Bill Quinn, founder of Quinn Recording, which became SugarHill Recording Studios
This month, SugarHill Recording Studios in Houston celebrates its 65th year. SugarHill was instrumental in launching the careers of artists such as Freddy Fender, George Jones, the Big Bopper, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Sir Douglas Quintet.
Established in October 1941 by Bill Quinn (pictured) under the name Quinn Recording, the studio has been a landmark in the Houston music community and is the oldest continuously operating studio in Texas and in the Southern United States.
“Our history is punctuated by our work with high-profile artists, but the real key to SugarHill’s success has always been the huge talent base in our region,” says owner/studio manager Dan Workman. “With the advent of modern low-cost recording equipment, our new focus is to be the region’s ‘production company’—the place you go to connect with the people who know how to make your music sound the very best it can. The music can only get better. Now we can concentrate on every aspect of our clients’ musical performances.”
Top row, from left to right: drummer Billy Block, engineer Ben Mumphrey, guitarist Duane Jarvis, bassist/producer Eric Drew Feldman, SugarHill assistant engineer Steve Christensen and assistant engineer Heba Kadry. Seated: Charles Thompson, aka Frank Black
SugarHill also reports that Frank Black, lead singer of influential rock band The Pixies, visited after a recent performance in Houston to track two songs in Studio A.
After quitting The Pixies in 1993, Charles Thompson (Black Francis) resumed a critically acclaimed solo career as Frank Black, releasing several albums under his new guise. Black is currently on a North American tour with his band: bassist Eric Drew Feldman, guitarist Duane Jarvis and drummer Billy Block.
Ben Mumphrey engineered the session, assisted by SugarHill’s senior staff engineer Steve Christensen and engineer Heba Kadry. They tracked drums, bass, guitars and vocals to 24-track, 2-inch tape through the studio’s Neotek Elite console.
“Once Frank Black screamed into the microphone, I realized that this is the reason why I record music,” says Christensen.