Friday, February 19, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter B, Part 5)

Brendan Benson's name seems to pop up on these pages with regularity. So, I'll dispense with the introductions and get right to today's selection, 'Upstairs at United.' As the back cover says, "This LP was recorded live, direct to analog tape, upstairs in the historic United Record Pressing plant in Nashville, Tennessee. Each song was recorded in one take -- sometimes the first take, sometimes the second, but always one take. No edits, no overdubs, no digital, all analog." Benson's selections show us what we could have already guessed. He has impeccable taste in music. Here is the four-song tracklist of well-known covers:

"Candidate" - David Bowie
"Strangers" - The Kinks
"Beyond Belief" - Elvis Costello
"Love Story" - Randy Newman

Great songs one and all, but we are going to listen to "Strangers" today because I think it's the best performance. Raw, unpolished and delivered with passion. As you know, the original was written by Dave Davies and appeared on the 1970 album 'Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One.' I got 'Upstairs at United' on Black Friday in 2011, the day it was released. I was still willing to fight the crowds of Record Store Day back then.

I state the following every time I post something from Benson, and I'm not going to make an exception in this case because, well, it's still the truth. If you're a fan of power pop, Benson's first three albums -- 'One Mississippi,' 'Lapalco' and 'The Alternative to Love' -- are absolute musts for your collection. No, Benson will never be a household name like Bowie or Newman, but I'm certain musicians will be covering his songs 40 years from now just as he has done here. Since this project Benson has recorded all of his singles and albums in Nashville and in analog on his own Readymade Records label. They are worth checking out as well.



TheRobster said...

Strangers is perhaps the best example of Dave seriously competing with Ray in the songwriting stakes. What. a. song. My fave off 'Lola...' by far. BB's version isn't too shoddy either, particularly seeing as it's live.

Wouldn't mind hearing the Bowie cover as well... (*nudge nudge*)

Brian said...

Robster, Expect something in your inbox this weekend.

George said...

The first song I've played today. Splendid, Brian.

McPop said...

As you might expect, I'm a huge fan of Brendan Benson. I have all of his albums on CD, only his most recent 'You Were Right' on vinyl. I don't have the record you posted but need to search for it. He's fab and way better than his more famous partner in crime in the Raconteurs (imo)!

Brian said...

Hey McPop. If you see this, please drop me an email:

I don't want to make any enemies, but I agree with your last statement. Apologies in advance. You know who you are.

kevinpat said...

Benson. The man knows his way around the O in pOp. Great stuff. Thanks for reminding me!

The Swede said...

I agree completely with your comment about Brendan's first three albums, but was completely ignorant about this release until today. 'Candidate'? 'Beyond Belief'? The man's got taste.

Brian said...

Not positive, but I think this record was exclusive to America for the Black Friday edition of Record Store Day. That's probably why you aren't familiar with this one. I'll send you Candidate and Beyond Belief.