Little Blue Bird
Records with Sonobeat in 1969
One non-commercial demo album release on Sonobeat Records in 1971
- Americana Roy Headrick • Little Blue Bird (1971)
Roy Headrick's Sonosong demo album master tape (1969)
For years we've believed Austin singer/songwriter Roy Headrick was the first composer to record a song demo album for Sonobeat's publishing arm, Sonosong Music, and the last whose album is actually pressed and distributed. But in February 2017, while making new high resolution scans of the master tape boxes in Sonobeat's archives, we get a much closer look at the handwritten notes on Roy's master and realize it says "November 28, 1969" instead of "November 28, 1967". So, the elapsed time between recording Roy's album and its release is far shorter than we had thought, although there's still an unusual and enigmatic two year gap. Roy's album, appropriately entitled Songs from the Catalog of Sonosong Music Company: Roy Headrick, Composer, features 13 original compositions, all sung by Roy self-accompanied on standard guitar. Roy's material is a mixture of Americana and country-folk, consisting mostly of story-songs, but later in his career, Roy turns to country. His songs are heartfelt and feature clever lyrics.
Roy's recording sessions are conducted at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio in northwest Austin. The tracks are engineered by Bill Sr. and Rim Kelley (Bill Josey Jr.) using Sonobeat's Ampex AG350 quarter-inch 2-track recorder. The recordings are simple and straightforward.
Roy's album is finally pressed and distributed in 1971. Bill Sr. distibutes copies from the limited run of about 100 vinyl copies to Nashville country labels in hopes that a song or two might be selected for a well-known artist to cover; however, there's no indication in the Sonobeat archives that any national label or artist – country or otherwise – ever records any of the tunes. Like all of Sonobeat's non-commercial demo album releases, Roy's is issued in a plain white jacket. Despite using Sonobeat's "Surrounding Sound Stereo" logo on the album label, the album is pressed only in a monaural version, as are all of Sonosong's demo albums. Oddly, though, the master tapes in Sonobeat's archives are stereo mixes.
While music is clearly Roy's passion, he goes on to a career in the City of Austin's planning department. Today, at age 82 and based in Georgetown, Texas, Roy continues to write and record new songs. Many are available on SoundCloud and iTunes and are easy to find by searching for Roy's name.
Roy Headrick: guitar and vocals
Songs from the Catalog of Sonosong Music Company: Roy Headrick, Composer
That Old Dog (Roy Headrick) • 5:15
Peace of Mind (Roy Headrick) • 3:01
Wishing (Roy Headrick) • 3:30
Is God Dead? (Roy Headrick) • 3:27
Lonesome Eyes (Roy Headrick/Terry May) • 3:46
Little Blue Bird (Roy Headrick) • 3:46
Too Bad (Roy Headrick) • 6:15
You're Just a Dreamer (Roy Headrick) • 3:53
Leave Me (Roy Headrick) • 2:18
How Do You Do? (Roy Headrick) • 5:20
There's Only One of You (Roy Headrick) • 3:00
Don't Look at Me That Way (Roy Headrick) • 5:20
Is the Grass So Much Greener? (Roy Headrick) • 3:00
Produced by Bill Josey Sr.
Engineered by Bill Josey Sr. and Rim Kelley
Recorded at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio, Austin, Texas, on November 28, 1969
Recording equipment: Sony ECM22 electret condensor microphones, AKG D707E dynamic microphone, Ampex AG350 quarter-inch 2-track tape deck, custom 16-channel 4-bus mixing console, 3M (Scotch) 201 tape stock
Approximately 100 copies pressed
Lacquers mastered and vinyl copies pressed by Sidney J. Wakefield & Company, Phoenix, Arizona
Pressed only in monaural version
Plain white jacket
Label blanks printed by Powell Offset Services, Austin, Texas
In the dead wax:
Side 1: 13898, WEJ-289M, and HEC
Side 2: 13898, WEJ-290M, and HEC
"HEC" in the dead wax are the initials of the mastering engineer at Sidney J. Wakefield & Company
There are no unissued songs by Roy Headrick in the Sonobeat archives
Not only is Roy's the first song demo album Sonobeat records and last Sonobeat releases, the album holds the dubious distinction of being held second longest in the can from recording date to release date. The David Flack Quorum's Sonobeat album, Mindbender, holds the record: six years from first session in 1970 to release in 1976!