Still Too Hot to Handle
More Historic Recording Studios of the 20th Century
Author's Note: Here is the third installment of Still to Hot to Handle: More Historic Recording studios of the 20th Century.
HAL-A-JAC MIDGET RECORDING STUDIO, 401 Trinity Lane, Nashville. Not really for midgets, unless they had the money to pay for studio time. The eight-track studio was used for demos and master sessions in 1970.
HEAD SOUND (Studio A), 29 East Cross Street, Ypsilanti, Michigan. Near Detroit and Ann Arbor, this studio operated in the early 1970s and offered on-location engineers and studio musicians. The studio, which catered to rock bands and local jingles-makers, came equipped with eight- and four-track recorders, and Quadraphonic sound.
HIS MASTER’S WHEELS, 60 Brady Street, San Francisco. In July 1974, His Master’s Wheels, a mobile recording firm, moved into the building once occupied by Pacific High Recording and Alembic Recording Studios in the City by the Bay. Before this time, His Master’s Wheels was a on-location recording service. With the in-house studio, however, the company started offering both 16 and 30 tracks.
HOMELANDS STUDIO, Los Angeles. In 1989, Michael Bolton arrived at Homeland to cut parts of his Soul Provider with producer Michael Omartian.
HOUND’S EAR RECORDING STUDIO, 707 17th Avenue South, Nashville. In the early 1970s, “complete mono through 16 tracks. Full service recording.” Custom studio and an arm of Hound’s Ear Production Company, 806 16th Avenue South, Nashville.
H-R RECORDING STUDIOS, 8425 Melrose, Los Angeles. Ampex tape recorders; Scully lathes; complete editing and mastering facilities. “Highest quality only.” Mid-1960s.
HUMMINGBIRD, 50 Music Square W., Nashville. In 1985, chief engineer Penn Singleton offered clients the use of a Trident console, a Studer 24-track machine, and an Ampex four-track recorder. The studio was used for both demo and master recording.
INDIGO RANCH STUDIOS, Malibu, California. One studio with 24 tracks in the mid-1980s, at the beginning of its popularity.
INTERMEDIA RECORDING STUDIOS, Boston. A regional facility sometimes used by producer Richard Gotterher and Sire/Blue Horizon Records in the early 1970s.
INTERNATIONAL SOUNDS, 5539 W. Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood. Mid-1960s. Advertised as “one of the largest and best equipped recording studios…stereo and monophonic specialists…tape, disc, and film recording. Ampex recording equipment. Neumann lathe. Stereo mastering and Teldec system. Neumann SM stereo recording technique. Echo chamber. Steinway grand and Hammond organ. Complete sound services.”
IVER RECORDING STUDIOS, New York, New York. Another independent studio in New York from the early 1960s. Santo and Johnny recorded there with engineer Charles Mack.
JACKSON SOUND PRODUCTIONS, 1401-1403 S. Lipan Street, Denver. Founded in 1965, when many studios were opening across the country, Jackson Sound was named for owner Joseph K. Jackson. In the early 1970s, the studio manager was Mark Damerst, and the chief engineer was Preston Smith.
KALEIDOSCOPE/STUDIO ONE, 1500 Dixwell Avenue, Hamden, Connecticut. Opened in 1969, Kaleidoscope recorded many rock bands in southern New England in the Flower Child era. The studio was owned by James Michmerhuizen and David L. Speer. It was managed by Gordon Johnson. The chief engineer was Anthony Guarino Jr. Over at 3019 Dixwell, the same manager and engineer operated Sleeping Giant Films, a division of SGF Inc.
K-ARK RECORD COMPANY, 806 17th Avenue South, Nashville. One of Nashville’s better-known custom budget labels, K-ARK also operated a studio in Music City in the early 1970s.
KNICKERBOCKER SOUND, 146 W. 47th Street, New York. Another Manhattan studio of the mid- to late-1960s. Used for demo and master recording. Equipped with Ampex four-track recorders.
KNIGHT RECORDING, 3116 Metairie Road, Metairie, Louisiana. In suburban New Orleans in 1981, Knight operated with 24- and 16-track Ampex and Scully recorders operated by engineers Bob Lawrence, Camille Boudoin, and Terry Bickle. The mixer was an API model. The studio used acoustical reverb chambers. The owner was Traci Borges. Rates were $100 per hour for 24-tracks.
LARKFIELD RECORDING STUDIO, Los Angeles. In 1984, Gino Vannelli cut the original version of “It Hurts To Be In Love” at Larkfield, using digital equipment, with his engineer-keyboard player brother, Ross Vannelli. The song appeared on the Black Cars album in 1985.
LION RECORDING SERVICES, 1905 Fairview Avenue NE., Washington, D.C. The owner, studio manager, and chief engineer was Harold H. Lion, who founded the operation in 1967.
L.S.I. RECORDING, 1006 17th Avenue South, Nashville. In the mid-1990s, L.S.I. boasted that it had Issac Hayes’ original Hammond B-3 organ, a 24-track recorder, and economical rates of $50 per hour. The manager was Kari Matthews.
MAGNETIC STUDIOS, 1670 W. First Avenue, Columbus, Ohio. The studio operated during the late 1960s and recorded mostly local bands and commercials.
AUSTIN McCOY’S STUDIO, 13221 S. Avalon Street, Los Angeles. Mid-1960s. Gone by 1968. Offered monaural acetate mastering and stereo tape recording.
McCUNE SOUND STUDIOS, 915 Howard Street, San Francisco. Opened in 1931. By the early 1970s the studio was owned by Harry D. McCune and managed by Don C. Geis.
The chief engineer was Rich Klein.
MEGA-SOUND, Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. During the late 1960s, general manager Floyd Whited operated two Mega-Sound studios in southwest Ohio: at 1403 First National National Bank Building, Cincinnati, and at 49 Heid Avenue, Dayton.
METEOR RECORDS STUDIO, 1794 Chelsea Avenue, Memphis. Owned by Les Bihari of Meteor Records, this basic little studio was used to record many of the label’s records. The bluesman Elmore James came in to cut “I Believe,” “I Held My Baby Last Night,” and “Baby, What’s Wrong.” Rockabilly Charlie Feathers went over to the Meteor studio to cut “Tongue-Tied Jill” and “Get With It” using only one microphone. When Sun Records passed on the tape, Bihari released it on his label. Today, the record is a rockabilly classic. The Meteor studio was located in a narrow brick building with two windows in the front. The studio was inside the building. Bihari advertised: “The Supreme Achievement in High Fidelity Recording. . .A Better Record. . .A Finer Label!” He even used those words painted on the bottom of a metal awing that hung over the front of the building.
MINOT SOUND, New York, New York. Singer-songwriter Chip Taylor recorded a small part of his Saint Sebastian album at this studio in 1979.
MOM AND POP’S COMPANY STORE, Studio City, California. In 1978, producer Freddie Perren entered Mom and Pop’s to cut 2 Hot! By Peaches and Herb, featuring the hit single “Reunited.” Engineers: Jack Rouben and Steve Pouliot.
Copyright 2005 HHP Books
For further and more detailed information on old recording studios, including many in out-the-way locations, please read Randy McNutt's Too Hot to Handle: An Encyclopedia of Historic Recording Studios of the 20th Century, available for sale on Amazon.com for $25.