Historic Austin Music Label Makes a Triumphant Return

The historic Lavender Hill Express 1967-'68 Sonobeat singles are back on July 23 on iTunes and AmazonMP3.
Release party on Saturday July 26 at The Saxon Pub in Austin, Texas 3 to 5pm. Live performances by Sonobeat recording artists Lavender Hill Express and The Sweetarts.

lavendar hill express
You may know Layton DePenning as a member of Austin bands Denim and Sons of Slim. But in 1967, Layton co-founded seminal Austin bamd Lavender Hill Express. Lavender Hill Express was Layton, Jess Yaryan, Johnny Schwertner, Leonard Arnold, and Rusty Wier, and, after the Sonobeat sessions, Gary P. Nunn. In so many ways, LHE's music foreshadowed the progressive country movement that spread like wildfire from Austin in the early 1970s, and many of its members were influential figures in that movement.

LHE recorded three stereo 45 rpm singles for Sonobeat in '67 and '68. Between 1,000 and 1,500 copies of each single were pressed, and relatively few copies still exist, circulating among avid vinyl collectors worldwide. Now, more than four decades later, Sonobeat Historical Archives proudly reissues all three LHE Sonobeat singles on the iTunes and AmazonMP3 stores on July 22nd. "Visions", "Trying to Live a Life", "Watch Out", "Country Music's Here to Stay", "Outside My Window", and "Silly Rhymes" join a never-before-released bonus track from the Sonobeat archives, "Trouble, on the album Visions. All tracks are freshly restored and remastered from high resolution digital transfers made directly from the original analog master tapes.

Oh, and please read about Lavender Hill Express at http://www.sonobeat.com/lhe.html.


Bill Josey, Jr.
Co-founder, Sonobeat Records and Sonobeat Historical Archives

coverBig, big news from Austin, Texas. Sonobeat Records, the legendary late 1960s and early 1970s record label that was such a key player in the growth of the captial city's music scene celebrates it's first digital release EVER this March.

The Sweetarts classic 45 single "Picture of Me" b/w "Without You" will be available in March through the ususual online vendors (including iTunes and Amazon) for download purchase. It is what is hoped to be the first of many digital reissues from the label in the coming months.

The timeline of The Sweetarts digital release ties in with the January 2014 publication of Sonobeat Records: Pioneering the Austin Sound in the '60s by Ricky Stein.


Here's the official press release from Sonobeat.


The single that launched Austin's Sonobeat Records in 1967 returns

AUSTIN, TEXAS, March 10, 2014 - Austin's Sonobeat Records (1967-1976) was an integral seed of the Central Texas music revolution that began in the mid-'60s. Sonobeat's prodigious output introduced Johnny Winter, Eric Johnson, Rusty Wier, the Afro-Caravan, and dozens of other luminary Texas musicians to the world, but its commercial single and album releases have been out of print since the mid-'70s. That now changes.

On March 11, 2014, Sonobeat Historical Archives digitally rereleases Sonobeat Records' first 45 RPM single, A Picture of Me and Without You by the Sweetarts, one of Austin's most popular '60s rock bands. The Sweetarts' single launched fledgling Sonobeat in summer 1967, the first in a series of stereo singles and albums featuring top Central Texas musicians, singers, and songwriters released by the label during the formative years of Austin's now world-renowned music scene.

Sitting dormant on deteriorating magnetic tape for more than 46 years after its original vinyl release, Sonobeat Historical Archives has digitally restored and remastered the Sweetarts single from the original session masters. On March 11th, the digital rerelease will be available on the iTunes Store and AmazonMP3 Store as individual tracks or as the EP Austin, TX 1967. In the coming months, Sonobeat Historical Archives will digitally restore, remaster, and rerelease additional material from the Sonobeat Records vault, including singles by Lavender Hill Express (featuring Austin icon Rusty Wier), Conqueroo, Plymouth Rock, Mariani (featuring another Austin icon, Eric Johnson), Wali and the Afro-Caravan, and Rockabilly legend Ray Campi.

Sonobeat Records was the 1960s and '70s Austin-based independent record label formed by father-son team Bill Josey Sr. and Bill Josey Jr. In its 9 years of operation, Sonobeat released 22 singles and 2 commercial albums, several "white cover" non-commercial demo albums, and hundreds of unreleased tracks by dozens of Central Texas bands and solo artists. Sonobeat also pioneered mono-compatible stereo 45 RPM singles. In 1968, Sonobeat recorded blues guitar legend Johnny Winter's acclaimed debut album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, which it sold to Liberty Records, and a year later, Sonobeat sold its Wali and the Afro-Caravan album Home Lost and Found to Liberty/United Artists Records. The relatively few remaining copies of Sonobeat's vinyl singles and albums are prized among Texas music aficionados and record collectors around the world.

Sonobeat's official website (www.sonobeatrecords.com, mirrored at www.sonobeat.com) recounts the label's story and those of the artists it recorded. The label's historical significance in the development of Austin's now-world famous music scene is documented by Austin musician and author Ricky Stein in his book, Sonobeat Records: Pioneering the Austin Sound in the '60s (History Press, January 14, 2014).

Sonobeat Historical Archives is the collective of Sonobeat co-founder Bill Josey Sr.'s heirs, who maintain the Sonobeat website and master tape archives.

Sweetarts: Ernie Gammage (co-founder; guitar and lead vocals), Pat Whitefield (bass), Mike Galbraith (vocals), Tom Van Zandt (keyboards), and Dwight Dow (co-founder; drums). The Sweetarts' Sonobeat story is at www.sonobeat.com/sweetarts.html. Even more Sweetarts' history is at the band's retrospective website: www.scarletdukes.com/st/home.html.

"A Picture of Me" and "Without You" were composed by Ernie Gammage.