It's always fun when the biggest pop hits are ones nobody expects.

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Underrated gems from the former Temptation.
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Derick A. Thomas; Dat's Jazz/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
A loving tribute to a Stax soul man.
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