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picture of Martin recording HWC on location at the University of Texas

Music Part 1

All photos by Martin Theophilus

©2007 Phantom Productions, Inc.

Go to Music Part 2

Phantom productions has a 5 hour 2 DVD set profiling our vintage tape recording clooection for $14.95.  The set also includes some history of sound recording; how the tape recoder works and a bit about recording in Texas during the 1960's through the 1980's.

 

Alpine Band Concert program

Martin began playing trumpet in the 5th grade.  Alpine Band Concert program

cover of Dixieland Devils music folder

Cover of Dixieland Devils music folder  -  Martin played 2nd trumpet in dance band during high school years

 cover of Dixieland Devils music folder

Some of the music in the Dixieland Devils music folder.  In addition to playing in the bands, Martin began experimenting with small portable reel tape recorders.  This also led to interest in electronics and Ham Radio.

 

Martin's ham shack

Martin's ham shack John King (Martin's sister's boyfriend & later husband) introduced Martin to Ham radio

Martin 1950's Ham Shack

Martin ham radio KN5YCJ 1956

Martin's QSL card for KN5YCJ 

David Forchheimer in Martin's ham radio shack (Central school out window). Martin's friendship with David who was a classmate that worked at Alpine's KVLF radio station also peaked an interest in radio, recording and the music business.

1964
The creation of

Highland Sound Company/Phantom Productions, Inc.

In the early '60s Martin spent a lot of time at Alpine's radio station KVLF with DJ's Phil Wayne Evensburger, Bob Biel and David Forchheimer (a high school classmate). He became "hooked' on the music and radio business.

The photo above was taken in Alpine's KVLF studio at a time RCA was testing new smaller video cameras. KVLF was only a radio station, however Gene Henricks (station owner) provided space to enable the trial of the new RCA equipment. The person at the mike is a French foreign exchange student Claude Guillimet.

In the early 60's Martin began working with small tape recorders including the Monarch below sold by the Alpine Western Auto store.

One of his first jobs was recording camp fire songs at the Mitre Peak Girl Scout Camp

Entrance to Mitre Peak Girl Scout camp

Martin also began managing the Alpine High School band recordings using the Sony 300.

Alpine High School new Sony 300 tape recorder by Mr. Banks AHS Band Director

 

When the Believers (poster page 1, page 2) played at the AHS Junior Senior prom in 1964, Martin asked for a copy of the tape recording made on their Roberts recorder (seen above). The Believers were a group of Sul Ross State College (now University) students. After the prom the band members headed for their homes for the Summer of '64. Go to Believers page

The Lead Singer, Grainger Hunt (seen in the middle of the photo left) stayed in Alpine with his family. Knowing Martin had a copy of the tape, he called and asked to hear it. Just the month before, for high school graduation, Martin's parents bought him a Webcor stereo tape recorder which enabled "sound with/on sound." Grainger asked if Martin would help him develop some new songs.

    Webcor reel tape recorder

 

The rest of the Summer was spent in numerous ("fun & learning") sessions and the "draft" recording of new material for the Believers, including the development of their new song "Motor Mouth." The Believers then went to San Angelo and recorded"Motor Mouth" at Ron Newdoll's Accurate Sound Company.  The studio had a #1 hit with "Last Kiss" by the Cavaliers. Here's a picture of the ASC building as it looked in 2003 and 1960s inside the studio with the Cavaliers

 

Accurate Sound building in San Angelo in 2003

picture of Ron Newdoll's business card for Accurate Sound in San Angelo

 

 

Ron later moved his studio to Dallas and subsequentally to Menlo Park, CA where he built and serviced Ampex reel tape recorders and duplication systems.  The company contiunes with new high tech energy equipment.

Accurate Sound Company amps were manufactured after Ampex quit producing them.

 

Grainger Hunt & Peyton Starr - The Believers

 

picture of Martin and Grainger in April, 2004 (40 years later)

Martin and Grainger 40 Years later 
View Believers page

 

 

 

 

The Believers

The Believers with Lady Bird Johnson

picture of Webcor Squire and Sony 300

Martin made reel to reel copies using the Webcor and the AHS Sony 300

As recording jobs picked up, Martin formed Highland Sound Company. 

Phantom Productions began as an audio recording company in Alpine, Texas in 1964. Originally called Highland Sound Company (suggestion by Scottish grandmother), we produced record albums, radio shows, film audio post production and music projects across Texas.

In audio production microphones may be "phantom" powered. That is, remotely powered. We liked the "behind the scenes" image that Phantom provided. We work behind the scenes to provide professional services!

This is an on-location job at the First Presbyterian Church in Alpine.  Early equipment included the Webcor Squire, a Radio Shack microphone mixer and a couple of Lafayette microphones.   These microphones were replaced with the Electro Voice 665s, Shure 556s and EV 635s.

 

 

With his Mom's help, Martin built a mobile wooden recording console with a built-in custom microphone mixer.  Here it is shown with the Webcor.  The Webcor was soon upgraded to the Sony 600 tape recorder.

Martin's recording equipment in the 1960's

Here's a look at the mobile console with the custom microphone mixer with the Garrard Lab 80.

Martin's 1960's recording equipment in his home in Alpine Texas.  The recorders include the Sony 600, the Sony 620, the Sony 263-D and a Crowncorder for portable use.

Here's the mobile console with the custom microphone mixer, and the Sony 600.  Behind the mobile console is an additional custom microphone mixer with a "panning" control.  This is built into another custom wooden console that also has a Sony 263-D deck for duplication and the Sony 620 for on-location recording duplication and playback.  Also seen in the photo are the EV 665 and the Eico 8020 amp Martin built.

picture of Peter Koch, David Forchheimer and two other men at KVLF studios, Alpine, Texas (pic from Sul Ross State University Archives)

One of Martin's early recording jobs was assisting Peter Koch an Alpine photographer, add nature sounds to his movie.  He had recorded the sounds in the Big Thicket of Texas and needed them processed and sequenced.  The film Peter Koch produced enabled the Big Thicket to become a national preserve.  Photo shows Peter Koch with David Forchheimer and two other men in the KVLF studios, Alpine, Texas (photo from Sul Ross University Archives).  Note the abc test panel and the lens on the left from one of the small test video cameras seen in the KVLF photo toward the top of this page.

 

Martin's studio in Alpine, Texas

Two rooms in Martin's parent's home in Alpine, Texas were converted into his first studio with a window for viewing the performers and sound proofing.  Pictures here is the custom microphone mixing panel with panning effects, a Bogen mic mixer, the Eico amplifier and the Garrard Lab 80.

 

Martin 's first studio in parents home Alpine, Texas 1965 1966 Alpine Studio rates

 

Control side with custom mix console - it added an early ability to pan audio during mix down.

 

Martin's recording studio in parents home

 

 

drawing of Phantom original mobile console

Martin's Mom helped him build both the top fixed console, as well as the bottom mobile console on wheels which had its own custom mic mixing panel.

 

This photo shows the equipment in use in the early studio (1965-1966). The man in the picture was the PR person for the Alpine ISD who recorded a weekly radio program for the schools. 

 

 

 

The pictures above are of a Phantom Productions (Highland Sound Company) remote radio broadcast set-up for a concert at the Sul Ross State College's main auditorium. The equipment included an Ampex 800,the Sony 600, a Bogan MXM-A, and three pieces of remote equipment from Alpine's radio station KVLF.

    

 

picture of HSC Alpine studio

Martin with Carol in Alpine studio 1966

 

picture of HSC Alpine studio

Martin with Carol in Alpine studio 1966

Highland Sound car sign 1965

It was difficult to buy recording and sound products in Alpine. Martin had upgraded to Sony recorders and approached Sony Superscope in New York with a view to represent them in the Big Bend area of Texas. Sony connected Martin with Balco Sound of Lubbock, Texas. The relationship resulted in Highland Sound becoming the re-seller for Altec, Ampex, Electro Voice, Shure Sony and many of the other major manufacturers. Martin's parents home and their commercial building next door became showcases for recording tape and supplies, as well as the full line of Ampex recorders.

picture of recorders for sale

 

Listen to HSC Radio Ad for KVLF Alpine, Texas  

 One of Martin's interesting on-location jobs occurred August 4, 1969 at the Thunderbird Motel in Marfa, Texas. 

Two brothers Hector and Jesus Flores from Ojinaga, Mexico were hired by Pepper Brown to provide some tracks for the background of a movie Pepper was producing. 

Martin set up a Concertone 800 in one of the motel rooms and miked the voices and guitars. The recording took place while the two players sat on the edge of the beds.  As midnight neared, the players realized they needed to be back across the border by midnight. 

One of Presidio County Commissioners was attending the session offered his car for Martin to drive them the 60 miles to the border crossing.  It was a fast trip, however they didn't make it.  The player s said " no problem, my uncle is the guard."

Additional tracks were recorded at Highland Sound's studio in Alpine on October 27, 1969.

Play Malaguena from these sessions. 

Listen to more clips

 

picture of promo picture for Bob & His Agents

Bob and His Agents (Sul Ross students) recorded in Martin's Alpine Highland Sound Studio.

 

In September 1964, Martin received a Music scholarship to Sul Ross State College in Alpine.  In addition to continuing to record area original bands, he provided the recording services for the Sul Ross Music Department.  With Carol and Music major Louis "Corky" Thornton, Martin recorded all the recitals, choir and band concerts during the four years he worked on his Bach of Music degree.  This included on-location tour concert recordings.   When the band was on tour, one of the perks was to be able to ride in the college station wagon (while everyone else rode the bus); get to each location in advance and set up the recording equipment.  Martin used his own recorders and mics, however the Sul Ross band director  (Lloyd Cook) had two custom made 30 ' telescoping mic stands that would capture great audio of each concert.

 

 

Kappa Kappa Psi National Honors Band MemberSul Ross kappa Kappa Psi

 

picture of Sul Ross Concert Band album cover 

Click here to listen to some of the band

 

 

 

The Sul Ross State College Lobo Band in the late 1960's

 

The Sul Ross Orchestra in the late 1960's

Sul Ross Orchestra

 

Sul Ross Music & Drama Departments stage Brigadoon in 1965

Scenes from Sul Ross Fine Arts  production of Brigadoon

 

Sul Ross Band preparing to play for Lady Bird Johnson's arrival at the Marfa Army Airbase to attend the Fort Davis National Historic Site dedication.  Tony Bronze, Carol & Martin in center of photo.

 

 

Sul Ross Band on parade in Alpine

Sul Ross State University Band Director Lloyd Cook.

Lloyd Cook, Sul Ross Band Director

Sul Ross State University Fine Arts Building front view  Sul Ross State University Fine Arts Building front entrance from inside 

Sul Ross State University Fine Arts Building

Sul Ross State University Fine Arts Building Band Hall  Sul Ross State University Fine Arts Building Band Hall

Sul Ross State University band hall

Sul Ross State University Fine Arts Building Choir room Sul Ross State University Fine Arts Building Choir room

Sul Ross State University choir room where Martin recorded rehearsals and recitals using the Ampex 600

1967 equipment display with Eico amp, Fisher receiver, Atec speakers & Sony 350

1967 equipment display with Eico amp, Fisher receiver, Garrard turntable, Altec speakers & Sony 350

picture of Sony 260 with recording literature in HSC's first studio

Equipment display with Sony 260.  Note variety of literature from Ampex, Electro Voice, Roberts, Shure Sony, Turner, etc

Playback system with Altec Lansing Seville speakers, Fisher tuner and Pioneer Super tuner with Sony TC-600.

   

 

Martin's equipment in 1967 view video (RealPlayer)

 

Martin's playback room late 1960's

This was Carol & Martin's playback room in the late 1960's with the Altec Lansing Seville speakers, Eico amp, Fisher tuner and Garrard turntable.

 

 

Sony 630 Fisher tuner and Eico amp • Sony 630 and Altec Seville speakers

 

Martin caught Joan Baez' concert in Denver in 1974

Martin's Marantz 5420 and Sony 580

Marantz 5420 and Sony 580  in Martin's on-location recording gear in Odessa, Texas in the mid 1970's

Phantom's on-location recording gear Odessa 1977

picture of HSC/PPI equipment for on location recording in Odessa, Texas

Phantom's on-location recording gear in Odessa, Texas in the late 1970's

Teac Model 2 mixer, Tapco 4400 reverb, Garrard Lab 80, Sony 580,Marantz 5420, Yamaha Amp, Teac A-3340, Altec Seville speakers, Teac, Shure and EV mics, Pickering headphones

Phantom's on-location recording set-up in the late 1970s included the Teac 334, Teac mixer, Teac 3300 2T master recorder, Tapco 4400 reverb and Marantz cassette master.  Operating out of the Odessa/Midland, Texas area, Phantom began completing on-location recordings for bands, schools and churches. Austin Custom Records contracted with Phantom for albums in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Due to all the club noise, Martin asked this Odessa band if he could use their equipment truck for isolation in mixing the live recording. The success of that set-up resulted in Phantom's creating the van to below.

 

This van was customized for on-location recording in El Paso, Texas during the Summer and Fall of 1978. Highland Sound Company and soon to be Phantom Productions moved to Austin, Texas in November of 1978.

picture of equipment in HSC/PPI van in El Paso

click on the above pictures for a larger version

Inside the van, we used the Teac 3340, a Teac 3300 2 Track, JBL L40 monitors, The Teac Model 2 mixer with the MB-20 meter bridge, the marantz 5420 for making a cassette copy for review and the Technics amp..

 

 

 

The CowPokes (last concert), Viscount Club, El Paso, Texas. Click here to listen.

Phantom Productions on location van outside Country Music venue in El Paso

 

Martin' in Phantom's recording van with Carol Wilson

Carol & Eddie Wilson

Phantom Productions on location van outside Houston church (below).

 

Cheryl with recording equipment in Houston church

 

Cheryl with recording equipment another on-location church

DHS News report on Martin's recording

DHS News report on Martin's recording

 

Martin moved to Austin from El Paso in November, 1978

picture of El Paso editing equipment

First Austin editing room 1978 • Here's our recording and album fee schedule. 

 

Martin's booklet on starting a recording business in 1980In 1980 we also produced a booklet about starting your own recording business.  It provided information on sources of customers and hints on the business aspects.  See our ad in the 1980 Modern Recording and Music Magazine •  Letter

   

First Austin on-location job upon moving company to Austin was at St. David's Episcopal Church recording Mendelssohn's Elijah..  Darryl Marler (below) helped with several Phantom recordings during this period.

 

Kade I Man Austin Antonne's night club  Kade I Man Austin Antonne's night club

Kade I Man Austin Antonne's night club  Steel drum band opening for Kade I Man Austin Antonne's night club

Phantom has always taken on a wide variety of production jobs. The first year in Austin included everything from The church and private concerts, to Kade I Man at Antone's (then in North Austin).

 

Phantom taped flautist Megan Meisenbach at an Austin Soiree sponsored by the owners of the San Antonio Street Piano Barn.

Phantom on-location in Houston for Austin Custom records album production

Phantom Productions on location van in Houston for Austin Custom records album production

 

This is a picture of the Teac 80-8 and mixer set-up in the back of Phantomm's van.

Martin produced the Austin Texas album "Dan & Dave Live at the Backroom"  This is a picture of the Teac 80-8 and mixer set-up in the back of Phantom's van.

Go to more on Dan & Dave and listen to some of the album

Martin with engineer ben at Cedar creek studio in Austin, Texas mastering Phantom's Dan & Dave "Live at the Back Room"

Martin with engineer Ben at Cedar Creek studio in Austin, Texas mastering Phantom's Dan & Dave "Live at the Back Room" with Peter Butcher producing.

See also Phantom's History 1980's

picture of article on Dan&Dave's album   

  

Phantom van at Austin's Symphany Square recording Clifford Zirkels' Big Band

Phantom van at Austin's Symphony Square recording Clifford Zirkel's' Big Band

Phantom productions recording Clifford Zirkel's Big Band Sounds of Austin at Symphony Square

Phantom produced an album for Clifford Zirkel's Big Band Sounds of Austin.

Click here to listen to some songs.

Martin took the position of Chief Engineer at Austin Custom Records.  Later New Generations Productions staff also located at the Austin Custom Records offices. 

picture of ACR studio recorders and mixers

The Yellow Page ad above reflects the period we were transitioning to our new name and look.

Phantom van at Austin's Lake Travis

Phantom van at Austin's Lake Travis.  This picture shows some of Phantom's first on-location music video work in 1979.  The video camera can be seen sitting on the left bench.  It was tethered to the VHS deck (bottom right).  The blue cable was the 8 channel  100 foot Whirlwind snake.  The decks were the 4 track Teac A-3340 and the Teac A-3000 2 track mastering deck.  Also included in the picture is the microphone briefcase, TV monitor, assessor trays, 4 channel dbx, Marantz 5420 cassette deck, Technics amp and JBL speakers.

 

 

Martin responded to this ad when he first came across it in 1978 in El Paso.  He had purchased the equipment previously, however wanted to connect with the referral service.  In 1979 ,Len Clark contacted Martin and indicated he had obtained my information when he bought Land Voice.  A new company was formed that included Len Clark, Cheryl & Martin and Peter Butcher.  The new company was named New Generation Productions, Inc.  More Land Voice info  View video of Peter producing in Cedar Creek Studio

Brochure 1  2  3  5  6  7  8

 

New Generations Productions logo

New generations productions staff in Austin Custom records offices

New generations productions staff in Austin Custom Records offices. 

 

 

 

 

One of the Board members for NGP was Harvey Campi, Ray Campi's brother of Rockibilly. We produced and released the single "Little Young Girl."

Single released by NGP for harvey Campi  Ray Campi

New Generations Productions officed out of Austin Custom Records and eventually Martin designed and NGP began building studio and office space at the MET Center at Austin's East Ben White and Riverside Drive (pic right)  Plan 1  Plan 2

Initially NGP was also working with the band Shammy consisting of James Mikulenka, Larry & Wayne Gathright (Music Lane Recording),  The group was originally from Victoria and owned a recording studio that was built into a mobile home.  The MET Center allowed the band to park the trailer behind Building 1 and  Martin engineered some of the groups sessions.

When NGP closed their offices, Riverside Sound eventually became the new owner.  The studio was completed by Bill Johnson and Herschel Cunningham.  One of Riverside Sound's first projects was recording tracks for Stevie Ray Vaughan's Texas Flood, for which the studio won gold records. read more...   and more

 

Shammy on Austin's Auditorium Shores

Click here to listen to one of Shammy's tracks on K98's "Homegrown" album.

Phantom van during recording & production of the Sweethome baptist Church album

Phantom vehicles 1980a in Austin

Phantom continued providing on-location audio recording services around Texas.  Phantom vehicles 1980 in Austin

 

When NGP dissolved, Martin & Peter joined to produce and promote music through Music, Etc. , and Rich Records.

Martin's Music, Etc. card

While continuing Phantom Productions,  Martin formed a new company with Peter Butcher.  Peter and Martin had met while working on NGP projects.  Using Peter's European resources, Music, Etc. worked to secure new music from recording studios in the US and promote them to international publishers and record companies. Peter and martin also enjoyed success during this time charting Leslie Gore's "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To " on the US Billboard charts. See more

More Music, Etc. - Business Plan   Newsletter 1  2  3   Artist Form

Martin & Peter produced album for Rich Michaels

Martin Cayce & Peter working on Rich Michaels record  view more   View video of Peter producing in Cedar Creek Studio

Peter and martin produced recordings for Austin's Cain Sisters. There was a story that they had blocked Willie Nelson's exit from his home to ask he help them produce recordings.

Phantom Studio Austin 1984

Hank & James recording vocals among the corduroys

picture of Martin recording HWC on location at the University of Texas

On location recording UT Austin 1984

On location recording UT Austin 1984

On location recording UT Austin 1984

Managing Housewives Choice Texas  Ska band Austin 1984

On location recording UT Austin 1984

 

Housewives Choice - Andy, Jeff, Dave, Pat & James with Bruce

Bruce Newlin & Judy

 

Martin visited Peter Butcher's parents in the UK during 1982 trip with parents   View video of Peter producing in Cedar Creek Studio

 
   

Martin & Cayce Cage

Martin, Bruce & Peter at Rollingwood studio

James Hinkle Housewives Choice at Rollingwood studio

picture of Martin working sound board at UT Texas Union for HSC

Running Sound for Housewives Choice Austin 1984

Martin in van recording Kim Meyers on 2222, Austin, Texas in early '80's

Alpine Presbyterian church 1980s

 

 

Martin in mixdown room 1983

Martin in mix down room 1983

Phantom recording seesion at University of Texas in 1983

Phantom recording session at University of Texas in 1983

Phantom recording seesion at University of Texas in 1983

Housewives Choice at Liberty Lunch, Austin, Texas

Housewives Choice at Liberty Lunch, Austin, Texas

Martin in mixdown room 1984

Martin in mix down room 1984

   

Phantom party, party 1983

 

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