Jean Manor

Austin, Texas

Recorded with Sonobeat circa 1970-'71
No commercial releases on Sonobeat Records

There are some "unknowns" in the Sonobeat Records archives, and here's one of them: although we can place the location of blues vocalist Jean Manor's Sonobeat session at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio in northwest Austin, Texas. Sonobeat co-founder Rim Kelley (Bill Josey Jr.) does not recall producing or engineering Jean's session, so we feel fairly confident that Bill Josey Sr. recorded Jean in late 1970 or 1971, after Rim had left the company. And about all we know for certain about Jean herself is that the July 4, 2003, issue of the Austin Chronicle lists her among two dozen Eastside "MVPs": singers and musicians who made their mark in East Austin before the Seventies. Unfortunately, that doesn't help us pinpoint the exact date of Jean's session with Sonobeat in which only two tracks are recorded, one a cover of B.B. King's Woke Up This Morning (My Baby's Gone) and the other Sorry 'Bout That Shuffle, which appears to be an original. The Sonobeat archives contain no information about the session, so we don't know who backed Jean in this smoky lounge-style performance, although the funk vibe could make this a James Polk-backed session. Jean is a contemporary of James, who records a 1969 Sonobeat 45 RPM release as well as a potential album in 1971. Jean may be related to '50s Austin blues musician A. J. Manor.

There are no stereo mix-downs of Jean's recording in the Sonobeat archives, just a half-inch 4-track master, so we've created a fresh stereo mix of Woke Up This Morning. Jean's master tape is a bit odd: tracks 1 and 2 contain a stereo instrumental backing that appears to itself have been mixed down from another 4-track master no longer in the archives. Track 3 contains only Jean's vocal, and there's nothing on track 4. Jean's vocal has a distinctive live feel, but that was a common Sonobeat recording style, although moreso in the 1967-1969 period when Sonobeat used Austin-area nightclubs as remote recording studios than in the '70s. But the sonic quality of the backing tracks suggests the recordings were tracked with a small combo at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio in northwest Austin. We really like this recording of Jean's masterful (or, perhaps, mistressful) rendering of B.B.'s blues classic. If only we knew more...

Jean Manor personnel

Jean Manor: vocals
Backing band: unknown

Unreleased Sonobeat recordings

Sorry 'Bout That Shuffle
Woke Up This Morning (My Baby's Gone)

Produced and engineered by Bill Josey Sr.
Recorded at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio in Austin, Texas, circa 1970-'71
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice 665 microphones, ElectroVoice Slimair 636 microphones, Sony ECM22 electret condenser microphones, Scully 280 half-inch 4-track tape deck, Stemco half-inch 4-track tape deck, custom 16-channel 4-buss
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