Records with Sonobeat in 1972
No commercial releases on Sonobeat Records
It's November 1972 in Austin, Texas. Sonobeat is recording Tommy Hill and the Country Music Revue. But, before we delve into the sessions, a little backstory on Austinite Tommy Hill: he spends his formative years in several Austin rock bands, including hot '60s club band, the Baby Cakes (which also features future Lavender Hill Express guitarists Leonard Arnold and Layton DePenning). Tommy soon is wooed to Nashville, signing with Mercury Records. But his heart remains in Austin, so he returns to form The Country Music Review, which quickly becomes prominent on the Central Texas country dance hall circuit. Sonobeat producer Bill Josey Sr. likely records Tommy's band in 1972 with a view to capitalizing on the then surging "outlaw" country music movement in Austin. The Outlaw, or progressive country, movement is led by Central Texas singer/songwriter Willie Nelson. To some extent, Tommy's material and delivery share Willie's outlaw feel. Unfortunately, nothing in the Sonobeat archives indicates whether Bill Sr. offers his recordings of The Country Music Revue to national record labels or whether he intends to release them on Sonobeat Records itself. Sonobeat's Country Music Revue recordings remain unreleased.
Tommy starts off the Sonobeat recording session by introducing the musicians who perform with him: Benny McArthur, George Rodriguez, Larry Gentry, Jess DeMaine (who records as a solo act with Sonobeat in 1972 and 1973), and Carl Gertz. Bill Sr. records and mixes down ten tracks to create a band demo album. Other than the first "intro" song, the remaining nine tracks are covers of, among many, Tony Joe White's 1968 hit Polk Salad Annie and Willie Nelson's classic Funny How Time Slips Away.
In the years following the Sonobeat sessions, Tommy continues to perform regularly but also produces for other Central Texas recording artists. As a founder and co-owner of Texas Crude Music Publishing Company, Tommy produces hundreds of artist song demos, singles, and albums. Among Tommy's producing highlights is an album with San Marcos, Texas, native Roy Head (best known for his 1965 national hit, Treat Her Right), released on Tommy's Texas Crude label; the album also features performances by many other prominent Central Texas musicians including Stevie Ray Vaughan. Now retired as a publisher, Tommy has segued into an acting career, landing roles in several major films and a starring role in the 2008 western Sixgun, released by Lionsgate. He's also starred in three short films produced in Austin: 2012's The Midwife's Husband, 2014's Inherit The Truth, and 2015's Paint By Numbers. And, most recently, Tommy plays a strong supporting role in Johnny Frank Garrett's Last Word, a feature film screening at 2016's SXSW. Tommy's one of Austin's true renaissance men.
Jess DeMaine: organ and guitar
Larry Gentry: bass
Carl Gertz: steel guitar
Tommy Hill: guitar and vocals
Benny McArthur: lead guitar
George Rodriguez: drums
Funny How Time Slips Away
I Ain't Never
Lonely Women (Make Good Lovers)
Polk Salad Annie
She Needs Someone to Hold Her
Recorded at Sonobeat Studios, 705 North Lamar, Austin, Texas, in November 1972
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice 665 microphones, ElectroVoice Slimair 636 microphones, Sony ECM22 electret condenser microphones, AKG D707E dynamic microphone, Scully 280 half-inch 4-track tape deck, Stemco half-inch 4-track tape deck, custom 16-channel 4-bus mixing console, Fairchild Lumiten 663ST optical compressor, Blonder-Tongue Audio Baton 9-band stereo graphic equalizer, custom steel plate stereo reverb, 3M (Scotch) 206 tape stock