SouTH CanadiAn oVerflOw

Austin, Texas

Records with Sonobeat in 1967
No commercial releases on Sonobeat Records
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The master instrumental tracks from the first South Canadian Overflow session with Sonobeat
South Canadian Overflow is an Austin hit in 1967 and only weeks after its September public debut lands a cherry gig at Club Saracen (October 23, 1967, ad in the Austin Statesman newspaper)

Austin progressive rock (bordering on psychedelic) band South Canadian Overflow might have been named for a natural disaster in Canada but is actually named for the south fork of the Canadian River that passes through Oklahoma and north Texas. While driving through Oklahoma, bandmates John Inmon, Tommy Langford, and Donnie Dolan see a sign reading "South Canadian Overflow" on a bridge that runs over the river's spillway. The sign makes such an impression that when the threesome – then members of The Reasons Why based in Temple, Texas – leave to form a new band, they appropriate "South Canadian Overflow" as the new band's name. Like contemporaries Lavender Hill Express, South Canadian Overflow benefits from the break-up of not just The Reasons Why, but two of Austin's hottest mid-'60s bands, The Baby Cakes, which provides SCO with lead singer Chuck Bakondi, and The Wig, which provides SCO with guitarist Johnny Richardson.

South Canadian Overflow makes it inaugural public appearance on September 9, 1967, playing the "Rock for Bach" benefit fundraiser for Austin community radio KFMA-FM. In October and December '67, the band records six original songs with Sonobeat: Psychodelic, Silent Night Blues (that, if we can use the title as a clue, may one of only two "holiday" songs recorded by Sonobeat, although the instrumental bed itself has no "holiday" vibe to it), Why Even Try, and three unidentified instrumental tracks. The October SCO sessions are recorded at Swingers Club in north Austin and the December session is recorded at the legendary Vulcan Gas Company in downtown Austin. In both cases, although recorded at night clubs, the recordings are made when the clubs are closed to the public, rather than before live audiences. Sonobeat co-founders Bill Josey Sr. and Rim Kelley (Bill Josey Jr.) are general manager and rock 'n' roll deejay, respectively, at Austin's KAZZ-FM, and they have enlisted the station's chief engineer, Bill Curtis, to design and build a portable 6-channel stereo audio mixer for Sonobeat. Curtis engineers the South Canadian Overflow sessions, recording to a quarter-inch 2-track Ampex 354 tape deck through the portable, battery-powered mixer he's put together. All six tracks remain incomplete; no vocals are ever overdubbed, despite the fact that SCO has a great lead singer in Bakondi.

South Canadian Overflow appears frequently at Vulcan Gas Company, sharing the stage with Shiva's Headband, The Thingies, and the originators of psychedelic music, the 13th Floor Elevators.

South Canadian Overflow is so popular with Austin's hippie community and high school teens that it often earns a remarkable $1,500 a performance, a truly substantial amount in 1967 (equal to over $12,500 in current dollars). SCO features Debby Hendershott, Bobby Lynn Shehorn, John Inmon, Donnie Dolan, and Chuck Bakondi. The band's manager is Austin radio deejay Art Kettlehut. John Inmon's brother, Jim, is the band's sound man. in 1969, Donnie and John will join Plymouth Rock, who record a Sonobeat 45 RPM single released the same year.

South Canadian Overflow personnel

Chuck Bakondi: lead vocals
Donnie Dolan: drums
Debby Hendershott: rhythm guitar and vocals
Tommy Langford: bass (leaves the band before the Sonobeat sessions)
John Inmon: lead guitar
Bobby Lynn Shehorn: bass

Unreleased Sonobeat recordings

Silent Night Blues
Why Even Try
Unidentified song #1
Unidentified song #2
Unidentified song #3

Produced by Bill Josey and Rim Kelley
Engineered by Bill Curtis and Rim Kelley
Recorded at Swingers Club, Austin, Texas, on October 10, 1967, and at The Vulcan Gas Company, Austin, Texas, on December 12, 1967
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice 665 microphones, Ampex 350 and 354 quarter-inch 2-track tape decks, custom 6-channel portable FET stereo mixer, 3M (Scotch) 202 tape stock
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Despite the faded writing, we can make out that these South Canadian Overflow instrumental tracks are recorded at Swingers Club in north Austin, where Sonobeat also records the Sweetarts only a few months before
The December 1967 sessions with South Canadian Overflow are recorded at Vulcan Gas Company in downtown Austin