STONE COUNTRY - Life Stands Daring Me

I wrote this review of the debut 45 by Stone Country back in April 2007. Last year Rev-ola thankfully re-issued their 1968 album as well as some/all of their singles??? I don't know for sure because I don't have this CD re-issue.


STONE COUNTRY - 'Time Isn't There (Anymore)' / Life Stands Daring' (RCA 47-9301) Sept 1967

Excelent late 60s group of country rockers from California. Not sure what part of California exactly but their recordings were made in Hollywood.
Stone Country consisted of Dann Barry (bass), Steve Young (lead guitar), Don Beck (12 string guitar and banjo), Dennis Conway (drums), Richard Lockmiller (rhythm guitar) and Doug Brooks (also rhythm guitar). Steve Young would go on to become a country rock star when Stone Country disbanded and Don Beck would later work with Dillard and Clark.

This was their first 45 for RCA Victor. They would release three more, as well as an awsome album in 1968. Well I think it's an amazing album, very hard to categorise but I'll have a go and say it's psychedelic country (whatever that means) but you can get the picture.

Basically if you dig late period Byrds and in particular their Notorious Byrd Brothers phaze, you'll dig not only the album but you'll want to own their 45s aswell. The plug side of this 45 was the Dann Barry and Doug Brooks song 'Time Isn't There (Anymore)'. It's a beautiful country tinged psych tune full of harmonies and a wall of guitar sound. Pretty damned cool bass runs as well.
This song was recently compiled on 'turned-on' CD Soft Sounds For Gentle People Volume 2. The uncompiled 'Life Stands Daring Me' again treads a country psych path and is just as good as the top side. Notable for the closing raga guitar sound. This song was written by Don Beck.

It's also worth mentioning that Stone Country were slated to do recordings and possibly appear in some scenes in the late 60s LSD comedy caper Skidoo starring Mickey Rooney and Groucho Marx. Unfortunately this never materialized and all of the songs for the film were Harry Nilsson's.

I've did some diggin' around for information about Stone Country and there isn't a great deal on offer. Maybe the liners come up with some interesting details about the band.
I do know that they were led by Steve Young who formed Stone Country in 1967. They got signed to RCA and an album was released in March 1968. It appears to have sank without trace, which is a shame because it contains many highlights including raga psych winner 'Mantra' and the harmony pop psych of 'Everywhere I Turn'.
These two songs would have made a really strong 45 follow up to 'Life Stands Daring Me' but for some strange reason the record company opted to release the rather ordinary 'Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde'.
It's also got to be said that the LP cover is appalling. Just what the art department were thinking of is anyone's guess. Drawing the faces of the band on some stones because they are called Stone Country is rather lame indeed.
So, the cover would not have got the impulse buyers handing over their cash. Back in 1968 record buyers probably wanted something a little more garish and psychedelic looking.
It's also worth noting that Rev-ola used the stereo mix for their re-issue release. My album copy is the mono issue and probably sounds a whole lot better.
The album was mentioned as a 'spotlight' release on the KFXM Radio chart coming at you from San Bernardino, California in March '68.


The Producer for all Stone Country recordings was Rick Jarrard. He was making a name for himself on the West Coast by also twiddling the knobs for The Family Tree, Loading Zone, Nilsson and more famously The Jefferson Airplane. He produced their 'Surrealistic Pillow'.
The band or perhaps RCA also utilized songwriters Diane Hilderbrand. She wrote some songs recorded by The Monkees such as 'Early Morning Blues And Greens' and co-wrote 'Goin' Down' and 'Your Auntie Grizelda'.
The songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil contributed 'Angelica' which I don't think works for a psychedelic country rock band like Stone Country.


After one album and four singles Stone Country split sometime in 1969 when Steve Young quit and signed for A&M Records as a solo artist.

Discography:

Time Isn't There (Anymore) / Life Stands Daring (RCA Victor 47-9301)
Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde / Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde instrumental (RCA Victor 47-9397)
Love Psalm / Magnolias (RCA Victor 47-9472)
Wheels On Fire / Million Dollar Bash (RCA Victor 47-9534)

Stone Country LP (RCA-Victor LPM 3958)

Comments

  1. This was a totally unknown band to me...another one that i discovered just lately.
    I agree with you about "Psychedelic Country" and why not? especially in some tracks, like the wonderful "Mantra". As a whole I really liked this album from the start, with the only exception being the last track "Angelica", that I gathered is not of your liking either (I'm not surprised!)

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  2. Brill, psyche-country masterpiece.
    I'm a massive fan of the Byrds Notorious LP and Gene Clark & The Gosdin Brothers, Hearts & Flowers, Eternity's Children, The Millenium, etc., and this just fit in so well, I love it.

    Nice write up. There was a version of the group before Steve young joined, I don't think the notes on the CD reissue mention that either.
    Don Beck had a psyche-bluegrass-soft-psyche-orch-banjo album out in '69.. strangely no-one seems very excited by that!

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  3. Thanks for that information Jason.

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  4. No worries, thanks for the post, a very good read.

    Don Beck has popped up on myspace, some pics of a certain group can also be seen.

    http://latino.myspace.com/228854645

    cheers

    J.

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  5. It was really cool to hear these fine tracks which inspired me to buy the Rev-Ola CD, which is great. Don Beck went onto Dillard & Clark and later still the Flying
    Burrito Bros and toured the UK with
    them c.'73. As ever many thanks Colin.

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