Jean Manor

Austin, Texas

Records 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: we can place the location but not the date of blues vocalist/guitarist Jean Manor's recording session with Sonobeat. Sonobeat co-founder Rim Kelley (Bill Josey Jr.) doesn't recall producing or engineering Jean's session, so we feel fairly confident that co-founder Bill Josey Sr. records Jean in late 1970 or 1971, after Rim leaves the company. There are no session notes in the Sonobeat archives, so we have to do some online digging to gather information about Jean. In the July 4, 2003, issue of The Austin Chronicle, Jean is listed as one of two dozen Eastside "MVPs" – singers and musicians who made their mark in East Austin before the 1970s. We also trace Jean back to December 1959, through Austin Statesman newspaper ads, when she begins performing as the headliner in Austin rhythm 'n' blues and blues-rock band Jean and the Rolletts. In fact, we find she's still performing as the Rolletts' headliner as late as 1988, playing gigs throughout Texas. Unfortunately, none of this information helps us pinpoint the exact date of Jean's Sonobeat session which produces only one track, an instrumental which Jean introduces at the head of the master tape as Sorry 'Bout That Shuffle. Jean plays lead guitar on the track, which appears to be an original. The Sonobeat archives contain no other information about the session, so we don't know who backs Jean in this club-style performance, although the funky horn vibe could make this a James Polk-backed session. Jean is a contemporary of James, who records a 1969 Sonobeat 45 RPM release. Jean may be related to '50s Austin blues musician A. J. Manor.

Though originally from La Grange, Gloria Jean Brown-Manor played guitar and led Jean & the Rollettes [sic] in Austin from 1959 through the 1970s. The Rollettes ran the gamut of Eastside venues musically speaking, performing R&B and soul tunes at the Victory Grill and Charlie's Playhouse, also bending notes on bills with Johnnie Taylor, Joe Tex, and Freddie King.
Margaret Moser writing in The Austin Chronicle (December 30, 2011)

There is no stereo mix-down of Sorry 'Bout That Shuffle in the Sonobeat archives, just a half-inch 4-track master with a stereo mix of the basic instrumental backing on tracks 1 and 2 and horn overdubs on tracks 3 and 4, so we've created a new stereo mix in 2018. We feel pretty certain the recording is tracked at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio in northwest Austin.

Born in 1941 in La Grange, Texas (home from 1905 until 1973 to the Chicken Ranch brothel made famous in the Broadway musical and subsequent feature film The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas), Gloria Jean Brown-Manor passes away in 1999. She's inducted posthumously, in November 2011, into the Austin Music Memorial.

Jean Manor personnel

Jean Manor: vocals and guitar
Backing band: unknown

Unreleased Sonobeat recordings

Sorry 'Bout That Shuffle

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-bus mixing console
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Gloria Jean Brown-Manor at home in Austin, Texas (from a June 17, 1988, feature on Austin blues legends appearing in the Austin American-Statesman)
Jean Manor headlines Jean and the Rolletts for three decades, appearing regularly at Austin nightclubs; this ad, from the Austin American-Statesman newspaper, dates from December 1963