Monday, January 20, 2014

Beacon Studios (Abilene, Texas)

Loyd E. Roberson. “Kennedy and Johnson.” 
Abilene: Pratt Publishing, 1960.
Music Division, Library of Congress

Jean Stansbury (see previous post) sang the title song, "Kennedy Johnson," at the fund-raising campaign for Vice President and Mrs. Johnson in 1960.  Written by Abilean Loyd E. Roberson, the song was published by Pratt Pub. Co. [release, if any, unkown]  

Jabe Pratt opened Pratt Publishing Co. and Beacon Recording Studios in September 1960 at 1235 N. 5th St.. Abilene, Texas.  He had perhaps some lurking idea in mind and just wanted to be popular for some political agenda :
For the opening, Pratt will give away 100 make-up compacts to women as long as they last [ed.: the make-up compacts, not the women]  and hair dressing or shaving lotion to 100 men as long as they last*. A three-speed Columbia turntable will be given at a drawing at which anyone may register.   Free drinks will be given everyone. 
Pratt proposes to tape record and have printed sheet music of interested artists and send them, direct to other well-known singing stars, asking if they wish to record the songs. 
The Abilene Reporter, September 2, 1960

A native of Little Rock or Arkadelphia, Arkansas (born in 1914) and a resident of Texas since the age of six months, Pratt attended public school in Ranger and also attended Abilene Christian College for two years.  He worked for various companies (Boyer International Laboratories, Dennetics Inc.) since 1936 before establishing his advertising agency and recording studio in Abilene, which lasted only two years .   It seems that he moved on quickly to other interests and in January 1962, he filed with County Democratic Chairman as a candidate for the Texas Legislature.  Later on, according to his obit which mentions only his religious involvment,  Jabe was a minister at many churches across the Northeast and the Western United States  He died in 2010.

The studio recording engineer was W.D. (Bill) Wilson, who also worked as tool and die maker and production engineer for Winters Manufacturing Co.   At his home, Bill made and repaired stringed instruments.  He also cuted and polished all types of stones and made the machines to do it with. "I've been accused of getting a bigger kick out of making the. tools to make  things, than from the product," said Bill.   
The following discography is for Beacon Studios recordings and/or songs published by Pratt Publishing Co.


1234 North 5th Street, Abilene
Probably the Beacon studios in-house label.

Ray Jordan  
Holding Hands / I Stopped, I Turned Around  mx L8OW-1948/9

Bill Whittley acc. by Jimmie Phillips and his Country Boys
Why Did You Leave Me / I'm A Rich Man   mx L80W-7453

Darrell Wayne and the Lone Star Drifters 
Dark Haired Stranger / No Desire  mx M8OW-8323

Cindy Blain with Darrell Wayne and the Lone Star Drifters

I Want To Cry/ So Many Times I've Wondered    mx M8OW-8325



Nashville address or Abilene (Rudy Owens)

David O'Connor 
Thump-I-Ty Bump-I-Ty Oh!  / Fourteen Hundred Tear Drops  mx LO8W-3317/8

Jean Stansbury with P.L. Busby and his Western Play Boys
You Can't Stay Single (And Be Married To Me)  / Make Up Your Mind  LO8W-3334/5

Dale Glasson Trio with J.D. Goen and his Western boys 
You Waited To Long / Memory Waltz. mx MO8W-3200 

Rudy Owen with the Ravens (Buenger Dickson, Jack Smith, Joe Collins)

Pretty Linda / The Cry of the Raven  mx M80W-3287/8
 see Rockin' Country Style,

Walter (Geo) Brown With The Art Clyde Combo
You On My Mind / You’re Why I Sing The Blues   mx M80W-3484/x

Marty Clifford With The Permian Play Boys (Milton Clevenger, Clint Kniffen, Bill Norton)

As The World Turns/  Darling Please Tell Me   mx M80W-8117/8

Neila Flowers
unknown titles (1960)
20-year-old New Mexico singer, has been awarded a five-year recording contract with Starlime Records of Nashville, Tenn.  Miss Flowers, who is also a song writer, was aided in negotiating the contract by Pratt Publishing Co. of Abilene.


802 Lillius Street,  Abilene, Texas

Danny Snow With Trio And Combo
Forever / Sally   mx L8OW-1727/8 
see Rockin' Country Style



P.O. Box 156, Culpeper, Virginia

Owned by Robert L. Butler who was at the time an airman at Dyess Air Force Base.
He soon moved to Columbus, Ohio where the label had most of its output.

The four singles listed below were likely recorded in Abilene in 1961 and issued in 1962.
For a full listing of the label see

Bobby Butler And His Country Caravan
A Short  Romance / The Harm They're Doing  (Pratt Pub. Co.)  (Billboard, 18 August 1962)

Tommy Roots 
Shenandoah Ride / Country Caravan'  (Green Pine Music Pub.)
Meet Mr. Calahan / Walking My Baby Back Home

Sunny Lee and Little Mike
Goodbye Kisses / Queen of the Back Street Bars

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