Records with Sonobeat in 1968 & 1969
No commercial releases
- Progressive Rock New Atlantis • I Got the Feelin' (1968; unreleased)
Spend a moment to take a close look at the bottom right quadrant of this underwater Atlantis scene
The second incarnation of New Atlantis on stage at the 1969 Austin Aqua Festival Battle of the Bands
New Atlantis (first incarnation)
It's 1968. New Atlantis may take its name from Francis Bacon's classic 1627 utopian tale (that would be pretty romantic), but more likely it's inspired by a "New Atlantis Exhibit" on display at the University of Texas in Austin, the band's home town. The exhibit showcases letters, clippings, and ephemera from the Leicester Hemingway collection documenting his 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 often adds "Hard Rock Band" to its name) 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 B2; he also contributes to Sonobeat's Base sessions), Jay Meade (drums; he, too, contributes to Sonobeat's Base sessions), and Danny Galindo (bass; formerly of the 13th Floor Elevators, still another contributor to the Base sessions) – are assembled from among the best Austin progressive bands of the mid-'60s.
New Atlantis records half a dozen tracks for Sonobeat co-founders Bill Josey Sr. and Rim Kelley (Bill Josey Jr.) beginning in October 1968 at the Vulcan Gas Company in downtown Austin and continuing through August 1969. The August sessions are conducted at the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church's auditorium at 6800 Woodrow Avenue in northwest Austin; 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' original song, The Shadow Knows, is recorded in the October 1968 sessions and sets the stage for the band's spectacular cover of Fire, on which producer Rim Kelley uses his homemade and top secret "Sonotone Black Box" to personify Jim's scorching lead guitar. Rim proposes to release a single, with New Atlantis' original I Got the Feelin' 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.
New Atlantis II (second incarnation)
A second incarnation of New Atlantis (we'll call it New Atlantis II for convenience) 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 Atlantis II session lineup features lead guitarist Donnie Erickson (13th Floor Elevators front man Roky Erickson's brother) and guitarist Bob Galindo (Danny Galindo's brother), replacing Jim Mings and Mike Reid, respectively, Jay Meade, and Danny Galindo. The New Atlantis II sessions yield She's a Country Girl and World in a Jug. Bob Galindo recalls that New Atlantis II also records covers of If I Were a Carpenter and Red Balloon, but we haven't found those two tracks 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 imaginative musicians stretching creatively. We're pleased to present sound bites from power ballads I Got the Feelin' and Song for Suzanne (a/k/a I Know You So Well), the hard rocker Trouble In My Heart, and the slightly loose instrumental jam The Shadow Knows, all from the first New Atlantis Sonobeat sessions. The first two songs are Jim Mings compositions, on which he also sings lead. We're not certain who composed or belts out Trouble In My Heart. We're disappointed to find the 1968 2-track stereo mix-down of New Atlantis II's upbeat She's a Country Girl, on which Donnie Erickson sings lead, has deteriorated to the point that it's no longer playable, so we've made 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 suffered a fatal illness in 2001. Bob Galindo is a Project Manager with the Austin Community College.
New Atlantis I:
Danny Galindo: bass
Jay Meade: drums
Jim Mings: lead guitar and vocals
Mike Reid: piano and Hammond B3
Danny Galindo: bass
Jay Meade: drums
Donnie Erickson: lead guitar and vocals
Bob Galindo: keyboards
I Got the Feelin’
She’s a Country Girl
Song for Suzanne
The Shadow Knows
Trouble in My Heart
World In a Jug
New Atlantis I instrumental tracks recorded at Vulcan Gas Company, Austin, Texas, on October 23, 1968
Vocal overdubs recorded at Sonobeat's Western Hills Drive studio, Austin, Texas, on or about October 30, 1968
New Atlantis II instrumental tracks 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 tape decks, custom 10-channel portable stereo mixer, custom steel plate stereo reverb, Scotch 202 and Ampex 681 tape stock