Saturday, April 6, 2013

Clovis Roblaine and the Cowboy Twinkies

The following selections taken from:
Clovis Roblaine: The Clovis Roblaine Story LP, No Sweat (00279), 1979
Cowboy Twinkies: Sweaty Betty b/w I'm In Trouble 7", No Sweat (CT-1866), 1975

Sweaty Betty

Monster Love

My Heart

Please Don't Call Me Cool Guy

Stone Cold

Cry All Over Me

Dennis Meehan was born in New Hampshire and lived around New England as a kid. He moved to Oklahoma City as a junior in high school and ended up attending the University of Oklahoma in Norman. It was there in the mid 60s that Meehan got his rock n’ roll start playing in surf bands.

By the early 1970s Meehan became the bass player in singer/songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard’s group the Cowboy Twinkies. The band was very popular and recorded an album for Reprise in 1975. During the sessions, Meehan was intrigued with the engineering aspect of things and could visualize in his mind how things should be arranged. Having taken on the persona of Clovis Roblaine, Meehan partnered up with Hubbard’s drummer Jimmy Herbst in 1978 to open a recording studio in Norman called No Sweat. Herbst was to be the engineer while Meehan, who idolized Phil Spector, would be the producer.

Tired of touring, Meehan left the Twinkies to fully concentrate on the studio. Meanwhile, Herbst’s commitment to Hubbard kept him away which forced Meehan to teach himself how to engineer. He practiced working on his own songs and in 1979 collaborated with many local musicians to make an album, The Clovis Roblaine Story. Having only 8 tracks at a time to work with, it was tricky to get everything done because there were so many elements. But in the end Meehan succeeded in piecing together a sound that was the perfect blend of Buddy Holly meets the Wall Of Sound while seamlessly incorporating aspects of power pop, doo wop, surf, country twang, and other genres into the mix.

500 copies of The Clovis Roblaine Story were pressed on Meehan’s own No Sweat imprint. He had to take out loans to finance the LP and worked three jobs to help pay off the debt. Prior to that, Meehan released the “Sweaty Betty” single on No Sweat. He had wrote and sang lead on the song during his time with the Cowboy Twinkies. They recorded it live to 4-track and spent just $100 total between the recording and manufacturing of the small pressing. Meehan also produced and released records for local groups the Fensics and the Lienke Brothers.

Meehan eventually moved out to New York with hopes of being an engineer but had no success. Later he tried his luck in LA but found nothing but closed doors. He ended up on a new career path after seeing an ad for a boom operator needed. He worked on six movies his first year and then began mixing sound and working on commercials and documentaries. Establishing himself in Austin, Meehan went back to his roots playing in a surf band called the Plungers who released four CDs before he retired and moved to Vermont. A retrospect of Clovis Roblaine material could be found at CDBaby.

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