Clifford Herring and Sound City Recording Studios, Fort Worth
Clifford Herring and Sound City recording studios were two separate studios at the same address, 1705 W. 7th St. at the corner of Fournier St. in Fort Worth.
Clifford Herring opened his Fort Worth studio in the 1930s or early ’40s. His studio was a large room that could fit an orchestra or big band. Herring recorded many country, rockabilly and pop records, most famously Bruce Channel’s “Hey! Baby” and Paul and Paula’s “Hey Paula”, both produced by Major Bill Smith.
The Motovators recorded a demo there on March 4, 1965. By that time it was called Clifford Herring Sound Equipment Co. and besides the recording studio, Herring sold various film, dictating and hi-fi equipment.
Not long after the Motovators session, Clifford Herring sold the building to AM radio station KXOL, which moved its studios from 3004 W. Lancaster. The large recording studio seems to have closed after KXOL moved in, but I am not sure of that.
In the basement was Sound City Recording Studios, owned by Jim Rutledge and, apparently, T-Bone Burnett (Joseph Henry Burnett III) though he was only 17 in 1965.
Phil York became a house engineer at Sound City. York had worked with Dewey Groom at Echo Sound in Mesquite and would go on to work at Autumn Sound in Garland. While at Sound City he cut his own demo as Philip & the Yorkshires, “Once Again” / “Someone To Love You”, that was not released to my knowledge.
Perhaps the biggest hits recorded at Sound City were by the Van Dykes, such as “Never Let Me Go”, “No Man Is an Island”, “I’ve Got to Go On Without You”, and “You Need Confidence”, all produced by Charles Stewart and released on Mala.
T-Bone Burnett was usually referred to as Jon T. Bone on record labels during his Sound City time.
The Loose Ends included Burnett, Don McGilvray and David Graves, their singles “Free Soul” / “He’s a Nobody” (produced by Stan Rieck) and “Dead End Kid” / “Verses” were released on Mala, with co-producer credits to Burnett and Charles Stewart.
It would be interesting to assemble a discography of releases made at Sound City, but it’s an impossible task without documentation. Besides the ones mentioned above, it would include:
Brownfield BF-1034 – Arthur Noiel - “It’ll Make You Holler” / “She Don’t Love Me”
Brownfield BF-1035 – The Barons – “Don’t Burn It” / “I Hope I Please You”
Brownfield BF-1038 – Bruce Channel - “Don’t Go” / “The Actor”
Brownfield BF-1040 – Jerry Williams & the Epics – “Whatever You Do” / “Tell Me What You See”
Cee Three – The Mods – “Days Mind the Time” / “It’s for You”
Cherry 101 – Charles Christy and the Crystals – “Cherry Pie” / “Will I Find Her”
Emcee Records - E-014 – The Gnats – “That’s All Right” / “The Girl”
Fat 12966 – Little Joe and the Gentlemen - “This Land” / “Stagger Lee”
Hue 375 – The Musical Training School – “Don’t You Fret” / “I’ll Go” (arranged by Jon T. Bone, produced by Charles Stewart)
Hue 377 – James Mays – “Nothing’s Bad as Being Lonely” / “Gotta Make A Move”
Jan-Gi T-91 – The Trycerz – “Almost There” / “Taxman”
Psycho-Suave’ - PS-1033 – The Legendary Stardust Cowboy – “Paralyzed” / “Who’s Knocking at My Door” (picked up by Mercury)
Soft S-1008 – Roman Chariot - “Five Sensations” (arranged by John T-Bone) / “Cool”
Soft S-1033 – Johnny Nitzinger – “Plastic Window” / “Life of John Doe” (produced by John Burnett and Charles Carey)
Sound City acetates or tapes:
Charles Christy & the Crystals – various titles (info to come)
The Cynics – “I’ll Go” / “Don’t You Fret”
Jackie Layne (with the Pathfinders) – “Give a Little, Take a Little” / The Galaxies – “Someone To Love You”
Larry & the Blue Notes – “In and Out” (early version)
Larry & the Blue Notes – “Train Kept a Rollin’”
The Mods – “Evil Hearted You”
Rising Suns – “I’m Blue” / “Little Latin Lupe Lu” + two other cuts
Souls – “Green Eyes” / “Why”
Trycerz – “She Said Yeah” (2nd version) / “It’s Gonna Change”
Some tracks on the Galaxies CD collection Think About The Good Times were cut at Sound City, but I don’t have that release on hand.
The Abstracts on Pompeii
The Yellow Payees cut one song from their Volume 1 album, “Never Put Away My Love For You” at Sound City.
Whistler, Chaucer, Detroit, and Greenhill – The Unwritten Works of Geoffrey, etc. , a Sound City studio group of two former members of the Mods, Scott Fraser and Edd Lively, with Phil White, David Bullock and John Carrick. Produced by Burnett.
Thank you to George Gimarc for help with this article.
Sources included: Frank Gutch, Jr., “Lost in Space: The Epic Saga of Fort Worth’s Space Opera” from the No Depression site is an excellent read with detailed information about later Sound City sessions.
David Campbell and Larry Harrison – notes to Fort Worth Teen Scene! volumes 1-3 on Norton Records.