Brendan Benson Upstairs At United Vol. 1: 8-16-2011 on 45RPM LP
Upstairs at United is a series of all-analog recordings recorded inside the historic United Record Pressing plant in Nashville, TN. All recordings were captured directly to analog tape under the leadership of mastering engineer Chis Mara of analog recording studio Welcome to 1979, then cut to 12” EP’s at 45 RPM. The records are presented in a Kraft-style packaging that highlights the authentic all-analog approach used in making these records, include session specific inserts with color photos from the recording sessions, and come in archival quality resealable poly bags.
The purpose of the Upstairs at United series is to release outstanding music recorded in a classic all analog style, and to celebrate the rich musical and cultural history that’s taken place inside this 49 year old building. Established in 1949, the same year the 45RPM record was born, United Record Pressing is still the go to pressing plant for the industry from the biggest of big to four guys in a garage. The doors to its present location first opened in 1962.
In response to a then segregated South, United created an apartment above the plant to host the record label executives and artists who were excluded from hotel accommodations due to the color of their skin. This apartment, now called the Motown Suite, is still intact and furnished in its original décor. Adjacent to the apartment is a large space solely dedicated to hosting record release parties and other events for labels and artists. Among the many, it’s believed that this room hosted parties for The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, The Cowsills, Wayne Newton, and a signing party for a 16-year-old Hank Williams, Jr.
In addition to existing as a monument to our musical and cultural history, the space upstairs at United Record Pressing continues to host events for artists, labels, and other lovers of music. It is in this sacred space that the Upstairs at United series is being recorded.
All recordings are engineered by Chris Mara and his analog studio Welcome to 1979 located in Nashville, Tennessee. All recordings were done live directly to ¼ inch analog tape using a sixteen channel vintage recording console and vintage microphones and outboard gear, with no overdubs, edits or audio sweetening. What you hear is music in its most pure form: the recordings capture the end product of the artists together in a single room, complete with all of the enthusiasm, spirit and soul that is the foundation for this great art form.
On August, 16th 2011, Volume 1 of Upstairs at United was put to tape. This recording features four live studio recordings from Brendan Benson. Brendan and a crew of stellar musicians performed covers of “Candidate” (David Bowie), “Strangers” (The Kinks), and “Beyond Belief” (Elvis Costello). Brendan closes the record with a moving solo performance of Randy Newman’s “Love Song” (made popular by Harry Nilsson). Reflecting on the experience Benson commented, "I had a blast recording some of my favorite songs in the legendary Motown suite at the historic United Pressing Plant. Great people. Great wine. It was really special!"
Brendan Benson Upstairs At United Vol. 1: 8-16-2011 Track Listing:
1. Candidate (David Bowie)
2. Strangers (The Kinks)
3. Beyond Belief (Elvis Costello)
4. Love Story (Randy Newman)