Vinyl You Need: The Sound Garden

On February 11th 2016

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Since 1993, The Sound Garden has been Baltimore’s biggest and best record store. And thanks to owner Bryan Burkert (who, as you’ll see below, is a big fan of Gil Scott-Heron), The Sound Garden has been providing soundtracks to those revolutions since. Locals love the store because it stocks an extensive collection of new and used CDs and vinyl, DVDs and BluRays, and doubles as a late-night hangout. But the shop has also been validated by Rolling Stone as one of the best record stores in the country.

We checked in with Burkert to find out which five records he thinks you should own on vinyl.

Bryan Burkert
Owner, The Sound Garden

Five Essential Records to Own on Vinyl

Artist: Fela Ransome Kuti and the Africa 70 with Ginger Baker
Album: Live!
Reason: Africa 70 is actually Fela's band, but everything takes a different turn with Cream drummer Ginger Baker joining in on two songs. Thelive album was recorded in 1971 and includes just four brilliant songs (although the 1987 CD reissue also include a bonus track recorded in 1978). Simply put: it captures an era.

Artist: Lou Reed
Album: Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal
Reason: The album was recorded live on December 21, 1973 at Howard Stein's Academy of Music in New York. It's comprised of four Velvet Underground songs, including the 1970 single “Sweet Jane.” The live EP also features a scorching 13-minute-long version of “Heroin.”

Artist: R.L. Burnside
Album: A Ass Pocket of Whiskey
Reason: Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside recorded his seventh studio LP musical chameleon Jon Spencer (most notably of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion). Together, they rip through this set released in 1996. These 10 songs are surely music to drink by.

Artist: Uncle Tupelo
Album: Anodyne
Reason: Anodyne was the fourth and final album for Uncle Tupelo. The band then, of course, spawned both Son Volt and Wilco, but I’m not sure there is a better alt-country album than this.

Artist: Gil Scott-Heron
Album: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Reason: This compilation album was named for the legendary performer’s poem-song of the same name. Released in 1974, it includes two-discs worth of material from Scott-Heron’s first three LPs—Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, Pieces of a Man, and Free Will and exemplifies the roots of rap with a jazz edge. There’s nothing else quite like it.

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