Vita

Austin, Texas

Records with Sonobeat in 1973
No commercial releases on Sonobeat Records
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Mixdown notes for Vita's overdub session

It's February 1973, and Sonobeat co-founder Bill Josey Sr. is recording Vita at the Sonobeat studios in the KVET Building on North Lamar in Austin. Bill has been experimenting with quadraphonic recording techniques, starting with a studio group he's brought together, Base, but those recordings haven't been made specifically for commercial release. Vita appears to be the first group Bill records in quad with commercial exploitation as the primary goal. Vita records four songs for Sonobeat, all originals: Think What You Want, Santa Ana Freeway, Song for Jericho, and The Parasite. The band has a Latino-jazz-rock vibe that's accentuated by a prominent and persistent hand drum.

Bill submits a demo tape of all four Vita songs to his friend Ron Bledsoe at Columbia Records in Nashville, adding a note indicating the band has enough original material to record not one, but two albums. He also indicates his desire to record the group in a quadraphonic/stereo/monaural-compatible format. Columbia and Sony jointly own an encoding/decoding technology for one of the many competing surrounding sound formats in the early '70s, SQ, so Columbia Records seems a natural fit for a Vita quad album. Bill describes the band as "a popular group in Austin" and "from Austin", but lyric references in the band's song Santa Ana Freeway – the stretch of Interstate 5 that flows between Los Angeles and Disneyland in Anaheim – make us think the band may have originated in California. But that's sheer speculation.

The Sonobeat archives don't indicate whether Bill submits the demo to any other national labels, but Columbia passes on the opportunity to release Vita's material, and perhaps that's enough for Bill to put Vita's tapes aside and abandon plans to complete an album with the group. That's borne out by the lack of other Vita material in the Sonobeat archives.

Vita's personnel are not named in the Sonobeat archives, but the master tape box lists instrumentation for the sessions as drums and percussion, electric bass, acoustic guitar, organ, electric piano, lead guitar, and hand drum. Like many other artists who record with Sonobeat, there's no indication in the Sonobeat archives why none of Vita's recordings are released on Sonobeat Records itself.

Vita personnel

Uncredited musicians and singers

Unreleased Sonobeat recordings

The Parasite
Santa Ana Freeway
Song for Jericho
Think What You Want

Produced and engineered by Bill Josey Sr.
Recorded at the Sonobeat studios, 705 North Lamar, Austin, Texas, on February 17 and 19, 1973
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice 665 microphones, ElectroVoice Slimair 636 microphones, Sony ECM22 electret condenser microphones, Scully 280 half-inch 4-track tape deck, Stemco half-inch 4-track tape deck, Ampex AG350 and 354 tape decks, custom 16-channel quad-bus mixing console, custom steel plate stereo reverb, 3M (Scotch) 202 tape stock
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A dub of Vita's master tape
Vita's demo tape that producer Bill Josey Sr. sends to Columbia Records for consideration