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)
A Roy Headrick Sonosong album session tape with Headrick misspelled (1969)
Roy Headrick's demo album master tape sits in an inadequately marked box
For years we believe Georgetown, Texas, singer/songwriter Roy Headrick is the first composer to record a song demo album for Sonobeat's publishing arm, Sonosong Music, and the last whose demo album is actually pressed and distributed. But in February 2017, while making new high resolution cover scans of the master tape boxes in Sonobeat's archives, we get a much closer look at the handwritten notes on Roy's master tape and realize it says "November 28, 1969" instead of "November 28, 1967". And, when we listen to the tracks, we get Roy's verbal confirmation of the recording date. 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 unexplained two year gap. Roy's album, titled Songs from the Catalog of Sonosong Music Company: Roy Headrick, Composer, features 13 of his original compositions (Terry May, about whom there's no information in the Sonobeat archives, is credited with co-writing one song on the demo album), 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. The songs are heartfelt and feature clever lyrics. Later in his career, Roy turns exclusively to country.
Sonobeat records Roy's 1969 sessions at its home-based Western Hills Drive studio in northwest Austin. Sonobeat co-founders Bill Josey Sr. and Rim Kelley (Bill Josey Jr.) engineer the sessions using Sonobeat's Ampex AG350 quarter-inch 2-track recorder. The recordings are simple and straightforward.
Sonobeat finally issues Roy's album in 1971. Bill Sr. distibutes copies from a limited run of 100 vinyl units to Nashville country record labels, hoping that a song or two might be picked 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 Roy's tunes. Like all of Sonobeat's non-commercial demo album releases, Roy's is issued in a plain white jacket with the album title rubber stamped in the center of the cover. 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 composer demo albums. Oddly, though, the master tapes in Sonobeat's archives are stereo mixes.
While music is clearly Roy's passion, in 1970 he begins a 19 year career in the City of Austin's planning department, retiring at the end of 1988. Today, in his mid-80s and still living in Georgetown, Roy continues to write and record new songs, still clever and heartfelt, and perform publicly. Many of Roy's current recordings are available on SoundCloud and iTunes and are easy to find by searching for "Roy Headrick".
Roy Headrick: guitar and vocals
Songs from the Catalog of Sonosong Music Company: Roy Headrick, Composer
That Old Dog • 5:15
Peace Of Mind • 3:01
Wishing • 3:30
Is God Dead? • 3:27
Lonesome Eyes (Roy Headrick/Terry May) • 3:46
Little Blue Bird • 3:46
Too Bad • 6:15
You're Just A Dreamer • 3:53
Leave Me • 2:18
How Do You Do? • 5:20
There's Only One Of You • 3:00
Don't Look At Me That Way • 5:20
Is The Grass So Much Greener? • 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 believed to be the initials of the mastering engineer at Sidney J. Wakefield & Company
There are no unissued songs by Roy Headrick in the Sonobeat archives