Frank Corbin & One Fell Swoop
Frank P. Corbin III was born in 1948. His father was in the military and Frank traveled extensively with his family including Japan and Hawaii. Frank went to high school on Randolph Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas, where he joined the high school band and learned coronet and French horn. He graduated in 1966 and went to Texas Lutheran College (TLC) his freshman year. Forming friendships with some of the "wild" Texas folk in Seguin, Texas (Home of TLC) dramatically changed his life. He continued with college in San Marcos, Texas where he graduated with Chemistry and Psychology degrees. After college he drove and lived in a Dodge van as he sampled the US of A in a meandering tour towards the west coast. Stopping at Stanford he decided he wanted to learn to play guitar, bought one, and began to practice. Soon, music was his life. He also learned harmonica, bass guitar, piano, and congas. He then became a singer songwriter who penned over 1000 songs. Frank produced his first album with friend Buzz Hudiburg entitled Marble-Eyed Gypsy. Frank produced a second album entitled Frank Corbin &One Fell Swoop. To quote a review in Texas Country Western Magazine by Paul Persons: "Although I heard only unfinished tapings from the new album, it was apparent that Frank's concern for control over the structure of the music has resulted in a much cleaner, more melodic sound than that sound achieved on his first album. The song 'Can't You See Anything' contains some intricate guitar passages played so exactingly by lead guitarist Fred Smith that the sound of the song justifies it's title - both Frank's vocal work and the songs instrumentation are very clear and precise. Frank has attempted to abandon his formerly "Dylan-ish" voice in favor of distinct and controlled melody." From the Austin, Citizen Marquee by Mark Seal, staff writer; Friday, March 4, 1977 - page 15: "Frank Corbin is a record producer who believes in working with what's available. His second album, One Fell Swoop," which was recorded in Austin by people who live here, proves that there is plenty of talent available. But just because the album is from and of Austin doesn't mean that it will sell here. "That's the biggest hassle of a local album," says Corbin, 28. "You're caught between a rock and a hard place because you've got to get the album heard. And though we have some radio spots out now, it's not that easy to let people know about it." Corbin's work on the album isn't your basic producer's role. He wrote all of the songs, played guitar, did harmonies, selected the musicians playing on it and even formed the record company which put out the album. That is quite a list of accomplishments, but considering that Corbin is receiving chemotherapy for cancer, his energy seems awesome. His first album, "Marble-Eyed Gypsy," was also done in an extremely unorthodox fashion - namely on a budget of only $300.00. "I'm a writer and I'd gotten back from San Francisco in 1975 with plans for a demo tape of songs," Corbin remembers. "But nobody could do it cheaply enough. So I go together with a group called Nova and we started doing cuts at this real cheap studio. We cut 20 tunes and tried to get a new sound, a jazz-folk concept." Corbin, who says he was heavily influenced by Townes Van Zandt, trimmed the budget to $299. So he wouldn't ring up any debts on distribution, he marketed the album himself. "We sent out 50,000 leaflets and it took 21 people to distribute them," he says. "We sold 300 copies of the album, so actually it made money. But it stayed in Austin. It was a completely Austin product...unless somebody carried it out of town." This year, Corbin held up distribution on "One Fell Swoop" until after Christmas, since, he says, Electra-Asylum released all their big releases then. "We couldn't compete with Jackson Browne, Joni Michell, and the Eagles," he says. "So we only released it before Christmas to people who worked on it and held it from the public until the first of the year. But just people in the band sold 100 copies of the album, taking it around town by hand." The new album, which also has the folk-jazz fusion of the earlier work, is on sale for $3.99 at most Austin record outlets. And, Corbin, along with artist Rich Minus, on Prelude, have a single out, "Arm n' a Leg," which is doing relatively well locally. As for Corbin, he's ready to get back to work. As for the album, which has been getting considerable airplay in Austin as well as in San Antonio, it is a mixed bag of styles and one of the most interesting and enjoyable local products of the new year. Towards the end of 1975 Frank was diagnosed with colon cancer. He passed on March 16, 1977 in Austin, Texas. Several of the songs on One Fell Swoop are very targeted and insightful towards his bout with cancer; Tomorrow I'll Be On My Way, Now Is The Time, All My Hopes, and Lover's Goodbye. This album, Frank Corbin & One Fell Swoop, and his first album, Marble-Eyed Gypsy, are being re-released as a tribute to him.