Geneva and Her Gentlemen

Austin, Texas

Records with Sonobeat circa 1969 to 1970
No commercial releases on Sonobeat Records
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From the late ‘60s through the late ‘70s, jazzy pop combo Geneva and Her Gentlemen are frequent performers at Club Seville at the Sheraton Crest Inn on Town Lake (now the Radisson on Lady Bird Lake) in Austin, Texas. In from the early- to mid-‘70s, Geneva and Her Gentlemen are the Club Seville house band, usually playing Monday through Saturday nights from 9 to midnight, stepping aside only when the Club hosts another act for a night or two. Purveyors of “smooth ballroom soul”, as Texas Monthly Magazine describes the group's sound, Geneva and Her Gentlemen are led, of course, by Geneva Rawlins (unfortunately, the names of her “gentlemen” aren’t documented in the Sonobeat archives). Although Club Seville manager Don Dean introduces Sonobeat co-founder and producer Bill Josey Sr. to Geneva as early as 1968, Bill doesn’t finally decide to record the group until sometime during an 18 month span beginning in January 1969, when the group may be called simply “Geneva”. Although we don't know the exact dates the Geneva tracks are recorded, we're able to bracket the time frame for the sessions because the master tape box is labeled using a Liberty Recorders tracking sheet that Bill Sr. and session engineer Rim Kelley don't have in their possession until they deliver the masters for Sonobeat's Johnny Winter album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, to purchaser Liberty Records in Los Angeles in January 1969; that's when they grab a stash of the tape box labels during a visit to Liberty's Hollywood recording studio.

Rim recalls tracking the Geneva sessions on Sonobeat's half-inch 4-track Scully 280, but because he leaves to attend law school in early September 1970, we can place these recording sessions between January 1969 and summer 1970. Rim also recalls the basic instrumental tracks are recorded at Club Seville, Sonobeat's favorite venue for recording pop and jazz artists, including Lee Arlano Trio, Don Dean, Bach-Yen, and Fran Nelson. Geneva's vocal overdubs are recorded at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio in northwest Austin, likely within a few days after the basic instrumental tracks are recorded.

The 4-track session master contains five cuts; two are instrumentals. One, though, is a languid vocal take on Nobody Else But Me from the Broadway classic Showboat, by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, and another is a duet of the jazz classic Mood Indigo composed by Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard with lyrics by Irving Mills. We know Genevas name, but we don't know who the members of her band are (although there's a reference on the tape box label to a "Duffy"), but we know we like what we hear and think you will, too. Geneva's tracks remain unreleased.

Sonobeat Tags

Geneva personnel

Geneva Rawlins: vocals
The Gentlemen: uncredited

Unreleased Sonobeat recordings
Mood Indigo (Duke Ellington/Barney Bigard/Irving Mills)
Nobody Else But Me (Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II)
Woke Up This Morning
You Got Me

Produced by Bill Josey Sr.
Engineered by Rim Kelley
Basic instrumental tracks recorded at Club Seville in the Sheraton Cress Inn, Austin, Texas, circa January 1969 to summer 1970
Vocal overdubs recorded at Sonobeat’s Western Hills Drive studio in northwest Austin, in the same timeframe as the basic instrumental track recordings
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice Slimair 636 microphones, Sony ECM22 electret condenser microphones, Scully 280 half-inch 4-track recorder, Ampex AG350 quarter-inch 2-track recorder, custom 10-channel portable stereo mixer, Fairchild Lumiten 663ST optical compressor, Blonder-Tongue Audio Baton 9-band stereo graphic equalizer, custom steel plate stereo reverb, Ampex 681 tape stock

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The Geneva mix-down master shows multiple takes of several songs with two selected as a possible Sonobeat 45 RPM stereo single release
The Geneva 4-track session masters get archived with other artists' tracks on a 10-1/2 inch reel