NeW ATlantis

Austin, Texas

Records with Sonobeat in 1968 & 1969
No commercial releases
Listen to more below
The second incarnation of New Atlantis on stage at the 1969 Austin Aqua Festival Battle of the Bands
The first New Atlantis sessions, in 1968, provide a tape-load of great songs, including orignals I Got the Feelin' and Song for Suzanne and a spectacular cover of Fire

New Atlantis (first incarnation)

It's 1968. Austin, Texas-based Sonobeat is recording rock band New Atlantis. It's romantic to imagine the band names itself after Sir Francis Bacon's classic 1627 utopian tale, but more likely the name is inspired by a "New Atlantis Exhibit" on display at The University of Texas in Austin, the band's home town. The 1966 University of Texas exhibit showcases letters, clippings, and ephemera from the Leicester Hemingway collection documenting the tiny and short-lived island republic off the coast of Jamaica that Leicester (Ernest Hemingway's brother) founds on July 4, 1964. Whatever the inspiration, New Atlantis (which, in its first incarnation, sometimes is known as New Atlantis Hard Rock Band) is one of the most progressive and impressive bands on the Austin scene in the late '60s. Indeed, its original members – Jim Mings (an Austin guitar legend), Mike Reid (piano and Hammond B3; he also contributes to Sonobeat's Base sessions), Jay Meade (drums; he, too, also contributes to Sonobeat's Base sessions), and Danny Galindo (bass; formerly of the 13th Floor Elevators, and, yes, still another contributor to Sonobeat's Base sessions) – are former members of some of the best Austin progressive rock bands of the era. They're so good in New Atlantis that the band takes first runner up honors in the 1968 Austin Aqua Festival Battle of the Bands (the Sweetarts, who record Sonobeat's first commercial release in 1967, take first place).

New Atlantis records half a dozen tracks for Sonobeat co-founders Bill Josey Sr. and Rim Kelley beginning in October 1968 at Vulcan Gas CompanyThe Vulcan is Austin's first successful hippie music hall, opening in 1967 in an old warehouse at 316 Congress Avenue and closing in 1970. in downtown Austin and continuing on and off into August 1969. The August '69 sessions are recorded at the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church's auditorium at 6800 Woodrow Avenue in northwest Austin, and vocal and guitar overdubs are recorded at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio, also in northwest Austin. The resulting tracks are many notches above Sonobeat's previous recordings.

New Atlantis tracks its original song, The Shadow Knows, during the October 1968 sessions at the Vulcan, setting the stage for the band's spectacular cover of Fire, on which producer Rim Kelley uses his homemade, top secret "Sonotone Black Box" to anthropomorphize Jim's scorching lead guitar. Rim proposes to release a single, with one of New Atlantis' originals, either I Got The Feelin' or Song For Suzanne, as the "A" side and Fire as the "B" side, but the idea is abandoned for reasons not documented in the Sonobeat archives and no longer recalled. For our sound bites below and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sonobeat's recording sessions with New Atlantis, we've remastered I Got The Feelin' and remixed and remastered Song For Suzanne. When we pull the original half-inch 4-track session masters in February 2018, we can't locate I Got The Feelin' but find clean 4-track versions of Song For Suzanne and Fire, and, oddly enough, the Sonotone Black Box effect on Fire is missing, leading us to conclude that the effect is added "live" during mix-down to the two-track stereo master.

New Atlantis (second incarnation)

A second incarnation of New Atlantis returns to record with Sonobeat in August 1969, shortly after taking second place in the '69 Austin Aqua Festival Battle of the Bands (Shepherds Bush takes first place). The new New Atlantis session lineup features holdovers Jay Meade and Danny Galindo along with new band members Donnie Erickson on lead guitar (Donnie is 13th Floor Elevators front man Roky Erickson's brother) and guitarist Bob Galindo (Danny Galindo's brother), who replace Jim Mings and Mike Reid, respectively.

This second round of New Atlantis sessions yields She's A Country Girl, which appears to be a loose adaptation of Little Willie John's 1955 blues single Home At Last (composed by Rudolph Toombs), and a cover of World In A Jug, the "B" side of Canned Heat's 1967 single Rollin' and Tumblin'. Bob Galindo recalls that New Atlantis II also records covers of If I Were A Carpenter and Red Balloon, both songs composed and originally recorded by Tim Hardin, but we haven't found either track in the Sonobeat archives.

It's a pity the New Atlantis recordings are never released because they're examples of a great band populated – not once, but twice – by some of Austin's most talented and imaginative musicians stretching creatively. We're pleased to present sound bites from power ballads Song For Suzanne (a/k/a I Know You So Well) and I Got The Feelin', the hard rocker Trouble In My Heart, and the slightly loose instrumental jam The Shadow Knows, all from the 1968 New Atlantis Sonobeat sessions. The first two songs are Jim Mings compositions, on which he also sings lead. In 2018, we remix Song For Suzanne from the original 4-track session tracking master and remaster I Got The Feelin' from the original 2-track stereo mix. We're not certain who composed or belts out Trouble In My Heart. We're disappointed to find the 1969 2-track stereo mix-down of New Atlantis II's upbeat version of She's A Country Girl a/k/a Home At Last, on which Donnie Erickson sings lead, has deteriorated to the point that it's no longer playable, so in 2008 we make a new stereo mix from the original half-inch 4-track session tracking master.

Jim Mings presently is a member of the Jazz Guitar Summit in Columbia, South Carolina. Jay Meade lives in Harlingen, Texas, where he owns an ad agency. Mike Reid still lives in Austin where he teaches in the Austin Independent School District. Danny Galindo suffers a fatal illness in 2001. Bob Galindo is a Project Manager with the Austin Community College. Donnie Erickson succumbs to cancer on May 26, 2018, and in tribute, we add a clip below from World In A Jug, on which Donnie plays lead guitar and sings lead vocal.

Thank you!

Our thanks to Bob Galindo, Jay Meade, and Jim Mings for background on both incarnations of New Atlantis, and to Bob for the New Atlantis II photo.

New Atlantis personnel

New Atlantis (first incarnation):
   Danny Galindo: bass
   Jay Meade: drums
   Jim Mings: lead guitar and vocals
   Mike Reid: piano and Hammond B3

New Atlantis (second incarnation):
   Jay Meade: drums
   Bob Galindo: keyboards
   Danny Galindo: bass
   Donnie Erickson: lead guitar and vocals

Unreleased Sonobeat recordings

I Got The Feelin’
She’s A Country Girl a/k/a Home At Last
Song For Suzanne
The Shadow Knows
Trouble In My Heart
World In A Jug

Produced and engineered by Rim Kelley
New Atlantis (first incarnation) instrumental tracks recorded at The Vulcan Gas Company, Austin, Texas, on October 23, 1968
Vocal overdubs recorded at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio in northwest Austin, Texas, on or about October 30, 1968
Produced and engineered by Rim Kelley
New Atlantis (second incarnation) instrumental tracks and some vocal overdubs recorded at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church auditorium, Austin, Texas, on August 11, 1969
Vocal overdubs recorded at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio, Austin, Texas, on or about August 18, 1969
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice 665 microphones, ElectroVoice Slimair 636 microphones, Sony ECM22 electret condenser microphones, Scully 280 half-inch 4-track tape deck, Ampex AG350 and 354 quarter-inch 2-track tape decks, custom 10-channel portable stereo mixer, custom steel plate stereo reverb, 3M (Scotch) 202 and Ampex 681 tape stock
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Sonobeat producer Rim Kelley makes several trial mixes of Fire but never settles on a final version
The New Atlantis (second incarnation) sessions yield a potential but unreleased single, She's A Country Girl and World In A Jug; Sonobeat producer Bill Josey Sr. even has an acetate test disc cut to demo how the single will sound if released
New Atlantis shares The Vulcan Gas Company stage with fellow Austinites Shiva's Headband (note misspelling of "Headband" in the ad) and headliner Steve Miller Band