Craft Recordings Announces Record Store Day Releases From Evanescence, Sam Cooke, The Staple Singers and The Wrens.

CRAFT RECORDINGS ANNOUNCES EXCLUSIVE RELEASES FROM EVANESCENCE, SAM COOKEAND MORE FOR RECORD STORE DAY’S 2021 BLACK FRIDAY EVENTThis year’s line-up includes a brand-new Sam Cooke compilation, offering a look at his formative years with the Soul Stirrers and his early recordings as a solo artistLimited-edition reissues include titles from Evanescence, the Staple Singers and the WrensClick here to locate your nearest participating retailer.

Los Angeles, Calif. —Craft Recordings is proud to unveil an exclusive line-up of titles for Record Store Day’s 2021 Black Friday event, taking place on November 26th in independent record stores around the world. Releases include a brand-new Sam Cooke compilation, The First Mile of the Way, which highlights the singer’s formative years—including his gospel recordings with the Soul Stirrers and his early forays into pop music. Craft is also offering several special vinyl reissues, including a 10th-anniversary pressing of Evanescence’s best-selling self-titled album; the first wide vinyl release of the Wrens’ acclaimed sophomore album, Secaucus; and a 180-gram vinyl edition of the Staple Singers’ Christmas record, The Twenty-Fifth Day of December.

Find details on each title below. For a full list of participating Record Store Day retailers, visit

Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers – The First Mile of the Way (3-LP, 10-Inch Vinyl Box Set)

Before Sam Cooke was an internationally known soul star, he was a rising voice in gospel music, whose smooth-as-silk vocals were perfected in the churches of Chicago. In 1950, the 19-year-old singer got his big break when he joined the Soul Stirrers. The celebrated gospel act, which formed in the 1920s, had recently signed to Specialty Records and was looking for a new lead singer. Over the next six years, the enigmatic Cooke honed his skills as a performer and songwriter, bringing the Soul Stirrers broader appeal and helping them score their first hit single, “Jesus Gave Me Water.”  

By the middle of the decade, however, Cooke was eager to expand his repertoire and pursue a solo career in secular music. Releasing several of his early singles under Specialty—including the No. 1 R&B hit “I’ll Come Running Back to You”—Cooke found immediate success. He would eventually score a whopping 29 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and 20 hits on the R&B Top Ten before his untimely death in 1964.

The First Mile of the Way explores these formative years, offering fans the chance to witness Cooke’s development as an artist. The brand-new compilation, which coincides with Specialty Records’ 75th anniversary, features 25 tracks—spanning Cooke’s years with the Soul Stirrers through his early pop-leaning singles as a solo artist, included here in their original versions without overdubs. As a special bonus, the album includes live recordings by the Soul Stirrers at the legendary 1955 gospel concert at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium—all of which make their vinyl debut. Housed in a triple-gatefold jacket, the three-disc, 10-inch vinyl collection also features a replica promo photo, flyers and other ephemera from the era.

The First Mile of the Way tracklist:

Disc 1: Side A1. Any Day Now (Take 6/Alternate) – The Soul Stirrers2. Pilgrim of Sorrow (Alternate Take) – The Soul Stirrers3. Jesus Gave Me Water – The Soul Stirrers4. Peace in the Valley – The Soul Stirrers 5. Jesus Wash Away My Troubles – The Soul Stirrers6. Were You There – The Soul Stirrers

Side B1. I’d Give Up All My Sins and Serve the Lord – The Soul Stirrers2. Touch the Hem of His Garment – The Soul Stirrers3. One More River – The Soul Stirrers4. Mean Old World (Take 3/Alternate) – The Soul Stirrers5. He’s So Wonderful – The Soul Stirrers6. That’s Heaven to Me – The Soul Stirrers

Disc 2: Side A1. I Have a Friend Above All Others (Live) – The Soul Stirrers2. Be With Me Jesus (Live) – The Soul Stirrers

Side B1. Nearer to Thee (Live) – The Soul Stirrers 

Disc 3: Side A1. Loveable – Sam Cooke2. I Need You Now – Sam Cooke3. I’ll Come Running Back to You – Sam Cooke4. I Don’t Want to Cry – Sam Cooke 

Side B1. Forever – Sam Cooke2. Happy in Love – Sam Cooke3. That’s All I Need to Know – Sam Cooke4. You Were Made for Me – Sam Cooke5. Crying – Sam Cooke

Evanescence — Evanescence (1-LP, Purple-Smoke Vinyl)

Evanescence rose to massive, global fame in the early 2000s, dominating the charts with their unique blend of heavy riffs and atmospheric, symphonic underpinnings. But following the release of Fallen (2003) and The Open Door (2006), the band took a much-needed break from the spotlight to recharge. Five years later, they returned with their highly anticipated self-titled album, Evanescence. The time away was particularly fruitful for co-founder and frontwoman Amy Lee, who told Kerrang! that the synonymous title was “about falling back in love with this thing, with Evanescence,” adding that “it just felt like this is who we are.” Produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, Coheed and Cambria), Evanescence also marked a creative turning point for the band, whose previous albums were written primarily by Lee. Instead, the group took a collaborative approach to their third record, while weaving in fresh sonic textures. Released in the fall of 2011, Evanescence was embraced by fans and critics alike—debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200; landing in the Top 5 in the UK, Canada, Australia, and across Europe; and earning high marks from the likes of Entertainment WeeklyAllMusic and Kerrang!, who hailed Evanescence as the band’s “best album to date.” The LP also spawned several hit singles, including “What You Want,” “My Heart Is Broken” and “Lost in Paradise.” A decade later, the powerful and introspective album remains a fan favorite.  Evanescence are currently getting ready to kick off one of the biggest arena tours of the year with Halestorm. Tickets and limited VIP packages are on sale now at Full dates listed below.  To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Evanescence, this special, collectible edition will be pressed on Purple-Smoke vinyl and limited to 8,000 copies worldwide. Evanescence tracklist:Side A 

  1. What You Want
  2. Made of Stone
  3. The Change
  4. My Heart Is Broken
  5. The Other Side
  6. Erase This

Side B

  1. Lost in Paradise
  2. Sick
  3. The End of the Dream
  4. Oceans
  5. Never Go Back 
  6. Swimming Home

Evanescence and Halestorm 2021 – 2022 Tour DatesFri, Nov 5 – Portland, OR – Veterans Memorial ColiseumSun, Nov 7 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge ArenaTues, Nov 9 – San Jose, CA – SAP Center at San JoseWed, Nov 10 – Los Angeles, CA – YouTube TheaterFri, Nov 12 – Las Vegas, NV – The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas – The ChelseaSat, Nov 13 – San Diego, CA – San Diego State University – Viejas ArenaMon, Nov 15 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Federal TheatreThu, Nov 18 – Denver, CO – Bellco TheatreSat, Nov 20 – Fort Worth, TX – Dickies ArenaSun, Nov 21 – Houston, TX – 713 Music HallTue, Nov 30 – Tampa, FL – Amalie ArenaThu, Dec 2 – Duluth, GA – Gas South ArenaFri, Dec 3 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone ArenaSun, Dec 5 – Saint Louis, MO – Saint Louis University – Chaifetz ArenaTue, Dec 7 – Minneapolis, MN – ArmorySat, Dec 11 – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars ArenaSun, Dec 12 – Cincinnati, OH – Heritage Bank CenterTue, Dec 14 – Pittsburgh, PA – University of Pittsburgh – Petersen Events CenterWed, Dec 15 – Newark, NJ – Prudential CenterFri, Dec 17 – Camden, NJ – BB&T PavilionSat, Dec 18 – Worcester, MA – DCU Center For more Evanescence tour information, please contact Hannah Schwartz (, Kelly Sheng ( or Mark Satlof ( The Staple Singers – The Twenty-Fifth Day of December (1-LP, 180-Gram Vinyl) A decade before they were one of the biggest soul acts in the world, the Staple Singers were a popular gospel group, who had spent the ’50s building a steady fanbase across the country. In 1962, when the family band released their first Christmas album, they were on the verge of breaking through to wider audiences. Within a few years, they would not only be performing alongside rock and folk music’s biggest names but would also be an important voice in the Civil Rights movement. Featuring the family band’s classic line-up (Roebuck “Pops” Staples with his children Mavis, Cleotha and Pervis), The Twenty-Fifth Day of December showcases the group’s powerful harmonies, set against stripped-down arrangements. Backed by Pops’ reverb-heavy guitar, the Staples are joined by Maceo Woods on organ and Al Duncan on drums, as they perform a collection of traditional spirituals and yuletide favorites, including “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”  Praised by AllMusic as “a striking and powerful listen,” and hailed an “essential” listen by PopMattersThe Twenty-Fifth Day of December is a must-have holiday record for any fans of soul, folk or gospel music. This special pressing features all-analog mastering from the original stereo tapes by Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl, and will be available on 180-gram vinyl for an optimal listening experience.  The Twenty-Fifth Day of December tracklist: Side A

  1. The Last Month of the Year
  2. The Virgin Mary Had One Son
  3. Go Tell It on the Mountain
  4. Joy to the World
  5. Holy Unto the Lord
  6. The Savior Is Born

Side B

  1. Sweet Little Jesus Boy
  2. No Room at the Inn
  3. There Was a Star
  4. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  5. Wasn’t That a Mighty Day
  6. Silent Night

The Wrens – Secaucus (2-LP, Cherry Red Vinyl) Following the release of their 1994 debut, Silver, New Jersey four-piece the Wrens established themselves as one of the most promising indie rock acts of the era, drawing comparisons to acts like XTC, the Cure and the Pixies. Their 1996 follow-up, Secaucus, was equally as well-received. The 19-track album (named for their hometown) was filled with reflective songwriting, catchy hooks and sharp, guitar-driven melodies—reflecting a confident band that was settling into their sound. Praised by Pitchfork as “a near-perfect power-pop record,” Secaucus featured such favorites as “Built in Girls,” “Surprise, Honeycomb” and “Won’t Get Too Far.” Despite their rising popularity, however, the Wrens fell prey to the whims of an ever-changing music industry. Never officially breaking up, the band members (guitarist/vocalist Charles Bissell, guitarist Greg Whelan, bassist/vocalist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonnell) pursued full-time careers in other fields after the release of Secaucus, reemerging seven years later to surprise fans with a new album, Meadowlands. With a tongue-in-cheek tagline of “Keeping Folks Waiting Since 1989,” the band continues to perform occasional shows and has even teased a fourth record. 25 years after the release of Secaucus, Craft Recordings celebrates this alt-rock cult classic with its first wide vinyl release. Pressed on Cherry Red vinyl, this special, 2-LP anniversary edition is housed in a gatefold jacket.  Secaucus tracklist: Disc 1:Side A 1. Yellow Number Three 2. Built in Girls 3. Surprise, Honeycomb 4. Rest Your Head 5. Won’t Get Too Far  Side B1. Joneses Rule of Sport 2. Dance the Midwest 3. Still Complaining 4. Hats off to Marriage, Baby 5. Jane Fakes a Hug  Disc 2: Side 11. Counted on Sweetness 2. I’ve Made Enough Friends 3. Luxury 4. Indie 500  Side 21. Safe and Comfortable2. Destruction/Drawn 3. I Married Sonja 4. I’ll Mind You 5. It’s Not Getting Any Good About Craft RecordingsCraft Recordings is home to one of the largest and most prestigious collections of master recordings and compositions in the world. Its rich and storied repertoire includes legendary artists such as Joan Baez, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Vince Guaraldi, John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, Nine Inch Nails, Thelonious Monk, Otis Redding, R.E.M. and Traveling Wilburys, to name just a few. Renowned imprints with catalogs issued under the Craft banner include Concord, Fania, Fantasy, Fearless, Milestone, Musart, Nitro, Prestige, Riverside, Rounder, Specialty, Stax, Sugar Hill, Vanguard, Vee-Jay and Victory, among many others. Craft creates thoughtfully curated packages, with a meticulous devotion to quality and a commitment to preservation—ensuring that these recordings endure for new generations to discover. Craft Recordings is the catalog label team for Concord Recorded Music. For more info, visit and follow on FacebookTwitterInstagram,YouTube, and Spotify

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