Stones producer Andy Johns asked for the worst microphone in the studio and told York to place it high in the corner of the room inside the cone of the P.A. system.

"That's your lead vocal mic," York remembered him saying.

"I leaned over and asked Andy Johns, 'What are y'all gonna do with these tapes?' He said, 'Every city we go to, we try to make some kind of a tape. Back in London, we'll sit around, drink booze, do some overdubs, add some applause and we'll have the next Rolling Stones live across America album.'"

Phil York in his home studio, 2009.
Thomas Fawcett
Phil York in his home studio, 2009.

The rehearsal was a tune-up for the next night's Tarrant County Convention Center show, which was taped for a concert film. Whether the Sumet-Burnet sessions were ever layered with canned applause is hard to say, but bootlegs of the tapes have circulated for years under various names, most recently Dallas Rehearsals 1972. If the cuts sound rough, there's good reason.

"During one of these breaks, there was a saxophone player crawling face down on the floor," York said. "The drummer was out of the drum booth getting some food. The saxophone player crawled into the drum booth and stuck his head inside the kick drum. I said, 'Say, what are you doing?' He looked at me with one eye like a flounder coming out of the water and says, 'I'm trying to hear the beat.'

"They left about 4:30 or 5 in the morning. I locked all the doors and was by myself and this place was strewn with creature leftovers. Eaten hamburgers, uneaten hamburgers, boxes of food. There were empty beer cans, liquor bottles, other stuff I can't mention that I wasn't even sure what it was. It was my job to clean up. I went out to the shed behind the studio and got a shovel and a wheel barrow. I pulled out all the mic cables and studio stuff and piled all this stuff in the middle of Studio A at Sumet-Burnet. I swear the top of that pile came to exactly eye level.

"All in all, I think what The Rolling Stones did in the studio that night was not as good as most of the better local bands. The local bands were better prepared and seemed to care more about their music."

York was always a champion of local music. He was an unlikely advocate of the early Dallas punk scene, recording two albums with the Nervebreakers, and played strictly Texas platters on KNON for the better part of the '80s.

"In exchange for some technical services and a few turntables, they gave me a radio show and my choice of time slot, which was Saturday night from 7 to 9 p.m. For six and a half years I hosted the Texas Toast and all I played was local music, Texas-made music."

Chances are York was sitting at the controls when some of that music was put to tape.

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