While every album that passes through Memphis Record Pressing is handled with professionalism, co-founder Brandon Seavers admits that manufacturing vinyl reissues of Big Star’s #1 Record and Radio City “definitely received a little extra TLC.”
“Big Star is part of the Memphis music identity, so many of the folks at MRP are very familiar with — and protective of — the Big Star legacy,” explains Seavers, who co-founded the company in 2014. “Producing the two reissues is something we’re all very proud of.”
The Big Star project was a byproduct of MRP working on a 50th anniversary Stax Records reissue campaign for Craft Recordings. (Stax distributed Big Star’s first two albums when they were released on Ardent Records in 1972 and 1974.)
“A key part of the reissues was that they wanted to remaster from the original analog tapes and then press the vinyl in Memphis, keeping as much of the production in Memphis as possible,” Seavers says. The 180-gram vinyl Big Star reissues, due Jan. 24, were remastered from the original analog tapes by Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl in Memphis.
When Craft asked for ideas on “how to creatively capture the process and promote the Memphis-centric nature” of the Stax-related reissues, Seavers says MRP suggested filming the project to contextualize the significance of the albums when they were originally released and highlight their ongoing relevance.
“We began the journey of interviewing any and all of the folks we could find that were originally involved in the recording of each album, combining those interviews with conversations with current artists,” says Seavers.
The resulting multipart web series, dubbed The Memphis Masters, is available on YouTube. (Episodes to date focus on Booker T. and the MG’s, Johnnie Taylor, Delaney & Bonnie, and The Bar-Kays.) The Big Star-themed episode will make its premiere Jan. 24, with drummer Jody Stephens, the band’s sole surviving original member, talking about #1 Record and Radio City.
— By Chris M. Junior