Ronnie and the West Winds

Austin, Texas

Records with Sonobeat in 1968
One commercial 45 RPM release on Sonobeat Records (1968)
Listen to more below

It's early September 1968 in Austin, Texas, and Sonobeat is recording its first country single, by popular Austin swing band Ronnie and the West Winds. The "A" side of the West Winds' single is leader Ronnie Prellop's original tune, Can't Win For Losing, a duet with an interesting pedal steel guitar figure by Ronnie's cousin Larry Prellop and a solidly twangy rhythm guitar that Ronnie himself plays. The "B" side is an upbeat country swing instrumental, Windy Blues, written by Larry and a show-off piece for Larry's steel guitar. Both songs feature tight performances. With a runnng time under 90 seconds, Windy Blues is the shortest track Sonobeat commercially releases.

The country-swing of Ronnie and the West Winds would be right at home with Asleep At The Wheel or Alvin Crow.
Doug Hanners, writing in Not Fade Away, Volume 1, No. 2 (1979)

Perhaps more unusual than the fact that this is Sonobeat's first country single are these facts: first, the band is composed entirely of high school classmates – still in high school when the Sonobeat single is recorded – who attend Redeemer Lutheran School in north Austin and, second, the West Winds session is recorded 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. on Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. The Vulcan is a psychedelic, hard rock, and blues-oriented venue featuring the likes of the 13th Floor Elevators, The Conqueroo, Shiva's Headband, and Johnny Winter and therefore is a little foreign to the West Winds, who are more accustomed to performing at the Broken Spoke, Dessau Hall, Club 195, and other Austin and Central Texas country venues. But this is not a live performance, there's no audience present, and the Vulcan has extraordinary acoustics, so it's as good a venue as any to use to record the West Winds.

Can't Win For Losing gets airplay on Austin country station KOKE and sells modestly well throughout Central Texas.

Ronnie and the West Winds breaks up shortly after the band members graduate high school and end up avoiding the draft by joining the Texas National Guard. This is the height of the Vietnam War and few young men want to risk life or limb in an unpopular southeast Asia guerrilla conflict. By 1970, Ronnie reboots (no pun intended) the band with three of the core West Winds, this time as Ronnie Prellop and the Country Road, who play country-western venues throughout Central Texas until 1977. Some backstory on Ronnie and his "real" job: in 1953, when he's just a tyke, Ronnie's father Herb opens a neighborhood grocery store in the lazy north Austin Crestview area – Crestview is bordered on the west by Burnett Road, on the east by North Lamar, on the south by Justin Lane, and on the north by Anderson Lane. Within a few years, the store moves a couple of blocks, renamed as Crestview Minimax, becoming a local legend for its ultra-friendly service. Ronnie begins working for his father at the store when he's "tall enough to look over the sacks", eventually taking over management of the store in 1991 when Herb passes away. Under Ronnie's leadership, Crestview Minimax is awarded The Austin Chronicle's Best Neighborhood Grocery Store in June 2014. Ronnie sells the store in 2016.

Ronnie and the West Winds personnel

Larry Becker: lead guitar
Tim Knippa: drums
Donnie McDonald: bass
Larry Prellop: steel guitar
Ronnie Prellop: rhythm guitar

Sonobeat stereo 45 RPM release C-s108 (1968)

"A" side: Can't Win for Losing (Ronnie Prellop) • 2:44
"B" side: Windy Blues (Larry Prellop) • 1:25

Released week of October 6, 1968* • C-s108
Produced by Bill Josey Sr.
Engineered by Rim Kelley
Recorded at Vulcan Gas Company, Austin, Texas, on or about September 8, 1968
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice 665 microphones, ElectroVoice Slimair 636 microphones, Sony ECM22 electret condenser microphones, Scully 280 half-inch 4-track tape deck, Ampex AG350 quarter-inch 2-track tape deck, custom 10-channel portable stereo mixer, custom steel plate stereo reverb, 3M (Scotch) 202 tape stock
Vinyl collector information for C-s108

Approximately 1,000 copies pressed; approximately 50 copies marked "PROMO" and "NOT FOR SALE"
Lacquers mastered and vinyl copies pressed by Sidney J. Wakefield & Company, Phoenix, Arizona
Generic sleeve
Label blanks printed by Powell Offset Services, Austin, Texas
In the dead wax:
   Can't Win For Losing: C-S108 A and SJW-10894
   Windy Blues: C-S108 B and SJW-10894
   "SJW" in the matrix number identifies Sidney J. Wakefield & Company as the lacquer mastering and pressing plant

Unreleased Sonobeat recordings

There are no unreleased songs by Ronnie and the West Winds in the Sonobeat archives

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Sonobeat's first country release, the stereo 45 RPM single by Austin's Ronnie and the West Winds (1968)
Austin country swing band Ronnie and the West Winds plays throughout Central Texas in the mid- to late-1960s; this ad appearing in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper (July 1968) promotes the band's appearance in Bastrop, about 40 miles east of Austin