Until I came across an actual copy of the above-pictured L.P. last week, I had no idea that seventies sideman-to-the-stars, Rob Stoner had ever released any solo work. But there's nothing like a flip through the vinyl bins to disturb the slumbers of history.
While Rob Stoner, a New York City multi-instrumentalist/song-writer, had worked in the studio with many folk artists, his first taste of fame was likely his role in Don Mclean's mythopoeic "American Pie" (for which McLean apparently felt the sideman important enough to drag along to the 1972 Grammy Awards.)
(I think Stoner's back there but I might be wrong...)
No matter how enduring "American Pie" may be, the item most likely to dominate Stoner's obituary somewhere down the line, will be his mid-seventies role as bassist/band leader for both the traveling circus that was Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue and the chaotic recording sessions for Dylan's 1976 album, Desire. On the tour, Stoner not only lead the band known as Guam but he also got to sing lead on his own song, "Too Good to Be Wasted (But Too Wasted To Be Any Good)".
Next up was a multi-year association with New York Rockabilly revivalist Robert Gordon, who always had a killer sense of what makes a good sideman (Gordon hired first Link Wray, then Chris Spedding and then Danny Gatton as lead his guitarist, all during the time that he also employed both Stoner and his fellow Guam member Howie Wyeth as his rhythm section!) When Stoner left, Gordon picked Tony Garnier to be his bassist - the man who would go on to play bass for Bob Dylan's touring band for twenty-two years and counting!
The album, 1980's long out-of-of-print Patriotic Duty, is fine seventies-styled rockabilly album akin to some of Dave Edmunds' material but even more hyper-focused on that boom-booming Sun Records sound. Rolling Stone's David Fricke described it as, "High octane punkabilly, cool vocals and energetic, heady New Wave attack" and, in The Rolling Stone Record Guide, John Swenson gave it four stars.
As if all that isn't enough, the LP also features a cover of the rare mid-seventies Dylan tune, "Seven Days" to recommend it to Dylan obsessives:
Comments on this rarity and the history we've awoken here today would be most appreciated, dear readers.
The link for "Patriotic Duty" can be found in that COMMENTS section.
Rob Stoner's Homepage!
Interview with Rob Stoner
P.S. The rip of the vinyl come from the great viacomclosedmedown on youtube over at the amazing resource that is Down Underground - please go visit them, you have nothing to lose but a few gigs of space on your hard drive!