Sonobeat History • 1972

The story of Austin's Sonobeat Recording Company, Sonobeat Records, and Sonosong Music in the 1960s and '70s


Cody Hubach, who records an unreleased album with Sonobeat in 1972

Sonobeat's tough times bleed over from 1971 and escalate during the beginning of 1972, forcing Sonobeat co-founder Bill Josey Sr. to continue to offer out his North Lamar studios just south of downtown Austin for custom work. Throughout the year he continues to develop talent he hopes to release on Sonobeat Records or sell to national labels, but there are no Sonobeat Records releases during 1972. Manchaca, Texas, country-folk artist Cody Hubach, who records an unreleased single with Sonobeat in '69, returns to record a full-length album in '72 that features a mix of original songs and covers of songs by other Austin singer/songwriters, but Cody's album also goes unreleased.

In mid-year, Bill begins making quadraphonic recordings, believing quad – a surrounding sound format that uses a pair of stereo speakers in front of and a pair behind the listener – will be the next big consumer audio craze. Initially Bill forms a hand-picked studio band that he names Base, but the quad recordings with the group are purely experimental and not intended for commercial release. He invests in retrofitting his 16-channel mixing console with quad mixing modules designed by Sonobeat co-founder Rim Kelley, who has left the company in 1970 to attend law school in Houston but stilll keeps a distant finger in Sonobeat's activities.

Other acts recording potential Sonobeat releases during 1972 include Pleasant Street Band from Indianapolis, Indiana, Michele Murphy from nearby Liberty Hill, Texas, and Austin's Jess DeMaine and Tommy Hill & the Country Music Revue. The personal and professional disappointments of the three preceding years have finally taken their toll, and Bill has no choice but to focus on custom work, for which he charges an hourly studio and engineering rate, to make ends meet. Something has to change, but it won't be until 1973 that any positive change materializes.