Jim Chesnut

Austin, Texas

Records with Sonobeat in 1968 & 1969
One commercial 45 RPM release on Sonobeat Records (1968)
Listen! to more below
A publicity photo provided by Jim serves as the image for Sonobeat's seventh and final custom printed single sleeve
The "A" side of Jim's Sonobeat release, a Herman Nelson composition, as is the "B" side
A break during the 1969 recording sessions, on the upper deck of Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio, overlooking northwest Austin

It's September 1968 and folk/pop performer Jim Chesnut records two Herman Nelson compositions for Sonobeat co-founder and producer Bill Josey Sr. About to Be Woman is a folk ballad described by Herman as a modern love song. Leaves is a plaintive commentary on everyday life – as relevant at the moment you're reading this as when Jim records it in '68. The songs are released in November as Sonobeat stereo single PV-s112, which is Jim's recording debut. Rim designs the sleeve, which is the final picture sleeve Sonobeat will issue. At the time his single is released, Jim, a Midland, Texas, native, is attending the University of Texas in Austin, where he and Sonobeat co-founder Rim Kelley are classmates.

Jim returns to Sonobeat in May 1969 to record a series of country, folk, and pop covers including By the Time I Get to Phoenix, The Impossible Dream, They Call the Wind Maria, Woman Woman, Games People Play, Where's the Playground Susie, Husbands and Wives, and Wives and Lovers (the latter two songs are different, although it may sound as if there's a typo: Husbands and Wives is a Roger Miller country tune, and Wives and Lovers is a Burt Bachrach-Hal David pop song originally made a hit by Jack Jones). Producer Bill Josey Sr. appears to be trying to build a commercial album release with Jim, but regardless whether that's the goal, none of Jim's May '69 recordings are ever released.

Jim's career as both singer and composer in his own right blossoms in the '70s, after he moves to Nashville and takes up residence as a staff writer for world-famous music publisher Acuff-Rose. A Grammy nominee for his composition Show Me a Sign, Jim records two albums and more than a dozen singles for the MGM, ABC, and Capitol labels, plays clubs and concerts across the country, and today is a certified public manager (and on the side operates an audiovisual and graphics production business) in San Antonio. Jim still performs and records from time to time. For more about Jim's musical career (including an elaboration of how he connected with Sonobeat), visit his personal website.

Jim Chesnut personnel

Jim Chesnut: guitar and vocals
Mike Waugh: bass
Unidentified musician: drums
Unidentified musician: organ

Sonobeat stereo 45 RPM release PV-s112 (1968)

"A" side: About To Be Woman (Herman Nelson) • 3:00
"B" side: Leaves (Herman Nelson) • 2:17

Released week of November 10, 1968* • PV-s112
Produced by Bill Josey Sr. and engineered by Rim Kelley
Single-sided black & white picture sleeve
Basic instrumental tracks and vocal overdubs recorded at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio, Austin, Texas, on September 19, 1968 and March 23, 1968
Recording equipment: Sony ECM22 electret condenser microphones, AKG D707E dynamic microphone, Scully 280 half-inch 4-track tape deck, Ampex AG350 tape deck, custom 16-channel mixing console, Fairchild Lumiten 663ST optical compressor, Blonder-Tongue Audio Baton 9-band stereo graphic equalizer, custom steel plate stereo reverb, Scotch 202 tape stock
Vinyl collector information for PV-s112

Between 1,000 and 1,500 copies pressed; approximately 50-75 copies rubber stamped "PROMO COPY"; About To Be Woman side of promo copies also rubber stamped with a to indicate the side radio stations should play
Lacquers mastered and vinyl copies pressed by Sidney J. Wakefield & Company, Phoenix, Arizona
Single-sided black and white picture sleeve
Label blanks and picture sleeve printed by Powell Offset Services, Austin, Texas
In the dead wax:
   About To Be Woman: SJW-10906 and PV-s112A
   Leaves: SJW-10906 and PV-s112B
   "SJW" in the matrix number identifies Sidney J. Wakefield & Company as the lacquer mastering and pressing plant

Unreleased Sonobeat recordings

By the Time I Get to Phoenix (Jimmy Webb)
Games People Play (Joe South)
Husbands and Wives (Roger Miller)
The Impossible Dream (Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion)
They Called the Wind Maria (Lerner and Loewe)
Where’s the Playhouse Susie (Jimmy Webb)
Wives and Lovers (Burt Bacharach and Hal David)
Woman, Woman (Jim Glaser and Jimmy Payne)

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Final word

In 1968, Jim and Sonobeat co-founder Rim Kelley are classmates at the University of Texas. Through casual classroom conversation, they discovery each is a DJ and that they work only blocks apart at different AM radio stations in downtown Austin; they begin speaking regularly by phone about their DJ experiences. Eventually, when Rim learns that Jim also performs at Austin folk clubs, including The Eleventh Door and The Chequered Flag, Rim brings Jim to Sonobeat to work with Sonosong composer Herman Nelson and Rim's father, Sonobeat co-founder Bill Josey Sr.
The backing music tracks for Jim's 1968 Sonobeat single; the vocals were overdubbed the same day the instrumentals were recorded, September 19, 1968
Sonobeat producer Bill Josey Sr. picks three demos by Jim Chesnut for an acetate disc that he'll circulate to his A&R friends at Liberty Records, looking for a major label release of Jim's Sonobeat recordings; when delivering the Johnny Winter master tapes for The Progressive Blues Experiment to Liberty Records in LA in 1968, Bill Sr. snags a stash of Liberty Recorders tape box labels that he uses when he hopes to make a new sale to Liberty